College Season 1 Episode 5

The Sopranos - Original air date: February 7, 1999 | Genres: Crime | Drama | Directed by: Allen Coulter - Previous EpisodeMeadowlands” - Next EpisodePax Soprana

Episode Recap


The episode opens with Tony and Meadow on a road trip to Maine, visiting three schools on her list of potential colleges. Bates college is their first stop. The visit turns slightly awkward when the subject of the school's sexual atmosphere comes up and Tony admits that his lack of a college education was due to some juvenile delinquency.

On their way to the second location, Meadow openly asks her father if he is involved in the mafia. Tony's first response is to deny everything. When he is unable to convince Meadow, Tony partially relents. He admits that some of his income is from various illegal activities such as gambling. Seeming inspired by his honesty, Meadow offers her own admission. She reveals that she took speed while studying for her SATs. Tony reacts angrily and Meadow refuses to tell him where she obtained the drugs. Despite the guarded responses on both sides, both Meadow and Tony seem to appreciate the relative honesty on difficult subjects.

The father-daughter bonding is interrupted when Tony spots a familiar face at a gas station. While making two calls, first to his mistress and then to his wife, he recognizes the man at the other pump. The man's name is Fabian Petrulio, a member of the DeMio crime family who turned FBI informant and disappeared into the Witness Protection Program. Tony pursues Petrulio's car through oncoming traffic, alarming Meadow, but ultimately loses him. Despite having raised Meadow's suspicions, Tony decides to find Petrulio, confirm his identity and kill him personally.

Leaving Meadow at a college bar with some new acquaintances, Tony locates Petrulio's travel agency office. There he sees a bust of Ronald Reagan, similar to those Petrulio sculpted during his prison stay. With Petrulio's identity confirmed, he returns to the motel where he and Meadow are spending the night. Meanwhile, Petrulio has noticed Tony's snooping and knows why the man is there. Armed with a handgun, Petrulio follows Tony and Meadow back to the motel room. There, he is prevented from shooting an oblivious Tony by an elderly couple's presence.

The next day, Tony drops Meadow off at Colby college. He returns to Petrulio's office and strangles the man with a length of wire. As Meadow and Tony continue with their trip, she expresses her suspicions about his behavior. With the stress of balancing the roles of mafioso and doting father, Tony begins to wonder which role is more truthful. He sees the following Nathaniel Hawthorne quote hanging in the Bowdoin University admissions office: “No man… can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which one may be true.”

Back at home, Carmela is spending a lonely evening recovering from the flu while A.J. is sleeping over at a friend's house. Father Phil surprises her with a visit. They have dinner together and more than a little wine. After receiving a call from Tony's therapist and realizing that Dr. Melfi is a woman, Carmela breaks down in front of Father Phil and pours out her marital worries. Though they don't speak of Tony's work directly, she confesses that she feels guilty for being complicit in her husband's mafia activities. Father Phil attempts to comfort her and the emotional exchange begins to turn romantic. Carmela is on the verge of kissing Father Phil when he begins to feel sick from the alcohol, disrupting the mood.

Tony and Meadow return the next day. Carmela lets it slip that Father Phil spent the night on their couch sleeping off the wine. When Tony expresses anger that Carmela spent the evening alone with another man, she deflects him by revealing that she knows Dr. Melfi is a woman. This puts Tony on the defensive and the two reach a stalemate.

Special Occurrences

Actor Tony Ray Rossi appears as Fabian Petrulio, a.k.a. “Fred Peters”, who is killed by Tony Soprano during the episode. The critical reception for “College” was overwhelmingly positive, with many critics and fans citing this episode as one of the best of the series. Writers David Chase and James Manos Jr., as well as actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler won Emmys for their work on this episode.

The episode featured the songs “Cadence to Arms” by the Dropkick Murphys and “Gold Leaves” by Michael Hoppé.


Previous EpisodeMeadowlands” - Next EpisodePax Soprana

Seasons: Season 1 - Season 2 - Season 3 - Season 4 - Season 5 - Season 6


Season 1: The Sopranos - 46 Long - Denial, Anger, Acceptance - Meadowlands - College - Pax Soprana - Down Neck - The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti - Boca - A Hit Is a Hit - Nobody Knows Anything - Isabella - I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano

Season 2: Guy Walks into a Psychiatrist's Office... - Do Not Resuscitate - Toodle Fucking-Oo - Commendatori - Big Girls Don't Cry - The Happy Wanderer - D-Girl - Full Leather Jacket - From Where to Eternity - Bust Out - House Arrest - The Knight in White Satin Armor - Funhouse

Season 3: Mr. Ruggerio's Neighborhood - Proshai, Livushka - Fortunate Son - Employee of the Month - Another Toothpick - University - Second Opinion - He Is Risen - The Telltale Moozadell - ...To Save Us All from Satan's Power - Pine Barrens - Amour Fou - Army of One

Season 4: For All Debts Public and Private - No Show - Christopher - The Weight - Pie-O-My - Everybody Hurts - Watching Too Much Television - Mergers and Acquisitions - Whoever Did This - The Strong, Silent Type - Calling All Cars - Eloise - Whitecaps

Season 5: Two Tonys - Rat Pack - Where's Johnny? - All Happy Families... - Irregular Around the Margins - Sentimental Education - In Camelot - Marco Polo - Unidentified Black Males - Cold Cuts - The Test Dream - Long Term Parking - All Due Respect

Season 6: Members Only - Join the Club - Mayham - The Fleshy Part of the Thigh - Mr. & Mrs. John Sacrimoni Request... - Live Free or Die - Luxury Lounge - Johnny Cakes - The Ride - Moe n' Joe - Cold Stones - Kaisha - Soprano Home Movies - Stage 5 - Remember When - Chasing It - Walk Like a Man - Kennedy and Heidi - The Second Coming - The Blue Comet - Made in America

Television Episode

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