"Whitecaps" is the 52nd episode of the HBO television series The Sopranos, and the 13th and final episode of the show's fourth season. Written by the series creator/executive producer David Chase, and executive producers Robin Green, and Mitchell Burgess, it was directed by longtime series director John Patterson and originally aired in the United States on December 8, 2002. The episode attracted 12.5 million viewers and is regarded by many critics as one of the series' best.
With the Esplanade project shut down, Johnny is worried about his lost revenue. Tony declines to move against Carmine, but when Johnny offers generous concessions, he relents. Christopher returns from rehab in better shape and with a positive attitude. Tony asks him to deal with Carmine and make it look like "an outside job"; Christopher pays two heroin dealers and delivers instructions for the hit. However, Carmine unexpectedly changes his mind and offers to negotiate. He agrees to accept just 15% while praising Little Carmine for his role in the negotiations. Though Johnny still intends to go through with the hit, Tony decides against it and orders Christopher to silence — kill — the hired guns. When Tony and Johnny meet again, Johnny expresses his resentment and anger at Tony for backing out of their agreement. Tony says he still considers him a friend. They embrace without warmth.
Thanks to juror intimidation, Junior is freed following a mistrial. As Bobby and Janice celebrate, Junior, distrusting Janice, finds a pretext to stop them.
Adriana is once again questioned by federal agents after Christopher returns from rehab. She passes on false information about Ralphie which she has heard from Christopher.
Tony takes Carmela on a surprise trip to "Whitecaps," a house on the Jersey Shore he is thinking of buying. At first hesitant, Carmela is eventually delighted; she and Tony walk on the beach and kiss. Tony meets the house's owner, Alan Sapinsly, an attorney, and offers cash in the shortest possible time allowed by law. Sapinsly calls the current buyer, who is having difficulty obtaining a mortgage, and threatens and negotiates his way out of their contract.
Irina drunk dials Carmela, brags about Tony's relations with her, and tells her he also had sex with Svetlana. This causes Carmela extreme distress and when Tony returns home she is hurling his possessions from an upstairs window. She tells Tony that he has embarrassed her for years with his infidelity and tells him to leave the house, while Tony retorts that she stole the cash he had hidden in the birdseed. He goes to Irina's home and finds Svetlana, who explains that soon after Tony humiliated Zellman in front of Irina, their relationship ended. Tony spends the night at Whitecaps and explains to Sapinsly that he no longer wishes to buy the house, but Sapinsly declines to release him from the contract.
Meadow argues with her mother about the separation, asking her how she could "eat shit" from Tony for so many years. Tony returns home and becomes violent when Carmela tells him to leave; she threatens to call a lawyer and get a restraining order. A.J. helps Tony clear the home theater, so that he can stay there.
As Tony lies in the pool, Carmela confronts him about a minor annoyance, leading to another argument where she finally reveals her feelings for Furio. Tony, at first incredulous, again becomes violent and almost hits her, but stops himself and strikes the wall beside her head instead. He tells her he looked for women with different qualities from her; she retorts that he hardly knew most of the women he slept with.
Tony calls Dr. Melfi, but hangs up when she answers. She tries to call him back but his number is blocked. He finally tells the family he has decided to move out completely. He embraces his children. Meadow cries in her bedroom.
Sapinsly calls Tony and tells him that he will release him from the sale but will keep the $200,000 deposit. He offers to negotiate, but Tony declines. Benny and Little Paulie take the speakers out of Tony's home theater, install them on Tony's boat, anchor it just offshore from Sapinsly’s house and, at lunchtime, play music very loud. The Sapinslys try to ignore it. At night, as they sit peacefully on the patio, the music starts again.
Entertainment Weekly placed "Whitecaps" #3 on their list of the 10 greatest The Sopranos episodes; TIME placed it at #4.
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