Spoiler alert: my thoughts on this episode can be summed up by this picture:
Fairly warned be thee says I.
Once upon a time, in a faraway land called Boston, a mafioso by the name of Carmine Abruzzi is having the hard word put on him by a couple of Feds. If he tells them all about his friends, they’ll put him in witness protection so his “friends” can’t find him but Carmine won’t talk to no foot soldiers. He’ll talk to the boss or no deal, so they take him down to the parking garage to transport him to the FBI office. Before they get to the car, a couple of goons jump them, knock the FBI guys unconcious and hustle Carmine into a waiting limo that speeds away.
Life Lesson #61 – Nothing good ever happens in a parking garage. Except perhaps gaining valuable information about exposing a dirty President, or proving the existence of aliens. But mostly nothing good.
But never mind all that because an old friend wants lobster.
Seth demands dinner at his favourite restaurant, the Clam and Claw, a restaurant that hasn’t changed in 75 years – much like Seth. He manages to wrangle a reservation by dropping the word “Doctor” into the conversation but on their arrival at the restaurant later that night Seth is devastated to discover that the restaurant is under new management, his maître’d friend no longer works there and in short, the place has gone trendy.
While they are shown to their table, a young man and his pregnant wife arrive. The new maître’d instantly welcomes them as Mr and Mrs Abruzzi and escorts them to the private dining room. A short time later, he returns to the dining room and waits for a knock on the door. A Mr Gant checks to see if everyone has arrived and then asks the maître’d to start serving in five minutes. Inside the dining room is Michael Abruzzi and his pregnant wife Denise, his mother Rosa, his brother Salvatore and his girlfriend
Maid Marion Connie.
They are soon joined by (surprise surprise) Carmine Abruzzi, who tells them to stop talking and start eating.
In the main restaurant, Seth takes time out from feeding his face to lecture Jess about how her new book shouldn’t take priority over feeding a friend, to which she sighs and offers him the rest of her lobster dinner, saying she’s too full. There’s a scene at the front door – Andrew Gant’s daughter Phyllis arrives demanding entrance to the private dining room and orders the maître’d to inform her father that she’s arrived. She also demands a bottle of champagne and threatens to pour it down the dress of the waitress if she makes that face again.
What a treasure.
Back in the dining room, Carmine announces that he and Rosa are fleeing the country for Italy via Canada, and that he’s leaving control of the empire to Michael. Michael’s wife Denise shouts “No!” and runs from the room while Salvatore says Michael can’t run the family he can’t even control his wife. Carmine orders him to shut up, but now Andrew Gant chimes in, saying that Michael wants to make expensive changes that the other families won’t like. Carmine tells him to talk it over with Michael.
The maître’d arrives to inform Mr Gant about the arrival of his daughter, who in the intervening time has gotten herself well soused. As Jess and Seth debate the possibility of dessert, Andrew asks his driver to take Phyllis home, and tells her that Sal has better things to do tonight than come to her.
Carmine and a tearful Rosa decide it’s time to go. Michael and Salvatore go with them out to the car, and as Carmine dishes out some last minute advice, a shadowy figure with a gun crawls along a rooftop. Carmine opens the car door and collapses, but he’s not dead. Salvatore and Michael carry him inside.
Sidenote: If I was playing racial stereotype bingo on this episode I think I would have won about ten minutes ago.
Jess settles on berries for dessert and Seth goes for the pie, but before he can take a mouthful the maître’d arrives at their table – there’s an urgent phone call for Seth. He sighs and follows the maître’d out of the room – and doesn’t return. Forty minutes later Jess pays and asks the maître’d where Seth went but he doesn’t know. Jess takes her coat and goes straight to the police station but the sergeant on duty is not feeling particularly helpful. A passing detective hears the name “Clams and Claws” and his ears prick up. He offers to take JB back to the restaurant to find out what happened to Seth.
On the way the detective, Lieutenant Marino, asks JB whether Seth considered the restaurant a hangout, or if he was “connected”, or if he made frequent trips to New York. Jess wants to know what this is about, but Marino tells her hopefully nothing.
At the restaurant, the maître’d takes them to his office and shows them where Seth “took the call”, but begins to look uncomfortable when Marino points out that Seth’s car is still outside. Marino suggests they go and look around, and leave the office. After the door closes the maître’d puts a call in to Sal but hangs up when Marino reappears, requesting a tour guide. Jess is already five steps ahead, and notices a bleached spot on the carpet in the hallway, along with some red spots where they missed. Marino cuts out a sample and tells maître’d, whose name is Freddie, that if it turns out those red spots are blood then he’ll be ruining a lot more than the carpet.
Across town, a patrol car spots a figure walking down a deserted street. He flags them down – and of course it’s Seth. Back at the police station Seth fills them in – after being taken to see Carmine, Seth and the whole Abruzzi clan went to a country mansion where Seth was ordered to save Carmine’s life, which he naturally did because he’s Seth.
Marino fills in the blanks and explains who the shot guy was – Seth is glad he didn’t know it at the time or his hand might have slipped. Jess and Seth prepare to leave, but Marino tells them they can’t go back to the Cove yet. Two feds are on their way up from New York and they want to talk to Jess and Seth. The worst case scenario – they have to go into witness protection in Provo Utah.
The next day, Michael Abruzzi’s wife Denise apologises for running out but says that she can’t be married to a mobster. Michael tells her his father was shot, a doctor treated him and he got better, but then Carmine took a turn for the worse and died an hour ago. Salvatore is convinced that the doctor who treated Carmine is responsible.
At the hotel Jess and Seth are on the footpath waiting for the FBI agents to pick them up when Seth realises he left his medical bag in the coffee shop and goes to retrieve it. A car pulls up and Jess starts to get in before Seth calls out “Jess! That’s the wrong car!”
One of the people in the car pulls out a gun and orders the pair of them inside.
At the country mansion, Michael is slowly taking charge. Andrew informs him that he’s made all the arrangements for burial and the funeral home will come to collect the body in the morning to prepare Carmine to be buried back in Italy. Denise is concerned that her husband is being sucked into the business but he swears that he’s out to make the family legit. He asks Connie to find a guest bedroom for himself and Denise before going to answer the door. It’s one of Carmine’s goons with Seth and JB, and JB is OUTRAGED at the fact she’s been kidnapped. The goon tells Michael he took Seth on Salvatore’s orders, but he didn’t know JB would be there. Which is fair, because let’s be honest JB has had precisely no involvement in any of it so far.
Seth asks about Carmine and Michael informs him that Carmine died – an apparent heart attack after his heart started racing. Seth doesn’t understand, the drugs he gave Carmine would have slowed his heart rate down. A scream rings out from upstairs and Michael is called away to investigate. Connie has just walked in on her boyfriend in bed with Phyllis Gant, the drunken cow from the restaurant and is losing her mind.
Back at the police station, the feds are demanding Marino sort himself out. They listen to the tape again and take note of Seth’s observation that they passed over a covered bridge right before arriving at the mansion. Surely there can’t be that many of Carmine’s associates that this applies to.
After putting pants back on, Salvatore begins interrogating Seth, which soon turns into a shouting match with his brother. Salvatore wants Seth and JB dead even though JB is not involved and Salvatore accuses Michael of wanting to get them a guest spot on Donahue which is a sentence I’d never thought I’d hear again.
After a passionate speech from JB about Seth’s role as a doctor that I wasn’t entirely listening to because Pokemon Go happened, they are joined by Rosa Abruzzo who has just been informed that Connie and Salvatore’s wedding is off. “I JUST HAD MY LAST FITTING FOR THE DRESS YESTERDAY!” she says loudly, in a way that in no way denotes important plot point.
Salvatore goes off after his mother and Connie, leaving Michael with JB and Seth. Seth offers to look at the body to establish cause of death, and although Michael is resistant he agrees. Back in town, Marino and the Feds discover the body of the man who shot Carmine in the first place.
Seth discovers that Carmine was definitely murdered by a clumsy injection. Michael is called away when Andrew Gant arrives back, leaving Seth to tell Jess the bad news – Carmine was killed by an injection of digitoxin, which had been stolen out of Seth’s medical bag along with one of his syringes.
In the next room Andrew Gant tells them that the other mafia families had nothing to do with the hitman, but he doesn’t believe them. He and Salvatore think it’s time for a show of strength.
Seth spots a picture of Phyllis Gent on the table and they realise they are at the home of Andrew Gant. Jess suddenly realises they had it all wrong after all. Seth distracts the guard with a visit to the bathroom while JB phones it in. Unfortunately for JB Salvatore appears at that moment and pulls his gun on her. Michael comes in hot on his heels and orders Salvatore to put the gun down. Then they hear sirens.
Marino and his men appear and arrest Salvatore and Andrew for kidnapping. Marino tells JB about finding the hitman but says he still doesn’t know who hired him.
JB can help him out with that one.
JB picked up on the fact that Rosa kept a dress fitting appointment even though she knew she would be leaving the country. Rosa, devastated at the thought of losing her family to go on the run with Carmine, hired the hitman but the hitman botched it so she took matters into her own hands.
And now confession: this episode was dreadful, and so the minute I saw Amy Yasbeck my brain wandered and ended up here: