Spoilers about episode 82 follow.
Tonight's episode was very upsetting.
Walk Like A Man was no doubt chosen as the title of the episode because both AJ and Christopher were challenged by their circumstances to act like the men they are expected to be instead of the men that they are.
On the one hand you had Christopher who has been staying clean and sober by avoiding the situations that caused him to drink and use drugs. His friends have started noticing that he doesn't hang around the strip club like he used to and they are starting to resent him for it, especially Paulie. Paulie challenged Christopher by having his nephew rob tools from Chrisopher's father-in-law's store. You might recall that those tools were being supplied by a connection made through Paulie in the first place. But still. The whole point of stealing from the father-in-law was to create problems for Christopher.
When Christopher tried to talk to Tony about it, Tony told him that his problems stem from his absence from the strip club. He's not in the loop. He's a ghost, therefore he's losing respect. After Paulie's nephew steals from the store a second time, Christopher beats him up, throws him out a window and breaks his back. While Christopher and Tony were meeting about this Paulie drove in circles on Christopher's front lawn destroying $40 thousand in landscaping. A peace is reached. Christopher went to the Bada Bing club to settle things with Tony and Paulie. He decided to have a drink with Paulie to close the deal and ended up getting wasted. Feeling sorry for himself he went to talk to his writer friend played by Tim Daly. When Tim Daly's character told him that he didn't want to hear about Chris's war stories, Chris shot him point blank in the head. Dead. He murdered his friend after having a few drinks. That was very, very upsetting.
It seems that Christopher's father figures (Tony and Paulie) are failing him. This theme has been a constant through these last few episodes. And continued through AJ's story line.
As you remember, last week, AJ's fiance returned her engagement ring and broke it off, which has sent him into a downward spiral of despair and suicidal ideation. After responsibly setting him on the path of therapy, Tony then irresponsibly suggested to AJ that he start hanging out with Patsy Parisi's kid who has become a successful bookmaker at his sleep away college. AJ's new friends invited him to drink at the Bada Bing strip club and then later in the week to a frat party on campus. From the frat party they invited him along to rough up one of their debtors. AJ helped hold down a kid his own age while his friends beat him up and poured sulfuric acid on his feet - all for squelching on his bet. But that's what Tony wanted. He wanted him to hook up with Patsy's kid so his son would stop feeling sorry for himself. But I think he also wanted to set AJ on the same path that Tony's father set him on all those years ago. I think he wants AJ to become a criminal like him.
Tony as a father figure has let down two of his charges. First his nephew by discouraging him from staying sober and then his own son by encouraging him to hang out with hoods.
It was an upsetting episode all around.