#108 – The Sopranos – Top 10 episodes

*Spoilers ahead for the Sopranos series* you’ve been warned!

For those of you who haven’t seen the Sopranos or have seen it once I take great pleasure in telling you that the show is better with each rewatch. The Sopranos is a show of nuance and subtleties. Having watched the show over X10 times here’s my top 10 episodes of the series.

If your a fan of the show also do yourself a favour and check out the talking Sopranos podcast on YouTube or Spotify. It’s hosted by Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) and Steve Schirippa (Bobby Boccala). Great stories, interviews and fun for any Soprano fan!

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10

I dream of Jeannie Cusamano

Season 1 episode 13

Episode aired April 4th 1999

Betrayal, Family and murder are the themes in this episode. Jimmy Altieri believed to be an informant is whacked. Paulie and Christopher violently gun down Mikey Palmice in the woods.

The FBI bring Tony in to listen to the recordings from green Grove and he hears that Livia and Junior his mother and uncle were behind the attempt on his life earlier in the season. Tony then tries to smother his mother with a pillow but she’s had a stroke before he gets there.

Artie visits Livia in hospital and she tells him that Tony started the fire in the restaurant. Artie confronts Tony with a rifle and Tony is able to make it seem too absurd for him to do such a thing and Artie smashes his car up with his gun before he leaves. Big Pussy is missing still and things are tense but Tony’s gaining full control of Jersey. The episode ends with the Sopranos driving in a big storm before being stopped by a fallen tree. They go to Artie Bucco’s restaurant and eat together by candlelight.

It’s a great season finale and the Sopranos has already in one season cemented itself as one of the great shows.

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9

Knight in white satin armor

Season 2 episode 12

Episode aired April 2nd 2000

In the penultimate episode of season 2 the tension between Richie and Tony is coming to a head. It feels like only a matter of time before the clock runs out on someone and the show does not fail to shock us completely.

When Richie is under pressure he snaps at Janice over money issues and punches her. In character as one of the most sadistic people on the show, with no remorse he says “what? You goanna cry now? Janice walks away and comes back with a gun before firing 2 shots into Richie’s chest. The rest of the episode is getting rid of all evidence and sending Janice out of New Jersey.

So much of what makes the Sopranos so great is on full display here and the balance of drama, tension and comedy works so perfectly. There’s a reason that season 2 is one of the best.

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8

The strong silent type

Season 4 episode 10

Episode aired November 17th 2002

This episode features one of the shows most iconic scene is Christopher’s intervention. The Sopranos get together for an intervention after Chris’s drug addiction hits a new level when he accidently killed Adrianna’s dog while high on heroin.

The scene has high dramatic and comedic highs throughout. The episode has so many layers and is so memorable. This is a perfect guide on how not to do an intervention.

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7

Long term parking

Season 5 episode 12

Episode aired May 23rd 2004

One of the Sopranos most intense and emotionally impactful episodes. Long term parking is an episode that will never be forgotten by the fans. Adrianna confessed to Christopher about working with the FBI and the fallout of that.

Christopher and Adrianna have to make a decision to join the witness protection programme or Christopher has to get rid of Adrianna. As the purest part of the show we want Adrianna to make it. We want her to be in her car and driving away from everything and starting a new life.

Of course the lesser occurs and a phonecall from Tony Soprano telling Adrianna that Christopher tried to commit suicide marks her end. Silvio drives her into the woods and the last we see of our Adrianna is her crawling away on her hands and knees before we hear bullets go off.

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6

Whoever did this

Season 4 episode 9

Episode aired November 10th 2002

Everything comes to a head in this episode. Ralph Ciffaretto’s son was injured by his friend with a bow and arrow and in a coma. This Emmy winning episode for Joe Pantoliano as Ralph is incredible in his range of emotions from comedy at the start of the episode to anger, sorrow, sadness, betrayal and emptiness.

During all of this Ralph and Tony’s horse is burned to death in a stable fire. Tony believing that Ralph did this for the insurance money confronts Ralph, this of course finally physically escalates between the two who have been clashing since Ralph’s first appearance.

Punching, using pots, pans and bug spray the fight gets real physical and dangerous. Tony gets the best of Ralph and beats his head against the floor until he’s dead. The last half of the episode then shows a high Christopher helping Tony dispose of his body. This last part of the episode is very entertaining and surprisingly funny. Some of Tony and Chris’s conversations are just peak writing and the acting in fantastic.

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5

Whitecaps

Season 4 episode 13

Episode aired December 8th 2002

Whitecaps won James Gandolfini and Eddie Falco another Emmy each for their performance in this extended episode. Their marriage is failing and everything from their relationship comes to the forefront.

This is as good as acting gets. The pair are so believable in their scenes and we see and believe that this marriage is crumbling before our very eyes. This episode is so well crafted that the side stories involve Jersey and Johnny Sack taking out Carmine the boss of a New York family and a million dollar property dispute with Tony and a potential seller.

Whitecaps is a masterpiece of television. James Gandolfini and Eddie Falco give performances worthy of academy awards.

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4

The Sopranos

Season 1 episode 1

The Sopranos (pilot) aired Jan 10th 1999

Ahhh the Sopranos pilot! What a gift to the world. The tone of this episode is often so comedic I mean the amount of comedy here is incredible. Tony and Chris chasing a guy down in a lexus, while Tony laughs and seems to be having the time of his life chasing this guy and clipping him with the car before beating the ever loving shit out of the guy.

The pilot sets up the show so well. We get a great introduction to the world and the characters that make it up. We open with Tony staring at a nude statue outside Dr Melfi’s office before his first session with his new therapist.

Each scene in the pilot is just so fun and feels so authentic and like the start of an epic journey with these characters. It’s the start of a 10 year long journey and one I particularly enjoy watching over and over again.

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3

College

Season 1 episode 5

Episode aired 7th February 1999

One of the classic episodes of the Sopranos. With the feel of a stand alone movie, College follows Tony and Meadow visiting colleges while Carmela and Fr. Phil get more intimate than they’re used to.

This is the first time we see the more complex nature of the characters. We see our lead Tony Soprano being the loving father while visiting colleges. Tony also notices a former associate who went into the witness protection programme and he tracks him down and murders this man. This was groundbreaking upon it’s release and its still an impactful and powerful scene as Tony chokes this man to death.

At the same time we see Carmela and Fr. Phil watching films, drinking wine and having a communion ceremony. The pair get very close and things almost become intimate between the two. This is what the Sopranos does so well. Nobody is innocent, they’re all human and humanity is flawed as are the characters in the world of the

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2

Funhouse

Season 2 episode 13

Episode aired April 9th 2000

The season 2 finale is one of the most infamous and beloved episodes of the Sopranos in the entire 86 episode run. Funhouse feels like a fever dream because basically it is. With so much happening between the real world and dream world we feel uneasy and unsure of what is happening.

This episode is the epitome of a classic Sopranos episode. We have high stakes, drama, murder, comedy, dream and nightmares coming to the forefront. Everything with Big Pussy (Sal) Bompensero being an FBI informant comes to the surface and the results are as shocking today as when they aired.

The montage opening the episode thru and thru by the Rolling Stones is nothing shy of sheer fucking perfection. This episode is a close tie for my top spot here.

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1

Pine Barrens

Season 3 episode 11

Episode aired May 6th 2001

My favorite episode is Pine Barrens. Like many Soprano fans this episode is a stand out for a show full to the brim with stand out episodes and storyline.

Pine Barrens finds Paulie and Christopher in a fish out of water scenario. While collecting money for Silvio off a Russian the pair end up fighting him and believing to have killed him they go to Bury him in the woods. The Russian escapes and the pair end up stranded in the woods and the snow for the night.

Pine Barrens is jam packed with comedy, action, drama and with excellent direction from the incredible Steve Buscemi. The episode feels like a Coen brothers film and is one of if not the greatest hour of television of all time!

Check out my review on the Sopranos show, click the button below ⬇️⬇️⬇️

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