The Sopranos: The Complete 86-Episode Ranking
#86: Season 3, Episode 2, “Proshai, Livushka” [March 4th, 2001]
An episode famous for using special effects to add one final scene of Livia with Tony, recycling old responses from previous episodes that didn’t look great almost 20 years ago, and time has not been kind to them. Later, he finds out his mother passed away, which leads to one of the most uncomfortable wakes put on television.
Best Line: “I wish the Lord would take me now.”-A recycled line from the great Nancy Marchand, who sadly never won an Emmy for this role.
Notable Appearance: Joe Pantoliano’s first episode as Ralph Cifaretto.
#85: Season 3, Episode 1, “Mr. Ruggerio’s Neighborhood” [March 4th, 2001]
An oddly constructed episode from the point of view of the FBI breaking into The Soprano’s house to plant a bug after the disappearance of P***y Bumpensaro. The first few episodes were reportedly changed after the death of actress Nancy Marchand, and she definitely had a feeling of being out of place.
Factoid: This episode aired in March 2001, but a shot of the New York City skyline with the Twin Towers clearly visible, filmed earlier the previous year.
Notable Appearance: Ari Graynor (The Front Runner, The Disaster Artist) as Meadow’s needy roommate.
#84: Season 1, Episode 1, “Pilot” [January 10th, 1999]
The Sopranos “Pilot” has pitfalls like starting a new television series, as the episode takes time to introduce and establish its characters. The main storyline of Tony Soprano going to therapy for bouts of “fainting” after watching his beloved ducks fly away would encompass the show for multiple seasons but slowly take a back seat to the nuclear family and more of the extended family across greater New Jersey. You’ll notice James Gandolfini’s Jersey accent changes; after a few episodes, he sought out a dialect coach to sound more like a mobster from Newark, New Jersey.
Best Line: “He’s a labor leader!”-Artie tells his wife as he attempts to justify his accepting a free vacation. Tony, though, has other plans as he tries to clear his old friend’s restaurant, so his Uncle won’t follow through on a hit there.
A Hit’s A Hit: Christopher performs his first, taking out a nephew of a Czechoslovakian named Emil, whose family is creeping closer to their garbage business.
#83: Season 6, Episode 7, “Luxury Lounge” [April 23rd, 2006]
Christopher and Little Carmine visit Hollywood to offer Ben Kingsley the role of the mob boss in Cleaver but end up just stealing Lauren Bacall’s free swag from an award show instead. We then see Artie show some surprising courage by beating up Benny at his house when he finds out he was behind the credit card scam at his restaurant (quite a sight from consistently funny John Ventimiglia).
Best Line: “You don’t s**t where you eat, and you definitely don’t s**t where I eat.”-Tony to Benny.
Notable Appearance: David Chase pops up again for the third time as an airline passenger.
#82: Season 6, Episode 16, “Chasing It” [April 29th, 2007]
Tony takes Vito’s kid to a conversion camp instead of giving the widow the cash to get a fresh start; meanwhile, Tony’s gambling is out of control, and he is insulted when Hesh wants his money, then gets mad at Carmella for not sharing her wealth from the sale of her spec house. The paranoia built in the show’s final season is hysterical, as Hesh worries Tony will whack him instead of paying his debt. The final straw breaks when AJ is dumped by his fiancé, whom he proposed to the night before.
Best Line: “Who’s going to know? It’s like Eddie Valentine.”-Carlo to Tony.
#81: Season 1, Episode 10, “A Hit is a Hit” [March 14th, 1999]
This is a rare episode that feels out of place in an almost alternate HBO universe. One of a handful of the first season’s themed episodes, Hesh is approached by a rapper, Massive Genius (Bokeem Woodbine), about royalties unpaid to artists Hesh used to give himself writing credits for, mirroring a real-life practice of taking advantage of African American artists in the 50s-60s. This is a racially fueled episode that I could not imagine would get past network standard departments today.
Best Line: “He eats his Sunday gravy out of a jar.”-Tony to Dr. Melfi, about his neighbor, Dr. Cusamano.
A Hit’s a Hit: Paulie gives one of his trademark contradictory terms to a Columbian mobster, telling him to give his crew a message and then shooting him in the head right after.
4 thoughts on “The Sopranos: The Definitive 86-Episode Ranking”
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Elizabeth Reaser is the woman who comes down the steps to tell Amy that David’s ready to see her, right before Christopher calls her a f****n’ D-Girl.
Yes! Thank you, was driving me crazy! Also, thanks for checking out the article!
Hey great article. Appreciate all your efforts. But….needs more proofreading!
Lauren Braco? Come on dude
Thank you for pointing that out. I have made efforts to fix those errors. Thanks again.