I just finished a full re-watch of The Sopranos and I created the following list of essential episodes. What’s an “essential” episode, you ask? For me, it’s about the character driven episodes, ones that reveal the true nature of our main characters, featuring scenes that are absolutely core to appreciating power dynamics and personal relationships.
*Indicates my favorite episode of each season
Tony makes time for a little mob justice while driving Meadow around Maine to interview at colleges.
I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano
In the Season One finale, Tony is stunned to learn who arranged the attempt on his life.
Full Leather Jacket
Richie makes a peace offering to Tony. Meanwhile, Sean and Matt make a move for acceptance.
The Knight in White Satin Armor*
Engaged lovebirds Richie and Janice have an explosive first quarrel.
Christopher finds that being a ‘made’ man isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
Paulie and Christopher end up on a nightmarish journey when they chase a Russian mobster into the South Jersey woods
Army of One
In the Season Three finale, Tony orders Ralph to deal personally with the Jackie Jr. situation.
A disparaging remark about his wife sets Johnny Sack off on a personal vendetta.
Tony displays a flair for horse racing–and discovers an unexpected affinity for the serene stable life.
Mergers & Acquisitions
Paulie takes pains to integrate his mother into the social world at Green Grove.
In the Season Four finale, Tony and Carmela contemplate purchasing a summer house on the shore, but a voice from the past threatens to put a damper on the deal.
His father’s longtime goomar sheds light on some of Tony’s lingering emotional and financial mysteries.
Tony B. and Christopher unearth some old memories during an otherwise idyllic trip to the country.
All Due Respect*
In the Season Five finale, Tony’s crew circles the wagons as Johnny Sack turns up the heat.
Silvio divides the spoils from Paulie’s latest score, and heads off a territorial impasse between Bobby and Vito.
The Fleshy Part of the Thigh
Tony and Johnny Sack haggle over Barone Sanitation; Paulie is rocked by an aunt’s revelation.
Tony is tempted by a real-estate offer; Vito is wowed by an act of heroism; A.J. looks to diversify.
Christopher makes a surprise announcement; Paulie pays a price for cutting costs at an Italian street fair.
Soprano Home Movies*
After a close call at home, Tony and Carmela head to the Adirondacks for a weekend with Bobby and Janice.
Walk Like a Man
A.J. struggles with depression; Kelli’s dad is the unwitting catalyst of a new feud between Christopher and Paulie.
The Second Coming
Phil turns down Tony’s offer of compromise; A.J. despairs about the world and his future; Tony takes umbrage over an affront to Meadow.
The Blue Comet
The allegiance of those closest to Tony is put to the test; a case of mistaken identity has serious ramifications.
Made in America
Series finale. The final chapter in the saga of the Soprano family.