Essential Sopranos

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

Season 1

The Sopranos

College*
Episode 5
Tony makes time for a little mob justice while driving Meadow around Maine to interview at colleges.

The Sopranos

I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano
Episode 13
In the Season One finale, Tony is stunned to learn who arranged the attempt on his life.

Season 2

The Sopranos

Full Leather Jacket
Episode 8
Richie makes a peace offering to Tony. Meanwhile, Sean and Matt make a move for acceptance.

The Sopranos

The Knight in White Satin Armor*
Engaged lovebirds Richie and Janice have an explosive first quarrel.

Season 3

The Sopranos

Fortunate Son
Episode 3
Christopher finds that being a ‘made’ man isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

The Sopranos

Pine Barrens*
Episode 11
Paulie and Christopher end up on a nightmarish journey when they chase a Russian mobster into the South Jersey woods

The Sopranos

Army of One
Episode 13
In the Season Three finale, Tony orders Ralph to deal personally with the Jackie Jr. situation.

Season 4

The Sopranos

The Weight
Episode 4
A disparaging remark about his wife sets Johnny Sack off on a personal vendetta.

The Sopranos

Pie-O-My*
Episode 5
Tony displays a flair for horse racing–and discovers an unexpected affinity for the serene stable life.

The Sopranos

Mergers & Acquisitions
Episode 8
Paulie takes pains to integrate his mother into the social world at Green Grove.

The Sopranos

Whitecaps
Episode 13
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.

Season 5

The Sopranos

In Camelot
Episode 7
His father’s longtime goomar sheds light on some of Tony’s lingering emotional and financial mysteries.

The Sopranos

Cold Cuts
Episode 10
Tony B. and Christopher unearth some old memories during an otherwise idyllic trip to the country.

The Sopranos

All Due Respect*
Episode 13
In the Season Five finale, Tony’s crew circles the wagons as Johnny Sack turns up the heat.

Season 6A

The Sopranos

Mayham
Episode 3
Silvio divides the spoils from Paulie’s latest score, and heads off a territorial impasse between Bobby and Vito.

The Sopranos

The Fleshy Part of the Thigh
Episode 4
Tony and Johnny Sack haggle over Barone Sanitation; Paulie is rocked by an aunt’s revelation.

The Sopranos

Johnny Cakes
Episode 8
Tony is tempted by a real-estate offer; Vito is wowed by an act of heroism; A.J. looks to diversify.

The Sopranos

The Ride*
Episode 9
Christopher makes a surprise announcement; Paulie pays a price for cutting costs at an Italian street fair.

Season 6B

The Sopranos

Soprano Home Movies*
Episode 13
After a close call at home, Tony and Carmela head to the Adirondacks for a weekend with Bobby and Janice.

The Sopranos

Walk Like a Man
Episode 17
A.J. struggles with depression; Kelli’s dad is the unwitting catalyst of a new feud between Christopher and Paulie.

The Sopranos

The Second Coming
Episode 19
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 Sopranos

The Blue Comet
Episode 20
The allegiance of those closest to Tony is put to the test; a case of mistaken identity has serious ramifications.

The Sopranos

Made in America
Episode 21
Series finale. The final chapter in the saga of the Soprano family.