If you’re a fan of The Sopranos like I am, I’m sure you’ve re-watched the show many times. It’s just that good! After all, some of the episodes left our hearts pounding with excitement, joy, fear, and sometimes just sadness. But, some episodes stood out than the rest. So, this is our list of the best Sopranos episodes that left our jaws dropped dead on the floor.
Now, you have to bear in mind that I had to push a knife in my heart to make this list. This is because I love the show in its entirety, which is why selecting the best episodes of The Sopranos was painful. Some very good episodes were left out, but it doesn’t mean they were any less than these. Therefore, let’s take a look.
15. Season 1, Episode 1 “Pilot” – The best pilot The Sopranos could have asked for
Whenever you watch the pilot episode of the Sopranos, you know you’re into something special. It’s often regarded as one of the best pilots for any show ever. And if you look at it closely, it has everything. A mob boss going to a therapist complaining about how cruel the world is to him, then a car chase where the lead beats the hell out of a guy who owes him money. And then, a problematic mother who makes her children’s’ lives miserable. Moreover, an unhappy marriage at home, with his wife telling Tony Soprano in an MRI machine he’s going to hell when he dies.
However, there are some flaws, like a lot is going on in the pilot. But, that’s what makes it perfect. Originally, David Chase had thought of making it a movie, but HBO thought otherwise. And all this makes the pilot one of the best episodes in The Sopranos and 15th in our list.
14. Season 1, Episode 6 “College”
Now, this episode made Sopranos stand out from all other TV shows at the time. It was one of the first instances where the main protagonist of a TV show murders someone in front of the viewers. And while that’s happening, he’s with his daughter touring different colleges for her admissions. But there’s more to it! While Tony and Meadow Soprano lookout for suitable colleges, his wife Carmela has an affair with a priest! I swear, this episode just sums up everything that The Sopranos is about.
13. Season 1, Episode 13 “I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano”
The finale of the first season was just, bananas. Just think about it, Tony going all out against Uncle Junior to take over him as the boss and then almost strangling his mother as she was being taken to the ICU! But who can blame him? After all, she and Uncle Junior were trying to have him killed in the last episode! And he barely survived by the width of a hair.
Other than that, the therapy sessions and the revelations of how much his mother had damaged him were excellent. All in all, it’s the perfect ending to the first season of a saga that changed television forever.
12. Season 2, Episode 12 “The Knight in White Satin Armor”
This episode of The Sopranos will forever be remembered for Richie Aprile’s incredible death. I mean, who was expecting Janice, his fiance to suddenly shoot him twice in the chest? And it was a big burden off of Tony Soprano’s shoulder. But, the way they got rid of the body was even more… gruesome than his death. And let’s be fair, this was the only good that Janice (Aida Turturro) ever did in the show.
And while that was happening, Tony broke up with his goomah Irina, which was a spectacle in itself. But the main reason for this episode ranking so high was Ritchie Aprile’s death. It was one of the best and shocking moments of The Sopranos!
11. Season 6, Episode 1-3
Now I understand that this might sound like cheating, but hear me out! These 3 episodes deserve to be ranked as a single unit. In episode 1, we saw Eugene Pontecorvo trying to separate himself from the mob life, but ended up taking his own life. Moreover, we were still coming to terms with Johnny Sack (Vincent Curatolo) getting arrested, and Adriana’s death. But, suddenly at the end of the episode, we saw Tony Soprano get shot by his own Uncle Junior!
After that, the next two episodes consisted of the most beautiful dream sequences of the show. When Tony was in a coma, the dreams sequences were just exquisite. The constant symbolism of losing the fight for his life and identity was simply surreal. Plus, seeing how the crew would function without Tony was very interesting to see. And we also got a glimpse of how they would treat Carmela in Tony’s absence. That is why, these 3 episodes should be ranked together, and highly!
10. Season 3, Episode 4 “Employee of the Month”
This was one of the most gut-wrenching episodes of The Sopranos. It revolved around Dr. Melfi’s rape in the parking lot, and the trauma and dilemma she faced afterward. After gradually recovering the physical trauma, she had to face her rapist in working in a coffee shop. And to top it off, he was named “Employee of the month” in his branch.
But then, she was facing a severe dilemma after the police weren’t able to apprehend the suspect. She could have told Tony about him but chose not to. And this decision gave us a great insight into her character. That despite being wronged by the system, she chose to abide by the rules, even though she could have him “squashed like a bug”.
9. Season 3, Episode 13 “Army of One”
The Sopranos always has the best season finales that any show can dream of. And season 3’s was no different. In it, we finally got to see the final fate of Jackie Jr. Throughout the season, he was trying very hard to make a mark in New Jersey’s crime family, but it wasn’t to be.
And this episode also marked the beginning of Adriana’s downfall, as the FBI assigns an agent on her. But the scenes from Jackie’s funeral left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Seeing the funeral of someone so young is never easy, and the show delivered.
8. Season 4, Episode 13 “Whitecaps”
This episode has one of the best moments of the show – the fight between Tony and Carmela. That scene alone just goes to show how perfect Edie Falco and James Gandolfini were in their roles. Their anger, frustration, and revelations about each other made that show feel so true to life. That moment alone makes this episode stand out from the rest in The Sopranos. Tony was finally getting to see the cost of being unfaithful to Carmela.
Plus, a lot was going on at the time. Uncle Junior’s trial finally ended, and New York and New Jersey crime families finally came to an agreement, with Carmine and Tony shaking hands. That deal left Johnny Sack out to dry, but he was going to have his ‘brief’ moment later.
7. Season 4, Episode 9 “Whoever did this”
One of the most irritating characters in The Sopranos finally met his end in this episode. Ralphie finally met his end in this episode, but it was in very difficult circumstances. He was beaten to death by Tony, right after his son, Justin was left seriously injured. But I guess the death of Tony’s horse Pie-O-My was just too big a blow for him. Moreover, we also got to see how bad Christopher Moltisanti’s (Michael Imperioli) heroin addiction was. He “disposed” off Ralphie while he was high!
However, we still don’t know if Ralphie killed that horse or not. What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments.
6. Season 2, Episode 13 “Funhouse”
This episode was just insane. For the first half, we see Tony Soprano deal with the worst case of food poisoning. All the while, he’s having vivid dreams about everyone around him. And it included P**sy Bompensiero too. Once tony recovers a little, he takes a fateful boat trip with Silvio Dante (Steven Van Zandt), Paulie Walnuts (Tony Sirico), and P**sy, but returns with one friend short.
And if that wasn’t enough, Tony landed in jail because of his mother and some stolen airline tickets. In short, this episode was one of the finest in The Sopranos. But now, we’re getting close to the business end of this list.
5. Season 6, Episode 18 “Kennedy & Heidi”
This was the only episode of the Sopranos where I screamed after watching the first five minutes, just like Carmela. It took me a while to believe Tony Soprano killed Christopher Moltisanti. It felt like a dream. Yes, I know how this moment was coming for Chrissy, but the way it happened just blew me away. That moment when Christopher realizes what Tony was doing to him broke my heart into pieces. And it was a sad end to a tragic arc.
But what followed showed us how Tony Soprano was simply a psychopath. He felt no remorse for killing Christopher, and that was scary, to say the least.
4. Season 6, Episode 21 “Made in America”
The final episode of The Sopranos easily ranks among the best top 5 of the show. It was a perfect conclusion to all the arcs, and Uncle Junior’s last scene left some fans in tears too. But of course, the very last scene of the show still left millions confused. However, we’ve made that point before too that it was the ending that the show deserved. Therefore, I rank it highly on this list. We can never forget the last scene of Anthony Jr., Tony Soprano, and Carmela just waiting to order, as the screen cuts to black.
Plus, the Shah of Iran Phil Leotardo’s death scene alone was iconic enough to put this episode so high on this list. Plus, how funny was it to see Silvio Dante with his same grump face even on the hospital bed?
3. Season 5, Episode 12 “Long Term Parking”
The events of this episode were building up for almost 2 seasons. But by the end, The Sopranos delivered in this masterpiece of an episode. Adriana La Cerva (played by Drea De Matteo) was stuck with the FBI for the better part of two seasons, and it came to a tragic end that no one saw. Till the very end, none of us were expecting Tony and his crew to be this cruel. But, the memory of Ade crawling and screaming away from Silvio will live long in our memories.
Other than that, Tony Soprano finally realized that his cousin, Tony Blundetto (Steve Buscemi) had to go after his bust-up with New York. But, he has to kill him with his own hands, otherwise, Phil Leotardo will torture him to death!
2. Season 6, Episode 20 “Blue Comet”
The last couple of seasons had a lot of tensions between crime families of New York, and Phil Leotardo in particular, and New Jersey’s crew. But, it finally came to a halt with a lot of casualties. The worst one yet was Bobby Baccalieri (Steve Schirripa). Bobby Bacala was a big fan favorite and just a jolly good guy. A lot happened in this episode. Tony might have won, but the cost of Bobby and Silvio was too high.
Other than that, who can even forget the failed hit on Phil Leotardo? Who would have thought he could speak Ukrainian. And that mistake cost Tony Soprano a lot. It was the second last episode of The Sopranos, and it set the stage perfectly for the finale to be the ultimate closure for the fans. Therefore, in some ways, this was one half of the finale.
1. The best episode of The Sopranos and in TV history – Season 3, Episode 11 “Pine Barrens”
The coup de grace is finally here! I think everyone saw this one coming. Pine Barrens is without a doubt the best Sopranos episode there is. Many even argue that it’s the best episode in any TV show yet. And when we look at the plot, it makes sense too. Just think, Chrissy and Paulie just had to pick a payment from a Russian guy. But, they end up beating him and taking him into the woods in snowy winter to kill him. However, he escapes and makes a run for his life. And how can we forget that shot to his head, WHICH STILL DIDN’T MANAGE TO KILL HIM? This episode was just bananas. And the best part is that to this day we don’t know if the Russian survived or not.
And then you see the two go on full survival mode in the middle of the forest, lost far away from their car. This episode was just something special. On the other hand, Tony’s relation with Gloria (Annabelle Sciorra) was going sour as well as Meadow’s relationship with Jackie Jr. Steve Buscemi directed this episode, and that explains a lot.
This list doesn’t mean the other episodes of The Sopranos were any bad
This is an important reminder for all the fans who made it to the end of this list. These are the best episodes of The Sopranos in my eyes, but that doesn’t mean the others were any bad. Each episode played its part in making The Sopranos one of the best shows of all time. That’s why don’t take this list to your heart. If you think we missed out on any iconic episode (which I’m sure I must have), let us know in the comments below.