20TH ANNIVERSARY

Fans Choose Their 10 Favorite Episodes

BY OLIVIA ARMSTRONG

To celebrate the anniversary of David Chase’s pivotal drama, Sopranos fans pick its must-watch hours. Contains spoilers.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of David Chase’s essential drama, HBO turned to fans to see which Sopranos episodes are still at the top of their list, two decades later. Here, in chronological order, are the episodes that made the cut. Contains spoilers.

James Gandolfini and Jamie-Lynn Sigler in “College”
  1. 1

    “College”: Season 1, Episode 5

    Written by David Chase
    Directed by Allen Coulter

    It’s been called the episode that “kicked-off the golden age of cable TV drama” by asking audiences to reckon with a protagonist capable of murder. While accompanying daughter Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) on college visits, mafioso patriarch Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) spots a snitch — and take matters (literally) into his own hands. The brutality of the moment was a turning point in the series and paved the way for complicated antiheroes like Nucky Thompson of Boardwalk Empire and Tyrion Lannister of Game of Thrones.

    Stream “College”

  1. 2

    “Funhouse”: Season 2, Episode 13

    Written by David Chase and Todd A. Kessler
    Directed by John Patterson

    It takes a lot to knock a boss like Tony off his feet: and a nasty bout of food poisoning did just the trick. But between his laugh-out-loud trips to the bathroom and dehydration-induced hallucinations, Tony had an epiphany, which led to one of his most difficult decisions: Big Pussy (Vincent Pastore) is a rat and he needs to go.

    Stream “Funhouse”

  1. 3

    “Employee of the Month”: Season 3, Episode 4

    Written by Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess
    Directed by John Patterson

    When Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) is attacked and law enforcement fails to convict her assailant, she considers asking Tony for help. Tormented by the thought of needing an ally and potentially owing a favor to her most ruthless patient, the guarded psychiatrist opted to remain professional — resulting in a gutting conclusion (and a visceral performance from Bracco).

    Stream “Employee of the Month”

Michael Imperioli and Tony Sirico are chilly in “Pine Barrens.”
  1. 4

    “Pine Barrens”: Season 3, Episode 11

    Written by Terence Winter and Tim Van Patten
    Directed by Steve Buscemi

    The beloved bottle episode follows Paulie Walnuts (Tony Sirico) and Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) on a frigid trek through the thick New Jersey forest after a gargantuan Russian mobster escapes their grasp. Buscemi, who directed the hour with slapstick undertones, captures Tony’s men at their best — even when they’re at their worst (sucking on ketchup packets as a matter of survival wasn’t Paulie’s proudest moment).

    Stream “Pine Barrens”

  1. 5

    “Whoever Did This”: Season 4, Episode 9

    Written by Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess
    Directed by Timothy Van Patten

    When Tony’s beloved horse Pie-O-My needs to be put down after a questionable stable fire, he blames loose cannon Ralphie Ciffaretto (Joe Pantoliano). After a brawl ends in Ralphie’s decapitation, Tony enlists a drug-addled Christopher’s help to clean up the mess. The episode marked a moment of pure, bittersweet satisfaction for fans, who weren’t sorry to see Ralphie go, but had to endure one of the more gruesome whacks in the show’s history.

    Stream “Whoever Did This”

  1. 6

    “The Strong, Silent Type”: Season 4, Episode 10

    Written by Terence Winter, Robin Green, Mitchell Burgess and David Chase
    Directed by Alan Taylor

    Still grieving the loss of Pie-O-My, Tony channels his anger and frustration to help Christopher get clean by way of intervention. But it’s his misguided intentions that make things arguably worse for a prideful Christopher, who’s resistant to the idea. Though allergic to emotion (hence the episode’s self-aware title), Tony and his cohorts attempt to do right by one of their own, resulting in one of the drama’s funniest hours.

    Stream “The Strong, Silent Type”

  1. 7

    “Whitecaps”: Season 4, Episode 13

    Written by Robin Green, Mitchell Burgess and David Chase
    Directed by John Patterson

    When Carmela Soprano (Edie Falco) realizes she’s very much stuck with the man she married — and that man is a notorious womanizer — she decides Tony’s last bout of infidelity is enough. Falco had been showing audiences a more vulnerable side of Carmela all season, but “Whitecaps” is when it came to a head with a performance that secured the actress her second Golden Globe and Emmy awards.

    Stream “Whitecaps”

Adriana is caught between two forces in“Long Term Parking.”
  1. 8

    “Long Term Parking”: Season 5, Episode 12

    Written by Terence Winter
    Directed by Timothy Van Patten

    Some critics credit this episode for earning the show’s first Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. Fans, meanwhile, remember “Long Term Parking” as Season 5’s gut-wrenching penultimate hour. After Christopher’s girlfriend Adriana La Cerva (Drea de Matteo) is coaxed by the FBI for intel, audiences knew it was only a matter of time before he would find out — and take action. It was the way it went down, however, that still has viewers talking.

    Stream “Long Term Parking”

  1. 9

    “Kennedy and Heidi”: Season 6, Episode 18

    Written by Matthew Weiner and David Chase
    Directed by Alan Taylor

    As The Sopranos wound down, veteran TV director Taylor (Game of Thrones, Six Feet Under) and writer Weiner (Mad Men) did anything but. In “Kennedy and Heidi,” Tony finds himself at a moral crossroads with Christopher and chooses to put his protégé out of his misery. The episode took audiences on a tense journey into the throes of toxic masculinity with a notoriously macho environment — Las Vegas — as the backdrop.

    Stream “Kennedy and Heidi”

  1. 10

    “Made in America”: Series Finale

    Written by David Chase
    Directed by David Chase

    While hiding from Phil Leotardo (Frank Vincent) and his henchmen, the Sopranos turn to the only thing they have left: each other. Chase made every second of his final episode count, including those at the very end with the unforgettable cut to black. Did Tony meet his fate? Is Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” still blasting on the jukebox? Did they order another round of onion rings? Whatever you believe — the conclusion was a shared TV experience for the ages.

    Stream “Made in America”

Watch every episode of The Sopranos on HBO.

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