Rank #1: S1:E1 - Pilot
From ducks, to depression, to degenerate gamblers, Gavin and Hannibal cover the themes, key scenes, best lines and notable creative choices that make the pilot such a fitting introduction to the world of The Sopranos.
Rank #2: S6B:E21 - Made In America
The series finale of The Sopranos keeps things pretty simple... until it doesn’t. Gavin and Hannibal (and Maureen Van Zandt) explain what they think did or did not happen in the diner and why. Though ‘Made in America’ is the final episode of The Sopranos, this is probably not the final episode of ‘The Sopranos Show.’ There’s a movie coming in September 2020 after all! Until then, Don’t Stop-
Rank #3: S6A:E1 - Members Only
The premiere of Season Six throws a LOT at the audience and climaxes with one of the most shocking moments in series history. It can’t be a surprise then, that it takes Gavin and Hannibal nearly 90 minutes to unpack it all. Your hosts hone in on the themes of health, aging and misplaced trust that dominate this episode, and describe how it places Tony and Carmela in a position to embark on journeys more complex and dangerous than ever before.
Rank #4: S3:E11 - Pine Barrens
Gavin and Hannibal almost get lost in the woods raving about ‘Pine Barrens,’ arguably the most popular episode of The Sopranos, and one that is a source of endless fascination to its fans. Flawlessly directed by Steve Buscemi, and featuring one of Tony Sirico’s all time great performances as Paulie, this is a landmark chapter of the series filled with tension, hilarity, mystery, and a Russian that just won’t die... or did he?
Rank #5: S4:E9 - Whoever Did This
‘Whoever Did This’ is one of the best episodes The Sopranos ever did. Of course, Gavin and Hannibal spend much of their time praising Joe Pantoliano’s Emmy winning performance, which convincingly reveals a side of Ralph Cifaretto never before displayed. Plus, Burgess and Green’s flawless script delivers surprises large and small, culminating in some of the most unanticipated and graphic violence the series has ever depicted. Ultimately, a fitting and unforgettable exit for one of the series’ most memorable characters, in a story that still has the power to shock, years after its initial airing.
Rank #6: S5:E12 - Long Term Parking
Gavin and Hannibal work their way through an episode that no true ‘Sopranos’ fan will ever forget. This is the one where they get back together. This is the one where a new King of New York is crowned. This is the one where she dies. This is ‘Long Term Parking,’ and it’s the ultimate penultimate season chapter. Your hosts break down the rapid fire plot developments that lead to Chris and Ade’s moment of truth, and how that moment is a conclusive statement on our main characters’ twisted pursuit of the American dream.
Rank #7: S6A:E2 - Join The Club
Gavin and Hannibal join Tony in “Finnertyland,” discussing an episode that propels The Sopranos to dramatic new heights of symbolism and poignancy. Your hosts focus on the not-exactly-a-dream sequence that gives James Gandolfini the opportunity to portray a Clark Kent version of Tony journeying through a purgatory-like plane of reality. Also of note, is a definitive performance by Edie Falco, which features the delivery of an unforgettable monologue, sensitively crafted by David Chase.
Rank #8: S5:E6 - Sentimental Education (Feat. Allen Coulter!)
It’s another special episode of ‘The Sopranos Show!’ Gavin and Hannibal have a fascinating chat about all things Sopranos with Allen Coulter, director of such legendary episodes as ‘College,’ ‘The Night in White Satin Armor,’ and many more! Plus your hosts delve into ‘Sentimental Education’ which takes Carmela and Tony B on tragic yet thematically linked journeys. Gavin and Hannibal address the episode’s fable like qualities, and how it manages to quietly shift Season 5 into a whole new gear.
Rank #9: S4:E13 - Whitecaps
‘Whitecaps’ is the longest episode of The Sopranos. Is it the greatest episode of the series up to this point? Probably. Gavin and Hannibal focus on James Gandolfini and Edie Falco, whose Emmy winning performances in this Season 4 finale, raise the bar for what can be achieved in the medium of television. ‘Whitecaps’ also displays once again, the writers’ sophisticated understanding of psychology and mastery of storytelling. Plot points quietly set up throughout the season are decisively paid off in this episode, resulting in an epic climax that delivers on all levels.
Rank #10: S6B:E13 - Soprano Home Movies
Gavin and Hannibal arrive at the beginning of the end! ‘Soprano Home Movies’ is one of the greats, blending flashbacks, callbacks, bad karaoke, and the most unexpected fist fight of all time, from a script that would make Edward Albee proud. Your hosts examine the ways in which Livia manages to haunt this episode, and the events that compel Tony to take what is arguably his darkest act of vengeance yet.
Rank #11: S6A:E3 - Mayham (feat. Maureen Van Zandt!)
The intentionally misspelled title is a hint that this laugh filled episode is a wild ride. Gavin and Hannibal point out what makes the explosive ‘Scarface’ style opening such an entertaining change of pace, and describe how this relatively Tony-light story depicts what the show might have been like without James Gandolfini. Plus Maureen Van Zandt (Gabriella Dante) returns! ‘Mayham’ shows us the Dantes as we’ve never seen them before, and Mrs. Van Zandt shares her perspective on shooting scenes with her husband, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the premiere, and the upcoming Sopranos movie.
Rank #12: S1:E2 - 46 Long
Two down, eighty-four to go! In this episode, Gavin and Hannibal talk the second episode of Season 1, “46 Long.” The one and only episode of the series that features a pre credits teaser, sees Tony confronting his feelings of ambivalence towards Livia, Christopher’s misguided attempts to gain respect, and Paulie Walnuts’ hatred of coffee shop chains. G & H also discuss the ABCs of TV storytelling and correct Gavin's excitement of a big non-cameo in only the second episode of the series.
Rank #13: S3:E13 - Army of One
Gavin and Hannibal arrive at the official midpoint of the series! The third season of The Sopranos concludes with some thoughtful commentary on parenthood, an intentionally anti climactic death, and some notably great acting by Robert Iler. Plus, Gavin explains what makes this otherwise solid episode feel scattered in its final scenes, and Hannibal attempts to finally get to the bottom of just what exactly is going on with Paulie‘s hair.
Rank #14: S3:E2 - Proshai, Livushka
Gavin and Hannibal reflect on the poignant yet unsentimental way that The Sopranos chooses to address the passing of Nancy Marchand. This episode is beautifully crafted from a number of angles, with further allusions to Shakespeare, hilarious observations about the hypocrisy of mourners, and the introduction of Ralph Cifaretto, portrayed by the iconic Joe Pantoliano.
Rank #15: S4:E4 - The Weight
Gavin and Hannibal view ‘The Weight’ as a highly entertaining return to the urgent and emotional high stakes storytelling that makes The Sopranos what it is. Terence Winter’s script convincingly depicts how the fallout from a single mean joke can escalate to a near bloodbath, while giving Vincent Curatola the opportunity to take full ownership of the character Johnny Sack, with a performance that is both chilling and sympathetic.
Rank #16: S6B:E14 - Stage 5
Gavin and Hannibal bid a fond farewell to Johnny Sack in their discussion of the magnificent ‘Stage 5.’ Your hosts agree that everything about this episode works: from Vincent Curatola’s beautiful performance, to the surprisingly consequential fallout of the ‘Cleaver’ screening, to the story’s thematic statements on the downsides of being a leader. ‘Stage 5’ is another great script from Terence Winter, with high levels of comedy and drama, providing a prime example of ‘The Sopranos’ doing what it does best.
Rank #17: S1:E13 - I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano
Gavin and Hannibal may have gone a little overboard with this one, as they bring you nearly 90 minutes of podcast glory talking about the spectacularly climactic Season 1 finale. So many questions! Is Livia genuinely going senile, or is this simply her most devious chess move yet? Is Jimmy really a rat? Does Tony actually care about Artie deep down, or is he just a sociopath? Your hosts will “remember the little moments like this, that were good,” and more, on this week’s The Sopranos Show!
Rank #18: S3:E12 - Amour Fou
In a trademark Sopranos move, the penultimate episode of the season comes fully loaded with thrilling moments of climax and catharsis. Gavin and Hannibal’s latest discussion centers on the incredibly well executed script by Frank Renzulli (his last for the series), which contains scenes that specifically give actors James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Joe Pantoliano and Annabella Sciorra, ample opportunity to put the full breadth of their talents on display.
Rank #19: S2:E13 - Funhouse
The fun never stops with Gavin and Hannibal’s take on this classic finale. Your hosts pull apart Tony’s eerie fever dreams rich with symbolism, and discuss the dramatic payoffs of several season long threads. One payoff in particular happens to occur at sea, in what is probably one of the most complex, suspenseful, and emotional “goodbye” scenes ever filmed for a TV show.
Rank #20: S6B:E15 - Remember When
This is the second Season 6B episode in a row that makes use of a single, overriding, theme to an all encompassing and ultimately tragic effect. ‘Remember When’ is about the pain of the past. Gavin and Hannibal note how that theme is woven into the arc of Junior’s ill-fated new friendship, as well as Tony and Paulie’s trip to Miami, and down memory lane.