The Sopranos never really faltered in quality, remaining exceptional television for all of its six seasons and 86 episodes. But unfortunately, as is often the case with something that runs nearly 100 hours in length, audiences were bound to forget some of the show’s most enjoyable subplots.
Of course, everyone remembers The Sopranos‘ most iconic stories, including the battles between Tony and Richie Aprile/Ralph Cifaretto, the war with New York, Tony’s coma, and even AJ’s increasing depression and sense of nihilism. But many fantastic storylines also fell by the wayside throughout the years and are never really talked about today.
Carmela’s Fling With Furio
Season four is often regarded as one of the series’ weakest, with much of the criticism centered around the lack of mob violence, the slow pace, and the emphasis on domestic life. The latter was an especially contentious point, especially when it came to the brief fling between Carmela and Furio.
It was an important subplot in regards to Carmela’s development, but it was over far too quickly and ended in a rather anticlimactic fashion, with Furio going back to Italy. Its relatively brief runtime and fizzled-out ending have caused many viewers to forget it ever existed, despite its strong potential.
Vito’s Foray Into New Hampshire
Many fans may have put the first half of season six out of their minds. For some, this was the weakest string of episodes in the entire series. Much of its runtime was devoted to the controversial Vito subplot, as he went into hiding in New Hampshire and fell in love with a local diner owner.
The subplot did something completely different from the Sopranos mold and should be commended for its originality and tender depiction of Vito’s love life. Unfortunately, many people thought it was hogging valuable time (especially as the series was nearing completion), and it has little bearing on the overall plot (aside from Vito’s shocking death).
Johnny Sack Vs Ralph Cifaretto
Ralph Cifaretto remained one of Tony’s most dangerous enemies throughout the third and fourth seasons, nearly unstoppable thanks to his power, position, and money-making abilities. One of the most unique subplots of the fourth season saw Johnny Sack attempting to whack Ralph for making an inappropriate joke about his wife.
It’s a great and tense story, and it ends in a somewhat anticlimactic fashion. However, because it ended in such an anticlimax, many people have since forgotten that it even happened.
Tony & Gloria
The third season is remembered for many things, with most of the back half featuring Ralph’s killing of Tracee and the demise of Jackie Jr. Nestled within these more iconic storylines is the brief fling between Tony and Gloria. It’s a fascinating relationship, highlighting Tony’s subconscious connection with his overbearing mother.
It ends in tragedy, however, with Gloria taking her own life after Tony breaks it off. It’s a great storyline, but it falls in between two better, more memorable ones.
The Noah storyline is either memorable or the series’ worst, depending on who is asked. Taking place in season three, Noah is Meadow’s brief college fling who directly leads to the falling out between Meadow and Tony (as Tony is overtly racist towards him).
The storyline contains a lot of fun material, including the disturbing (and hilarious) New York trip that Noah and Meadow take with Meadow’s roommate, Caitlin. Meadow would subsequently date many other men, leaving Noah a mere memory in the minds of viewers.
Benny Vs Artie
Tony and Artie shared one of the best friendships on the show, but Artie’s most memorable subplot involves the underling, Benny Fazio. Their fight takes up a good chunk of the sixth season, as Artie becomes jealous when Benny starts dating Martina.
He also grows irate with the mobster when his restaurant gets caught in a scheme involving credit card fraud. The storyline contains many great moments, like Artie beating Bennie and later confronting him at the restaurant by recommending a “Martina.”
When Artie Nearly Kills Tony
Despite their strong friendship and working relationship, the first season nearly ended with Artie killing Tony. One of the forgotten subplots of the first season sees Tony burning down Artie’s restaurant to prevent a hit. While the ruse initially works, it becomes known once revealed by Livia.
Artie confronts Tony and nearly kills him, but Tony manages to talk him through the frustration. It’s a great scene filled with rich tension and fantastic acting, and it proved that The Sopranos was, and is, a show without any rival.
Matt Bevilaqua & Sean Gismonte
Tony makes some great decisions as boss, and that includes taking out Matt Bevilaqua for his attempt on Christopher’s life. Some fans may forget the entire storyline involving Matt and Sean, as their time came early in the show’s run and didn’t last for very long.
They represented the young generation attempting to make names for themselves. Unfortunately, they decided to do so by whacking Christopher and allying with Richie Aprile. The storyline is great, thematic, and it culminates in one of the series’ most shocking sequences.
Tony B’s Attempt At Going Straight
Many people remember Tony Blundetto (Steve Buscemi playing the character certainly helps), and many recall his famous downfall and execution at the personal hands of Tony. It was easily one of Tony’s coldest kills, but few may remember his legitimate attempt at going straight.
Tony tries going into massage therapy, and he proves both committed and intelligent. Unfortunately, the allure of the mob life proves too tantalizing (and a straight life proves too hard), and Tony eventually falls back into a life of crime and violence.
When Tony Nearly Whacks Hesh
The last half of season six was mostly concerned with wrapping up the show, but it also found time to introduce some new storylines and interactions. Tony suddenly develops a gambling addiction, and it gets him in trouble with the loan shark, Hesh Rabkin.
Hesh lends Tony $200,000 to cover his gambling debt and constantly hounds him for the $3,000 a week interest payment. But rather than paying Hesh, Tony briefly contemplates killing his old friend. The entire storyline is very brief but powerful, further depicting Tony’s downfall and turning him into a less sympathetic, more monstrous character.