The Sopranos

The 10 Worst Episodes of The Sopranos

For six seasons, The Sopranos was the biggest thing on television. Still, fans weren't impressed with every single episode - here are the worst.

For six seasons, The Sopranos was one of the biggest shows on television; however, that doesn’t mean the series was without its bad installments — here are the worst Sopranos episodes, ranked. It is arguably the show that helped launch the current state of television where complex stories are being told. It was unlike anything else on the small screen with complicated characters who were often hard to love. It helped make HBO the television juggernaut it is today, and it remains one of the most critically acclaimed shows of all time.

Like every show, not all episodes are huge hits with the fans. The best episodes of The Sopranos contained intrigue, family drama, and some psychological insight into the complicated mind of Tony Soprano. The worst episodes, on the other hand, seemed to hide the series’ best features. However, the show remained highly rated, despite these installments, and it is clear that even the lowest-rated entries still got plenty of love from the audience. Still, some need to be at the bottom so here are the worst Sopranos episodes.

10“Watching Too Much Television” — Season 4, Episode 7

James Gandolfini as Tony in The Sopranos (Watching Too Much Television)

Many of the worst Sopranos episodes came from season 4. This is another Season 4 episode that feels like it’s a bit of filler before things start to get more interesting. The storyline involving Adriana and her role as FBI informer is really great and gives that character a lot to do, but the rest of the episode is flat by comparison.

It’s well-known that out of every season of The Sopranos, season 4 ranks the lowest. As with many of the episodes this season, the show seems to be dragging its feet. There are ideas and concepts that are introduced, but audiences will have to wait to see what the payoff is. The subplot with Tony’s ex-girlfriend has an interesting payoff, but it takes too long to get there.

9“Pie-O-My” — Season 4, Episode 5

The Sopranos cast in Pie-o-My

One of the worst Sopranos episodes is “Pie-o-My,” a prime example of poor pacing. Another episode dealing with the money problems of Tony and his family and more proof that this storyline didn’t quite connect with fans. The main storyline involves Ralphie buying a racehorse that Tony takes a particular liking to and that he sees as a way to make some real money.

The subplots include Janice’s burgeoning relationship with Bobby and Carmela’s attempts to prepare for the future. Again, this all hints at more interesting moments to come, but for now, it is uncharacteristically slow-moving and dull for an episode of The Sopranos.

8“Eloise” — Season 4, Episode 12

James Gandolfini as Tony and Steven Van Zandt as Silvio in The Sopranos (Eloise)

Despite some questionable storylines, there was plenty of intrigue in the fourth season of The Sopranos. One of the most exciting plots involved the growing flirtation between Carmela and Furio, whose exit broke a show tradition. As their relationship heated up, the stage was set for this episode to deal with the consequences. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a letdown, which is why “Eloise” is one of the worst Sopranos episodes.

In the end, the confrontation with Tony audiences expected didn’t happen and Furio simply went back to Italy. The anti-climax of it could explain the low vote. Also, a dark subplot with Paulie and Carmela’s odd homophobic stance make it an episode with few people to root for.

7“Chasing It” — Season 6, Episode 16

James Gandolfini as Tony and Edie Falco as Carmela in The Sopranos (Chasing It)

Here is yet another example of a low-rated episode that finds Tony against the ropes. In one of the worst Sopranos episodes, the main storyline deals with his gambling addiction which is costing him a lot of money. This kind of downward spiral for a character who is usually so in control can be uncomfortable to watch.

The episode itself was well done with plenty of good elements on paper, but it’s not all that fun to watch. The subplots involving Tony’s fractured relationship with Hesh and the trouble with Vito’s young son are also not particularly interesting. All in all, it’s an episode with little to write home about, and seeing Tony in such a state almost cheapens his character.

6“Calling All Cars” — Season 4, Episode 11

Tony's family sitting at the table in The Sopranos

When the show takes the focus off the main characters audiences love so much, fans can lose a bit of their interest. This is arguably why “Calling All Cars” is one of the worst Sopranos episodes. Much of this episode revolves around Bobby and his kids coping with the loss of their wife and mother.

It seems a little odd to be following characters viewers don’t feel too connected with on this emotional journey. There is also a subplot with Tony and the object of his obsession, Dr. Melfi, in which Tony (for a time) decides the therapy is no longer working for him. It feels like it should be a big moment, given everything that has transpired between the two, but it is handled awkwardly and falls flat.

5“Sentimental Education” — Season 5, Episode 6

Carmela in the Sopranos episode Sentimental Education

While the focus taken off of Tony Soprano is sometimes a welcome change, this Carmela-centric installment was highly disappointing, and one of the worst Sopranos episodes. The episode sees AJ move back in with Carmela after a fight with Tony, but the two butt heads over his education (per usual), and her relationship with Mr. Wegler comes under fire when he begins to question her intentions.

Another plot sees Tony B. try to take the straight and narrow by opening his own massage parlor, but is easily swayed when a bag of money basically lands on his doorstep. The installment features little mafia action, which is a big reason that many viewers turn in. In addition, watching Tony B. and Carmela fall into their weaknesses over and over gets old fast.

4“The Test Dream” — Season 5, Episode 11

Tony Soprano on a horse in The Test Dream Sopranos episode

The Sopranos decided to take a risk with the season 5 episode “The Test Dream,” which saw various surrealistic David Lynchian dream sequences. Unfortunately, it didn’t pay off, which is why it’s one of the worst Sopranos episodes. In the installment, Tony spends some time at The Plaza Hotel for some much-needed R&R, but his relaxation is interrupted by a variety of haunting dreams.

Meanwhile, Tony B. seeks revenge after the war between Little Carmine and Johnny Sack results in another casualty. Between the pacing and the dream sequences, “The Test Dream” felt like an overly-long watch. Viewers had a rough time remaining interested as Tony’s dreams just got weirder and weirder, and for all of its oddness, the episode lacked a surprising amount of creativity.

3“A Hit Is A Hit” — Season 1, Episode 10

The Sopranos cast in A Hit Is a Hit

One thing that seems clear from this list is that audiences don’t necessarily want to see the main characters out of their comfort zones. Conflict is always a big part of the show, but the violent conflict seems to be more popular among fans. Unfortunately, comfort zones were the subject of “A Hit is a Hit,” one of the worst Sopranos episodes.

This episode deals with Tony and Christopher trying to join new circles. Tony begins hanging out with his suburban neighbors while Chris tries his hand at managing a band. Both environments sort of make it feel like another show and neither meshes particularly well with the series audiences have come to love.

2“In Camelot” — Season 5, Episode 7

James Gandolfini as Tony in The Sopranos (In Camelot)

Even the worst Sopranos episodes are a good example of what a stellar show The Sopranos was, possibly the best HBO show of all time. Every not-quite-perfect episode has some good things going for it. However, “In Camelot” has few good elements. In this episode, Tony meets a woman who was a former lover of his father. As he connects with her, he begins to realize more about both his parents which might change his thoughts on them.

Watching Tony spend the whole episode with an older woman turned out not to be riveting to all the viewers, and it took far too long to get to the interesting part of the storyline. While Tony’s revelations and Christopher’s darkly comedic subplot with a fellow addict add some traction to the installment, Tony’s conversations with Fran Felstein got gradually more difficult to watch, and it felt as though The Sopranos was beginning to forgo interesting character development on its leads in favor of a “guest star of the week.”

1“Christopher” — Season 4, Episode 3

Tony plays cards in The Sopranos

The worst episode of The Sopranos still has a relatively high rating among viewers, so that speaks to the quality of the show. Still, it’s not too surprising that this odd episode isn’t too highly regarded among fans, as “Christopher” is arguably one of the worst Sopranos episodes. The main storyline deals with the characters getting involved in a debate about Native Americans protesting Columbus Day.

It’s an interesting topic for the show and not the typical subject matter audiences see on The Sopranos. But the topic is handled in an uninteresting way, thinking it’s saying something deeper than it is. It feels a bit forced, and it is a reminder that almost every character onThe Sopranos is an ignorant bigot.

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