HBO’s The Sopranos is a famed ’90s television series about Tony Soprano’s reign as the “general” of the New Jersey mob. The series has an endless amount of graphic sex and violence, realistically revealing the cynical nature and brutality of the dying mob era and how it affects others’ lives when they come in the crossfire.
Along with the incredible cast and twisted, winding story that could go on forever, this show has no shortage in showing scenes that will shock and horrify, even when no one’s head is on the chopping board.
Anthony Jr. Attempts Suicide
AJ is at first shy and sweet, and all-around relatively harmless until, fed up with being picked on, he chooses violence and manipulation as a means of getting control, much like his father. He spirals out of control as a young adult, turning to drugs and partying, privileged enough for no one to bat an eye (except for Carmella, whom he berates and ignores).
AJ becomes severely depressed after being dumped, and his relationship with Tony pushes him over the edge. Subsequently, he attempts to take his own life but luckily, Tony hears his screams for help and saves him before he could drown.
Tony’s Alternate Life In A Coma
During his disturbingly intense fight for life after a severe gunshot wound to his stomach, Tony slips into a coma. Tony imagines he’s living another life as a salesman who loses his briefcase accidentally in exchange for another man’s. Having lost all his personal information and identification, he’s stranded and has to find a way back home to his family.
One misfortune happens after the next, including him being diagnosed with early-onset dementia. What makes the sequences all the more bizarre is the change in tone and hearing Tony Soprano without his heavy New Jersey accent.
Ralph’s Son Is Shot By An Arrow
A dark moment proves that anyone associated with the mob is always prone to violence, even if it is random. Two young boys are playing with bows and arrows and Ralph’s young son is shot in his chest.
To everyone’s surprise, the child is still alive and on life support, causing Ralph to fall into a depression when told his son may never be able to function on his own again if he recovers.
How Ade Reacts To Being Forced To Play For The FBI
Christopher’s girlfriend-turned-fiancé Adriana is a fan favorite due to her loving spirit, harmlessness, and overall friendly nature that foils Christopher’s selfishness and arrogance. She also has a loyalty to the family, despite her lack of real involvement other than managing the club where they have an office, which makes her a target for the FBI.
One of her new friends reveals themselves to her as an undercover agent, and Adriana is taken in, threatened with prison time if she doesn’t comply in giving them the information they want. Terrified, overwhelmed, and about to have a breakdown, Adriana responds by projectile vomiting her lunch across the table, covering herself and the agents.
Dr. Melfi Is Attacked & How Tony Is Involved
When Dr. Melfi is personally attacked in the parking garage where she works, she’s left bruised, injured to the point of needing a cane, and traumatized. In trying to get justice for the horrible thing done to her, Melfi recognizes her attacker in a restaurant as one of the workers. She goes to the police, only to be told that he will walk free because of a technicality.
She tells Tony she was in a car accident in their following therapy session, and Tony is sympathetic, prompting Melfi to break down in tears. Tony tries to comfort her and asks her what’s wrong. Though Melfi knows quite well that Tony can enact justice in the place of law enforcement, she shows incredible self-control here, knowing that getting involved with Tony’s personal affairs as a mobster would not only be crossing the line, but also morally wrong.
Junior Shoots Tony
At the end of the second-to-last season, Junior is startled when Tony enters his house, prompting him to shoot Tony. Who knew he would actually go through with it, though the reasons as to why he did shoot Tony were frequently discussed and disputed in the following season.
Junior and Tony’s relationship was rocky and eventually estranged, as the two leaders butted heads. However, they would try to make up each time because they were family (Junior being Tony’s uncle). Junior had a cancer diagnosis leading up to the shooting, likely affecting and advancing his onset dementia. Following being imprisoned for the act, Junior continued to deny that he ever meant to shoot Tony.
Tony Confronts Junior For The Last Time
Tony recovers from his near-fatal gunshot wound from Junior. He, Carmella, and everyone else, except for one of his captains and brother-in-law Bobby, believe that Junior did the act out of angst about Tony and legitimately try to kill him. In the time between Tony getting shot and the visit, Junior had been imprisoned and put into a mental ward, where he will stay for the rest of his life, his dementia worsening.
Upon Tony seeing Junior for the last time in the show, he realizes just how far gone he is, as he’s unable to identify Tony. Feeling somewhat sympathetic upon seeing how helpless Junior has become, Tony grants Junior one last good thought, as he lies to him and tells Junior he’s his son. This makes Junior happy and Tony leaves.
The Dream Sequences
It isn’t easy to choose which of Tony’s dream sequences is the most extreme. In dealing with all the horrible things Tony has done in his life, he traverses through strange landscapes and often talks to the dead (namely, those he’s killed). In the flu fever dream, the line between reality and nightmare is blurred as he has a conversation with a fish, admitting that Salvatore is an FBI rat.
In other dreams, he explores his ego and sources of discontent, even as a young child. His subconscious recounts repressed fear and disorientation involving his life and work, often ranging from confusing and hilarious to absolutely terrifying.
Tony & Carmella’s Violent Fight Before Divorcing
It’s no secret that the Soprano family, as happy as they may seem on the surface, are deeply problematic, thanks to their privilege, lifestyle choices, and Tony’s physical and verbal abuse. Often Meadow and Carmella even say that he would never lay a hand on his family, when he very obviously has, pushing Carmella and his son AJ up against walls and threatening them.
Their dysfunction comes to a head when the strained marriage begins to fall apart and Carmella is contacted by one of Tony’s mistresses. Carmella is fed up with the cycle of abuse she’s stuck in and finally stands up to Tony in a screaming match. She demands a divorce and tells Tony to leave the house which, surprisingly, he does after a violent and terrifying rampage.
The Ending (“Don’t Stop Believing“)
When the Soprano family comes together at a restaurant for a nice dinner, the iconic song by Journey is playing as the moment becomes more intense, and the audience gets the creeping feeling that something terrible is going to happen in the last moments of the show. When someone, presumably Meadow, comes through the door, Tony looks up, and the screen cuts to black for a long period of time. The credits roll.
The ending is chilling, leaving many to believe that Tony died by being shot, though, in reality, it’s never shown nor even implied. The moment is incredible as well as jaw-dropping, and an experience that no other TV show will be able to easily offer its audience.