Since The Sopranos is a show about the mob, almost everyone is a bad guy to some extent. However, some of the characters can be categorized as antagonists because their actions are always aimed at sabotaging Tony and his crew. On rare occasions, these characters have surprised fans with positive or good deeds.
Several things push the villains to act in a manner they normally wouldn’t. Sometimes they get bitten by the remorse bug and try to do something nice for a change; other times they choose to do good because doing bad in that particular situation would be pointless. Whatever the reason, their actions always seem rather odd.
Junior Informs Tony That Richie Is Planning A Hit On Him
After being manipulated by his fiance Janice, the newly paroled Richie Aprile makes plans to topple Tony. He tells Junior about it since he and Tony once had of the biggest feuds in The Sopranos but the elderly mobster tells Tony.
It’s a surprisingly honorable move from Junior, considering his history of animosity with his nephew. The former boss made an attempt on Tony early in the series, so he’d be expected to be okay with anyone else planning a similar course of action. It’s bigger than that, since no matter how much he hates Tony, Junior values loyalty. Richie’s plan is an obvious act of disloyalty and as an old-school mafioso, Junior won’t allow it.
Butch The Little Guy” DeConcini Gives Out Phil Leotardo’s Location
The Underboss of the Lupertazzi Crime Family is loyal to the Don, Phil Leotardo, for most of the show. However, he soon grows tired of Phil’s recklessness and gives out his location to Tony and his men, who kill him.
Choosing to end the war by telling Tony and Paulie where Phil is hiding is in everyone’s best interest. Not only does Phil’s unreasonableness cause the deaths of some of Tony’s closest associates but it also pollutes the otherwise favorable business climate in the New York and New Jersey underworlds. In that regard, he can be considered one of the least intelligent mob bosses in The Sopranos. This is further confirmed when his death results in good relationships between New York and New Jersey once again.
Richie Aprile Gifts Tony An Iconic Jacket
To scrub the bad blood between them, Richie gifts Tony an iconic jacket belonging to legendary Essex County mobster Rocco DiMeo. Richie was the only person to ever beat Rocco, so he took the jacket to mark the victory.
It’s a great gesture from Richie since the jacket is literally like a crown to him. Beating Rocco is what catapulted Richie into the upper echelons of the Cosa Nostra hence handing over the jacket shows how desperate he is for a truce. Unfortunately for him, Tony gives away the jacket to his maid’s husband, straining their relationship in the process.
Ralph Apologizes To Johnny Sack
The psychotic Ralph almost gets himself killed when he insults Ginny, the wife of Lupertazzi Underboss, Johnny Sack. A meeting is held to decide Ralph’s fate and since he’s the highest-earning Capo, his life is spared. This infuriates Sack, but Ralph makes the effort to apologize.
Apologizing is the only good thing Ralph does during his brief spell on the show and it means a lot to Sack since he cares deeply about Ginny. If it was entirely up to Sack, Ralph would still get whacked but since there’s more at stake, the Underboss chooses to forgive but not forget. The apology stands out because Ralph offends so many other people but never says sorry.
Big Pussy Sets A.J. On A Straight Path
Despite being a member of Tony’s inner circle, Big Pussy is also one of the key FBI informants in The Sopranos. For the most part, he is unlikable but he earns himself the title “Uncle Sal” by giving great life advice to Tony’s unruly son, A.J.
Smoking marijuana at his own confirmation means A.J. has no respect even for the church. He is clearly on a downward spiral and Big Pussy puts a stop to the youngster’s roll down the hill by reminding him of the importance of being decent. It’s a hypocritical speech from him given his secret activities but it works by making A.J. briefly see the error of his ways.
Livia Keeps Tony’s Varsity Letters
There’s nothing Livia enjoys more than trying to ruin her son’s life. Within a short time, she plans a hit on him, tells Junior that he is seeing a therapist, and lets Artie know that Tony was behind the Vesuvio arson. She somehow redeems herself in death when Tony finds out she kept all the varsity letters he sent her detailing his progress as a football player.
Nearly all of Tony’s family members refused to believe that he could make it as a varsity athlete. So it’s more of a shocker that Janice was actually rooting for him! Parenting is a skill she had never mastered, but keeping Tony’s letters proves that she always wanted the best for her son, at least when he was younger.
Phil Offers Hesh Restitution For The Attack On His Son-In-Law
In the Season 6 premiere, street soldiers from the Lupertazzi Crime Family attack Hesh’s son-in-law after they mistakenly think he’s collecting on their turf. Hesh demands restitution and Phil gives it to him.
The Lupertazzi boss has never been one to acknowledge nor atone for his sins. To him, anything he or his subordinates do is justified, therefore he is being extremely nice by compensating Hesh for damages done to a relative. The action is even more impressive, considering the fact that Hesh isn’t even a made guy. There would be no serious repercussions if Phil even refused to lend him an ear.
Carmine Votes To Spare Ralph’s Life
Carmine, the first Lupertazzi boss, often refers to New Jersey mobsters as a “glorified crew.” He doesn’t think of them as tough enough hence he doesn’t respect them. Nonetheless, when Ralph’s fate is being decided, he votes to spare the capo’s life.
Since he’s never cared about members of the DiMeo Crime Family, it would have been within Carmine’s nature to give a green light for execution. It would also have been beneficial for him to have Ralph killed since he was Tony’s highest earner. A premature Ralph would cause economic turmoil in Tony’s team, therefore weakening them. Part of the reason Carmine doesn’t do that is that he is trying to establish good relations.
Vito Apologizes To Jim
There’s hardly a single time that the show paints Vito as likable. He bullies Meadow’s boyfriend, kills an innocent motorist, and tries to take over from Tony when the Don is in the ICU. There’s only one moment where demonstrates decency and that’s when he apologizes to the restaurateur Jim Witowski for punching him.
Since homophobia is embedded in the Cosa Nostra, Vito tries hard to hide the fact that he is a member of the LGBTQ community. Nevertheless, assaulting Jim for trying to hit on him is rather mean since politely declining is an option. The apology works wonders since Vito and Jim go on to date. Regrettably, Vito goes back to his old ways and abandons the person who cares about him the most.
Janice Comforts Bobby And His Children After His Wife’s Death
Like her mother Livia, Janice thrives in chaos. She often gets into fights and even tries to get her fiance to overthrow her brother. But in a rare move, she becomes a source of comfort for Bobby and his children when Karen dies in a car accident.
Taking care of a grieving Bobby is a commendable move from Janice since Bobby was having a hard time parenting on his own. Her helo allows him to focus more on his work, which has become more demanding after his promotion. Unfortunately, Janice soon slips back into her old ways by manipulating Bobby into marrying her.