Along with the brutal violence and criminal activities, The Sopranos was known for its amazing characters and their journeys that engrossed audiences. From Tony Soprano to his family to his closest friends, it was thrilling to see where they would end up by the finale — assuming they survived until then.
There is a lot that happens to these characters between when they are introduced and when they make their exit from the show, but their first and last lines can sometimes hint at that journey. Sometimes these lines show character growth, some show them coming full circle, and some just remind viewers of how memorable these characters were.
Adriana La Cerva
“Sir, as I explained, people are not leaving their tables and there are fives parties in front of you.” – “Look, I found Cosette.”
Adriana appears as a hostess at a restaurant in the first episode as she is telling a pushy customer that she is unable to seat them. Following Adriana’s execution, Carmela has a dream about her walking her dog, Cosette, who was killed.
Interestingly, actor Drea de Matteo was not cast as Adriana at the time of the pilot and was just cast in the bit role of the hostess. It was later retconned that she was once a hostess. Her final appearance is just a reminder of her death, perhaps the most tragic of the series.
“I don’t wanna say nothing, Tony.” – “He don’t care.”
Bobby Baccalieri is introduced as the last man standing among Junior Soprano’s crew who is taken in by Tony but is wary of betraying his former boss. In the midst of another gang war in the final season, Bobby is buying a toy train set. The store clerk mentions Bobby’s son will like it but Bobby is buying it for himself. Unfortunately, he is gunned down in the store by armed goons.
The first and last lines show that Bobby was a rare type of person in this show. He was gentle, friendly, and non-confrontational right to the end.
“Great.” – “I’m a widow now.”
Tony Soprano’s sister Janice shows up as an unexpected houseguest. As Carmela asks her how her sleep was in the guest bedroom, she says it was great only to go on to complain about the pillow. In the final season, following the death of her husband, Bobby Baccalieri, she goes to Junior Soprano trying to get the inheritance money instead of Bobby’s kids.
Both of these lines show Janice’s self-centered behavior and how badly it evolves over time. By the end of the series, she is a wholly unlikable character.
“I was just talking about you.” – “Well, that’s nice.”
In the first episode, Tony comes to greet his uncle Junior who says he was reminiscing about Tony. In the final episode, Tony visits Junior again as he is in a senior’s home and he tells Junior about when he used to be a crime boss which Junior can no longer remember.
It’s fascinating that both of these scenes involve remembering the past. The first shows the love Junior and Tony once shared while the final scene shows that, after all that struggle for power, Junior can’t even remember when he was on top.
“Gabriella sends me down here for the gabagool.” – “Let’s go.”
Silvio is first seen as he arrives at the deli where Tony’s crew hangs out, looking to pick up some of their favorite meat. During the gang war in the final season, Patsy Parisi is driving Silvio outside the Bada Bing Club when they are ambushed and Silvio is shot several times.
Despite being the consigliere and second-in-command to Tony Soprano, neither of these lines is very impactful to Silvio’s character. His actual final scene comes when Tony visits him while he’s in a coma and will presumably not survive.
“Ohhhh!” – “I live but to serve you my liege.”
Fittingly, Paulie Walnuts’s first line is his exacerbated catchphrase as he hears a garbage crew refused to pay them off. Following the death of several members of the crew, Tony asks Paulie to take over one of the crews which he reluctantly accepts.
While the first line is a fun introduction to a line he’d say throughout the series, the final line is a fun little nod to his character traits. He is nervous and superstitious about the position, but cannot pass up the potential for more money.
Dr. Jennifer Melfi
“Mr. Soprano?” – “Since you are in crisis, I don’t want to waste your time.”
In the first episode, Dr. Melfi is introduced as she calls Tony in for their first session together. Her last appearance is their final session together when she finally decides to cut Tony loose as a client despite his recent crisis.
This is a nice bookend for the relationship between Melfi and Tony as it begins with her opening the door for him and ends with her closing it on him. In both instances, Melfi tries to remain professional at all times.
“Girls, you gotta have more than just cranberry juice for breakfast.” – “You may not realize it but you are making contacts.”
In the first episode, Carmela Soprano is seen encouraging her daughter Meadow and her friend to have a real breakfast before school. In the final scene, she is encouraging her son A.J. about his new entry-level job.
While there is a lot more to the character of Carmela beyond being a mother, it is interesting that this is how she begins and ends the series. It speaks to the way the show mixed the organized crime element with the family element.
“I got home too late last night.” – “Call me a taxi.”
Tony’s nephew Christopher is introduced in the first episode. As he and Tony drive to work, Christopher makes excuses about why he was unable to call an associate like he was supposed to. His last scene is when he trashes his car while high and tells Tony to call a taxi because he won’t pass the sobriety test. Tony kills Christopher instead.
In a way, the first scene is a perfect setup for Christopher’s eventual death. He is irresponsible and reckless, which annoys Tony at first, but by the end, he is willing to kill him just to rid himself of Christopher’s trouble-making.
“Yeah.” – “I went ahead and ordered some for the table.”
In the first scene of the show, Tony waits in the waiting room of Dr. Melfi’s office until she opens the door and calls him in. His final line is at the diner with his family, ordering onion rings and waiting for Meadow as the scene cuts to black.
Interestingly, both of these scenes feature Tony waiting for a door to open. His first line shows him nervous and out of his element while the final line is casual and adds to the intense build-up of the final scene.