In The Sopranos, “peace” is a word in which most of the characters don’t find meaning. There’s usually someone feuding with someone else at any given time, and it’s typically because of ambition, big egos, and the desire to be respected. While a few of the feuds make sense, a good number of them are avoidable.
Though they have brilliant character developments, most of David Chase’s gangsters are irritable, to say the least. And while some of the misunderstandings in The Sopranos are cleared up through sensible discussions, the majority turn violent or tragic.
Paulie Makes A Habit Of Bullying Christopher
Upon becoming a made man, Christopher joins Paulie’s crew, where he finds life more difficult than he expected. That’s because Paulie keeps bullying him and subjecting him to strip searches to see if he is wearing a wire.
Paulie’s greed is mostly what keeps the animosity alive. Capos are supposed to take only 40% of their street soldiers’ earnings, but Paulie keeps demanding more. As an old-timer, he sees no fault in his ways. To him, he is simply “toughening the kid up.” Indeed, Christopher keeps proving that he needs to toughen up, but their arguments are often pointless. By the time they bury the hatchet, there have been a couple of unintended consequences, such as the death of a waiter.
Artie Resorts To Fisticuffs After Jean-Philippe Fails To Pay A Debt
Artie is cruising in tranquility until Jean-Philippe, the brother of one of his hostesses, requests a loan of $50,000 to buy distribution rights for the Gascony-brewed brandy, Armagnac. After the cash hits his palms, Jean-Philippe starts ignoring Artie, forcing the restaurateur to go and collect. Sadly for Artie, the Frenchman assaults him, ripping an earring from his ear in the process.
The feud is unique since there is a comedic element to it. Artie gasses himself up like a prizefighter before going to collect, only for him to get beaten up. Watching Artie reaffirm why he is one of the worst fighters in The Sopranos is intriguing, but so is watching Tony fix things. Having forgotten the “do not mess with friends of the mob” memo, Jean-Philippe soon gets a visit from the no-sense Furio, who walks away with the money and most of the Frenchman’s teeth.
Tony Falls Out With Christopher
Christopher and Tony have a great relationship, but the bond is shattered when rumors start flying that Tony slept with Christopher’s girlfriend Adriana. It gets worse when Christopher starts seeing Julianna Skiff, a woman Tony has his eyes on.
Tony falling out with Christopher because of lust is disappointing to the viewer since he had big plans for the younger gangster. If the trajectory had remained linear, Christopher could have ended up as boss. Unfortunately, he ends up in a wrecked car, with Tony lying to everyone that Christopher’s death was a direct result of the crash and not Tony suffocating him.
Ralph Runs Circles Around Paulie
Paulie isn’t too happy when Ralph refuses to give him half of the $100,000 he got from a heist, because it’s Paulie who provided the intel. Insults are frequently exchanged between the two, leading to some of Ralph’s best quotes in The Sopranos.
On most occasions, Ralph comes off as unlikable, but he’s easy to root for here because he obliterates Paulie in every possible way. Even though Paulie makes it seem like the heist is the source of all problems, there are deeper issues. He has a green-eyed view of Ralph because of the psychotic mafioso’s ability to make way more money with less effort. Paulie’s real worry is that Ralph might overtake him on the family ladder, but he is unaware that is unlikely to happen because Tony hates Ralph too. Of course, the feud between Ralph and Paulie ends when Tony finally kills Ralph.
Benny Fazio Messes Up Artie’s Business
Benny Fazio, one of the best street soldiers in The Sopranos, engages in card fraud at the Vesuvio, causing American Express to ban the establishment. This angers Artie, who brutally assaults him. The animosity then goes deeper when Artie finds out that Martina, who he has a crush on, is sleeping with Benny.
The feud puts Tony in a difficult spot because Artie and Benny are both two of his favorite people. According to him, the best strategy is to watch from the sidelines, so he sits back and lets the two draw daggers. Artie once again demonstrates his courage by trusting his ability to throw a punch despite the fact that fights haven’t gone well for him in the past. This time, he surprises anyone by landing a knockout. In the end, he wins the war but doesn’t win the girl’s heart (which he shouldn’t, because he has a wife).
Richie Aprile Goes After A Former Associate
Moments after he gets paroled, Richie Aprile tries to shake down his former associate, Beansie. The restaurateur resists, so Richie runs him over with his car.
Beansie is the obvious victim in the wrangle. Richie exhibits extreme unreasonableness because he has no right to demand any form of payment from Beansie. After all, it’s been 10 years since he got locked up, and much has changed. The move not only accentuates his laziness but also his resistance to change since he’s neither willing to work nor start fresh after coming out of prison.
Ralph Insults Johnny Sack’s Wife
Ralph once makes a random joke about Ginny’s weight and word reaches Johnny. The infuriated underboss demands that Richie gets whacked, but Tony won’t do it because Ralph is the highest earner.
It’s yet another instance of Ralph asking for trouble. He has the ability to make better, decent jokes, so there’s absolutely no need for him to make an insensitive one. Neither Johnny Sack nor Ginny does anything to trigger the off-color comment. Even worse is that Tony spares Ralph for this particular sin but goes on to kill him for an even pettier reason.
Junior And Tony Fight For Power
The family feud starts when Junior tries getting “Little Pussy” Malanga whacked inside the Vesuvio. The two later wrestle for the family’s leadership after Jackie Aprile Sr.’s death.
The dispute between uncle and nephew is one of the things that paint Tony as one of the most intelligent DiMeo Crime Family members in The Sopranos. He pretends to wave the white flag by allowing Junior to be boss, yet the old timer is unaware that his nephew is making him a target of the FBI. The Junior vs. Tony war also helps build Livia as a secondary antagonist since she conspires with Junior to have her own son killed.
Ralph Keeps Irking Tony
Tony’s dislike for Ralph swells when the bloodthirsty mobster beats his girlfriend Tracee to death outside the Bada Bing. But Ralph truly passes beyond the point of no return when he downplays the death of Tony’s favorite horse, Pie Oh My.
Most of the blame for the endless mental tussle between the two lies on Ralph. Never has it ever been a good idea to antagonize one’s boss, but Ralph keeps doing it. However, the tragic manner in which the enmity ends is Tony’s fault. His decision to murder Ralph is misguided because he is not only unsure of Ralph’s responsibility for the arson attack, but he also is getting rid of the biggest contributor to the family’s income.
The DiMeo Crime Family Vs. The Lupertazzi Crime Family
There’s always been a cold war between the New Jersey and New York outfits, but an actual war is triggered when Tony’s cousin, Tony Blundetto, kills Phil Leotardo’s brother Billy. From there on, it’s open season. As a result, most of the top brass gets eliminated.
The war drags on more than it should because Lupertazzi boss Phil Leotardo thrives in conflict. He rejects all attempts by Tony to create a truce and even tries to undermine Tony’s authority by overruling the directive about Vito. The ends badly for many people on both sides, and there have even been numerous clues in The Sopranos to imply that Tony was killed in the final scene of the series.