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Tear Jerker / The Sopranos

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The show is remarkable in its ability to extract pathos from characters who might seem to be completely unsympathetic:

  • The ending of "Where's Johnny?"
    • "Don't you love me?"
  • Unexpectedly, Livia's death, mostly because of Tony's quietly grieving after her wake.
    • In the same episode, Christopher deploying his Catchphrase "I'm sorry, T," not as an apology for one of his own fuckups, but in sympathy to Tony, is also very sad in its way.
  • Jennifer being raped in the stairwell and the ripple effect of it throughout the episode.
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  • Ralph beating Tracee, the stripper carrying his child to death in the Bada Bing's parking lot is just plain disturbing. The other gangsters can only stare dumbfounded at the sight of her body.
  • YMMV considering the nature of the character, but Ralph Cifaretto's Villainous Breakdown following his son's crippling injury, and Tony's subsequent brutal murder of Ralph is downright tragic. Especially considering that just one episode prior, it was suggested that Ralph may have been sexually abused as a child.
  • In the season 4 finale, Carmela gets fed up with Tony's cheating and angrily confronts him. The two go back and forth throughout the episode until Tony realizes that his staying in the house is not good for the family and willingly leaves.
    • AJ, who's usually such a self-absorbed shit, actually tears up and asks if his father's leaving is because AJ asked to come live with him. Tony grabs his son, assures him that that is not the reason, and kisses his forehead. Meadow, eyes filled with tears, wails that her dad should go back to counseling.
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  • Adriana's death, not just because it's the death of one of the series regulars, but because she begs Silvio for her life and tries to crawl away on her hands and knees, before he shoots her like a wild animal in the woods.
  • Tony B. going on a self-destructive rampage and sabotaging his attempt at legitimacy. It's tragic because he was just such a nice guy with real potential in the civilian world. Instead he goes back to his old ways, sets off a devastating gang war and gets murdered by his beloved cousin.
  • Sympathy for the devil time here. "In Camelot" tells how Tony's father, "Johnny Boy" Soprano, carried on an affair with a woman named Fran Felstein, choosing to be with her, even while Livia was pregnant with their potential fourth child. Livia suffered serious complications and was sent to the hospital and eventually lost the baby due to massive bleeding. Johnny Boy still chose to party with his mistress, then forced his son to lie to his bed—ridden mother saying they went to a New York Yankees baseball game and stayed in New York. Livia saw through Johnny and Tony's lies, and the utter betrayal she felt at her time of anguish was all over her face. Livia clearly had her issues, but no woman should have to suffer like that. In this light, is it any wonder she felt such lingering resentment towards her son?
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  • Carmela's heartwrenching monologue to Tony, after he has been shot and left in a coma with survival uncertain.
  • When Paulie learns the true identity of his mother, the look on his face is heartbreaking.
  • "The Fleshy Part of the Thigh" has a scene near the end where Paulie leaves the room and breaks down sobbing, witnessing a mother beg Tony not to hurt her son. This occurs soon after Paulie discovered Marianucci was his aunt, not his birth mother.
  • Ruthless crime boss that Johnny Sack is, you'd have to be even more ruthless not to feel some sympathy for the man when he's utterly humiliated in front of friends and family at his oldest daughter's wedding, slapped in handcuffs and dragged back to jail; all this while new bride Allegra watches tearfully and helplessly. You can't blame the man for breaking down and weeping.
  • The murder of Vito Spatafore by Phil Leotardo and his people for being gay. And the way that Leotardo deals with him is cruel as hell, involving having his mouth taped shut and then having him bludgeoned to death while he looks on impassively. The look on poor Vito's face alone as he realizes he's going to die is just heartwrenching.
  • Johnny Sack's eventual quiet, understated death in prison after a long, debilitating battle with cancer. That he was always one of the more sympathetic mobsters (his devotion to his wife and children being his major redeeming quality) certainly makes this harder to watch.
  • Look, I found Cosette!
  • The death of Hesh's lady friend Renata, and Hesh's reaction to it. Also, the fact that Tony's friendship with Hesh is over.
  • Tony tearfully holding A.J. after the latter tries to drown himself and Carmela's breakdown after checking him into a psychiatric hospital.
  • Bobby's death.
  • Janice's last scene with Tony, in which it's hinted that her life as a widow will be just as miserable as it was before she married Bobby (or worse, since she now has to raise an infant daughter and two stepchildren from Bobby's first marriage all by herself).
  • Uncle Junior's final scene, in which Tony realizes that he doesn't even remember his own family, or the man he used to be. A quiet scene that manages to be one of the most haunting in the entire show.


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