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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.

As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.


  • The ending of "Where's Johnny?"
    • "Don't you love me?"
  • The ending scene of "Boca": after Tony calls off the hit on Meadow’s soccer coach, Tony gets very drunk to deal with the emotions involved in such a decision and collapses on the floor, and Carmela tries to lead him to bed. He becomes lucid for a moment and says in a tone like a child: "I didn’t hurt nobody". Just the thought of Tony actually trying, from some part of his psyche, to be good is heartbreaking, especially as he only gets worse as the series progresses.
    • The heart-wrenching cries of Junior's mistress as he breaks it off with her, fires her, and humiliated her by shoving a pie she bought for them in her face, all because she circulated the rumor he gives oral sex and she begs for forgiveness, saying she loves him. Along with Junior's clear grief and misery over having to do it in order to preserve his tough guy image in the mob once he steps outside.
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  • The conversation between Tony and Chris in "The Legend of Tennessee Molitisanti" where Chris reveals he’s also depressed. "I don’t know, it's like the regularness of life is too fucked up for me or something". Tony attempts to use some of the tools Melfi has given him to help, but the two men can’t be vulnerable and instead make fun of suicide and mental illness to brush it off. To see them so close to a break through only to backtrack is difficult to watch, especially considering how much darker their respective paths get.
  • Vin Makazian's entire sad situation that ends with his suicide in "Nobody Knows Anything". Tony himself is shocked that Vin took his banter to heart and took his life after a prolonged fight with depression.
  • "Proshai, Livushka":
    • Unexpectedly, Livia's death, mostly because of Tony's quietly grieving after her wake.
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    • 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.
    • Hugh's rant about how he and Mary missed out on so much time with their daughter and her family that they can't get back just because Livia's presence was so unbearable.
  • Jennifer being raped in the stairwell in "Employee of the Month" and the ripple effect of it throughout the episode.
  • "University", 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.
  • The murder of Jackie Jr. in "Army of One", especially for the effect it has on his mother; Rosalie breaks down wailing at the news and during her son's wake and funeral. In the subsequent season, she is shown to be heavily medicated and in a disoriented state of mind, with her boyfriend paying little attention to her.
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  • Bobby’s grief over Karen’s death in “Christopher”, him weeping over her casket.
  • Ralph Cifaretto's Villainous Breakdown and Heel–Face Turn following his son's crippling injury, and Tony's subsequent brutal murder of him over Pie-O-My's death in "Whoever Did This" is downright tragic. Especially considering that just one episode prior, it was suggested that Ralph may have been sexually abused as a child.
    • There's an especially poignant scene in the middle of the episode where Ralph completely breaks down sobbing in Tony's office over Justin's condition and how neglectful he's been as a father over the years. Despite how much of a despicable human being Ralph has been throughout the series, he genuinely did love his son even if he rarely showed it.
  • In "Whitecaps", 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 a self-absorbed asshole, 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.
  • Adriana's death in "Long Term Parking", 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, the man who ordered her death, is shown to be grieving over her.
    • Also the flashback in "The Ride", where Christopher is shown telling Tony about her. He's distraught and crying, and begs Tony "Don't make me do it, I can't do it". He can’t bring himself to kill Adrianna, and can barely even bring himself to tell Tony. And when Tony tears his shirt to search for a wire, Chris cries "How could you even think that?" He's genuinely hurt that Tony would think of him as a traitor.
  • 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?
  • Carmela's heartwrenching monologue to Tony, after he has been shot and left in a coma with survival uncertain in "Mayham".
  • "The Fleshy Part of the Thigh":
    • When Paulie learns the true identity of his mother, the look on his face is heartbreaking.
    • Near the end, 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.
  • "Cold Stone":
    • 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.
    • Carmela's mixture of fear and sorrow during her existential crisis in France. A particularly tragic scene involves Rosalie, who herself has experienced an overwhelming amount of loss in seven short years, hugging and humming to Carmela after she breaks down crying.
    • Look, I found Cosette!
  • Johnny Sack's eventual quiet, understated death in prison after a long, debilitating battle with cancer in "Stage Five". 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.
  • "Chasing It":
    • 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.
    • Vito Jr. being abducted to a boot camp in Idaho just because Tony lost too much money at gambling.
  • Carmela's reaction to her blood-relative Christopher's death in "Kennedy and Heidi" is gut-wrenching; she loses her cousin in a horrible accident and he had been like a son to Tony.
  • Tony tearfully holding A.J. after the latter tries to drown himself and Carmela's breakdown after checking him into a psychiatric hospital in "The Second Coming".
  • Bobby's death in "The Blue Comet". His last words are him lamenting the apathy his son has towards his hobby, and reflects the relationship with his son in general.
  • "Made in America":
    • 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, that Tony waited too long to visit him, now it's too late. With Tony rising at the end and walking away silently while fighting tears. A quiet scene that manages to be one of the most haunting in the entire show.
  • Combined with Nightmare Fuel. If Tony really was whacked in the diner at the end of the show, then he was shot in the head right in front of his family, with Carmela and AJ sitting at the same table as him when it happened, probably getting splattered by his blood. Meadow, who walked into the diner at the exact same time he was shot, gets to see it play out, her last sight of Tony before she could even speak to her father one last time, and Meadow in the doorway potentially being the last thing Tony sees when he dies.

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  • Sadly, James Gandolfini's passing in 2013.
  • The 2019 reunion for much of the cast...except, obviously, for James Gandolfini. There are numerous instances throughout the reunion where the cast remarks how weird/sad it is to be together without the main star. They also shared how kind and generous a human being he was, a total opposite from his on-screen persona, which overlaps with Heartwarming.

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