After the first season of “The Sopranos aired in 1999 & went on to earn numerous awards, David Chase worked on another season set after the events of Season 1 with The Cast reprising their roles. It took a year to film 13 episodes interconnected to one another. HBO finally aired Season 2.
The Sopranos: Season 2 aired in 2000. Like Season 1, the second season earned critical acclaim from critics and viewers alike. Season 2 managed to become an eligible nominee at The “58th Golden Globes,” “7th Screen Actors Guild Awards” & “The 52nd Primetime Emmy Awards.” James Gandolfini won an Emmy for “Best Actor.”
A prequel film titled, “The Many Saints Of Newark” will be released in 2020 with the late James Gandolfini’s son Michael will follow in his father’s footsteps as Tony Soprano. In response to the upcoming prequel, I’d like to share my thoughts on what’s good or bad about The Sopranos’ second season. I also did a review for Season 1, you can also check it out.
Today’s review doesn’t contain any huge SPOILERS. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article. Keep in mind, some plot details have light SPOILERS.
The Entire Season
Positive: James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Dominic Chianese, Tony Sirico, Steve Van Zandt, Vincent Pastore, Lorraine Bracco, Drea De Matteo, Aida Turturro, (John Turturro’s real life cousin) Steve Schirripa, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Robert Iler & Nancy Marchand all did an excellent job for their respective performances.
David Chase did an excellent job constructing Season 2’s narrative picking up were Season 1 left off.
Uncle Junior & “Big Kitty” are my favorite characters. Junior is like a cross between Larry David & the dancing old man from Six Flags commercials. Big Kitty looks like Larry David’s sidekick Jeff Garlin from “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Hearing Big Kitty’s name makes me laugh. You what I mean, I’m not referring to kitty, it’s the other word.
Christopher’s girlfriend Adrianna, is so gosh darn hot. I have no choice, but to give an Extra Point per sexy outfit she wears.
Tony’s older sister Janice has a key role.
Big Kitty has a pivotal role in Season 2.
Dr. Melfi deals with personal issues revolving her sessions with Tony.
Without giving too much away, one of Tony’s close friends turns out to be the main antagonist of Season 2. It’s the closest thing to focus on a villain.
Several features a bunch of characters eating food. Anybody eating on camera always makes me feel hungry. I blame the show for my excessive binge eating. Seriously fellas, don’t overeat.
Showrunner/Screenwriter, Terrence Winter (The Wolf Of Wall Street, Boardwalk Empire) co-produced & wrote some episodes.
The “Godfather Trilogy” is often referenced.
Besides The Godfather Trilogy, the show has a truckload of pop culture references as if Quentin Tarantino did uncredited writing for certain episodes.
A huge Plot Twist is revealed affecting the main characters. I can’t spill the beans, you’re gonna have to see for yourselves.
Music has a wide variety of genres including classic rock, heavy metal, pop, alternative rock & electronic.
Due to the events of Season 1, Tony becomes cynical towards his family, Junior is awaiting trial, Livia is in the hospital, Melfi deals with professional/personal problems & a shocking truth is revealed.
Cinematography felt stable lacking Shaky Cam. Thank goodness Woody Woodpecker wasn’t hired as a cameraman constantly drinking too much Red Bull.
Season 2 retains its dark humor, sardonic lines, “F-Bombs,” & sharp-tongued insults. If you want to spice things up a bit, take a shot every time someone drops an F-Bomb. If I were you, drink water or anything non-alcoholic. I do not condone alcohol poisoning.
Besides excessive F-Bombs, the show contains broken bones, bruises, blood stains & a whole lotta naked women not appropriate for kids/grandkids/nephews/nieces/godkids & sensitive over-the-top feminists.
Despite being labeled as a crime-drama, the show has elements of dark humor, insults & heavy F-Bombs.
David Chase organized Season 2’s story arc. He wrote some episodes & produced each one.
The Narrative is influenced by the works of Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Spike Lee, Coen Brothers & Brian De Palma.
Negative: Product Placement featuring brands such as Buick, Ruffles, Marlboro, Minute Maid, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Mott’s, Cheerios, Honeycomb, Philips, Dasani, Snapple, Fritos, Dunkin Donuts, Bud Light, Apple & JVC. Who’s in charge of sponsorship Michael Bay?!
Episode 14 – Guy Walks Into A Psychiatrist’s Office…
Healthy: Episode 14’s title is a play on word of “Guy Walks Into A Bar.”
The episode begins with a montage showing what the characters are doing right now after the events of Season 1.
Frank Sinatra’s “Very Good Year” is played during a pivotal moment.
Janice, a relative of Tony’s visits. She appeared in a flashback as a kid in Season 1.
“Analyze This” is referenced. Coincidentally, this film was out in 1999 the same year The Sopranos first aired.
Unhealthy: Not a single con spotted.
Episode 15 – Do Not Resuscitate
Open: Tony visits Junior about their “business.”
Bobby Baccalieri is introduced. He factors in for the rest of the series.
A Plot Twist is revealed. I did not see that coming.
A construction strike is depicted as a key event.
AJ’s school report about DNA serves as a plot point.
“Whatever Happened To Baby Jane” is referenced. It’s one of my mom’s favorite films. I did a review on it.
A shower scene made me laugh my rump off.
Closed: No issue has been spotted.
Episode 16 – Toodle-F**king-Oo
Yay: Episode 16’s title is named after a character saying that phrase with an F-Bomb. I would assume the David Chase & the writers are immersing themselves to the series as they are now used to swearing onset or offset.
The late Jackie Aprile’s brother Richie is introduced. He factors in for the rest of the series.
Tony catches somebody violating Livia’s home.
Film director Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, Mask) makes a guest appearance as a psychiatrist.
Janice encounters an old flame.
A song from “The Wizard Of Oz” is played during a pivotal scene.
The episode ends with a Meadow who has some redeeming qualities. She’s a less whiny bitch than her brother AJ.
Nay: Not a single flaw discovered
Episode 17 – Commendatori
Honorable: Episode 17’s title is named after an honorable title from the Italian language.
The Gang watch The Godfather Part II. If James Gandolfini were alive today, he would’ve reunited with his onscreen allies to watch movies in character similar to “Mystery Science Theater 3000” as a marketing approach to promote a movie.
Tony & his pals go on a “business trip.” During their visit to Naples, they have some sort of “fish out of water” experience.
Furio is introduced. He factors in for the rest of the series.
David Chase himself, makes a cameo appearance sitting at an Italian cafe. Like Martin Scorsese showing up in his own films.
Dishonorable: A shot of The Twin Towers are shown. This was before 9/11 happened.
Episode 18 – Big Girls Don’t Cry
Joy: I believe Episode 18’s title inspired Fergie to name her song Big Girls Don’t Cry. Maybe she’s a fan of The Sopranos.
Christopher takes an acting class.
The Wizard Of Oz & its song “Optimistic Voices” is discussed.
Someone imitates Joe Pesci. Some of the cast members were in Goodfellas.
Once again Peter Bogdanovich makes a guest appearance as a psychiatrist.
Christopher’s father is brought up. He’ll play a major role in The Many Saints Of Newark.
In a fit of rage, Tony breaks his phone. “In Bruges” also did a similar scene with Ralph Fiennes breaking his phone. Tony destroying his phone was my genuine reaction to Lena Dunham in “American Horror Story: Cult” & “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.” Like Janice, Lena is an unforgivable bitch. F**k her!
An associate has a job ordered by Tony.
Sadness: Nothing bad happened.
Episode 19 – The Happy Wanderer
Solved: Tony mentioned his favorite actor Gary Cooper, just as he did in the pilot episode.
Robert Patrick (T-1000) makes a guest appearance as Tony’s friend Davey.
Junior talks about his backstory.
Tony’s crew play poker with a “new player.”
The end of the episode results in a chain reaction.
Frank Sinatra Jr. makes a cameo appearance.
Bette Davis is referenced.
Unsolved: No issues were found.
Episode 20 – D-Girl
Smart: At one point, Christopher wears a red suit. A reference to Robert De Niro’s character Rupert from “The King Of Comedy” who wears his signature red suit.
This episode has a “Get Shorty” vibe similar to that one episode when Christopher attempts to expand business in the music industry.
Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” is played in one scene. “Big Little Lies” also used this song with the gals singing Rhiannon. “American Horror Story: Coven” also played the song.
Jon Favreau, (back when he was skinny) & Janeane Garofalo, make guest appearances.
A conversation with two people eating as they discuss about movies felt like something Quentin Tarantino wrote & directed.
A quote from Pulp Fiction is referenced. I’ll give you a hint, it has something to do with a wallet.
Big Kitty brings up his backstory.
Dumb: AJ does something stupid being dumbass This is the episode that made AJ act like a f**king idiot who throughout the rest of the series. His constant bitching is worse than Meadow. F**K AJ!
Episode 21 – Full Leather Jacket
Full: Episode 21’s title is played on word of Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket.”
Christopher works on an “assignment.”
A fart scene made me laugh. Fart jokes always make me laugh.
An unpredictable moment happened setting up the next episode.
Empty: No flaws were spotted.
Episode 22 – From Where To Eternity
Acquired: Episode 22’s title is a play on word of “From Here To Eternity.”
A prominent character is under recovery and has a near-death experience.
A heartwarming moment with Carmela praying for Tony’s “nephew.”
Peter Bogdanovich makes another guest appearance as a psychiatrist.
Metallica’s “King Nothing” is played at Bass Bing. Metallica is one of my favorite heavy metal bands.
“Ghostbusters” is mentioned.
Although Tony can be a dick towards his wife & kids, he has eye to eye scene with AJ. Ironically his son is an unapologetic brat.
Somebody gets whacked in retaliation for his actions from the previous episode. All I can say it’s an overkill resembling ED-209’s introduction from “RoboCop.”
Missing: No flaws were discovered.
Episode 23 – Bust Out
Rich: Episode 23’s title is named after a poker term when a player looses all his/her chips.
Robert Patrick makes another guest appearance.
Tensions escalate when Tony & his gang learn about a huge threat that might potentially jeopardize their business.
Tony’s friend Davey, is in deep trouble. This episode made T-1000 a big wussy compared to AJ.
Journey’s “Wheel In The Sky” is played during The End Credits. Journey’s other song “Don’t Stop Believin” was played in the final episode “Made In America.” I’ll never forgive David Chase for the final scene.
Poor: I couldn’t find nothing wrong.
Episode 24 – House Arrest
Hit: Episode 24’s title is obviously named after a sentence. One of the focal characters has to serve his sentence.
Peter Bogdanovich makes another guest appearance again as a psychiatrist.
Junior & Richie collaborate to make money.
Junior meets an old friend.
In order to avoid trouble with the law, Tony is forced to work at his fake job, actual waste management.
Junior has a “Larry David Moment” due to an accident. What’s missing is the theme song from Curb Your Enthusiasm.
“Home Alone” is referenced. John Heard who played Kevin’s dad, made guest appearances in Season 1.
David Fincher’s “Seven” is referenced. Brad Pitt was good friends with James Gandolfini. They worked on “The Mexican” & “Killing Them Softly.”
Miss: No cons were discovered.
Episode 25 – The Knight In White Satin Armor
Shiny: Janice & Richie’s relationship progresses forward as they’re planning on getting married.
Metallica’s “The Memory Remains” plays at Bada Bing.
Pokémon cards are mentioned as valuable resources to hijack. Pokémon: The Movie 2000 came out in America the same year The Sopranos aired a second season.
Somebody gets whacked for acting like a Class A douchebag.
Rusty: Nothing terrible has been spotted.
Episode 26 – Funhouse
Approval: Episode 26’s title is named after a crucial scene depicted in the season finale.
Tony has surreal dreams connected to his friendship with a longtime comrade.
Somebody gets whacked.
Funhouse is my personal favorite episode of Season 2 for one big reason. I can’t tell you, because it’s a very important.
Robert Patrick makes another guest appearance as Tony’s friend Davey.
Fart scenes made me laugh my rump off.
Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin” is played in one scene.
Tensions escalate involving Tony & his crew.
The Rolling Stones’ “Thru & Thru” is played in the opening & end credits.
Disapproval: A sick Tony said, “Let me die!” In real life, James Gandolfini is no longer around.
The Final Verdict: A-
In my opinion, The Sopranos: Season 2 is worth the entertainment value based on performances, story arc, writing, fascinating characters among many other positive things listed. If you’re eager to see The Many Saints Of Newark, I highly recommend every season just in case if you want to refresh your knowledge of The Sopranos.