The Sopranos: Season 3

The Sopranos’ third season officially aired in 2001. (same year Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone came out) Like the first two seasons, Season 3 earned positive reception from critics and viewers alike. The third season won awards at The Primetime Emmy & Golden Globes.

“The Many Saints Of Newark” is out in theaters and streaming on HBO Max. As a fan of The Sopranos, I wanna share my thoughts on the third season.

Today’s review contains no SPOILERS. Feel free to check out my non-spoiler article. Season 2 contains a huge SPOILER related to the episode, “Funhouse.” Tread carefully.

The Whole Season

Positive: James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperioli, Tony Sirico, Steve Van Zandt, Drea De Matteo, Robert Iler, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Aida Turturro & Peter Bogdanovich all did an excellent job for their respective performances.

Joe Pantoliano did a great job for his performance as Ralph Cifaretto.

Fun Fact: According to Joe, Ralph’s blonde hair is based on Christopher Nolan’s look. Joe worked with my idol in “Memento.”

Terrence Winter (Boardwalk Empire, The Wolf Of Wall Street) wrote three episodes.

Cinematography ain’t bad.

Junior is my favorite character. He’s like an evil version of Larry David.

Season 3 primarily focuses on a few plot lines such as the F.B.I. wiretapping Tony’s house to gather important information based on his illegal activities, Livia’s death, Tony acts like a prick putting his relationship with his daughter Meadow is strained, Janice living in her mother’s home, Junior has a medical issue, Tony having an affair with one of Melfi’s patients,

Humor retains elements of dark comedy, insults, F-bombs and savage one-liners. 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.

As I’ve mentioned from my previous reviews of the seasons one and two, the show is influenced by filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, The Coen Brothers & Spike Lee.

If you have a big appetite, a lot of people eat & drink. Made me hungry to see anybody eating or drinking.

Negative: After Nancy Marchand’s untimely death, Season 3’s story arc’s was rearranged. Originally, Livia was supposed to testify against Tony, but plans were scrapped & David Chase had to rewrite the story arc in the last minute.

Meadow’s roommate Caitlyn, is so annoying. All she does is complain. I also dislike AJ the most.

In Episode 30, a shocking moment with Melfi never happened. David must’ve been pressured by HBO to come up shock value in the most F**ked up way possible.

Product Placement featuring many brands such as Coca-Cola, Fritos, Domino’s, Honey Comb, Fruity Pebbles, Budweiser, Dunkin’ Donuts, GMC, V8, Planters, Phillips, Oreo’s, Office Depot, KB Mart, Lay’s, Wheat Thins, Colt 45, Doritos, Ruffles & Lipton. Who’s whoring off endorsement deals Michael Bay?!

Episode 27 – Mr. Ruggerio’s Neighborhood

Happy: Episode 27’s title is a play on word of “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.”

FBI agents begin to wiretap The Soprano Family home & follow Tony’s whereabouts along with anybody associated with him. Kinda predates TMZ stalking celebs invading their everyday lives.

The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” is played in two scenes. Now I know why The Duffer Brothers included The Police’s song for Stranger Things: Season 2’s finale.

Adrianna’s first scene got me drooling to see her wearing skimpy clothes. Each outfit she wears deserves an Extra Point.

The Eagles’ “Hotel California” is played before the episode ends. So that’s why Ryan Murphy included this song for “American Horror Story: Hotel.”

Sad: A shot of The Twin Towers are shown. This was before 9/11 happened.

Episode 28 – Proshai, Livushka

Stable: Episode 28’s title means “Farewell, little Livia” in Russian.

Due to Nancy Marchand’s untimely death, Livia dies from a stroke. Tony arranges a funeral. It’s a shame Nancy died, because a story arc with Livia testifying against Tony in court could’ve raised the stakes higher.

Tony’s crew & family attend Livia’s funeral.

Tony’s associate Ralphie Cifaretto makes his first appearance. He factors in for Season 3.

Tony has a moral dilemma about Livia’s death as a result of Tony’s bad relationship with his late mother.

Tony watches the James “Jimmy” Cagney classic, “The Public Enemy.”

A traitor from Season 2 makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss cameo appearance.

Unstable: At first, a C.G.I. head of Livia felt okay with suitable lighting necessary for good shots. As the scene goes on, Livia’s head looks fake. As if her head was about to turn 360 degrees like Woody from the first “Toy Story” film. Let’s face it, HBO was on a budget, they couldn’t afford Computer Animation just like they brought back Oliver Reed in “Gladiator.”

Episode 29 – Fortunate Son

Right: A prominent character earns a “promotion.”

Ghostface’s mask from the “Scream” franchise is used to conceal a “made man.”

Led Zeppelin’s “Rock N’ Roll” is played at a restaurant.

As a result of being a prick, Tony has a personal problem with a relative.

Flashbacks show Tony’s childhood back when Johnny Boy was around.

The episode ends in an unexpected twist.

Wrong: No problems weren’t spotted.

Episode 30 – Employee Of The Month

Approved: Ralph invites Jackie Jr. by showing him the ropes as a “professional.”

Brittany Spears’ “Oops I Did It Again” is played in one scene.

Despite labeled as a psychopath, Tony has a heartwarming moment with Melfi.

Janice is a given a consequence, due to her actions.

A quote from “Gladiator” is referenced. Ridley Scott (one of my favorite filmmakers) directed the divisive “Hannibal” movie while Russell Crowe starred in “A Beautiful Mind.”

Disapproved: Without trying to give anything away, that one scene was utterly terrifying, it’s never resolved.

Episode 31 – Another Toothpick

Sanitary: Episode 31’s title is named after a phrase of a person dying.

Tony takes Melfi’s advice to take a “guest” during therapy.

If you pause at the 7 minute mark, Tony’s license states that he was born in 1959. In real life, James is actually two years younger than his character.

Terrence Winter wrote Episode 31.

Bobby announced he’s back in action.

Burt Young makes a guest appearance as Bobby’s father.

A deranged fool earns himself a karmic visit.

Booby’s dad goes on a job.

A shocking revelation is revealed.

Unsanitary: Nothing bad happened.

Episode 32 – University

Intelligent: Episode 32’s title is named after Meadow attending NYU.

Ralphie goes outta control toying around with a weapon.

Gladiator is often referenced. Other movies like “Erin Brockovich,”  “The Invisible Man,” “Freaks” are referenced.

David Chase & Terrence Winter co-wrote the episode.

Stanley Kubrick’s “Spartacus” is mentioned. Steven Spielberg took over Stan’s pet project known as “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence.”

A young stripper plays a pivotal role.

Tim Daly is mentioned. He later appeared as J.T. Dolan.

Somebody meets a horrific end.

Idiotic: I never cared about Caitlyn. She’s so annoying.

Episode 33 – Second Opinion

First: Junior seeks treatment of his “medical condition.”

First: U2’s “Mysterious Ways” is played at The Bada Bing.

Carmela meets an old friend.

Paulie has a funny moment.

Last:

Episode 34 – He Is Risen

Rise: After Episode 33’s shocking moment, tensions rise between Tony & Ralph.

Conflicted, Tony reluctantly invites Ralph for a Thanksgiving feast.

Don Simpson (producer of The Simpsons) is referenced. An episode with Fat Tony spoofs The Sopranos’ opening sequence.

Fall: A character’s death is now uncomfortable to watch after James Gandolfini’s untimely death.

Episode 35 – The Telltale Moozadell

Tall: Carmela celebrates her birthday.

One of Carmela’s birthday presents his a DVD copy of “The Matrix.” It’s funny, because Joe Pantoliano played Cypher.

Adrianna receives a surprise.

There’s a funny moment at a pizzeria.

Short: AJ acts like a dumbass on her mother’s birthday. Yeesh! No wonder Janice & Meadow are less obnoxious than him.

Episode 36 – …To Save Us All From Satan’s Power

Heaven: Episode 36’s title is a taken from a verse of the song, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

Tony has flashbacks of Sal. At the time, he was an FBI informant.

Tony runs Christmas errands.

“The Grinch” and the 2000 film adaptation with Jim Carrey is referenced.

One scene shows Tony watching “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

A funny moment with Bobby dressed as Santa.

Hell: Nothing bad occurred.

Episode 37 – Pine Barrens

Sturdy: Steve Buscemi directs Episode 37. He later had a role as Tony B.

When a plan goes horribly wrong, Paulie & Christopher are lost in the titular forest.

Paulie & Christopher’s chemistry has some Coen Brothers vibes. Pretty much explains a Steve worked with the sibling duo.

Terrence Winter wrote the 37th episode.

Many fans and critics claim this is the best episode of the series. After a a few ups and downs from previous episodes, Pine Barrens got the show back on track. Until the series finale caused the series to fall on its back like a banana peel.

Meadow has a shocking discovery.

Tony laughs at somebody who’s dressed like Elmer Fudd with camo.

Fragile: No flaws found.

Episode 38 – Amour Fou

Free: Two characters watch “Basic Instinct.”

A gunfight ensues.

Shazam is referenced as Captain Marvel. This was before the former changed names to avoid legal issues between DC Comics & Marvel.

Tony makes a fatal decision.

Captured:

Episode 39 – Army Of One

Full: A prominent character meets his fate.

Tony slapping AJ put a smile on my face. I can’t stand his son. He’s annoying as fudge.

Junior sings opera. Dominic Chianese is actually a talented singer in real life.

Somebody is chosen to work “undercover.”

Meadow loses it over something tragic.

Empty: Tony claims “The Army hardly goes to war anymore.” In a twist of fate, 9/11 occurred beginning The War In Afghanistan. Season 3 finale aired four months before the tragic event changed America forever.

AJ is expelled for being a dumbass. I can’t stand that brat.

The Final Verdict: B-

The Sopranos’ third season is considered as one of the weakest seasons. Not great or bad, just plain average. If you’re a fan of The Sopranos or haven’t seen The Many Saints Of Newark, watch all six seasons before seeing the movie.

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