10. Tony Soprano Dreams He's A Travelling Salesman
Like its spiritual successor Breaking Bad, The Sopranos is littered with dream imagery and metaphor, sometimes actively breaking into the storyline in the form of dream sequences - as it should be for a TV show which, in its formative years, centred around a middle-aged mobster undergoing psychoanalysis. However, the beginning of the final season took it several stages further, and potentially one step too far.
The premiere of season six saw Tony's uncle, Corrado Junior Soprano, increasingly suffering from dementia, accidentally shoots Tony at the end of the episode, believing him to be his long-dead nemesis Little Pussy Malanga. The following two episodes saw Tony in a coma in hospital while his soldiers, family and rivals schemed and plotted without him and Tony dreamed he was a mild-mannered travelling salesman, who'd lost his wallet and briefcase in a classic mix-up with an individual by the evocative name of Kevin Finnerty. That's right, creator and showrunner David Chase used this key part of the narrative to have Tony address issues of alienation and mid-life crisis in an existential near death experience.
The riskiest storytelling gamble in the show's risky history, it paid off when the two episodes were cited as two of the best of the entire series, and the first, Join The Club, would receive two award nominations for best director.
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