With the premiere of The Many Saints of Newark just days away, we continue to learn a bit more about the who, what, when, where, and why of the film. But until I see it for myself, all I can really do is speculate. For now, I’ll focus on what I do know, and how it may or may not relate to the upcoming prequel. So, here are 10 Sopranos scenes that make me think of The Many Saints of Newark.
1) Sopranos Scene #1: Tony & Meadow Talk College
First, you’ll find a mashup of Young Tony getting advice from Dickie in The Many Saints of Newark and an older Tony talking to Meadow about college. Of course, there was no doubt that Meadow was going to college, but I wonder what went through Tony’s mind as he took a good look around the campus just prior to Meadow joining him outside.
2) Sopranos Scene #2: Christopher Taking the 10 Minutes
Next, it’s only the middle of season two and Christopher’s already at the precipice of a very important crossroads. After Christopher embarrasses Adriana and then fails to show up for A.J.’s confirmation ceremony, Tony tells him he has 10 minutes to decide what he wants to do with his life. I wonder if young Tony got his own “10 minutes” shpeel from Dickie if/when he was confused about the best path for his future.
3) Sopranos Scene #3: Getting a Glimpse of the Other Side
Here, we have an older lady talking about baby Christopher Moltisanti: “Some babies, when they come into the world, know all kinds of things from the other side.” And speaking of the other side, Christopher brings it up in the hospital in “From Where to Eternity” (S2, E9) as he recovers from a gunshot wound: “I crossed over to the other side.” Hmm. Maybe he was onto something?
In “Fortunate Son” (S3, E3), Tony asks Christopher to “watch out for Jackie Jr.” Instead of agreeing, Christopher tells Tony he oughta “turn that one link there. Think about the difference between how Tony approaches Christopher about “this thing of ours” versus his approach with Jackie Jr. Why did Jackie Sr. not want this life for Jackie Jr.? Is it because it’s clearly the wrong path? If so, why is it okay for Christopher? And was anyone there to serve as that counter to Dickie’s influence when young Tony was coming of age?
5) Sopranos Scene #5: Tony's "Inseparable Bonding Process"
Next, in The Sopranos season 4 premiere, “For All Debts Public and Private,” Tony decides to tell Christopher Moltisanti that the guy who killed his father is Retired Detective Lieutenant Barry Haydu of the Clifton Police Department.
However, I’ve never believed that it was really Barry Haydu who killed Dickie. “Conspiracy theories now?” (read it in Sil’s voice). But hear me out. The way Tony tells Christopher who killed his father always strikes me as more of a manipulation tactic to “bond them inseparably” as opposed to an actual “gift.” In any case, I imagine we’ll find out in The Many Saints of Newark.
6) Sopranos Scene #6: Is that Daddy's Navy Picture?
In contrast to Dickie Moltisanti, we did meet Christopher’s mother, Joanne, on The Sopranos. Though we didn’t get to learn too much, it’s clear Joanne and Dickie’s relationship was turbulent. When Christopher sees Dickie’s Navy picture on the table at Joanne’s, he asks her if she ever misses him. Her response is pretty telling. (Though shortly afterward, I thought to myself, “If she keeps the picture out there like that, her outward cynicism may just be a front for sadness and grief that has yet to be really processed”).
7) Sopranos Scene #7: You Don't Know What This Guy Did for Me
Further, in season four, episode five, “Pie-O-My,” Adriana’s getting fed up with the guys using Crazy Horse to do their business. When she expresses her displeasure to Christopher, he responds by saying that Tony took care of something that was ruining his life. (Dr. Krakower’s “How’s that going?” comes to mind). Again, I don’t know who killed Dickie Moltisanti, but like Christopher said, “It wouldn’t make any difference . . . he wants you dead.”
8) Sopranos Scene #8: "Newark Riots . . . What a f**kin Summer That Was"
Newark riots, summer of 1967, “what a f**kin summer that was.” Yes, talk is cheap, but when it comes to Ralph Cifaretto, I’m confident he knows a thing or two about wild and crazy. I guess we shall see soon enough!
Furthermore, in season six, episode 16, “Chasing It,” Tony sits down with Marie Spatafore, the widow of Vito Spatafore and mother of Little Vito and Francesca. Marie’s desperate for help because Little Vito has been severely misbehaving in response to his father’s death.
Just as we see with other characters having an identity crisis—who they are, where they came from, and where they’re going—this could be Little Vito’s own identity crisis in its own unique form. But what really sticks out to me here is the similarity of this conversation to a moment in The Many Saints of Newark trailer where Livia tells Junior that Tony “only listens to Dickie.”
Finally, in season six, episode 17, “Walk Like a Man,” Christopher confronts Tony after Tony gives him a hard time about being “like a ghost lately.” When Christopher explains that it’s hard for him to be around the Bing because it tempts him to use, Tony harshly responds by telling Christopher he thinks addiction isn’t a disease, but rather, just a crutch.What Christopher does there is threaten Tony’s identity personally. If Tony’s hero was Dickie, what did that say about him?
Looking Ahead to The Many Saints of Newark
In sum, that’s a hell of a lot to unpack there. But enough about me: What are some Sopranos scenes that you think are important for background context ahead of The Many Saints of Newark? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, so let’s connect online!