Sopranos Blueprint

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Like a Moth to a Flame: The Important Presence of Fire on The Sopranos

Carmela Soprano is telling Tony he's going to go to hell when he dies.
It takes no time at all for Carmela to bring fire on The Sopranos into the picture.

One of my favorite things about The Sopranos is the use of symbolism across seasons and characters. And one that sticks out to me the most is fire. So, let’s dive right in: Here are 15 moments of fire on The Sopranos.

"What's different between you and me is you're going to hell when you die!"
Carmela Soprano
S1, E1, "Pilot"

Season 1, Episode 1, "Pilot"

Silvio Dante is walking past Vesuvio after setting it on fire.
Season 1, Episode 1, "Pilot"

After learning that Junior Soprano was planning on whacking Pussy Malanga at Artie Bucco’s¬†restaurant, Tony arranged to have Vesuvio burned down so the hit wouldn’t take place there. How thoughtful!

2. "At first it felt like ginger ale in my skull."

Season 1, Episode 1, "Pilot"

Tony Soprano is grilling in the backyard and a fire starts when he passes out.
Season 1, Episode 1, "Pilot"

As Tony was grilling food in preparation for A.J.’s birthday party, he suddenly had a panic attack and passed out. Perhaps it was from all that mesquite. It makes the sausage taste peculiar!

3. "Oh my god!" Livia is quite the fireball.

Season 1, Episode 2, "46 Long"

Livia Soprano is scared as she sees there's a fire in her kitchen.
Season 1, Episode 2, "46 Long"

Livia got so distracted from spying on the dark-skinned postal worker across the street that she forgot about her mushrooms cooking in the kitchen. 

"The mushrooms...they're on fire!"

4. "Fear of fire. Good deterrent to keep out of hell."

Season 1, Episode 5, "College"

Father Phil is with Carmela Soprano talking about fire at their home.
Season 1, Episode 5, "College"

In the famous College episode, Father Phil Intintola came over to hang out with Carmela while Tony and Meadow were out of town. Did I mention that A.J. just so happened to be sleeping over at a friend’s house?

5. "You leave my gas burner on. I almost lit a cigarette and died!"

S2, E1, "Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist's Office"

Adriana is angry that Christopher left her gas burner on.
Season 2, Episode 1, "Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist's Office"

In the season two premiere, Adriana was irritated with Christopher for leaving her gas burner on. She almost lit a cigarette and died! By her own words, “Why you can’t use a lighter to cook your shit is beyond me.”

S2, E9, "From Where to Eternity"

Paulie Walnuts is talking to Christopher about how hell is hot, and that Christopher had gone to purgatory instead.
Season 2, Episode 9, "From Where to Eternity"

After Christopher briefly crossed over to the other side, Paulie was determined to convince Christopher that he wasn’t actually in hell while his heart stopped. Instead, it was purgatory! Hell is hot and full of fire. That’s never been disputed by anybody!¬†

7. A Sopranos Firebomb

S3, E2, "Proshai, Livushka"

A fire bomb explodes at a sanitation plant.
Season 3, Episode 2, "Proshai, Livushka" - a firebomb goes off at a sanitation facility.

Quite a fiery opening to the episode where Livia Soprano dies, huh?

8. "No fires...Tony doesn't want any fires."

S3, E2, "Proshai, Livushka"

Ralph Cifaretto is instructing his crew not to start any fires.
Season 3, Episode 2, "Proshai, Livushka"

Here, Ralph was on a job and warned his guys that there would be “no fires.” I took this as an instruction to not just not set any fires, but also to not kill anyone, for what it’s worth. Do you think he takes his own advice later in the series with Pie-O-My?

Dr. Melfi is talking to Tony Soprano about how his attraction to Gloria is related to trying to please his mother.
Season 3, Episode 12, "Amour Fou"
Dr. Melfi is talking to Tony in her office about Gloria Trillo after their break up.
Tony Soprano + Gloria Trillo = Amour Fou.

Dr. Jennifer Melfi described Tony and Gloria’s whirlwind romance as “amour fou,” the French term for crazy love. While I don’t know if it was love, lust, infatuation, or maybe some hybrid of the three, there’s no doubt that sparks flew. Of course, the tragic result was Gloria being burnt past the point of repair.

In Whoever Did This, Lois called Tony with the heartbreaking news that there was a fire at the stables. Specifically, “They lost some horses. We did everything we could, but she had to be destroyed.” Just that word “destroyed” being used in that context always rubs me the wrong way, which I’m sure is intentional.

Tony is telling Carmela's parent's friends that he has to go start a fire.
Season 5, Episode 8, "Marco Polo"

In Marco Polo, Tony introduced himself to Dr. Russ Fegoli, the diplomat (and rumored father of Paulie Walnuts). He didn’t seem to be too amused with Tony’s sense of humor, but what can ya do?

12. This was an EGGS-tremely fiery situation.

For goodness sake, could somebody send out a mass notification warning folks to not mess around with cooking eggs while in the presence of Tony Soprano? It hardly ever ends well.

Season 5, Episode 11, "Test Dream"
Vito Spatafore is watching Johnny Cakes put out a fire in New Hampshire.
Season 6, Episode 8, "Johnny Cakes"

In Season 6, Vito saw Jim in action rescuing a child while working as a volunteer firefighter. Thankfully, nobody was hurt.

Phil Leotardo's club is bursting into flames when he and his goomah are right outside.
Season 6, Episode 12, "Kaisha"

According to Benny Fazio, criminal mastermind, it sounded “like a real weenie roast.” Phil and his goomah sure got knocked back on their keisters from this fire.

15. Anthony Soprano Jr. on Fire

Finally, what was it that Tony Soprano said about that Nissan triple safety philosophy? Flammable when mixed with A.J. Soprano? While I’m here, I might as well throw in the little tidbit about A.J getting FIRED from Blockbuster.

A.J. Soprano and his girlfriend are running out of his SUV before it explodes.
Season 6, Episode 21, "Made in America"

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