Meadowlands (The Sopranos)

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The Sopranos episode
Meadowlands Sopranos.jpg
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 4
Directed byJohn Patterson
Written byJason Cahill
Cinematography byAlik Sakharov
Production code104
Original air dateJanuary 31, 1999
Running time53 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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"Denial, Anger, Acceptance"
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The Sopranos (season 1)
List of The Sopranos episodes

"Meadowlands" is the fourth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos. It was written by Jason Cahill, directed by John Patterson and originally aired on January 31, 1999.


Guest starring[edit]

Also guest starring[edit]


Tony becomes increasingly paranoid over his sessions with Dr. Melfi, especially after a near-encounter with Silvio, whose dentist is located just opposite Melfi's suite. He has also begun developing feelings for Melfi, and has a detective in his employ, Vin Makazian, secretly follow her. Makazian assumes Melfi is Tony's mistress and, when he sees her with a date, he pulls the pair over, then assaults and arrests the man. Tony is beginning to consider quitting therapy, but Carmela – still under the impression that Melfi is male – insists he continue, or else their marriage will be at risk.

Christopher is scared after his mock execution, which has left him in a neck brace. He becomes even more unnerved when he and Adriana discover Brendan's body. Assuming that Tony is punishing him for giving speed to Meadow, he angrily confronts her but she assures him she has not told anyone. After finding that Junior and Mikey are responsible, he is enflamed and wants revenge. Tony orders Chris to stand down because Mikey is a made man. Instead, Tony assaults Mikey and confronts Junior, who rejects Tony's offers of compromise and tells him he should "come heavy" (i.e. with a gun) for his next visit or not at all.

The prospect of war with Junior looms large for Tony, especially after the death of acting boss Jackie Aprile, Sr. without a clear successor. Tony has the backing of other DiMeo family caporegimes, but seeks a diplomatic resolution with his uncle. After some unwitting inspiration from Melfi about giving the elderly the "illusion of control", Tony cedes leadership of the family to Junior in exchange for his uncle's income-earning properties and contracts, so war within the family is avoided while Junior becomes the primary target for federal investigations. Content with his decision, Tony opts to remain in therapy.

A.J. cannot understand why a physically bigger classmate, Jeremy Piocosta, backs down from a fight and pays for a shirt he ripped in a previous scuffle. With some guidance from Meadow, he comes to realize that Jeremy was intimidated by Tony's reputation as a mobster. Tony had coincidentally met Jeremy's father the day before at a plant nursery. Tony was friendly but happened to be holding an axe, and Jeremy's father backed away as quickly as he could. Meadow educates A.J. on what exactly their father does for a living by asking how many other garbage men live in a house like theirs, and showing him a Mafia-themed website. At Jackie's funeral, Meadow gives A.J. a knowing look and nods in the direction of the federal agents taking pictures.

First appearances[edit]


Title reference[edit]

The Meadowlands is a wetlands area in northern New Jersey. Christopher identifies it as the place where his mock execution took place.

Cultural references[edit]

  • At the beginning of the episode, A.J. is playing Mario Kart 64. When Tony comes home, he plays the game with him in multiplayer mode.
  • Jimmy Altieri tells the capos their crime family should be run as a paramilitary organization and not as The Dave Clark Five when Larry Boy suggests a ruling council.
  • Melfi’s date Randall mentions the song “People Are Strange” by The Doors, but misquotes the lyric “Faces look ugly when you’re alone,” (Randall states, "Faces look evil when you're alienated.").
  • When Tony congratulates Junior on becoming the boss, he commends Junior's physique and states "Hey call Parcells, give this guy a tryout".


Retrospectively, Emily VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club felt that although many elements of "Meadowlands" worked, the episode is "a bit of a step down from the previous three." She criticized the subplot involving AJ as "pretty pointless, playing out as a sort of miniature version of the Tony and Junior conflict and ending much the same way", but considered the overall episode to be "a pretty good summation of many of the things the show is going to be interested in going forward."[1] Alan Sepinwall was highly positive, calling the resolution of the Tony and Junior conflict "an elegant solution, [...] and a great indicator of what a savvy tactician Tony is". Sepinwall also praised the final scene of "Meadowlands" as "a strong way to end an episode that's been all about the crumbling walls between Tony's work and home lives."[2]


  • The song played when Tony visits Uncle Junior at the restaurant and tries to head off a war, but Junior threatens to take Christopher's business away is "Prisoner of Love" by Perry Como.
  • The song played at the Bada Bing when Tony and the other captains eat lobsters and discuss the possibility of an impending war is "Ugly Stadium" by Tipsy.
  • The song played at the Bada Bing before the news announcement of Jackie Aprile's death is "Floor-Essence" by Man With No Name.
  • The song played when A.J. watches Tony at Jackie's funeral and into the end credits is "Look on Down From the Bridge" by Mazzy Star.


Jason Cahill won a Writers Guild of America award for his work on this episode.


  1. ^ VanDerWerff, Emily (June 16, 2010). "The Sopranos: "Meadowlands"/"College"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  2. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (June 24, 2015). "'The Sopranos' Rewind: Season 1, Episode 4: 'Meadowlands'". Uproxx. Retrieved April 16, 2017.

External links[edit]