Happy Wanderer is the Greatest Sopranos Episode Ever Why is the Happy Wanderer the Greatest Sopranos Episode Ever?
I felt the need to pen this piece to make it clear to the internet why The Sopranos’ season 2, episode 6 is the best. And by no means am I referring to an arc, like the one Christopher talks to Paulie about in the first season.
No I am simply saying this episode, slightly stands ahead of a few other close second places.
Firstly, the character insights to Tony are remarkable. We see how nostalgic Tony is, unless it stands in the way of business.
Tony tells David he is not the kid on the schoolyard. Tony shows David his other face, or side to him. The dark Tony comes out.
This dark side can not be penetrated, even late at night when Tony is as vulnerable as can be. During ‘Bust Out’, we see Tony’s response to David Scatino’s talking about the fight with the bottle rocket while he was sleeping in the tent at the store. Right up until the moment David Scatino starts with the story and is interrupted by Tony, the audience expects Tony to enjoy the story. But, we must be reminded as we have been throughout the episode, that when it comes to everything in Tony’s life, business is first.
Except when it comes to family, of course Tony’s achilles heel.
Happy Wanderer also shows us how Richie Aprile operates. From nice guy to debt collector of his $8,000 to his losing it at the Executive Game. Threatening to cut David’s eye out.
Maybe 10 minutes earlier Richie was joking with David’s son.
Then we get to see Tony assert himself over Richie and then David.
But, when Meadow refuses to take a car that David has offered as partial payment, because it belonged to her friend, David’s son. Tony loses it. He offers to “eat it” and rants about providing for his family.
Tony is helplessly in love with his daughter and her refusing his gift is not something Tony can take very well. Tony is an amazing father. The type of father we all want to be. Yes, he makes mistakes. But he takes them fishing, will miss a swim meet, but loves them with all of his heart. He even still loves his mother and uncle after they plot to kill him.
The busting out of David Scatino is also a great lesson in one of the most profitable enterprises of the mafia. The interconnected web of friends and family is just too delicious for us as the viewers to not be drawn in.
Everyone’s favorite sap, Artie Bucco, offers Ramlosa that he buys from Tony. Which Tony took from Ramsay Outdoors as its being busted out, back to David Scatino’s wife, as she pours her heart out to Carmela. Thanking God the store is in her name otherwise David would gamble it away. This further reveals the naivete of the common citizens regarding how Tony and his crew can profitably operate. Legalese means nothing to Tony. Tony takes what’s “his” and that’s that.
Tony hates the “happy wanderers” that he encounters in life. The David Scatino’s who just act and bet. Without planning ahead. Tony wants to live a life of care-free bliss as he tells Melfi, but he can not achieve that zen state as he was built to be a ‘doer and taker’. And David Scatino’s in his way will be taken from.
Happy Wanderer has all of the offerings we look for in an episode of Sopranos while revealing so much character insight, the episode feels bordering on genius. From little bits such as Christopher taking advantage of the fish store and referring to the clerk as a hump. All the while slowly building resentment in Beviliaqua and Gismonte.
Furthermore, when Silvio chews out Beviliaqua you can see the resentment building inside the kid. “All right? I love fuckin’ cheese at my feet! I stick motherfuckin’ provolone in my socks at night, so they smell like your sister’s crotch in the morning! All right? So leave the fuckin’ cocksuckin’ cheese WHERE IT IS!”
Even the tiniest bits, such as Richie’s line to Johnny Sack about free tokens at the tunnel have become legendary among fans.
Happy Wanderer may not be your favorite. There are so many brilliant episodes, perhaps this entire article should not have been written in the first place?