The Sopranos episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 5
Directed byAllen Coulter
Written byJames Manos Jr.
David Chase
Cinematography byAlik Sakharov
Production code105
Original air dateFebruary 7, 1999 (1999-02-07)
Running time56 minutes
Episode chronology
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"College" is the fifth episode of the first season of the HBO television drama series The Sopranos, and originally aired on February 7, 1999. It was written by co-producer James Manos Jr. and series creator and executive producer David Chase. The episode was directed by Allen Coulter. The episode was ranked second on TV Guide's's list of "100 Greatest Episodes of All-Time", published in 2009.[1]


* = credit only

Guest cast


Tony takes Meadow on a trip to Maine to visit three colleges she is considering. During the drive, Tony is taken aback when she asks if he is "in the Mafia", and denies it. When Meadow is skeptical, he admits that some of his income is from illegal gambling and other activities. Meadow admits that she took speed to study for her SATs but, when Tony reacts angrily, will not say where she got it. Both seem relieved by this mutual honesty on difficult topics.

At a gas station, Tony thinks he spots Fabian "Febby" Petrulio, a former member of the DiMeo family who entered witness protection after turning state's evidence. Tony contacts Christopher to run the plate number from his car and finds that he now goes by the alias "Fred Peters". Tony resolves to locate and execute Febby while continuing his trip with Meadow. He leaves her with some students she has met and confirms Febby's identity when, in the office of his travel business, he sees a carved bust: creating them was Febby's hobby. Febby feels someone is watching him, and finds the motel where Tony and Meadow are staying. He points a handgun at Tony, who suspects nothing; the presence of two other guests prevents him from taking the shot. The next morning, Tony drops off Meadow for a college interview. He finds Febby at his office and garrotes him. Later, during a drive to another college, Meadow asks Tony about the mud on his shoes and the cut on his hand. But she senses that he is not answering honestly, and asks no further questions.

While Tony and Meadow are away, A.J. is sleeping over at a friend's house. Father Phil Intintola, the Soprano family's priest, visits the house to enjoy Carmela's cooking and wine. Dr. Melfi phones to reschedule Tony's appointment; Carmela, discovering that Tony's therapist is a woman, assumes that he is sleeping with her.

During confession, Carmela tells Father Phil about her fears for her family and for her own soul, and he administers communion. She sips the wine, but he drains the cup, and they fall asleep together on the sofa. Half waking, they are about to kiss, but Father Phil suddenly desists and walks swaying to the bathroom, where he retches. He spends the rest of the night alone. In the morning, Carmela firmly says, "We didn't do anything." Tony and Meadow return that day. Carmela tells Tony that Father Phil stayed the night. She counters his sarcastic comments by telling him that Melfi called.


Title reference



The episode was rated as the best of the series by publications such as Time magazine and Entertainment Weekly.[6][7] It was ranked second overall on TV Guide's list of "Top 100 Episodes of All Time".[8]

Emily St. James retrospectively wrote that "the genius of the episode is that the storyline blends almost every aspect of the show's world so completely that it feels like a natural thing we're watching, not really a story being told." St. James also praised the cinematography, which included cross-cutting and point-of-view shots, as "very effective at putting us in the headspace of both Febby and Tony as they slowly stalk each other", and lauded the episode as "a strangely funny, incredibly tense meditation on what it means to choose the easy path every single time."[9]

Alan Sepinwall praised Chase's use of "only two stories so he could let them both play out in exhaustive, powerful detail", and wrote that the shot of Tony "staring wistfully up at a group of flying ducks, again standing in for the feelings of family and peace that seem to remain forever beyond his grasp – is ... stunning."[10]

Other cultural references


Filming locations

In order of first appearance:[11]


James Manos Jr. and David Chase won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for their work on this episode. Edie Falco received her first Primetime Emmy Award nomination and win for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her performance as Carmela in this episode.


  1. ^ TV Guide's Top 100 Episodes of All Time (2009) - IMDb, archived from the original on November 30, 2022, retrieved November 30, 2022
  2. ^ https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0744336/?ref_=ttfc_fc_cl_t50 Archived April 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine[user-generated source]
  3. ^ The Sopranos: The Complete First Season: DVD interview
  4. ^ DVD commentary from episode 13 of season 4, Whitecaps
  5. ^ Martin, Brett (October 30, 2007). "Welcome to New Jersey: A Sense of Place". The Sopranos: The Complete Book. New York: Time. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-933821-18-4.
  6. ^ Time: The Best of the Sopranos
  7. ^ Jensen, Jeff. "The Hit Parade - 1. COLLEGE (Season 1)". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on April 30, 2008.
  8. ^ "100 Greatest Episodes of All-Time" TV Guide; June 15, 2009; Pages 34-49
  9. ^ St. James, Emily (June 16, 2010). "The Sopranos: "Meadowlands"/"College"". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on April 18, 2017. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  10. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (July 1, 2015). "'The Sopranos' Rewind: Season 1, Episode 5: 'College'". Uproxx. Archived from the original on April 17, 2017. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  11. ^ Ugoku. "The Sopranos location guide - Filming locations for". www.sopranos-locations.com. Archived from the original on January 13, 2020. Retrieved January 26, 2020.