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The Ralphie Theory That Changes Everything On The Sopranos

Among the much-loved scumbags that worked for, or against, Tony Soprano in the hit HBO show, "The Sopranos," few left as much of an impact as Joe Pantoliano's Ralph Cifaretto. The "Gladiator"-quoting captain whose big mouth gave James Gandolfini's iconic mob boss a headache often found himself in a lot of trouble. Sparking a war between the DiMeo and the Lupertazzi family thanks to his wisecrack about Johnny Sacramoni's (Vincent Curatola) wife, he pressed so hard on Tony's last nerve that he was finally snuffed out by the man himself.

The murder was set in motion long before it actually happened. Ralph was a duplicitous, despicable character who did anything to get what he wanted and always assumed that he could get away with it. This included beating a pregnant woman to death and burning down a stable for the insurance money with Tony's co-owned prized horse inside. Ralph was without question an absolute monster. Given his determined and devious nature, one specific fan theory may hold water regarding his relationship with Jackie Aprile Jr. (Jason Cerbone), the son of the former boss and Rosalie Aprile, whose demise may have a stronger link to Ralphie than initially thought.

Ralphie may have planned Jackie Aprile Jr.'s death from the beginning

Reddit user u/pushingrocks theorized that Ralphie set things in motion for Jackie Aprile Jr.'s death, all stemming from a story he told the youngster while dating his mother Rosalie. The theory references an episode in Season 3, which saw Ralphie explaining to Jackie Jr. "how Tony Soprano (the current boss) and Jackie Aprile (the dead former boss) made their mark by robbing a card game." Sometime after this, Jackie Jr. tried to rise in the family business by robbing a high-stakes poker game himself. The job went sideways though, ending with a shooting and the young man ultimately getting whacked for his impulsiveness. From here, u/pushingrock added, "one cant help but remember that it was that son of a b***h Ralphie that put the idea of robbing the card game in Jackie Jr's head to begin with." 

It certainly fits the conniving captain's nature. Figuring out how to make situations work in his favor is Ralph's strength, regardless of the fallout. Keeping this in mind, Ralph laying the foundations for Jackie Jr.'s inevitably doomed plan is plausible — but why do it in the first place? Well, it might seem a stretch, but in the mafia world, where blood is thicker than water, "maybe if Jackie Jr. was gone, his own future kids with Rosalie would be the heir apparent and thus favor himself over the Soprano family," according to u/pushingrocks. 

We'll never know if that was the intention, as Ralphie was also killed later on — something he definitely didn't anticipate.