Saturday, October 5, 2019

Saturday TV Special: 20 best moments in Breaking Bad

By s. Saturday, October 5, 2019 , ,
We are now only 6 days away from the follow up to one of the most acclaimed TV series of all time, Breaking Bad. I wasn't a big fan of finale, which I wrote about at length after it aired. The rewatch did make me appreciate it a bit more but it fixed none of its many problems. So for me this is like another chance to give the series the proper ending. There's the risk they will mess it up - especially since the shot of Jesse laughing as he was driving away was just so, so perfect - but to quote someone else on letterboxd - I hope Vince Gilligan won't fuck us on this.

I did a rewatch of the entire show this week and while doing it I was writing down my favorite scenes to do this post. Here are my favorite moments in the show:

HMs: "Skyler, there's rot", "I fucked Ted.", "Fuck you and your eyebrows!", "I'm talking with Ted", "Peek-a-boo"

20. Hank figures it out, part 2
5x08 Gliding Over All
Hank figuring out W.W. = Walter White while sitting on the crapper is iconic. And they did that as the last scene of 5A so it was months before we saw what happens next.

19. Dinner from Hell
5x06 Buyout
Jesse and Skyler only interacted one time before this episode, in season 1. This scene is comedy gold. You have Skyler who is passive aggressive and doesn't show any kindness to Jesse whom she despises, you have Walt who stopped giving a fuck to the point he lets Jesse inside his house and invites him over to stay for dinner and you have Jesse trying to be as polite as possible as he is thrown in right into the White's horrible marriage.

18. "Heisenberg! Heisenberg!"
5x09 Blood Money
Hank has not been particularly bright about the way he dealt with Walt. I always questioned so many of his decisions in 5B. Hank didn't tell anyone in DAE because of his fear he would lose his job because Heisnberg was under his nose this whole time. I never bought that. Hank is not a white woman, but a white man so I sincerely doubt there would be serious repercussions. There's nothing dumber than not bringing the backup to that desert in 5x13, but Hank letting Walt know that he knows comes close. Still, it's such an intense moment.

17. Hank figures it out, part 1
4x07 Problem Dog
Even with Hank not noticing who Walt is and then once he did making so many mistakes, I think Hank was still one of the best agents in TV history. He was able to see the connections unlike the others and he was so close to finding out the truth so many times with Walt taking more and more desperate measures to stop him each time. In this wonderful ending, Hank sits down with Gomey and his boss and starts talking about Gale's murder and his connection to the blue meth. As he is talking about it, you are astonished by how well he connected all of this but you still think it's not enough to point to Gus - and that is precisely what Hank's boss says. And then Hank hits him and the audience with one more reveal - that they found Gus's fingerprint in Gale's place.

16. Mike infiltrates Chow's warehouse
3x13 Full Measures
This scene is like something straight out of (good) Tarantino movie. We all know that there are lots of similarities between the series and his movies but this is especially evident in this moment where the badass Mike takes out goons who are threatening Gus' associate. Hell, there's even a close up of a lady's foot in here.

15. Mike and Saul listen to Skyler and Walt arguing
3x04 Green Light
Breaking Bad is one of the very few shows that actually improved as they progressed (until 5A which is the worst season in the show). They introduced such fun supporting characters in Mike and Saul and each of them always brought so much energy to the screen. And they had such great moments together, the funniest one by far being Mike and Saul listening in to the tape of Skyler and Walt arguing after she told him she fucked Ted.

14. Box cutter
4x01 Box Cutter
Giancarlo Esposito created such an amazing villain in Gus. Always so calm and collected, this moment was the first one where we saw just how brutal and merciless Gus can be. Without uttering a single line Gus, unable to kill either Walt or Jesse, slaughters his henchman Victor. I love how Mike is so shocked that he actually raises his gun in Gus direction and how pissed off Jesse is after Victor is dead - you really see rage in his eyes. It's not about Victor, it's Jesse's anger at someone being capable of doing something like this with absolute impunity.

13. The Tub
1x02 The Cat's in the Bag
It's not only one the funniest moments in the show but also the very moment that got me hooked on it. Walt and Jesse have to get rid of decomposing body so Walt tells Jesse what he needs to get in order to do it. Walt specifically tells him to buy a plastic container but Jesse figures he has a perfectly fine bathtub he can dissolve the body in. So he does just that and the acid burns through the bathtub and the floor. The whole bloody mess collapses and after that Walt hilariously explains to Jesse just what the problem with his actions was.

12. Gus dies
4x13 Face Off
Breaking Bad writing was always impressive but the elegant foreshadowing that took so many episodes in the making is the most amazing part. In season 2 we kept seeing glimpses of a teddy bear with half of his face burnt off. And then unexpectedly this comes back as we see Gus's final moments. This is also the end of the road for Hector Salamanca, whom we met 2 seasons prior. The way those plot devices and characters crossed paths in the show was always its biggest strength, other than wonderful acting.

11. Hank's death
5x14 Ozymandias
Hank was such an amazing character and the people behind the show refused to take away his dignity. He died like the badass he was and only after he finally got to put the handcuffs on Heisenberg. He also owned Walter in another way - he knew no matter what happens, he is a dead man, unlike Walter who keeps persisting. While Walt is pleading to save Hank's life, Hank already knows it's all over.

10. Hank vs the cousins
3x07 One Minute
One of the most intense moments in the entire show was Hank being attacked by the two cousins from the cartel. It's such a tense, brutal scene and the show did such a great job of getting the characters to exactly that place and those circumstances.

9. "I am the one who knocks"
4x06 Cornered
Skyler, being clueless like she always was and as always underestimating her husband, thinks Walt and their entire family is in danger. He quickly tells her she is mistaken and he is the one that is the dangerous one. Bryan Cranston's performance in the show is one of the all time greats and he really has the amazing ability of adding so much weight and intensity to those killer lines Gilligan wrote for him.

8. Crawl space
4x11 Crawl Space
One of the most chilling moments in the entire series. After Skyler gave all of their money away to her ex-lover, Walt is left with nothing in a moment of despair that turns into pure lunacy as he laughs, to Skyler's horror. This was the ending of the episode so we were all left with the impression that Walt has completely snapped.

7. "This is not meth"
1x06 Crazy Handful of Nothin'
The first truly badass moment from Walter was when after Jesse was beat up, he decided to get the revenge. He walks in, on his own, to the building where Tuco is and mid-conversation with him he causes an explosion with fulminated mercury. In the end, he gets the money from Tuco as well as his respect. I always loved those moments where Walter used his knowledge and his scientific abilities to outsmart everyone.

6. Jesse drives away
5x16 Felina
The last time we saw Jesse in the show is after he is freed by Walt and he drives away, laughing and crying, finally free. Hopefully we won't see Jesse suffer too much in El Camino. Jesse has always been a good person with strong conscience and while he did terrible things, he always felt intense remorse. He deserves a happy ending.

5. "The sweet, kind, brilliant man that we once knew long ago – he's gone"
5x15 Granite State
The ending to the penultimate episode is such an amazing scene - Walt is sitting in the bar, having already called the cops, ready to turn himself in. But as he is sitting there, Gretchen and Elliot appear on TV talking about him and lying that he only contributed to their company with the idea for the name. That infuriates Walter whose Achilles' heel was always his pride. As the cops arrive, he is already gone. But what really makes this scene is that for the first time in the show's entire run we hear the theme song in the actual episode.

4. "Stay out of my territory"
2x10 Over
Another fantastic ending was Walt noticing a meth addict buying supplies to cook with while he was shopping. Initially he gives him helpful advice but then he gets out of the store and stares down the competition telling them to stay out of his territory. Also I just love TV on the Radio and their badass song DLZ plays in the background of this scene.

3. "Run"
3x12 Half Measures
This show had some of the best, intense endings to the episodes. The second best one was Walt saving Jesse, running over one of the guys and then shooting another in the head in cold blood to Jesse's utter shock. He then turns to Jesse and simply tells him to run. I always loved those moments when Walt had Jesse's back.

2. "Your boss is gonna need me"
3x13 Full Measures
The best ending and the best cliffhanger in the show was by far this one. Walt is held at gunpoint by Mike who intends to kill him. Walt calls Jesse, with Mike believing he is luring Jesse there, but in reality he tells him to carry on their plan. As Mike figures out what is happening he takes the phone away and aims his gun at Walt, but Walt tells Mike that he cannot shoot him. We then go to Jesse who knocks at Gale's door and then holds him at gun point. As Jesse deliberates pulling the trigger, he slightly moves the gun and takes a shot and the screen goes black. The very impressive thing here is that when Walt is on the phone with Jesse he is Walt, but then as he talks to Mike he is in full Heisenberg mode, having regained the control of the situation.

1. "I watched Jane die"
5x14 Ozymandias
Ozymandias is rightfully praised - even by the series creator Vince Gillian - as the finest episode of the series. It is a relentless horror show of cruelty, but by far the worst comes when Walt finally tells Jesse that he could have prevented Jane's death but he chose not to do that. At that point Walt, who is completely mentally broken after watching Hank die, points out where Jesse is hiding and goes along with the Nazis plan to torture Jesse. But he twists the knife right before they take him away. That was a reveal 3 seasons in the making. Throughout the show we see Walt become more and more morally corrupt but up until that point I feel that the audience had a chance to rationalize his behavior. Yes, he did poison Brock but he knew the kid would survive. Yes, he did stand by and watched Jane die but she did have a terrible influence on Jesse. Yes, he did call those Nazis and led to Hank's death but he was trying to stop them. But this here is the point of no return. This is where he looses whatever support he still had from the audience. It's such a cruel moment that all Walt could do in the two remaining episodes after that was to regain as much of Walter White as he could and try to minimize the damage he has done. But there was never a chance to go back and right all the wrongs, not after that.


  1. I still haven't seen the last season (I'm weird, I know), and now I feel like I need to watch all the previous seasons before getting to the last one and I don't have time for that. :D

    Anyway, I LOVE that bathtub scene. I remember not loving the first episode of the show but the second one was starting to appeal to me more. But in general, I think it got really strong in the second season.

    Anyway, excited for the movie. Even though I won't really know what is happening. :D

    1. Just get sick like I did this week lol I literally did nothing else but pressed buttons on remote from the bed but that was also because I was so weak and had no strength to hold a book or something

      I'm sure this week there will be tons of recaps online!

  2. great selection, it's been a while! the shift in morals from both walt and jesse over the course of the entire series is amazing.

    1. Jesse was pretty consistent, though. His attitude towards walt changed but for a good reason

  3. I never got into Breaking Bad when it was first aired, but my husband loved it. He convinced me to watch an episode with him after I'd already given up and it was that one with a fly...just a fly, the whole episode!
    I definitely plan on reading a catch up article though so I'm clued up for the movie!

    1. Yep! That's the most controversial episode of the show but it only works if you saw all the previous episodes and are invested in the characters

  4. This is an AMAZING post! I agree with all of these moments. You're making me really want to re-watch all of this.

    Even with Gilligan liking foreshadowing, I still did not expect half of Gus' faces to actually get blown off. I shouted at my TV when that happened.

    That scene from Boxcutter was so intense as well.

    1. Thank you! You really should do a rewatch!

      That was so shocking, they really pulled it off so well and for once TWD people were useful since they helped with effects on that scene :)

  5. I haven't had the time for a rewatch before El Camino, but it's so good to relive some of the best moments reading this. The performances in this show were just incredible. And Crawl Space was such a phenomenal episode.

    1. Yes! This has some of the best performances ever on TV, and writing too, it's really amazing how well planned everything was

  6. I finished the rewatch yesterday and I loved watching all these moments, especially Gus death and the tub scene. That one was hilarious.

    And yes, Hank is so dumb for not telling anyone and not bringing backups in the desert. Also, he was so good at connecting Gale, the meth and Gus but it took him ages to figure out Heisenberg's identity.

    1. The tub scene was the first laugh out moment for me, that was just brilliant, the way Walt calmly but in such an annoyed voice explained to Jesse why he wanted him to buy that container lol