Breaking Bad: Top 10 moments

WRITTEN BY: Michael DeLaney
Image Source: Fleshgrinder via Wikicommons

The beginning of the end is almost here my friends: Breaking Bad returns in five days. There are so many burning questions: What will Hank do now that he has found out about Walt? Have Walt and Jesse really retired? And most importantly, have Gale Boetticher’s karaoke videos gone viral yet?

Breaking Bad has been an amazing television experience, with edge-of-your seat tension that just keeps getting more and more intense. Before we Breaking Bad faithful return to the land of blue meth on August 11, let’s recap some of the series greatest hits, shall we?

Here are my picks for the top ten best moments (so far) on Breaking Bad:

10. Magnets, bitch! Season 5, Episode 1 “Live Free or Die”

I think that everyone gets a sort of vindication when Jesse wins (which doesn’t happen very often.) Such was the case of the “Great Magnet Scheme.” After Walt had toppled Gus Fring’s drug empire, Albuquerque PD had confiscated most of Fring’s possessions, including a laptop that had video of Walt, Jesse and Mike in the meth lab. So Mike reluctantly joined Walt and Jesse in their operation, in which they outfit a box truck with a high powered magnet to corrupt the data on the confiscated laptop. Though the most jovial part of this outing was when Jesse discovered that his plan would work and exclaimed “Magnets bitch!,” the execution of the plan was equally entertaining. Seeing all of the materials in the evidence room slowly glide to the opposite wall was quite a treat, and of course when Walt turned up the magnet all the way, causing the truck to tip over. While this was a prime example of Walt being greedy, I like to see it as more of a win for our boy Jesse. Yaaay Jesse!    

9. I.F.T. Season 3, Episode 3 "I.F.T."

Skyler gets a lot of grief from viewers, which I always take umbrage with. The woman never asked for a life like this and now her drug dealing hubby just won’t stay out of the house. So in an attempt to prove to Walt (and herself) that she still has some control over her life she begins an affair with her boss Ted Beneke. It isn’t until the end of the episode when Walt is ready to sit down to a meal with his family that Skyler stares him dead in the eye and says matter of factly “I fucked Ted.” She nonchalantly proceeds to sit down and begin her meal, and the credits roll. Skyler can break bad too.

8. Hank gets shot Season 3, Episode 7 “One Minute”

It was certainly clear early on that the hangman’s noose was tightening around Walt’s neck. The Salamanca twins were coming for him, seeking revenge for the death of their cousin Tuco. This of course was a problem for Gus Fring, not wanting to lose his number 1 cook. So in an effort to kill two birds with one stone, Gus sent the twins after Walt’s brother-in-law Hank, who had actually killed Tuco. Hank exits the DEA offices after being sent on a suspension for beating the Christ out of Jesse. He gets in his car and receives a phone call saying that someone is going to attack him in one minute. Hank freezes, looks around and then is visited by the twins, who empty a lot of bullets into poor Hank. He manages to smash his car into one of the twins, crippling him and shoot the other one in the head. It was a gripping experience sitting with Hank in that car, waiting for the unknown to arrive.

7. Walt’s jail murder orchestration Season 5 Episode 8 "Gilding Over All"

The end of Season 5 of Breaking Bad had Walter White pulling another full measure: a Godfather-styled mass execution of the ten loose ends from Gus Fring’s empire. Like Michael Corleone, Walt has become an emotional zombie, taking out human threats like they were the fly that he tried so desperately to get out of his meth lab in Season 3. He recruits the aid of Vamanos Pest employee and current sous chef Todd, who gets his connected uncle in on the dirty deeds. Todd’s uncle has ties with Aryan Brotherhood members inside many of the New Mexico prisons, and orchestrates the deaths of the loose ends. It’s a murder plan taking place in multiple prisons simultaneously, all within two minutes. It’s a hard scene to watch, as we see inmates shanked and set on fire by the Aryan Brotherhood, all to the tune of Nat King Cole’s “Pick Yourself Up.” It’s a chilling display of Walt’s venom, proving once again that you do not mess with Heisenberg.

6. Walt kills the gangbangers Season 3 Episode 12 “Half Measures”

Breaking Bad has often shown us that Jesse Pinkman has a fondness for the youngins. He covered for his little brother’s pot smoking and tried to scold the ATM meth heads for “raising” their son in one of the nastiest drug dens we’ve seen on the show. So when Jesse got to know fellow recovering addict Andrea and her son Brock, he learned that Gus’ thugs were hiring kids like her younger brother Tomas to do their killing. After Gus told Jesse to keep the peace with these particular drug thugs, Tomas was found dead. Jesse knew that these dealers were behind it and was about to have an old-fashioned shoot out with them when WHAM! Walt’s Pontiac Aztek comes out of nowhere and mows down the two dealers. He gets out of the car, picks up one of their guns, and shoots them point blank in the head. Walt turns to Jesse and says “Run.” Chills my friends, chills!

5. Walt poisons Brock Season 4, Episode 12 “End Times”

Walter White is a bastard you guys, sometimes I still can’t believe he did this one. The end of season 4 had Jesse beat the crap out of Walt, seemingly breaking the two of them up forever. So Walt was now on Jesse’s shit list AND Gus’ kill list, and he needed to find a way to get Jesse under his thumb once more. Andrea calls Jesse in a panic, saying that Brock is sick and the doctors don’t know what’s wrong with him. Jesse notices that his ricin-laced cigarette is missing, thinking that Brock got a hold of it somehow, possibly at the hands of Walt. Jesse accuses Walt and comes very close to shooting him, but Walt convinces Jesse that Gus must be behind it all. As the audience, we wanted to believe Walt as badly as Jesse did; how could Walt be so cold? It wasn’t until the following episode that we discovered that Brock was poisoned by a flower called lily of the valley, of which Walt had a huge potted plant in the back yard. Damn you Walt!

4. Jesse shoots Gail Season 3, Episode 13 “Full Measure”

The end of season 3 put Jesse and Walt into the corner, with seemingly no way out. Jesse was on the run from Gus, who was searching high and low for him; ready to put his head on a pike. Walt was still cooking in the lab, once again joined by fellow nerd Gail, but he knew he was a marked man just the same as Jesse. The only way to assure that Jesse and Walt would be safe from Gus was taking an insurance policy out: killing Gail, making Walt (and Jesse) essential to keep Fring’s operation moving along at the pace it had been. Walt had intended to do the deed himself, because what’s one more death on his hands? But push came to shove, and Gus’ henchmen Mike and Victor got to Walt before he could get to Gail, leaving it in Jesse’s hands. Jesse arrived at Gails apartment, clearly conflicted about taking a life, and eventually pulled the trigger. Walt, why do you hurt Jesse so?

3. Janes death Season 2, Episode 12 "Phoenix"

In the Season 3 episode “The Fly”, Walt tells Jesse “I’ve lived too long.” He relates ta perfect moment for his life to have ended, with his family covered and his hands not as filthy as they would eventually become. The moment he is referring to is the night Jesse’s girlfriend and fellow addict Jane died. Jane was unpredictable, and addict who was blackmailing Walt and manipulated Jesse even better than Walt could. Walt goes to Jesse’s apartment, to try to get the fella off of the drugs. He finds Jesse and Jane passed out on the bed after a wild heroin trip, and then Jane starts to choke on her own vomit. Walt’s first instinct is to go and help the girl, but then he freezes and chooses that he’s better off with her out of the way, letting her die. This sin of omission wasn’t his first major one, but it was a defining moment where Walt truly began to lose his soul.

2. Gus Fring turns Two-Face Season 4, Episode 13 “Face-Off”

There are so many wonderful Gus Fring moments: When we discovered that the fried chicken king was a drug lord, when he poisoned the Mexican cartel and of course when he slit Victor’s throat with a box cutter. But for my money Gus’ best moment was his last one. The usually clever and composed Gus fell into Walt’s trap by coming to the nursing home where Hector Salamanca was living, believing that the old man had turned snitch. Just as Gus is about to kill Hector, the old killer looks Gus in the eye and rings his bell repeatedly. Gus’ face is filled with horror as he knows what’s about to happen – BOOM! The room explodes, and Gus walks out, apparently still breathing; but NO! half of his face was blown off. And in traditional Fring fashion, he straightens his tie before dying.

1. “Say my name” Season 5, Episode 7 “Say My Name”

Throughout Breaking Bad’s run, Walter White has had many moments of greed and power grabbing. He’s gone from a timid pushover to a drug lord kingpin in a years’ time. In that time one thing has become very clear: dude has got an ego. We have witnessed Walt’s stubborn pride get him into countless scrapes, and usually it’s that same ego that gets him out of those quandaries and quagmires. The penultimate episode of that season showed Walt in a position where he was now running all of the methamphetamine business in the southwest. When he meets with rival drug runner Declan, he makes full recognition of this monopoly and demands Declan’s respect. Declan denies knowing who Walt is, prompting Mr. White to say the wonderful line: “Say my name.” Declan responds by saying Walt’s nom de drugs: “Heisenberg.” Cue Walt’s amazing response: “You’re goddamn right!” Best. Opener. EVER.

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