If I had to pick one television show that had me in a nervous wreck, waiting to see what would happen next, it would be ‘Breaking Bad’. I’d say it is undoubtedly, the best TV show of all time. (Sorry, ‘Game of Thrones’ fans). It is really remarkable how a piece of entertainment can be so artistic and so entertaining at the same time without compromising on either of the two.
It is no secret that the best seasons of ‘Breaking Bad’ were the finals two seasons. The show kept hitting new heights with every episodes and the writing was almost perfect. So, when we set out to pick out the best episodes from the show, it came as no surprise that most of our picks were from the final two seasons. Here is a list of the top Breaking Bad episodes, ranked.
12. Better Call Saul (Season 2, Episode 8)
Starting off the list with the episode that features the introduction of the show’s most popular supporting actor – Saul Goodman, the slime ball sleazebag criminal lawyer, played by Bob Odenkirk. The popularity of the character enabled him to get a spin-off show with the same title of this episode, one that is definitely not on par with ‘Breaking Bad’ in terms of quality but worth a watch all the same. ‘Better Call Saul’ is one of the funny and lighter episodes of ‘Breaking Bad’, with a tinge of dark humour. While it does not add much to the story, ‘Better Call Saul’ is the definition of pure entertainment, it was an episode that signified just how versatile ‘Breaking Bad’ could be.
11. Salud (Season 4, Episode 10)
‘Breaking Bad’ at its dramatic best. Gus Fring killing off the cartel has always been one of my favourite sequences in the entire show, it’s unpredictability and spontaneity makes for a really interesting watch. It is often remarked that Season 4 was not the season of Heisenberg nor was it the season of Jesse Pinkman or any of the other leads for that matter but it was carried by the sensational performance of Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo Fring. There is a lot of truth to this statement, as can be seen from this episode, where the most tense moments feature Fring.
10. End Times (Season 4, Episode 12)
While this episode is meant to be the ‘calm before the storm’, it still succeeds spectacularly on all fronts. Aaron Paul is at his emotional best in this episode and he begins to suspect Walter’s descent into madness. The manipulative Heisenberg, however, does what he is famous for and uses Jesse’s anger to turn him against Gus. The episode is technically a slow paced one but utilises this feature of it to build up fever-pitch tension. The episode is the perfect set-up for a Jesse and Walt v Gus battle, one which comes to a chilling conclusion in the next episode of the fourth season, the finale.
9. To’hajilee (Season 5, Episode 13)
In a season with so many great episodes, ‘To’hajilee’ is often overlooked. The episode is ingenious, clever, intense and crazy at the same time and leaves you almost completely overwhelmed. ‘To’hajilee’ is also a milestone in the sense that it is the first time we ever see the tables turn on Walter White. An episode which can be called the ‘Beginning of the fall of Heisenberg’. When the final gunfight ensues in the desert and the screen cuts to credits at the end of the episodes, you just know that the next episode might just be one of the greatest episodes in television history. (Read below)
8. Caballo sin Nombre (Season 3, Episode 2)
The episode featuring the iconic scene where Walter White throws the box of pizza on top of the roof of his house. Fun Fact: A number of devout fans of the show have attempted to replicate the scene by tossing pizzas on the roof of the house used in the show angering the actual residents of the house in Albuquerque! Cranston‘s character is a combination of Heisenberg and Walter White for most part of the show. If you were to pick one episode where the both these personalities exist in complete equilibrium, you’d have to pick this one. Once Gus saves his life and calls him back to work, the Heisenberg personality starts to become dominant, right until the end of the show. Strong acting and fever-pitch tension put this episode among the very best.
7. Full Measure (Season 3, Episode 13)
‘Full Measure’ was the perfect set-up to the groundbreaking seasons 4 and 5 were. Engaging, dramatic and well written throughout, ‘Full Measure’ is the episode where Walter first finds himself threatened and shows hints of beginning to fight back. It features the re-introduction of David Costabile as Gale Boetticher, undoubtedly one of the most memorable characters of Breaking Bad’s supporting cast. Up until this episode, it wasn’t clear what direction ‘Breaking Bad’ meant to go in or what it wanted to become. ‘Full Measure’ was sort of turning point in ‘Breaking Bad’s timeline, it was the episode where the show decided to take-off and never did come back. When the gunshot rings out in the final scene of the episode, when Jesse shoots Gale, you know things are never going to be the same again, for any of the characters.
6. Crawl Space (Season 4, Episode 11)
The maniacal laugh which Walter lets out in the ‘Crawl Space’ at the end of the episode right before he appears to pass out, when he finds out that Skyler has donated his money to Ted, is downright harrowing and chilling. An episode full of anger, remorse, treachery, revenge, loyalty and laughter. Skyler’s descent into insanity and her inability to decide which side to pick is portrayed accurately in this episode. Cranston ascends to his highest tier of acting skills with a performance that clearly justifies the multiple Emmies he has won for the show. ‘Crawl Space’ is the epitome of Breaking Bad’s sheer brilliance.
5. Face Off (Season 4, Episode 13)
The ear piercing scream of Gus Fring just before he gets turned into Two Face from Batman. The increasing unpredictability of Walter White. The slow zooming camera shot in the final scene, revealing the nametag ‘Lily of the Valley’. ‘Face Off’ has got it all, drama, heartbreak, action and a heart stopping climax which may just about be one of the greatest television cliffhangers in recent times. “What Happened? I won.” This may well be one of the most symbolic moments of the show. Writing, directing, cinematography and acting is top-notch as usual in this perfect set-up for the masterpiece season 5 was.
4. Granite State (Season 5, Episode 15)
The only reason this episode is not higher up in the list is due to the sheer brilliance of the episodes above it. Heisenberg is not taking the coward’s way out. The show is not going to end with him in hiding, waiting for the feds to get to him. Heisenberg is going to set out to complete what he started out to do in the first place. Jesse, also, has some fight left in him and is not going to die a dog’s death. When the ‘Breaking Bad’ theme blasts as background music for the final scene of the episode as it zooms into to that empty glass of wine Walter White had before escaping, you just know it is the perfect set-up for the series finale.
3. Say My Name (Season 5, Episode 7)
Ask any ‘Breaking Bad’ fan for his favourite quote from the show and he’ll tell you – “Now…Say my Name.” This episode uses ‘dead silence’, something which ‘Breaking Bad’ is famous for, to its maximum effect. It is an episode that shows us the two personalities of Cranston’s character, at their extremes. Heisenberg has reached his egotistical, narcissistic extreme, he believes he is the kingpin of the empire he built. ‘Say My Name’ is the episode where all your sympathy towards Walter White is finally depleted and you slowly stop rooting for him. The final scene of this episode is an absolute thing of beauty, it leaves you sitting in sheer awe and pondering over what you just saw, long after the end.
Read More: Best Archer Episodes
2. Felina (Season 5, Episode 16)
A problem which many television shows face today is the inability to tie up loose ends in the series finale. Many viewers are left disgruntled, complaining about how this particular feature of the finale wasn’t exactly up to the mark. (‘Dexter’ comes into mind) Naturally, people were nervous about how ‘Breaking Bad’ would tie everything up. Vince Gilligan and his team put all doubts to rest when they delivered one of the greatest series finales of all time. That last scene, with ‘Baby Blue’ playing in the background, where Heisenberg falls to the ground with a smile of fulfillment has etched onto the minds of every single fan of the show. ‘Felina’ picks you up, tears you open, tosses you around before throwing you back on the ground, leaving you with one and one feeling only – Closure.
Read More: Best Friends Episodes
1. Ozymandias (Season 5, Episode 14)
Is this the single greatest piece of television entertainment ever made? ‘Ozymandias’ is not just an episode of ‘Breaking Bad’, it is a work of art. I challenge anyone to find even a single scene or feature about it that could have been improved even a little bit, ‘Ozymandias’ is in simple terms, perfection. Right from the opening scene, which throws you back to the beginning of it all, to the final scene, where an almost eerie sense of fulfillment comes over you and yet, at the same time you’re left thirsting for more. The emotion this episode carries is on a new level altogether and the shocks are big and come in quick succession. If you had to pick out one episode that gave ‘Breaking Bad’ the status of immortality, it would have to be ‘Ozymandias’.
Read More: Best Game of Thrones Episodes