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Lewis Jacobs/AMC

‘Breaking Bad’ 10th Anniversary: Top Ten Episodes


Breaking Bad is one of the greatest television shows of all-time, and the first episode aired ten years ago from tomorrow. In honor of that, we ranked the best episodes from the series, with clips for some of the best moments. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. [Note: this article contains spoilers, and clips may be NSFW due to violence and language]

 

10. Say My Name (S5E7)

The final season of Breaking Bad makes up more than half of this list, but that’s because it was simply phenomenal. In “Say My Name”, Walter White is feeling as ambitious as ever, and despite having more money than he knows what to do with, he just won’t let Heisenberg die. Walt’s pride also causes the death of fan-favorite Mike, who appropriately uses one of the few “f-bombs” in the series when he tells Walt—who just shot him—, “Shut the **** up. Let me die in peace.”

 

 

 

9. Granite State (S5E15)

It’s well-established by the series’ penultimate episode that Walter White has turned into a bad person, and he’s said as much himself. However, that doesn’t mean viewers weren’t pulling for him, especially against Uncle Jack and his crew in the final season. Then, the final shot of “Granite State” re-introduces Elliott and Gretchen Schwartz as villains in a different way, as they say Walt’s only contribution to the company they started together was coming up with the name. It looked as if Walt’s run was over after calling the cops on himself just a moment earlier, but he clearly feels betrayed by Elliott and Gretchen, and the ending of the second-to-last episode perfectly sets up an explosive finale.

 

 

 

8. Dead Freight (S5E5)

“Dead Freight” is perhaps the most unique episode in the entire series, as the quality of the train robbery scene is basically like that of a high-end action movie and unlike anything Breaking Bad has ever done. We know things don’t turn out great between Walt, Jesse, Todd, and Mike as a group for the series—or episode because Todd kills the kid that sees them—but it was awesome to see them work together to accomplish something that seemed impossible.

 

 

 

7. Gliding All Over (S5E8)

The midseason finale in Season 5 of Breaking Bad ends with Hank’s shocking realization that his own brother-in-law is the infamous Heisenberg, and it’s pieced together when he’s grabs a book in Walt’s bathroom that is signed by Gale Boetticher. What makes matters even more tragic for everyone is that just moments earlier, Walter told Skyler that he’s “out,” which of course came after he took care of business a la Michael Corleone in this scene.

 

 

 

6. Half Measures (S3E12)

“No more half measures, Walter.” Those were some wise words by Mike after a long speech about how he threatened to kill a serial domestic abuser by sticking his revolver in his mouth, but the guy promised he’d never hurt his wife/girlfriend again; two weeks later, he killed her, and Mike knew he made a mistake by not killing him when he could have. The lesson was taken by Walt, and it leads to an amazing final two episodes of the season, including Jesse’s near shootout with the drug dealers that killed Tomas to end “Half Measures”.

 

 

 

5. Full Measure (S3E13)

The conclusion of Season 3 is probably when most people jumped on the Breaking Bad bandwagon, as the stakes are somehow increased after Walt just ran down and murdered two drug dealers in the dead of night. With Gale now proficient enough at cooking meth, Gus is able to get rid of Walt and Jesse because they are simply too much of a problem. However, the two are in it together, and they take a full measure to save themselves.

 

 

 

4. Crawl Space (S4E11)

“Crawl Space” has a lot going on from Gus threating to kill Walt’s entire family to Ted being shaken down by Saul’s men, but the final scene is arguably the most chilling moment in television history, and it speaks for itself with tremendous acting.

 

 

 

3. Face Off (S4E13)

Has there even been a more suitable name for an episode? “Face Off” is the end of Walt versus Gus, which has basically been going on since the end of Season 2, as the ruthless owner of Los Pollos Hermanos is beaten by his own hubris when he visits Hector Salamanca to kill him at the nursing home, but it turns out the stubborn old man teamed up with Walt and had a bomb strapped to the bottom of his wheelchair. It’s startling to see Gus somehow walk out of the room seemingly fine, but we soon realize that’s not the case when the nurses sprint towards him and are shocked to see his face is literally half blown off as he adjusts his tie before collapsing. The final couple minutes ties things up for Season 4 and potentially the series before being renewed for one more spectacular run.

 

 

 

2. Felina (S5E16)

Ending a great television series can be difficult, but Vince Gilligan handled Breaking Bad with perfection. It’s heart-pounding throughout, starting with Walt visiting Gretchen and Elliott to give them nine-million dollars in cash that he says they will use to put in a trust fund for his children—and if they don’t he hired two assassins to kill them, at which point infrared beams appear on Walt’s former friends to show he’s not bluffing (even though he kind of is, because it was Badger and Skinny Pete posing as assassins). Walter also visits Skyler one last time and tells her where Hank is buried, and also admits he did everything for himself. Then, he is able to put his master plan into action to kill Jack and his crew with a machine gun set up in his car at the compound where Jesse is being held hostage, and the longtime partners seem to respect each other when they part ways after all they’ve been through together. Walter White’s final minutes of life are spent in no better way.

 

 

 

1. Ozymandias (S5E14)

The biggest moments almost always come at the end of TV shows or movies, but “Ozymandias” picks off right where the previous episode left off, as Hank and Gomez are in a shootout with Jack’s crew as Walt hides for cover. It’s impossible to even explain the sheer, brilliant chaos that ensues throughout the entire episode (Walt telling Jesse he watched Jane die; Walt fighting off a knife-wielding Skyler as he tries to explain what happened to Hank), but what happens in the desert at the beginning of the third-to-last episode is simply heartbreaking.

 

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