After re-watching AMC’s Breaking Bad all the way through for the second time, this series maintained a comfortable spot in my top 5 television series of all time. The characters of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, played brilliantly by Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, have so much depth.
They both possess flaws but as viewers, we accept them for it, and they transform into even more complex characters throughout the series. Their partnership is heartfelt and tragic at the same time, remaining constant among a whirlwind of dangerous challenges and foes along the way.
After re-watching the series for a second time, I was eager to rank my top 5 episodes from the show. Please note that spoilers are below if you have not gotten the chance to watch and if you haven’t, I strongly recommend that you get to cooking! My top 5 episodes from Breaking Bad are:
“One Minute” (season 3, episode 7)
For starters, the flashback to “The Cousins” as young boys guided by Hector Salamanca is haunting on its own. The two boys are fighting and one wishes the other was dead. Hector proceeds to drown the boy, asking the other one how much longer he has down there. When the boy comes up for air, Hector reminds the brothers that family is everything.
In present time, Jesse is recovering from the horrific beat-down that Hank gave him, after Walt had someone prank his cell to claim that his wife was in the hospital. The end of the episode had me on the edge of my seat, as Hank is seen entering his car in a shopping plaza with flowers for his wife. Everything seems to be going fine until he gets an anonymous call that two men are coming to kill him.
Even before we see “The Cousins” approach the vehicle, Hank’s reaction to every little sound and flash that goes by almost makes time stand still, which makes this episode that much more haunting.
“Dead Freight” (season 5, episode 5)
The opening of this episode is so innocent and tranquil. A young boy is riding his dirt bike in the desert when he comes across a tarantula, which he captures in a jar. The sound of a freight train echoes in the distance. As the episode continues, I almost forgot about this opening scene. The episode is jam-packed with so much action and drama.
Even after watching a second time, my heart was beating out of my chest when Jesse and Todd were pulling off a heist to replace the Methylamine with water, while Walter monitored it. Meanwhile, Mike and the rest of the gang kept watch and distracted the drivers. Everyone played a major part in this heist and I worried about it unraveling with each new obstacle. The heist is successful and everyone is celebrating when the young boy from the opening of the episode is standing in front of them and innocently waves.
The unthinkable happens when Todd waves back and then shoots him, as Jesse screams “No” in so much agony, that it almost echoes through the television. In a fleeting moment, the innocence is destroyed and reality sets in that everything is not without consequences.
“Face off” (season 4, episode 13)
This is probably one of the most intense season finales of a show I have ever seen. The previous episode revealed Walter’s failed attempt to take out his nemesis, Gustavo Fring, with a car bomb. The viewers know by now that although Fring is a worthy opponent, one should never underestimate Walter White, Heisenberg himself. W
alter calculates every moment of revenge, involving Fring’s former enemy, Hector Salamanca, keeping the phrase, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” true. Who would have thought that Hector could still be so dangerous in his condition? The ominous ringing of his bell returned and ended with an explosion. Perhaps what was most eerie about this, was that Gus adjusted his tie and walked out of the room, keeping up his polished appearance per usual, only to collapse, revealing that half of his face had been completely torn off.
The writers don’t stop here, however. At the end of the episode, we get a shot of the Lily of the Valley berries that we know poisoned Brock, the child that Jesse had grown so close to. Walter will stop at nothing to remain on top, but clearly has gone too far this time.
“Grilled” (season 2, episode 2)
This is the episode that completely hooked me on the show. While I enjoyed the short first season, this episode elevated the show to an entirely new level. Walter and Jesse had been kidnapped by their insane opponent, Tuco. You may think that is crazy enough, but Hector Salamanca steals the show with his incessant ringing of the bell, which ultimately brings Fring to his demise later in the series.
Tuco explains that the ringing of the bell means “yes”and no ring means “no.” Walter and Jesse had been trying to poison Tuco, but Hector is not going to let them get away with it that easy. They try to convince Tuco that Hector was mad because they changed the TV station, but with each threatening ring, Tuco becomes more and more suspicious of the beloved duo. The episode even ends with the bell ringing throughout the credits to leave the viewer with that sound to remain in their senses for just a few minutes more. Talk about intense!
“Salud” (season 4, episode 10)
After watching the series through for a second time, this episode still remains my absolute favorite. Any true Breaking Bad fan will take just a glimpse at the infamous pool and be transported back to this intense episode. Part of what makes this episode stand out so much to me is that Walter is not involved in the action-packed scene, which leads to Gus Fring poisoning the entire cartel. Jesse, Mike, and Gus meet the powerful, Don Eladio.
After Jesse comes to teach the cartel how cook successfully, the cartel now insists that they “own” Jesse. Don Eladio is in for an unfortunate turn of events; however, when Gus presents him with his favorite bottle of tequila and proposes a toast. Gus even takes a sip himself after insisting that Jesse does not have any because he is an addict. As the cartel begins dropping like flies, Gus is shown puking in the bathroom to get rid of as much poison as possible.
It shows the viewer just how far he will go to bring his enemy down, which is what makes his later demise so extreme.
I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your comments along with your own favorite episodes below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!
Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl
4 thoughts on ““Breaking Bad” ranking the top 5 episodes of the series”
That murder scene in Mexico is definitely my favorite episode too. Gus was just so methodical and stone faced.. it was truly amazing to watch!!
I totally agree Erik! 🙂
This is one of the finest, well written shows I have seen in a while. I’m currently watching season 2 again. The build up of characters and story line was so well done. You are right, the characters are flawed but we accept that.
Excellent post. Thank you. I’m happy someone finally wrote a long piece on this show.
This is one of my favorite shows of all time and I completely agree! I need to begin another re-watch especially since they are now considering doing a movie on AMC with Aaron Paul. I’m so glad you enjoyed the piece! 🙂 Thanks for checking it out!