“Breaking Bad” ranking the top 5 episodes of the series

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:

5

“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.

4

“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.

3

“Face off” (season 3, 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.  Walter 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.

2

“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!

1

“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!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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Throw-back Sunday: “Lost” ranking the top 5 characters

It’s Throw-Back Sunday TV viewers, otherwise known as my favorite day to catch up on other series or re-watch some of my past favorites in cozy pajamas with my dog!  For today’s Throw-Back Sunday, I am re-watching some of my favorite Lost episodes.  After re-watching the series 16 times, yes 16, my favorite characters have shifted over the years.  I think it has to do more with me as a person watching since the character story-lines haven’t changed.  Each time I watch, something new is happening in my life and I connect with the characters in a different way.  While some stay ranked the same, others have shifted in and out of my top 5.  Jacob got it right when he revealed to the candidates that none of them were doing fine before they crashed on the island.  They were all looking for something or some way to connect and the island sparked that in each of them.  This holds true for me as well, as I find myself connecting to different characters and empathizing with them over the years.  Please note spoilers are below in case you have not watched all of the episodes by now and if you haven’t, I strongly recommend that you get to that immediately!  My top 5 characters from Lost are:

5

Juliet Burke

For me, Juliet is the character that reminds me of myself the most.  She is loving, smart, and strong; but is guarded with her emotions.  When Juliet is introduced in season 3, her flashbacks were so interesting to me.  She was clearly looking for some way to make a difference and help; only it takes her leaving the others and coming to help the Losties to truly find a sense of purpose.  For me, Juliet has always been selfless.  Sure she makes mistakes just like the rest of us, but that’s what makes her so complex as a character.  Her love with Sawyer is beautiful and when she tells him that “just because two people love each other, doesn’t mean they have to be together,” it shows that she is used to disappointment and pain, but she is all right with it, as long as something good comes out of it.

4

Desmond Hume

Desmond has always been somewhere on my top 5 ranking.  The introduction of him in season 2 was brilliant.  My favorite episodes of the show all feature Desmond and it’s because he brings something elevated and real to the show.  Desmond desperately wants to prove his self-worth and later realizes that Penny already saw it in him from the start.  She mentions that he is a “good man which she finds that is hard to come by.”  I think that sums up Desmond perfectly.  He is a good man, but he is also a coward, which shows his weakness.  He screams that he wants to go back and he’ll do it right this time in “Flashes Before Your Eyes,” which touches my heart with each re-watch.

3

Kate Austen

Kate has probably shifted the most throughout my list and used to not even make my top 5.  From what I see, Kate gets the most hate from online forums and fan sites.  Viewers often refer to her as annoying and useless.  However, I find Kate to be smart, courageous, and loving.  Similar to the other characters, she crashes on the island and it is revealed that she is a fugitive and was always born to run.  Like Sawyer says to her, “You run, I con.  Tiger don’t change their stripes.”  Kate, like Jack, was always keeping busy to help others.  She was always the first to volunteer to go on a hike or get caught up in whatever drama was going on because she was so used to running away from everything and everyone, avoiding herself in the process.  When Kate begins raising Aaron off island, she finds her new identity as a mother.  Even when she leaves him to go back to the island, it’s not to run away, but to find Claire so she can reunite her with Aaron, a truly selfless act.  Kate also gets a bad rep for getting caught in the middle of a love triangle, or maybe love rhombus is more accurate, with Jack, Sawyer, and Juliet.  However, I don’t fault her for this.  She has conflicting feelings for both Jack and Sawyer because they represent different things to her.  I think both are right for her at different points in her life, but it’s her love for Aaron that truly helps her find out who she is.

2

James Ford aka “Sawyer”

From cruising through polls and Lost forums, Sawyer is the favorite character of many and used to be mine before Jack surpassed him.  Sawyer represents a redeemed hero, which also shows his own transformation.  In the first season, Sawyer is very much out for himself and wants others to hate him.  He is his own worst enemy; however, as he reveals hints of goodness along the way.  While Sawyer has shown signs of selfless behavior over the seasons, him jumping off the chopper so that the others could make it to the freighter was more out of fear of what might happen if he didn’t, as Cassidy so eloquently put it when talking to Kate.  It’s not until Sawyer remains on the island and embraces his con-man smarts in order to protect everyone that he finds his way.  When he falls in love with Juliet, Sawyer reaches his full potential, putting his past baggage behind him.  His snarky humor and beloved nicknames lighten up the show as well, making him an excellent candidate for rank #2.

1

Jack Shephard

You may be thinking that this is the obvious number one character since Jack is presented as the lead character in Lost for the most part.  For me, Jack’s quest to overcome his need to “fix everything” along with him realizing that he has had his father’s approval the whole time, makes him stand out as a real and true hero.  The series opens with Jack’s eye opening and from the minute he is awake, he is playing hero and trying to help everyone he can.  You may think that he has been a selfless hero from the start, but that’s not the whole story.  Sure, I do find Jack to be a selfless hero, but he didn’t start off that way for me.  I took the opening episodes with a grain of salt, as it seemed like he was trying to keep busy and distract himself from his own inner demons by helping everyone else.  It’s not until we get to the “White Rabbit” episode that we see Jack truly vulnerable.  The empty coffin at the end of this episode reveals that Jack has not found what he is looking for just yet.  Jack makes it his mission to get everyone off of the island, only to later find out that this is a mistake.  The island gave him a sense of purpose and he was finally able to step into the leadership role, rather than being in his father’s shadow.  “We have to go back!”  Yes, you do Jack.  The island is not done with you yet and it is your destiny.  The last episode of the series brings tears to my eyes each time and this is mostly because I have come to adore Jack Shephard over years of watching.  When he comes to terms with what is happening his words, “Live together, die alone,” stay true as the dog, Vincent, lies down next to him so that he is not alone.  The series ends with his eye closing and I cannot think of a better way to end the show.  When Jack’s eye opens, he is in desperate need of finding himself and when his eyes finally close, he has found it.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post thoughts on your own favorite characters.  Enjoy your throw-back Sunday!  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl