Well I’ve got no creative introduction here other than saying how good Breaking Bad is. Despite having aired its finale nearly a decade, the show remains one of the best shows on Netflix. And that’s without considering the slightly rubbish finale. But anyway bar the finale it was one hell of a show and deserves to be given a good watch, especially if you’re into Better Call Saul. Anyway, before I get into the list properly, here is some history about the show.
Breaking Bad first debuted in 2008 on HBO and ran for 5 seasons until 2013. The show followed chemistry teacher Walter White who becomes a ruthless drug lord called Heisenberg. What prompts him to do this? Well he has a very aggressive form of lung cancer so naturally he decides to cook crystal meth to cover his health bills. He’s joined in his quest by former student Jesse Pinkman as they try and evade ruthless drug lords, like Gus, and Walters’ own brother in, DEA Agent Hank. Besides winning a huge amount of awards Breaking Bad also spawned a spinoff series, Better Call Saul, and a spin off movie, El Camino, so clearly success is a very key factor in Breaking Bad’s fame. So without further ado let’s get into the list properly.
10: Pilot (S1, E1)
Kicking off the list of the best Breaking Bad episodes is the Pilot episode which feels kind of poetic. Now what makes this pilot episode so good? Well it immediately pulls the audience into Walt’s world which is quickly falling apart. With his cancer worsening, Walt is working multiple jobs but still barely covers his medical bills. So naturally this leads him down the road of cooking crystal meth with his ex student Jesse Pinkman. Oh and this episode sets up the great duo of Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul whose chemistry often carries the show.
9: ….And the Bag’s in the River (S1, E3)
Now while the pilot sets up Walt’s deteriorating world, this episode marks the start of his downfall into outright villainy. Why do I say this? Well, Walt has to make a decision about whether he kills drug dealer Krazy 8 and I’m sure his decision will shock you. Anyway, this episode once again displays the chemistry between Cranston and Paul and once again lays the groundwork for the later arcs of both men.
8: Dead Freight (S5, E5)
So apart from having a great pun title, what makes Dead Freight so good? Well the nice change of pace it offers for Walt and Jesse. Simply put, a lot of the show revolves around them cooking meth and selling it so having them try to rob a train is a hilarious change of pace for the duo. Oh did I forget to mention it doesn’t deviate from another part of the show: headshots? Anyway, watching Jesse and Walt trying to steal a train car full of methylamine is so mad it’s brilliant. Oh and I haven’t even mentioned the seriously polite sycophant, Todd yet….
7: Full Measure (S3, E13)
So what makes the Season 3 finale so good I hear you asking? Well a lot of great performances and also a great turn of events. With Jesse still missing, Gus rehires Walt’s other old assistant Gail to help him cook. And this appointment is in no way a plot to kill Walt and have Gail takeover full time. Besides being full of tension this episode also marks another significant point: the end of Jesse as a comic relief character. So all in all it’s a great episode.
6: Crazy Handful of Nothin’ (S1, E6)
Now while Walt eventually becomes a criminal mastermind the early seasons show he is anything but. Take this episode where mounting side effects and his treatment costs lead him to demand Jesse find a wholesaler for their drugs. Unfortunately this does not go down well with their eventual find, a crazed Mexican drug lord Tuco. This episode sets us the remaining part of Season 1 so definitely gets some props there.
5: Better Call Saul (S2, E8)
At the halfway point of the best Breaking Bad episodes, we are finally talking about Saul Goodman. And honestly he’s one of the show’s best characters which is really saying something. So, when one of Jesse’s dealers gets busted Walt and Jesse head to the best criminal lawyer in town: Saul Goodman. And naturally Saul manages to get the dealer off, not like that, but it really shows some great chemistry between Cranston and Bob Odenkirk. Now after this episode, you’d better call Saul…..
4: Say My Name (S5, E7)
Now this episode will inevitably start the debate over when Walt truly became Heisenberg but it’s hard to not to argue it’s this episode. Now this episode also sees Mike and Jesse finally get out of the game. Oh sidenote Mike is an absolute badass. But unfortunately there’s a rat in Mike’s gang and Walt has to sort it quickly unless it gets even more out of hand. So really it’s a phenomenal example of Bryan Cranston’s evolution as Walter White.
3: Felina (S5, E16)
Now kicking off the top three best Breaking Bad episodes is the contentious finale. Now while Felina is a great episode it does feel like Walt never gets the downfall he truly deserves for the heinous acts he commits in the series. So while it seems like he dies on his own terms, the rest of the episode sees Walt trying to pay off old debts in a last attempt to secure his family’s future. So while the payoff falls flat everything leading up to it makes it a very good episode.
2: Crawl Space (S4, E11)
Now there are many iconic scenes in Breaking Bad but the scene of Walt laughing maniacally with a distressed Skylar looking down at him ranks as one of the best. Besides that this episode sees the furthering of Walt and Gus’s feud as Walt and Jesse arrive back from Mexico. Oh and there’s another appearance from everyone’s favourite lawyer, Saul Goodman, as he helps Skylar evade the IRS. So a really too episode all round.
1: Ozymandias (S5, E14)
And the best episode of Breaking Bad is….. Ozymandias. Now this is the obvious pick but what else was I going to put at number one in the best Breaking Bad episodes? Anyway, what makes this episode great? Well everything really as Walt is forced to go on the run and Jesse gets taken hostage. Oh and that all pales in comparison to Marie convincing Skylar to tell Walter Jr everything. And that’s barely scratching the surface of what makes Ozymandias so good because that monologue of Walt narrating Shelley’s poem is phenomenal. Honestly if you only watch Breaking Bad for one episode watch it for Ozymandias.
What are your favourite Breaking Bad episodes? Let me know in the comments below!