With 8 hours and 45 minutes till the series finale of Breaking Bad, I’m at the tail end of my second Breaking Bad marathon in two months. Like everyone else, I’m bingeing on every cook, murder, and color conspiracy, hoping I can make sense of it all when the credits fade to black on Vince Gilligan’s name one last time. I’m sure I’ll be left with some questions, like, do we know why Holly White always, always, always had a hat or hood on? The world may never know.
For what it’s worth, here’s my list of the best 5 episodes of Breaking Bad – one per season – so far.
Season One – Episode 3 – … And the Bag’s in the River
Having lost the coin toss, Walt has to deal with disposing of Krazy-8 while Jesse handles Emilio’s remains. The only problem? Krazy-8 isn’t dead and Walt has a hard time making the leap from meth cook to cold-blooded murderer. Understandable seeing as how he and Krazy-8 bond over a sandwich and Krazy-8’s after school job at his father’s store. Ultimately, after making a pros and cons list of whether or not he should kill him, Walt figures out that Krazy-8 was playing him and chokes him to death. Good thing, too, because it turned out that Krazy-8 was a DEA informant. And you know what they say about snitches. They get choked with a bike lock.
Another standout from this episode: It’s the first time we see that Hank isn’t just a jock-like meathead. He’s a caring uncle who actually respects Walt as a father and he’s sensitive to how Walt will feel when he learns that Walt Jr. turned to him after being busted for trying to buy liquor.
Season Two – Episode 12 – Phoenix
I almost went with the finale, ABQ, but the moment when Walt lets Jane choke to death on her own vomit is too huge to be denied.
Until then, all the blood on Walt’s hands could be chalked up to some kind of self defense, and though it’s clear he believes letting Jane die saves Jesse from himself, it’s wrong. Oh, so wrong. Cranston’s tears after Jane lets go and her eyes open to that death stare are sad and chilling.
Season Three – Episode 12 – Half Measures
What can I say? I like penultimate episodes and some shows do them very well (See: Rains of Castamere and Blackwater on Game of Thrones). I really struggled with this one because season 3 is full of many great episodes including Kafkaesque and One Minute. One Minute had me pacing around my bedroom due to the stress. I also love the Heisenberg moment in the finale, Full Measure: “Your boss is going to need me.”
But I had to give it up to the episode that set it all in motion when Walt showed how far he was willing to go to save Jesse from himself – again.
Season Four – Episode 10 – Salud
This was, hands down, my favorite season until the latter half of season 5 came along. You know what? It still might be.
Anyway, as much as I love Face Off, Box Cutter, Problem Dog, and Crawl Space, Salud was just so damn good. Jesse proved himself as a Heisenberg-level cook after being intimidated to all hell by the Mexican cartel’s set-up. Gus and Mike took out the whole cartel in a daring plan that proved, in the end, in the form of bags of blood with Jesse’s name on them, that they were probably much better for Jesse than Walt ever was.
Season Five (First Half) – Episode 5 – Dead Freight
Welp. Guess that answers the question as to whether or not Todd was an undercover cop.
Right now, if I had to pick a favorite from the latter half of season five, it’s a serious tie between To’haajilee and Ozymandias. Of course, I’m reserving judgement until the series finale tonight.
What about you? What are your favorite Breaking Bad episodes?