Man, how disappointing was that finale? Sooooo disappointing. I just feel like, it was really disappointing, you know? It just missed the mark, fell short, they just couldn’t quite, I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s still one of the best shows of all time, but I just thought the finale was disappointing, I mean they could have ended it differently. You see, unlike the writers and producers of the show, I know exactly how the finale should have ended. Well, I’m not going to tell you, and you know, I don’t have all the details worked out, but you know, I guess I was just expecting something so much better…
I’m not going to recap the episode. It kicked ass and it’s ridiculous to think otherwise. People on the internet are entitled, petulant and wrong, and I want to knee these jerks right in their knee-jerks. The finale left no loose ends, gave a triumphant ending for the protagonist, a victory of science, a redemptive moment, and a mainstream but still unpredictable ending that satisfied the maximum number of people without being cliche. Haters gonna hate.
Instead, I’m going to rank the top 10 Breaking Bad Episodes of all time! I’m trying not to just put all the season premiers and finales in here, which isn’t that hard because the middle episodes were awesome. Hey, it’s been fun doing these recaps. Not sure what I’m supposed to do between now and the NBA season in a month. Maybe I’ll try to go outside.
10. Crazy Handul Of Nothin’ (1.06)
Walt shaves his head, meets Tuco, blows up Tuco’s office with Fulminated Mercury, leaves the scene with a fat bag of cash, a bloody nose and a cold ass face.
Memorable quotes: Tuco – “What’s your name?” Walt [for the first time]: “Heisenberg.”
9. Sunset (3.06)
Possibly the closest the dynamic duo gets to getting caught. Hank traces the RV that Walt and Jesse are in to the junkyard, and is going to bust in and bust the two of them. The junkyard owner has good knowledge of search and seizure laws, and Hank can’t enter without a warrant. They call Saul, who pulls some strings and convinces Hank that Marie is hurt, and while he’s gone they destroy the RV.
Memorable quotes: Jesse, to Hank – “This is my own private domicile, and I will not be harassed…bitch!”
8. Boxcutter (4.01)
Season 4 premier. Gale is dead, Victor is spotted at the crime-scene, W&J are held in the lab, Victor starts to cook on his own, Gus enters, slits Victor’s throat in front of them. First time we see how much of a monster Gus is, which sets up the epic chess match that is the entirety of Season 4. Also the most brutally violent scene of the entire series, probably even more than the prison murder montage in 5.08.
Memorable quotes: Walt, to Victor – “Oh, you know every step. So tell me, then, catalytic hydrogenation…is it protic, or aprotic, because I forget…and then, reduction to methamphetamine eliminates – which chiral centers again? Because I forget.” (Not surprisingly, Victor didn’t know either of these answers, and then he died.)
7. Say My Name (5.07)
Mike is getting tailed pretty thoroughly by the DEA, and decides to high-tail it out of there after Walt warns him that they’re coming for him. Little Kaylee is left abandoned, and the prison guys are about to rat because the lawyer paying them off gets busted. At the end, Walt, in his first (and only) irrational, non-premeditated act of violence, shoots and kills Mike. Very emotional episode, first time Walt’s hubris really starts to hurt his plans. Lump in my throat for the rest of the evening.
Memorable quotes: Walt – “Say my name” (obviously); Mike [via dead-drop note, to the DEA] – “Fuck you”; Mike, to Walt – “Shut the fuck up and let me die in peace”
6. End Times (4.12)
This episode kinda made no sense until after the finale, but if you look back on the season in context, this one was really the key. Walt executes the sickest, most twisted genius plan in the history of TV…and it fails. He poisons a child to get Jesse to believe that Gus poisoned him, Jesse almost kills Walt but gets back on his team, they set up a foolproof bomb under Gus’s car, and Gus somehow sniffs it out and doesn’t get in his car. The whole episode, we’re led to believe that Gus poisoned Brock, which makes the ending ridiculous and seemingly implausible, only until the end of the season where we see that Walt was behind it the whole time. Here was a watershed event that turned a lot of folks against Walt for good. Not me though, I thought it was pretty cool and ethical.
Memorable quotes: Walt, to Jesse – “Who do you know, who’s okay with using children, who’s allowed children to be murdered?” (as truthful a bluff as a bluff can be); also the eerie silence at the beginning, where Walt spins his gun which lands twice on him and once on the plant, and at the end, where Gus stares ahead and decides not to get in his death-trap car.
5. 4 Days Out (2.09)
One of those early-season quintessential Breaking Bad episodes where things get royally fucked up and they have to use science and Walt’s genius to get back on track. They go out to cook a shitload of meth, but Jesse leaves the keys in the ignition, so the RV won’t work, and then they run out of water. Thirsty, headachy and delirious, they create a battery to escape the desert and survive. Still very intense, and includes the two best Jesse quotes of the series.
Memorable quotes: Jesse – “What are we building?” Walt – “You said it yourself.” Jesse – “A robot?”; then later, Walt: And what shall we use to conduct the electricity, what one particular element comes to mind? [wiggles copper wire]; Jesse: Ah, wire! Walt: No, copper.
4. Felina (5.16)
Things get resolved. Walt gets Gretchen and Elliot to give the money to Jr. when he turns 18 via some Heisenberg psychological warfare, he ricins the shit out of Lydia, he visits Skyler one last time and sees the baby and Jr., he finally builds the robot that Jesse clamored for in season 2 which shoots a lot of machine gun bullets, he kills all the dickhead Nazis with his science contraption, saves Jesse, and dies as happily as a shell of a man with no loving family can die. It doesn’t have to be the greatest episode of the series to be an awesome finale. I was really happy with how it all went down.
Memorable quotes: Walt, to Skyler – “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really – I was alive.”
3. And the Bag’s in the River (1.03)
This one is as high up on the list as it is because it contains the scene that made me decide that this show was worth binging and pulling several all-nighters on. Walt’s got a prisoner in the basement who he’s supposed to deal with. He can’t kill him, because it’s only the third episode, and he’s been feeding him sandwiches and bonding with him, which will only make it harder. He has a coughing fit while going downstairs making him drop and shatter a plate, which he cleans up, but before freeing the prisoner, sees the plate in the trash can and somehow thinks to reconstruct it. When he sees the piece missing, he knows the prisoner has the remaining shard as a weapon, and he decides to kill him. Just an awesome sequence, the best I’d ever seen at that point.
Memorable quotes: Krazy-8 – “I guess I’d start off by promising that if you let me go, I won’t come after you. That you’d be safe. I guess I’d say what happened between us never happened. And what’s best for both parties is we forget all about it. But you know that anybody in my situation would make promises like that, and though in my case they happen to be true, you’d never know for sure. So what else can I tell you?” Another great truthful lie. Also, Jesse – “Oh well, heil Hitler, bitch! And let me tell you something else. We flipped a coin, okay? You and me. You and me! Coin flip is sacred! Your job is waiting for you in that basement, as per the coin!”
2. Half Measures (3.12)
Just an awesome ending. Jesse wants to kill the drug dealers who were using children to do their bidding. Sets up a way to ricin them, which doesn’t work because Mike takes Jesse away at the last second. Mike gives Walter a very Mike speech about not taking half-measures, with the implication that Walt should kill Jesse before he causes too much trouble. Instead, Walt saves Jesse’s life by running over the drug dealers and shooting them in the head as they were about to kill his partner. Episode also includes a great open, with the montage of Wendy blowing dudes, getting money, getting high, then rinse and repeat, without the rinsing.
Memorable quotes: Two stick out. Mike – “No more half-measures, Walter.” and then Walter, to Jesse – “Run.”
1. Ozymandias (5.14)
So yeah, I thought about it and Ozymandias was clearly the best episode of the series. Too many insane things happened for it not to land here. Hank dies really brutally, Jesse gets made a slave in a really ugly fashion, Walt tells Jesse about Jane just to be a fucking dick, Walt Jr. finds out about his dad, Walt and his family get into a knife fight that the viewer had NO reason to think wouldn’t kill Skyler or Jr., Walt then kidnaps his baby which at that point seemed like the most unforgivable thing he’d ever done, Walt tries to get his wife off the hook with a cold-blooded phone call, then he uses the ever-suggested-but-never-actually-used disappearer to GTFO. Just a ridiculous roller-coaster ride in one hour. I liked the TV synopsis of the episode when you press “menu”: “Everyone copes with radically changed circumstances.” Sounds about right.
Memorable quotes: Hank, to Walt – “you’re the smartest person I’ve ever met, and you’re too stupid to see that he made up his mind 10 minutes ago.” then to Jack – “Do what you’re gonna d-” Walt, to Skyler “I tried to save him!” and then “What the hell is wrong with you?! We’re a family!…..we’re a family.”
Okay good series. Hope you enjoyed reading all these, or in this case, skimming these. See you soon.