It only seems like yesterday that Breaking Bad stopped airing. The show is so prevalent in pop culture and we can’t stop ourselves from dropping Walter White or Jesse Pinkman quotes. The show has solidified its place as one of the single best television shows in history and throughout its run picked up 110 Emmys, as well as countless other awards. The AMC drama about a tame teacher turned meth magnate boasts plenty of episodes that left us craving more. We’d be able to fill this “Top 10” list up over and over again given how superb Breaking Bad was. But, there were some episodes that really stuck with us long after the credits rolled. Here are some of the absolute best Breaking Bad episodes of all time.
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“Better Call Saul” – Season 2, Episode 8
Given that Breaking Bad was such a grim and dark show, it was a breath of fresh air to get those occasional moments of levity. In the cold open of the episode “Better Call Saul” Badger is arrested and spells trouble for both Walt and Jesse. It was also pretty damn hilarious though. Near the end of the episode the nearly-botched DEA bust was as hilarious as it was tense too. This episode makes the list due to Saul Goodman’s character being introduced. Played by the witty and funny Bob Odenkirk, the actor stole the show. “Better Call Saul” also opened the door for Hank Schrader to evolve and become more of a nuanced and serious character instead of his typical one-note comic relief role.
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“Box Cutter” – Season 4, Episode 1
“Box Cutter” offered the horrifying, yet satisfying return many fans had been long yearning for after the ultimate cliffhanger we were left with at the end of Season 3. This episode set the scene for the strongest season. Gustavo Fring gives an amazing performance considering he only spoke but five words in the entire episode. The atmosphere and body language of the characters in “Box Cutter” spoke volumes.
“Crazy Handful of Nothin’” – Season 1, Episode 6
Breaking Bad hit its stride in “Crazy Handful of Nothin” as episode 6 showed the true potential of the show. The foreboding cold open was the best the series had to offer and also introduced us to memorable makeovers such as Walt shaving his head and his transformation to “Heisenberg.” The psychotic meth deal Tuco Salamanca and made a mark. Oh yeah, and it was pretty badass when Walt pretty much blew up a building completely.
“Grilled” – Season 2, Episode 2
Raymond Cruz’s portrayal of Tuco Salamanca in his final appearance in Breaking Bad was terrifying. Jesse and Walt’s captivity was dragged out as their escape plan is shattered. “Grilled” was filled with tension and the fact that such high stakes were conveyed so early on in the series deserves praise, especially to the episode writer George Mastras.
“Say My Name” – Season 5, Episode 7
“Say My Name” is one of the most famous Breaking Bad quotes. Even if you haven’t seen the show, you’re more than likely to have heard the quote. Walt’s attempt to manipulate Jesse as well as killing off Mike Ehrmantraut left us scarred. Breaking Bad didn’t have many f-bombs dropped, but hearing Mike say, “Shut the fuck up and let me die in peace” in response to Walt’s inept and bumbling apology was some of the best acting on television.
“Salud” – Season 4, Episode 10
“Salud” was the resolved multi-season subplot that was apparent to us that something bad was around the corner. Especially with Jessie in the mix. He flew down to Mexico and no one expected how things would turn out. Vince Gilligan tried to get a real alcohol company to agree to product placement but instead of replacing the fictitious Zafiro Añejo, all real-world businesses turned down the offer. Their loss though as only one can dream of how much they would’ve made.
“Felina” – Season 5, Episode 16
“Felina” wrapped up every plot thread that had been building up in Breaking Bad. The writers managed to fit a handful of unexpected scenes into the final moments of the show’s series finale. Nothing felt rushed or crammed, and the characters’ closures and grisly departures made for the most impressive aspect of the series.
“Face Off” – Season 4, Episode 13
“Face Off” made for one of TV’s most shocking season finales. We were left with Gus’ bloody face and jaw-dropping as he staggered out of the hospital room. It was immensely satisfying to see Walter White one-up Gus. If Breaking Bad wasn’t going to be renewed for a 5th season most fans would be satisfied with how “Face Off” ended. Walt’s deception was revealed at the end of the episode so we’re pretty sure there would still be some push to bring back the show. We were also introduced to Jesse’s police interrogation, Hector Salamanca’s DEA meeting, and Saul Goodman’s secretary extorting Walt.
“Crawl Space” – Season 4, Episode 11
One of the most iconic scenes of Breaking Bad is Walt’s mental breakdown at the end of “Crawl Space.” The episode excelled for other reasons that were more subtle such as Gus’ operation being expanded and his secret medical facility being revealed. Also, Ted Beneke’s subplot is resolved (more-or-less) in darkly comic fashion. The spine-chilling ultimatum Gus offers at the end deserves high-praise, as well. Breaking Bad is considered a slow-burn, but the payoffs are well worth the wait.
“Ozymandias” – Season 5, Episode 14
The payoff of the build-up and culmination of everything in Breaking Bad over the five seasons is revealed in “Ozymandias.” Bryan Cranston’s performance from the tactful clearing of Skyler’s involvement, to bartering desperately for Hank’s life, to the evil revelation to Jesse that he stood by and watched Jane die on purpose, was career-defining. The episode was the epitome of a masterclass in acting from everyone in the show.
What was your favorite Breaking Bad episode? Let us know in the comments!