Hey guys, and Sara here :) I’m taking a break from the Tuesday Top Ten to let my boyfriend Jon take over for this week. I hope you enjoy it!
* * *
Hello all, everyone’s favorite occasional contributor has returned from the depths of obscurity to bring all of you another thoroughly awesome Tuesday Top Ten!
First, I must apologize on this top ten being a little tardy but better late than never!
Now presenting my top ten favorite Breaking Bad episodes! Breaking Bad was a critically acclaimed show that ran from 2008 all the way until September 29th, 2013, that followed Walter White, who, after being diagnosed with cancer, transforms from a quiet and brilliant high school chemistry teacher to one of the greatest villains in television history. With superb writing, directing, and cinematography, as well as memorable performances from Bryan Cranston as Walter White and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, Breaking Bad quickly became one of my favorite shows ever.
Towards the end of the series, Confessions continues the build up to how the story will end. Walt and Hank continue their chess game, and in this episode, Walt gets the better of Hank with his “confession” video. This show is unbelievable at misdirection, almost every time you think the story is going the predictable route, it quickly changes direction and raises the stakes. This episode is also noteworthy for being one of the last episodes with Walt and Jesse having a sincere “father-son” moment. Aaron Paul’s performance in this episode is unreal and showcases his versatility and grasp of Jesse as a complex character.
What a way to go! with this episode, we finally get to see how the story of Walter White/Jesse Pinkman ends. The last season had put them through the ringer and this episode was them just trying to break even. This episode works because we finally get to see Walt be honest with himself and that is truly a great moment in this series. We also get to see the end of the battle between Walt’s “sons”/proteges. It is a satisfying ending to one of the best televisions series, with Bryan, Aaron and Vince Gilligan coming together for chapter in this story.
8. Half Measure
One of the last episodes of season three that definitely turned up the conflict in the show and set up Gus Fring as a legit villain for Walt. Gus is the kind of villain to never lose his cool and the meeting he sets up with Jesse just shows the kind of power he has. The speech between Mike and Walt about “no more half measures” is amazing in this episode and really drives Walt for the rest of the series. At the end, when Jesse tries to take matters into his own hands and Walt later telling him to “run” was definitely one of the biggest surprises in the whole run of the show. It also reminds me how bad I need to go back and rewatch the whole series again!
7. Full Measure
The last episode of season three follows the crazy events at the end of Half Measure. Jesse is on the run and the feud between Walt and Gus increase rapidly. This episode also has the return of Gale, which Walt has problems with and questions Gus’s motives. With their backs against the wall, Walt and Jesse go to drastic measures to stay alive with another crazy “what-the-hell” ending. The conflict between Walt and Gus was definitely one of the best in television with both men being highly intelligent men willing to do whatever it took to achieve their goals, as well as being able to hide in plain sight. Of course, these men cannot coexist and their struggle of who will remain was incredibly compelling.
6. One Minute
Another episode from season three and-surprise, surprise-another “what-the-hell” moment at the end. This one involving Hank, the DEA agent brother-in-law of Walt, in a struggle for his life. The show is great at taking these characters to lows, and this episode did that with Hank. After making a huge mistake, Hank fears he’s done as a cop. Of course, that would be too simple and Hank has to deal with actions of Gus Fring. The episode is great for the focus on secondary character of Hank, with great writing and a great performance from Dean Norris. It keeps you caring for these characters, even though they might have a lot to do with the main storyline. Again I will say the end! Wow!
5. Dead Freight
Season 5 of Breaking Bad is where things don’t always go in Walt’s favor. We start to see him not be as fortunate in situations as in previous episodes. This episode really starts to show that direction, in order to cook more meth in their blossoming meth empire. Walt, Jesse, and Mike must rob a train of 500 gallons of methylamine. This is also where we first get to see Todd as a smaller character before emerging as one of Walt’s proteges/”sons”. The heist does not go exactly as planned and the end has a turn of events that show what kind of people Walt is now working with.
4. Say My Name
Say My Name is one BADASS episode. I can just leave this description at that, but I won’t do that. Story wise, this is Walt’s high point, the infamous Heisenberg is now what he has set out and what he intends to be. However, things, of course, don’t always go as planned and there are new problems to be solved, and soon, Mike is on his trip to Belize. The writing on this episode and in the show is always top notch. No matter what happens in the episode, the story continues to move forward and every one of their actions has ramifications. This is one of the episodes that deals with past choices and how it affects the characters, as well as giving them new choices to give us a pay off later on.
3. Face Off
This episode has a very important title, that is all I will say about that. The conflict between Walt and Gus reaches its climax and it completely changes the game. The fate of both men is dependent on the unlikely team up with Hector Salamanca, the retired cartel member with a hatred for both Walt and Gus Fring. This being the last episode of season 4 meant that stakes were high and the writers and directors know exactly how to keep the tension escalating as well as being able to wrap up the season arc in a satisfying manner. Of course, a lot of credit goes to Giancarlo Esposito for his portrayal of Gustavo Fring.
2. Crawl Space
An amazing episode and pretty much any other show would be grateful for an episode of this quality. Somehow they still managed to make an episode better than this though. I will get to that other episode shortly though! This episode is right before the end of season 4 but provides all the set up for the finale. Gus has showed that he really is a man to be feared as well as Hank being closer to discovering the meth empire. Bryan Cranston is brilliant in showing Walt at his most vulnerable moment in the entire series as well as leaving us a memorable last scene. Credit on that last scene also must go to the cinematographer and director, it is truly an incredibly memorable scene.
Last but especially not least…
Not only my personal favorite episode of Breaking Bad, but it can easily be sad that this is one of the greatest episodes of television EVER. The lead in from the previous episode, To’Hajiile, starts off this episode in a dire situation and solves it realistically. Normally, the first few minutes would be saved for the end of the episode as pay off, but in this episode, it is only the beginning. We see pretty much everyone at their lowest point and that is saying something for this show. The writing on this episode truly is the best with references to previous episodes as well as having the guts and skill to take Walt and Jesse down those paths. We also see Todd for the kind of terrifying person he is as well as the people he works with. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are at the top of their game in this episode, especially when we learn Jesse’s fate because of Walt’s actions and Walt having to finally deal with his actions. The whole story of Walter White and Breaking Bad is pretty much the story of dealing with his decisions and this episode gives up the best example of Walt’s decisions. Of course, his story is not done at this point and he quickly reminds us after a heartfelt scene with his wife Skyler that he still has things to do.
* * * *
Even though I was not a fan of Breaking Bad from the beginning, when I started watching it, I became instantly hooked to the show and is definitely one of my favorite shows of all time. With it’s compelling performances and incredible directing and writing, I eagerly followed the story of Walter White, Jesse Pinkman and everyone else in the ABQ.
The complete series is coming out in a special edition next month and if you are a fan of the show, I highly recommend getting it because it looks incredible. My list is by no means a definitive list and I would enjoying discussing episodes and elements of the show with anyone.
Thank you again to What A Nerd Girl Says for having me contribute A, something that I like that is not entirely along the lines of what she normally publishes, and B, being able to write on this blog even though I’m not a girl.
Lastly, I will leave a fun fact that some of you may not be aware of: your fearless leader, Sara, worked at Aaron Paul’s wedding. I had the chance to but for some reason, I did not and I have regretted that ever since.
* * * *
Sara, again :) I hope you all enjoyed this edition of Breaking Bad. This show is absolutely amazing, and it wasn’t long before I was hooked on this show as well. If you haven’t had a chance to watch it, you definitely DEFINITELY should. Its on Netflix, and you honestly won’t regret it in the slightest.
And yeah, I totally got to work Aaron Paul’s wedding. That was awesome :)
Happy Tuesday everyone!