Top 10 Moments From Breaking Bad Season 5
What could possibly turn a suburban chemistry teacher into a drug king pin? Better yet, who knew (besides Vince Gilligan) that this premise behind Breaking Bad could make for such a compelling television show with longevity? Throughout Walter’s descent into madness, we’ve witnessed milestones in his life that range from comedic to horrific — but none of them quite as surprising as those we saw in the first half of the AMC show’s final season. So let’s don our Heisenberg hats and take a look at the Top 10 moments of the show’s past season to prepare for the epic, final episodes that kick off on August 11.
(It should be noted that this article contains MASSIVE SPOILERS for the first half of Season 5, so if you aren’t caught up, do yourself a favor and refrain from reading this until you have!)
10 – Yeah Bitch! Magnets! – Episode: “Live Free or Die”
Following last year’s finale that marked the unpleasant demise of the series’ “Big Baddy” Gus Fring, fans were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief because maybe, just maybe Walter and Jesse were finally out of trouble and harm’s way. But as Vince Gilligan has shown over the duration of the show, you’re never quite out of the woods, no matter how much danger has seemingly subsided.
Watching Jesse contribute to a genius plan and celebrate its success by shouting “Yeah Bitch! Magnets!” reminds us why his character is so necessary to the show’s narrative. Jesse has always been the sidekick to Walter and when he has the opportunity to shine, it makes it that much more rewarding.
9 – Lydia Tries to Have Mike Killed – Episode: “Madrigal”
In this episode, it’s revealed that Madrigal (the parent conglomerate to “Los Pollos Hermanos”) was complicit in the operations of Gus Fring. Lydia, a major corporate executive with Madrigal, appears to solicit Mike to help clean up all knowledge of their involvement by silencing those captured by the authorities. After Mike’s loyalty to his contacts, Lydia takes matters into her own hands to kill the eleven men, including Mike. But, as we know, Mike isn’t so easily disposed of.
This also sets into the motion the events of the entire season with Mike realizing he will need to pay-off “his men” in prison to keep them quiet. With no money to do so, he must turn to Lydia, his Methylamine source, to provide Walter and Jesse with the important ingredient to keep the cooking operation afloat.
8 – The Lab Goes Mobile – Episode: “Hazard Pay”
With the meth business back up in full-swing, Walter, Jesse, and Mike are forced to find a new location to cook following the destruction of the mega-lab. After viewing a number of options presented by Saul Goodman, the show manages to, yet again, bring something new and exciting to the audience: a mobile meth lab disguised as a home fumigation business.
The pair team up with Vamonos Pest employees who moonlight as burglars to enter the homes of their clients and cook while the homes are left unoccupied.
This fresh, original moment deftly illustrates the thrilling twists and turns we’ve come to expect from Breaking Bad.
7 – Skylar’s Breakdown at the Car Wash – Episode “Hazard Pay”
Towards the end of last season, we started to see Walt’s wife, Skylar, come unhinged at the prospect of her husband being a notorious drug dealer. If that pressure wasn’t enough, she is now faced with the comatose state of her ex-lover/employer, Ted Beneke, and the perpetual annoyance of her irritating sister (who is coincidentally married to the DEA agent assigned to track down Walt). It all comes flooding out in one, genius moment where the only words Skylar can muster are “Shut Up” as she dissolves into a complete freak out.
This moment has been building for a while and althoughwe’ve seen Skylar numb with denial for so long, there’s only so much one woman can take.
6 – The Train Heist – Episode: “Dead Freight”
This episode is my personal favorite of the season with the show taking on a new feel as the gang embarks on a full-scale robbery heist that echoed the Ocean’s 11 movies.
In perhaps one of the most shocking moments in the show’s history, the episode ends with Todd reacting to the young child who has just witnessed the entire heist from his dirt bike by drawing his pistol and killing him. Even more chilling is the following episode where Walt, Jesse, Mike, and Todd are tasked with disposing of the young child’s remains by dissolving him in hydrofluoric acid.
Breaking Bad’s knack for tying opening scenes to the episode at-large is brilliantly executed here and the moment we realize what is about to take place, we feel as helpless as Jesse.
5 – Jesse Has Dinner at Walt’s – Episode: “Buyout”
In stark contrast to the events that transpired in the previous episode, this moment brings perfect levity to the situation and is masterfully crafted to juxtapose the horror that is happening around the show’s protagonists. After Jesse goes to Walt’s to convince him to sell the Methylamine they just boosted in bulk and get out of the game, Skylar arrives home with dinner. In a seemingly deliberate move to torture his wife, Walt invites Jesse to stay and join them.
The uncomfortable atmosphere is palpable and it’s such a great scene that takes a step back and examines these three characters, painting a clear picture of just how much has changed.
4 – Walt Goes Rogue – Episode: “Say My Name”
After refusing to quit the cooking business and sell their remaining stash, Walter goes rogue and hides the entire vat of Methylamine from Mike and Jesse. It doesn’t end there, however, as Walt has a solution to cook for the interested buyers as a means to make more money than he would from just selling the chemical itself. In an awesome moment, viewers see the tables turn and witness Walt finally coming into his own as Heisenberg when he makes it clear that Declan (the buyer) now works for him.
I think it’s safe to say that at this point, Walt has reached the point of no return. Of course, all of this is teeing the final eight episodes up to be complete insanity as we watch the “evil” Walt do his thing.
3 – Mike “Leaves” the Picture – Episode: “Say My Name”
After the DEA discovers Mike has hired a lawyer to continue the payments to his men in prison, they now have the leverage they need to arrest Mike once and for all. Upon hearing this, Mike flees town and asks Walt to retrieve his getaway bag. Walt meets with Mike and asks for the names of the remaining men so that he can silence them before they reveal Walt’s involvement, but Mike refuses. After initially walking away, Walt returns to Mike’s car with the gun he took from Mike’s bag and fatally shoots him.
This moment further solidifies the rise of Walter’s position as Heisenberg and illustrates the dichotomy of being both in control and out of control at the same time.
2 – The Prison Killings – Episode: “Gliding All Over”
With Mike gone and Jesse having quit the team, Walt is forced to deal with the remaining nine henchmen in his own way. After obtaining the list from Lydia and enlisting the help of his new cook (Todd’s uncle) who has deep ties to the prison system, Walt coordinates the prison killings of all nine men — plus the now-imprisoned lawyer — all in the span of less than two minutes across three prisons.
Walter’s influence is felt heavily in this scene when he proclaims that Todd’s uncle Jack always finds a way, no matter how impossible it seems. The plan goes off without a hitch – a contrast to the show’s early episodes where an incompetent Walter was in way over his head. This turnabout is beautifully illustrated with the violent killings underscored by Nat King Cole’s “Pick Yourself Up.”
1 – Hank Knows – Episode: “Gliding All Over”
It wouldn’t be Breaking Bad if the season doesn’t end with a cliff-hanger! Vince Gilligan doesn’t disappoint as we see Hank discover Walter’s copy of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” given to him by Gale Boetticher. Viewers see a flashback to the earlier conversation between Hank and Walt about the W.W. found in Gale’s lab notebook. The look of pure shock on Hanks face seals the deal that he has finally realized the true identity of Heisenberg.
This episode had such a great build-up that greatly mirrors the first episode of the season. With Walt now rich beyond his wildest dreams and ready to get out of the business, we are led to expect a happy ending. Once again, the tables are turned and danger rears its ugly head, leaving fans in anticipation of where the show will go from here in the series’ ultimate eight episodes.
Tune in for the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad premiering August 11th, only on AMC.
About the Author
Chad Gingrich is a Breaking Bad enthusiast and all around pop culture geek hosting a weekly podcast called “Epic Geek Out.” Chad writes on behalf of Dish Systems, a great source for the best Dish Network deals and promotions.