Top Ten Baddest Breaking Bad moments

It’s finally here, the final season of BREAKING BAD. I’m of two minds about this. One, I’m really sad that the show is coming to an end, as it’s my pick for the greatest TV show of all time (yes, even better than THE WIRE- slightly). However, I’m also really happy that the show will go out on a presumably high note, as very few shows have been as consistent as this over the years (cough-THE SOPRANOS-cough), and Walter White’s journey from Mr. Chips-style teacher to Scarface should end in a satisfying, possibly mind blowing way. To celebrate this final season, we here at JoBlo.com have decided to count down the show’s 10 BADDEST (as in the Michael Jackson- Sh’mon! sense of the word) moments. Agree or disagree, strike back below.

Note: This top ten obviously contains plenty of SPOILERS for the first five seasons so if you're not caught up, you better skip this. However, the episode which aired last night is not covered here. This only goes up to Season Five, Episode 8.

1. I Won

The season four finale stands as one of the tensest episodes of television ever made. My heart was literally racing around my living room when I watched it. Walter’s final battle with Giancarlo Esposito’s Gus Fring ends in an ingenious way, with him convincing his former enemy Hector Salamanca to kill himself in a blaze of glory and take Gus with him, by allowing Walter to rig an explosive to his wheelchair, activated by the bell Salamanca communicates with. That shot where Gus emerges from the explosion in profile, and straightens his tie, only to turn and reveal that literally half of his head has been blown off is a killer. The best is Walter’s phone call to Skyler, when he says, in a moment of victory, “It's over. We're safe. I won.” Damn f**king right he did!

3. Lily of the Valley

The revelation that Walter poisoned Jesse’s girlfriend’s son Brock, in order to turn Jesse against Gus is one of the most shocking in the show’s history. Up to this point, Walter was a sort of anti-hero, but here he’s turned into a full-on villain. Hell, even Tony Montana had his limits and wouldn’t kill kids. There’s no telling what Walter will do when he’s pushed into a corner. Jesse still doesn’t know that Walter did it, and I’m curious to see if he figures it out by the end of the show.

4. Say My Name

Season five saw a newly emboldened Walter White, fresh from his victory against Gus, with him more and more embracing his Heisenberg persona, which began as a ruse, but has slowly taken over his personality. In the first few seasons Walt would have cowered in the presence of the two dealers that want his methylamine, but not anymore. Walt tears a strip off them but good demanding “say my name!” Heisenberg. “You’re goddamn right!”

2. Jail Killings

As bad as Walter’s been getting over the course of the show, season five has shown him turn into a monster that’s just as bad, if not worse, than his former nemesis Gus Fring. At this point he’s already killed Mike, but hiring skinheads to orchestrate the deaths of nine prisoners and Mike’s lawyer is cold-blooded even for him. It’s a scene reminiscent of when Michael Corleone orchestrates the assassinations of his enemies at the end of the first GODFATHER.

5. Leaves of Grass

Season five part one ends with Hank finding the copy of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” that Gale innocently inscribed for Walter back in Season 3, leading to his long-awaited revelation that Walter and Heisenberg are one and the same, and that all of this time he’s been chasing his brother-in-law. It’s a moment that’s been long overdue, with Hank proving himself time and time again to be a brilliant DEA agent, but blind to the treachery right under his nose. It’s ironic that despite Walter’s increasing recklessness, it’s an innocent mistake that’s going to be the catalyst for his (presumed) downfall.

6. Hank vs The Cousins

It’s funny that when BREAKING BAD started off, Hank was portrayed as some kind of rube-DEA agent, with him being a kind of macho asshole. However, show-creator Vince Gilligan admits that he didn’t realize what Dean Norris was capable of until the season progressed. Eventually, Hank turned into one of the best, and brightest characters on the show, and his violent, desperate showdown with the "cousins" is one of the show’s most thrilling moments, and an event Hank, two seasons later, is still recovering from.

7. I am the one who knocks

Walter’s relationship with Skyler has divided fans since day one. My own mother told me (only half-joking) last week that Walt should do her in, as she’s so sick of Skyler’s whining. To be fair, watching your kindly husband transform into a blood-thirsty drug-lord can’t be easy. Skyler is sure someone’s eventually going to come knocking on her door, planning to kill Walt, and Junior. With this exchange, Walter sets her straight about exactly what kind of man his is now. “I am the one who knocks!” And with that, her relationship with Walter, a man she now despises and fears, is never the same.

8. The Airplane Crash

The airplane crash was teased throughout season two. Earlier in the episode, Walter allows Jesse’s junkie lover Jane to die, thinking that somehow this would put Jesse on a sober path. He didn’t count on her death affecting her air traffic controller father (played by John de Lancie- aka Q) to the extent that he’s unable to concentrate on work, and causes a crash that kills a plane load of people, with human debris falling right into Walt’s backyard (poetic justice). It proves that Walt, while constantly justifying his actions as providing for his family (an argument that soon proves moot), is causing a ton of collateral damage, and the airplane victims will not be the last ones to get caught in the crossfire.

9. Acid Bath

The acid bath sequence is arguably the first truly great moment in the series, which occurs in episode 2. It’s the first of many darkly comedic moments on the show, culminating in the great episode where the junkie that ripped Jesse off gets killed by the ATM machine. The bathtub sequence was the moment when I realized that BREAKING BAD, for all the promise the pilot showed, was going to be one of the truly great TV shows of our era. Also- now you know what not to do if you have to dispose of a body.

10. Jesse kills Gale

For all the acclaim Bryan Cranston deservedly gets, Aaron Paul’s performance as Jesse is also excellent. In the first season, I found his “yeah BITCH!” character to be totally annoying, but he’s evolved into the conscience of the show. Jesse’s too soft for the bloody business him and Walter have gotten themselves into, and the scene where Walt makes Jesse kill Gale in order to save themselves from Gus is Jesse’s turning point. By the end of season five, he’s absolutely desperate to get out of the business, as the collateral damage is just too much to handle. Jesse has a heart, and in the world of BREAKING BAD, that’s a dangerous thing indeed.

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