The 62’nd and final episode of Breaking Bad will air on Sunday, Sept. 29. Although this finale will be compared to the best and worst series enders in TV history, it will also have to take place alongside the other 61 Breaking Bad episodes. Before that can happen, fans can feel free to compare those other 61 and where they rank in show history, if not TV history.
Part 5 of this series lists the 20’th to 11’th best episodes of Breaking Bad. However, this is technically unfair to these episodes, which would have been in the top 10 and maybe even the top 5 in most other series. Even the Breaking Bad episodes just shy of the very top are vastly superior to the very best hours in other shows – but this show was just too crowded for these to go any higher.
20. Gliding Over All – Season Five, Episode Eight
The peak of Walt’s power was conveyed in not one, but two of the most iconic montages in Breaking Bad lore. However, the rush to glide over that point in time, and to take Walt from psychotic kingpin to retiree in just a few minutes, seemed anticlimactic – until the final bathroom break.
19. Granite State – Season Five, Episode 15
It says something that an ailing Walt’s solitude in New Hampshire, Skyler’s visit from Todd, Jesse’s latest punishment/loss of a loved one, and yet another ugly phone call between Walt and a family member was considered a relief after “Ozymandias.” But Breaking Bad nation hopes it will be the last sigh of relief in show history.
18. Full Measure – Season Three, Episode 13
The aftermath of Walt’s shocking act the previous week brings about the official return of Heisenberg in the finale – and a cold opening which furthers the case that Heisenberg was always lurking all along. Yet with this cliffhanger, Heisenberg wouldn’t let go for a very long time – just like guilt and misery would never let go of Jesse once Walt made him a killer after all.
17. Half Measures – Season Three, Episode 12
This was perhaps the last real chance for Walt to avoid the horrors to come – and all he would have had to do was let Jesse die in a suicide revenge mission. Otherwise, the subsequent war with Gus and the monster it unleashed for good might never have been born, yet Walt ultimately lets them loose anyway – and makes Mike’s earlier speech about “No more half measures” even more foreboding.
16. Buried – Season Five, Episode 10
Breaking Bad viewers were stunned that Walt and Hank immediately came to blows in the Season 5B premiere, which seemed to suggest things would slow down the next week. But there would be no more breaks or relief, as Hank turns to Skyler in the worst way, another Schrader-White relationship falls apart in wake of the truth, Holly is seized for merely the first time this year, and Todd and Uncle Jack debut their firepower.
15. Hermanos – Season Four, Episode Eight
The lasting debate of Breaking Bad is whether it’s okay to root for Walt, but it was much easier when he was facing another villain like Gus. However, the longest and most Walt-free flashback in show history even makes that a hard sell, as Gus turns out to have his own longtime nemesis that makes him look better by comparison. And as the Walt-Gus battle reached its final act, it became less and less clear who to root for from here on a given week.
14. Say My Name – Season Five, Episode Seven
For all of the lows Walt sunk to, especially in the first half of Season Five, this is the peak of his insanity – first with the biggest and most self-serving deal of his career, and then with the most pointless, impulsive murder of his career. Yet his victim did get to die in peace down by the river, which is a better end than his killer may face tomorrow night.
13. Fly – Season Three, Episode 10
The Breaking Bad directorial debut of Rian Johnson is one of the most hated episodes in some circles, and one of the most beloved in others. As a bottle episode that has Walt and Jesse chasing a fly in the super lab, it seems to have its work cut out for it. But when Walt delivers some of his saddest – and yet most nail biting – monologues in the process, the hour reveals itself as something much more. In fact, it now comes across even more tragically when compared with a key moment in “Ozymandias.”
12. Fifty One – Season Five, Episode Four
Johnson’s second Breaking Bad episode wasn’t nearly as divisive, despite centering around the most divisive character on the show. But if even this episode wasn’t enough to stop the tide of Skyler hate, in spite of Walt tightening the sadistic noose around her until she strikes back, then some fans truly were a lost cause. Fortunately, the Emmys weren’t as picky about Anna Gunn a week ago.
11. Confessions – Season Five, Episode 10
If the previous two episodes hadn’t done enough to quell fears about the final half-season, the third time was a charm here. The very last White-Schrader family meal took a particularly dark turn – thanks in part to Marie, of all people – and that was before Walt spun the most outrageous lie possible into the most believable one in a special video.
But Jesse finally snapped out of his fugue state to unravel the second biggest lie Walt ever told him, instead of getting into the car of Saul’s fixer – and set off the events that would make Walt get into that car before long.
Tomorrow: Episodes 10-1