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 4 of this series lists the 30’th to 21’st best episodes of Breaking Bad. However, this is technically unfair to many of those episodes, which would have been in the top 10 in many other series. Even the middle of the pack Breaking Bad episodes are vastly superior to some of the best hours in other shows – but this show had too many superior hours for these to go any higher.
Obvious spoilers follow
30. Grey Matter – Season One, Episode Five
The origin of Walt’s massive, destructive ego begins to unfold. But back when that wasn’t a deal breaker, Breaking Bad still went out of its way to keep Walt sympathetic, as his most touching moment came in an off-the-rails family intervention. Unfortunately, he held onto the talking pillow and our sympathy longer than he should have.
29. Cornered – Season Four, Episode Six
A.K.A, “Who are you talking to right now? Who is it you think you see? Do you know how much I make a year? I mean, even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. Do you know what would happen if I suddenly decided to stop going into work? A business big enough that it could be listed on the NASDAQ goes belly up. Disappears! It ceases to exist without me. No, you clearly don’t know who you’re talking to, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger! A guy opens his door and gets shot and you think that of me? No. I am the one who knocks! “
And, “Someone has to protect this family from the man who protects this family.”
28. Mandala – Season Two, Episode 11
Two major births take place at the same time, unfortunately for Walt. And unfortunately, the birth of his business relationship with Gus Fring is more rewarding for him – at first, anyway – than the birth of Holly. On the opposite end is the beginning of the end for Jesse and Jane – especially for Jane.
27. Dead Freight – Season Five, Episode Five
In the classic Breaking Bad bait and switch, the show invites us to cheer on and get caught up in another illegal activity, in this case a train robbery. Then in typical Breaking Bad fashion, something tragic has to happen to scold us for cheering in the first place.
26. Buyout – Season Five, Episode Six
Walt’s megalomania and dreams of empire reach another fever pitch, regardless of the tragic ending a week earlier. But in the midst of the murder, madness and ego is the most awkward non-holiday family dinner of all time.
25. Pilot – Season One, Episode One
This is where it all began, back when Bryan Cranston was still a sitcom dad, Jesse and Hank were still just idiots, Vince Gillian was just a former X-Files writer and AMC was just starting to become the Mad Men network. Someone would have to have been on meth back then to see what six more years would bring.
24. And The Bag’s In The River – Season One, Episode Three
In truth, this is the true pilot of Breaking Bad, as it features the show’s first classic, extended showdown sequence and first major turn to evil for Walt, back when killing someone was actually a big deal for him.
23. Box Cutter – Season Four, Episode One
The classic, extended showdown showcase of this episode took about 10 minutes, and had about five words of dialogue from Gus. But what he did before speaking those words – and before and after he used the title weapon – set the tone for the greatest chess game in Breaking Bad lore.
22. Grilled – Season Two, Episode Two
The final eight episodes of the show made headlines for getting right to the Walt/Hank showdown and wasting no time. But Season Two got to the end game of the Tuco Salmancha arc even faster, as this tense hour offered the first failed attempt to deliver ricin, the beginning of Hank’s real character arc, and the introduction of one of the most famous bells in TV history.
21. Crazy Handful of Nothing – Season One, Episode Six
The beginning of Tuco’s arc was also the beginning of Heisenberg, right down to Walt’s shaved head. From this point on Walt was all in, although as long as he had crazy enemies like Tuco, it was easier to ignore the real villain in the room.
Tomorrow: Episodes 20-11