I jumped on the Breaking Bad bandwagon a little late. The first half of season 5 was already out and everyone was already talking in angsty American metaphors. I was reluctant to start, but the long, hot summer after 12th grade was just asking for a binge-watch.
So binge-watch we did. And we were so hooked.
I forgot how much I seriously loved the show, actually, until I saw the box set in a DVD shop in town today. We have all the DVDs already, but oh my, there is something so satisfying about a proper box set.
Seeing the set made me really miss Walter and his incredibly poor judgement, and it’s the absence of it in my life that has prompted me to make a list of the top 7 best moments from Breaking Bad.
Perhaps, once I’ve completed this list, I’ll go back and watch it all over again. Oh, if you insist.
Obviously, spoilers below, from throughout the whole series. If you haven’t watched Breaking Bad and are planning to, perhaps you should reconsider reading on and come back once you’ve finished watching!
The First Scene | Season 1 Episode 1
Citing the first scene as one of the best moments in a TV show seems like cheating a bit, but I can honestly say I have never come across an opening scene quite as spectacular as Breaking Bad’s. So much occurs, from the bodies of two men on the floor of the campervan, to Walt’s cryptic recorded message to his family, to his defiant stare down the sight of a gun at the approaching emergency services. This moment truly sets the scene for the rest of the series, as not only do we see Walt’s awkward innocence but also his unflinching, intimidating strength: the perfect foreshadowing for his character development.
I Am the One Who Knocks | Season 4 Episode 6
When anyone thinks of Breaking Bad, chances are they’ll immediately think of the bone-chilling utterance by Walter White: “I am the one who knocks.” This scene is so pivotal to the whole series, as it really shows just how cold Walter has become, not only when it comes to his meth operation, but even when it comes to taking human life. We watch Walter’s demise throughout the whole series, but it is never quite as apparent what a monster he has become until this moment.
Gus’ Box Cutter | Season 4 Episode 1
Giancarlo Esposito, who plays Gustavo Fring throughout the series, says that it was the box cutter scene which really effected him personally. Esposito said that on the day of filming this scene he uncharacteristically kept to himself, simply so that he could complete the scene “without it really hurting [his] spirit and [his] soul.” If that doesn’t say a lot about this moment, then I don’t know what does. Watching Gus slice the throat of one of his workers while staying so horrifically calm is easily one of, if not THE, most gut-wrenching, terrifying and brutal moments in the whole series. This is certainly a scene that stays with you forever.
Skyler in the Pool | Season 5 Episode 4
Pools and water are a recurring theme throughout Breaking Bad. References to them are constantly made, and several crucial scenes have something to do with water in some way, and it all seems to lead to this moment. Skyler knows how corrupted Walt has become, she knows how much her and her children are in danger, and she knows she is powerless. While Walt talks, she walks, fully clothed, in to the swimming pool, floating somewhat peacefully in a pool of blue. It was this scene that helped to land Anna Gunn an Emmy for her role as Skyler White.
Roomba Cam | Season 4 Episode 2
Oh, the metaphors in this seemingly simple scene. If there was ever a moment throughout Breaking Bad that showed us that life goes on, even throughout some of the most horrific circumstances, this is it. While Jesse’s Roomba vacuum attempts to clean up the damage made after a drug-fuelled night, we are shown the messy aftermath. Even the most trivial things still occur among all forms of tragedy.
Plane Crash | Season 2 Episode 13
So much of season 2 was spent leading up to this moment. In case you hadn’t noticed, the names of the first, fourth, tenth and final episodes of season 2 spelled out “Seven Thirty-Seven” “Down” “Over” “ABQ”. But that’s not the only sneaky manoeuvre made by the creators of the show. Remember that pink teddy bear? Just keep an eye out. It shows up in so many vital scenes, becoming perhaps the most important motif throughout the whole series. To me, this plane crash scene is a perfect example of just how much consideration and planning went in to each second of Breaking Bad.
Phone Call | Season 5 Episode 14
Ozymandias will go down in history as one of the most heart-wrenching, horrific, thrilling and dramatic television episodes ever. In fact, it has been called one of the best TV episodes ever made. The phone call Walter makes to Skyler in this episode is difficult to watch. We know that Walt makes his phone call for the benefit of the police listening in, but it’s hard not to think that he means a lot of what he says, and it’s that which is really horrific. While this whole endeavour started so that Walt could provide for and protect his family, it has become something wholly, entirely different. It is obvious from this moment on that Walt is far beyond saving.
It was so hard to come up with just seven moments to qualify for my top 7 best moments from Breaking Bad. Each and every scene throughout the whole series is stellar in its own way, and could easily have made this list. There is little argument that Breaking Bad is one of the best TV shows ever made. And my goodness, was it brilliant reliving it through this list.
What was your favourite Breaking Bad scene? Why?