As we count down to the last episode of Breaking Bad, I thought it would be an appropriate time to take a quick look back at where we’ve come from. To do so, today, I will start a look back at my 10 favorite episodes of this amazing run of TV. This is not necessarily the 10 “best” episodes of Breaking Bad, even in my opinion. Instead, it is simply my 10 favorite episodes. I guess I should also mention that this list is the list of CJ, not LJ. But I like to think she is smart enough to agree with me on such important issues. In Part 1, I’ll discuss episodes 10-6, and in Part 2, we will look at my top 5.
On to the list, starting with 10:
10. Episode 303 — “I.F.T.”
I don’t think you could do this list without having this episode on it. It has a couple of my favorite Breaking Bad moments with Skyler saying those 3 little words to Walt, and the infamous pizza toss (which Bryan Cranston dominated in one, single take). This episode also shows the first attempt of Skyler to get rid of Walt, calling the police on him, to no avail. Plus, Gus showing his muscle with the cartel, which is looking for Walt’s blood after the death of Tuco.
9. Episode 313 — “Full Measure”
I often talk about the Harry Potter books and movies as if they were 2 separate parts. There are the first three and a half books, which are whimsical and fun and about these kids learning about magic and the power of friendship. Then, there are the second three and a half books, after Voldemort has come back, and everything changes. Full Measure, for me, is where everything changes for Breaking Bad (one could argue it happens in the previous episode, Half Mesasures, as well). Once Jesse pulls that trigger and shoots Gale, nothing will ever be the same.
8. Episode 206 — “Peekaboo”
The importance of this episode on the series overall can not be over stated. This is the episode where one of Walt’s first lies starts to unravel. It is in this episode that Gretchen learns (from a phone call with Skyler) that Walt has been claiming Gretchen and Elliot have been paying his medical bills related to his cancer. But more importantly, this is where we first see the emergence of a theme that would pop up time and time again as the show progressed, Jesse’s love of children. He does everything he can to protect the child of the meth heads, and we see how much he loves Brock and how the death of Drew Sharp hurt him.
7. Episode 307 — “One Minute”
Breaking Bad had done plenty of great episodes in the first two and a half seasons, but I would argue that this is the first real Breaking Bad masterpiece. Written by Thomas Schnauz and directed by Michelle MacLaren, this episode is one of the most tense and beautiful of the entire series. We get our first great Jesse Pinkman speech when he goes off on Walt from his hospital bed, and we get the amazing shoot out in the parking lot between Hank and The Cousins. On man…That phone call. Damn.
6. Episode 410 — “Salud”
Gus finally gets his revenge on Don Eladio for the death of his best friend (lover?) we see in the flashback in episode 408. Seeing the cold, calculating way in which Gus and Mike kill every member of Don Eladio’s crew shows us that Gus Fring is always in control, and we start to wonder if Walt will ever be able to better him. Another amazing episode directed by Michelle MacLaren, this is the episode that sets the events of the final 3 episodes of season 4 into motion (more on that later).
Well, there is Part 1 of my Top 10 of Breaking Bad. Come back later this afternoon or tomorrow for Part 2, where we count down the Top 5.