Breaking Bad: 5 Deaths That Broke Our Hearts (& 5 We Actually Enjoyed)

Now that Breaking Bad has finally made it past its five seasons and film phase, it’s time to look back on all the bodies Walt and Jesse stacked. Or at the very least, deaths they were involved in. There’s the good and (mostly) honorable Hank Schrader, simply trying to do his job and make ends meet. There’s the less-than-scrupulous Tuco Salamanca, who, even without Walt and Jesse’s interference, was probably not making it past another year or two, tops. So let’s take a dip in the river Styx and see who deserved what they got, and whose deaths broke our hearts.

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10 Enjoyed - Tuco Salamanca

Tuco threatens Jimmy in the desert

Of the long list of people who most definitely had it coming in the world of Breaking Bad, Tuco Salamanca is likely at the top. Tuco is the best and only argument needed for the old adage “Don’t get high on your own supply."  While Walt understood this concept very well, in the meth game, sometimes one must work with what they’re given. Tuco was the source of a lot of tension and anxiety for the relatively short while that he was around, so when Hank finally took him down, fans everywhere — as well as Walt and Jesse — rejoiced. 

9 Broke Our Hearts - Mike Ehrmantraut

Breaking Bad

It’s no wonder that Mike Ehrmantraut has found a home in every single piece of the Breaking Bad story. Mike is not only expertly acted (by Jonathan Banks), but he’s also expertly equipped to handle all the twists and turns of running security and cleanup for people in the drug trade. Well, at least until Heisenberg had to come in and screw everything up. Mike certainly lived by his own set of rules, and like many of Breaking Bad’s key players, he may not have been even, but he was good enough that when Walt killed him, his death hurt audiences nearly as much as it must’ve hurt him.

8 Enjoyed - Hector Salamanca

Mark Margolis as Hector Salamanca in Breaking Bad

Hector Salamanca, a man of very few words. But what he lacked in vernacular he made up for in a white-hot rage that could fuel a thousand suns simultaneously bursting brilliantly into supernova. Or, y’know, a bomb resting under his own wheelchair. The Salamanca family must have cleared some of their karmic debt, because fortunately for Hector, he hadn’t stayed alive this whole time without reason.  Getting the opportunity to kill Gustavo Fring? Free. Getting the opportunity to kill Gustavo Fring after years of emotional torture immediately following that time he murdered Don Eladio and all his friends/members of the Juarez cartel? Priceless. 

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7 Broke Our Hearts - Gale Boetticher

Gale was certainly a ray of sunshine when it came to the bleak and awful world of the New Mexico meth game. He was clearly an outsider, someone too sweet for the international drug trade. Much like Lydia, however, Gale separated himself from the world his actions helped create, the violence that his cooks fueled. Because he separated himself from the actions, he was left unable to comprehend the danger in his life. He was simply a scientist — going to work for a drug lord. Unfortunately for Gale, he just wasn’t prepared for the life-or-death stakes that Walt and Jesse both accepted as realities very early on.

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6 Enjoyed - Gustavo Fring

After years being one of the most organized, reputable and productive members of the international drug trade space, Gustavo Fring’s stock finally blew up. Just not in the way he had always imagined. Gustavo’s only real sin was crossing Heisenberg and showing him what true success and power looked like. Oh, and all the murders and drug deals and pretty much everything else he did. Gustavo often found comfort and anonymity in the mask he put on for others. He was the good boss, the wealthy business owner who regularly donated to the police, the soft-spoken gentlemen. His mask, along with the rest of the right side of his face, was taken by Walt. And Hector Salamanca. Well, technically, it’s more like "Face Off" performed by Heisenberg...feat. Hector Salamanca on percussion. 

5 Broke Our Hearts - Walt’s Marriage

While Walt certainly had this outcome coming for a very long time, it was still heart-breaking to see it all happen in slow motion. Walt may have started off with the purest of intentions — and meth — but he would descend into a power-hungry and status-obsessed monster by the end of his life. For a long time, Walt fooled himself into believing that his actions would ultimately protect his family from his inevitable demise. What he never accounted for, however, was being able to protect them from the man he would become — or the man he’d always been.

4 Enjoyed - Todd, Jack, & The Boys

Jesse Pinkman kills Todd Breaking Bad

Todd, Jack, and the rest of the gang may not have been around for a long time, but the hatred they instilled in both fans and characters alike was true and passionate. Finally watching Todd have the life strangled out of him is something that only gets sweeter after witnessing the picture painted in El Camino. Enslaving Jesse, killing Hank and Gomey, the neo-Nazis may not have been around for long, but they certainly managed to cause deep and long-lasting damage to everyone’s favorite meth cooks. 

RELATED: El Camino: 5 Surprise Breaking Bad Cameos (& 5 We Wish Had Happened)

3 Broke Our Hearts - Hank Schrader

Hank Schrader Breaking Bad

Hank may have been Heisenberg’s longest-lasting and most dedicated pursuer and antagonist, but his death still managed to shake Walt to his core. For the first time in Walt’s illegal career, things haven’t gone according to plan. Walt can come back, rationalize,  and excuse himself from a lot of the things he’s done, but there’s no fixing a dead brother-in-law. The consequences of Walt’s extra-curricular activities have finally been brought to his doorstep. Walt realizes just as quickly as the audience does, that at this point, there is no path home. No amount of planning or time will make his family whole again.

2 Enjoyed - Lydia Rodarthe-Quayle

It’s not that Lydia was so awful or evil or vindictive, or even violent. It’s that she excused herself from the evil and violence that branched out from her actions, fear, and anxiety. Through Lydia’s fear and paranoia, many men and women who, under typical circumstances, wouldn’t have lost their lives wound up sleeping with the fishes. Or whatever New Mexico’s version of that is. Sleeping with the prairie rattlesnakes? It is, however, a relief to see that ricin finally find a home in someone who actually deserved it.    

1 Broke Our Hearts - Jane Margolis

Time and time again throughout the course of Walt and Jesse’s careers as top meth cook, audiences watched as Jesse paid the price for Walt’s ambition. Yet, somehow, we still sat horrified as Walt stood above an unconscious Jesse and Jane and watched as Jane choked on her own vomit. Jesse and Jane may not have been the best influences on each other, but neither of them deserved what happened. Little did Jesse know that Jane's death would signal a massive spiraling out in his own life. Not just within his own head, but the circumstances outside himself as well. Breaking Bad may not have had any real, unquestionable heroes, but Jesse is about as close as one could come. 

NEXT: Breaking Bad: The 10 Worst Things That Walt Ever Did

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