Breaking Bad is widely considered one of the best shows of our generation. The story of a straight-laced high school teacher becoming a meth cook when he finds out he has cancer is a brilliant concept, and it was realized to its full potential. There are so many twists and turns in the story of Walter White, including some of the best character development ever seen on television. Walter begins his story as a scared, desperate man trying to control his situation and provide for his family. By the fifth season he’s a bona fide villain who will do whatever it takes to protect his own interests.
Breaking Bad has offered us some of the best moments ever seen on TV. They range from fist-pumpingly awesome to rage inducing, with each wrinkle more shocking than the next. By the time the fourth and fifth seasons came around, the viewers knew that nothing would go according to plan, and no one was safe from the wrath of Walter White.
Ahead are some of the standout moments from the show, including some of our favorite (and least favorite) shocking, rage inducing, and cliff-hanging scenes. Here are 15 Times Breaking Bad Had Us Yelling At Our TVs.
15. Exploding Tortuga
Since the moment Hank is introduced to the El Paso DEA team, he is characterized as an outcast. He doesn’t speak the language, and in his first encounter with DEA informant Tortuga, he gets aggressive; a transparent attempt to gain control of the situation.
Hank has been battling PTSD since the shooting with Tuco Salamanca. He tries to push through the episodes of hysteria, but finds it too difficult when he’s faced with Tortuga’s severed head on the back of a tortoise.
His fellow DEA agents laugh at Hank’s visible breakdown, as he rushes to the car under the guise of getting an evidence bag. While Hank is away from the site, trying to compose himself, the other members of the team continue to mock him until the turtle explodes and sends them flying. It is now up to Hank to help his fallen agents, one of whom has his leg completely blown off.
14. Little Boy Shoots Combo
The fact that Walt told Jesse to expand into new territories was always going to be a bad idea. The viewer could see from a mile away that someone was going to end up shot or killed, but no one could’ve predicted the way it actually happened.
As soon as Combo was shown on a new street corner with a car pulling up, anyone could see bad news was ahead. The little boy on the bike appeared to be some kind of distraction or lookout, but didn’t seem like anything more than an accomplice, at worst. Even when the gunshot rang out, there was no thought of the kid shooting Combo until the camera showed him holding a gun.
The kid looked as shocked as the viewers were, as he fires a few more rounds at Combo while he flees. This is just one example of how Breaking Bad takes a seemingly predictable moment and turns it on its head.
13. Hank vs. The Cousins
The epic battle scene between Hank and the Salamanca cousins is one of the most unpredictable situations in an unpredictable show. By the time this episode landed, fans knew that anything could happen on this show, and that included Hank being killed in this exchange.
The scene begins as Hank, recently suspended for the beating of Jesse Pinkman, is exiting a grocery store with flowers for his wife. He gets a call while in his car, which tells him of the assassins he is about to encounter. He reaches for the gun at his waist, which had been taken away from him hours early due to his misconduct in the Pinkman situation.
What happens next had fans on the edge of their seat as they watched Hank, who’d been petrified of how he’d react in life-threatening encounters since the Tuco incident, savagely fight to save his own life. He rams one of the brothers with his car, and fumbles with a loose bullet to fire a deadly shot at the second brother, who is coming at him with an ax. The episode ends with the above shot of an ax inches from a bloody Hank’s head.
12. Gus Fring’s Box Cutter
The episode “Box Cutter” was the premier of season four of Breaking Bad, and followed the direct aftermath of Jesse killing Gale. Walt and Jesse get rounded up and brought to the lab, where they meet Gus to find out their fate. Victor, one of Gus’ hired guns, shows that he can cook just as well as Walt and Jesse can, attempting to prove that they are not needed for the project to succeed.
Gus enters without a word, and remains silent for the entirety of the five minute scene. He listens to Walt plead his case, all the while undressing and changing into a rubber suit. When he pulls the box cutter out of the drawer, no one, including the viewer has any idea what he intends to do with it. Finally, Walt’s begging is put to an end when Gus slits the throat of Victor, his eyes never leaving those of Walt’s.
11. Walt Kills Mike
Mike Ehrmantraut, for all of his flaws, is one of the fan-favorites out of all of the characters in Breaking Bad. His role was so iconic that he pow serves as one of the focal points of the prequel Better Call Saul.
The final interaction between Walt and Mike was foreshadowed when Walt saw the gun in Mike’s go-bag. Still, there was no real reason for Walt to kill Mike at this point… or so we thought. The altercation between the two of them was heated, but the audience understood that Mike was right the whole time. When Mike notices that the gun is gone and Walt shoots him through the car window, fans were shocked and appalled.
The scene only gets worse, though, as Walt follows Mike down to the river and reveals that he didn’t even need to shoot him in the first place. Mike tells Walt to shut up and let him die in peace, before slumping over and breathing his last breaths.
10. Walt Abducts Holly
The chaos that unfolds in “Ozymandias” makes it one of the tensest episodes in the series (more on this ahead). Hank dies, Walter Jr. finds out the truth about his father, and everything comes to a head during a confrontation at the White home. Skyler surmises that Walt killed Hank – while not the complete truth, Walt did indirectly cause his death – and ends up pulling a knife on Walt to protect herself.
Skyler and Walt strugglee for the knife, but Junior intervenes and pulls Walt off of Skyler, holding his arm around her to protect her. Junior is calling the police, so Walt flees, grabbing the only one too young to understand what’s going on: baby Holly.
Walt grabs Holly and gets in the car with her as Skyler screams in distress. He floors it backwards into Skyler’s car before screeching out of the driveway, leaving Skylar bawling on her knees in the middle of the road. Of all Walt’s terrible deeds, kidnapping his own daughter as his wife screams in terror and agony really stands apart.
9. Jesse Finds the Ricin
It becomes clear as the episode “Madrigal” unfolds that Walt is going to plant the fake ricin somewhere in Jesse’s home, allowing him to find it and thus deflecting any lingering suspicion Jesse may have. Finding it in the Roomba works perfectly for Walt and the viewer (the Roomba had been used prominently in a party scene at Jesse’s place previously).
Once Jesse finds the ricin, though, he breaks down. He apologizes to Walter, telling Walt that he almost killed him over it; that he can’t believe how stupid he can be sometimes. All the while, the viewer, who knows what really happened to Brock, is screaming at their television, telling Jesse not to buy it. Jesse is one of the only characters who the audience consistently roots, and he’s falling face first into another of Walt’s manipulative traps.
8. Hank Figures it Out
Breaking Bad was one of the first shows to split its final season. Hank figuring the whole thing out came right at the end of season 5-A, making it one of the best (read as worst) cliff-hangers in the series. Everything seemed to be wrapping up nicely, as the family gets back together and Walt gets out of the meth business, but that stupid Walt Whitman book had to go and ruin the whole thing.
While this may not have been the most rage-inducing moment on the show – many fans were actually happy to see Hank put the pieces together – the fact that fans had to wait months to get a resolution was shout-worthy. It served up a bit of shock value, and had many fans shouting, “YES,” at Hank’s flashback, followed by an immediate, “What? NO!” as soon as the credits rolled.
7. Todd kills a kid
When he is introduced, Todd just seems like a nice guy who is looking to help Walter. He shows respect and seems to know his place. It isn’t until the train robbery that we get to see the real side of Todd; the side that would ultimately lead to the demise of everything Walt holds dear.
The kid on the dirt bike is shown in the beginning of the episode, “Dead Freight”, but in classic Breaking Bad style, it’s not until the end that we find out why. He witnesses at least part of the heist, but gives a harmless wave when Walt, Jesse, and Todd see him. Todd returns the wave before taking out a gun and blithely shooting the poor kid.
6. “Do What You’re Gonna D-“
Breaking Bad, especially by the time season five rolls around, is practically devoid of characters to root for. The only two main characters with any redeeming qualities are Jesse and Hank, and many fans were foolish enough to think that this meant they were safe from the tragic endings that befell those before them. After all, Hank survived one of the most brutal assassination attempts in the show.
After the gunfight in the desert, Walt begs Jack not to shoot his brother-in-law. For a moment, there is a glimmer of hope that Walt will talk his way out of this, like he’s done a hundred times before. Only Hank knows the truth. In his final words, he tells Walt, “You’re the smartest guy I ever met, and you’re too stupid to see… He made his mind up ten minutes ago.”
5. Jane’s Overdose
Walt allowing Jane to die right in front of him was one of – if not the – first real hateable things he did in the series. Everything else leading to this point could be written off as Walt trying to protect himself and his family, but this was dark, sad, and repulsive.
After a chance encounter with Jane’s father at a bar, Walt rushes to Jesse’s house; presumably to apologize for the way he was acting due to the nature of his conversation with Jane’s father. He shakes Jesse to try to wake him, which causes Jane to roll over on her back. When she starts choking on her own vomit, Walt moves to try to help, but stops himself. Instead, he can be seen weighing the pros and cons of letting her die in his head.
Walt doesn’t act. He stands by and watches the life drain out of Jesse’s true love. Fans were left screaming at their television for Walt to intervene, only to see the credits role on the lifeless face of Jane and the saddened expression on the man who did nothing to save her.
4. Walt Poisons a Child
Even though Walt has done some reprehensible things in the past (i.e. letting Jane die in front of him), the viewer traditionally gave him the benefit of the doubt when it came to poisoning of Andrea’s son, Brock. It’s assumed that Walt is telling the truth when he says Gus must have done it, since it would take a true mastermind to manipulate Jesse in this way.
But as it turns out, Walt would do such a thing. Season four ends with the reveal of the fact that Walt did poison Brock as the camera closes in on a plant in Walt’s backyard. The label on the plant reads, “Lily of the Valley”, which is the plant Brock was poisoned with.
3. Ding Ding Ding
Even though the viewers see everything that is leading up to the ultimate death of Gustavo Fring, the fact that Walt would succeed in his assassination attempt was never a given. Gus, as Walt admits, has always been one step ahead of Walt when it comes to criminal intelligence.
When Hector Salamanca’s face turns from helpless to angry and he starts ringing his bell, the viewer and Gus realize at the same time what is about to happen. Gus stands up just before the room explodes, and for a split second every viewer assumed he was dead. Then, we see Gus walking out of the room and adjusting his tie, seemingly untouched. This was the most shocking part of the sequence, as Gus must be immortal to be able to withstand such a blast.
The final scene of the episode, “Half Measures” may have taken the top spot were it not for the final scene in “Full Measure,” and the fact that it took a year to resolve the latter cliffhanger. Still, waiting a week to see what happened after Walt told Jesse, “Run,” was no treat.
After learning of his girlfriend’s brother’s death at the hands of Gus’ drug dealers, Jesse decides to take matters into his own hands. He is about to confront and kill the men responsible, which the viewer can infer would mean certain death for Jesse. Meanwhile, Walt is at home when he sees the murder being reported on the television.
Jesse is walking towards the men, when out of nowhere comes Walt’s car, running over both men and knocking them to the ground. Walt then exits his car, picks up a gun, shoots one of them in the head, and tells Jesse, “Run.”
1. “Full Measure” Cliffhanger
The season 3 finale, “Full Measure,” had one of the most intense cliffhangers in all of the series. The action of Jesse shooting Gale in the face was shocking enough on its own, but those who watched the show while it was on TV knew they’d have to wait an entire year to find out what happens next.
Until this point, Jesse had never been a killer. He arrives at Gale’s apartment, knowing that he has no choice, and pulls a gun on Gale when he opens the door. The minute-long scene in which the two characters come to terms with their respective fates seems like it lasts an eternity, as Jesse’s eyes betray the fact that the last thing he wants to do is take Gale’s life. Season three ends with a muzzle flash and a cut to black.
What was the most shocking moment of Breaking Bad for you? Let us know in the comments!
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