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Ahead of the Finale: What Are Breaking Bad’s 10 Best Episodes??

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  • KT
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    #289522

    I apologize if there is a similar thread for this topic.  If so, please delete.  It is not specific to Breaking Bad’s final season, but rather a retrospective of the entire show in preparation for the last eight episodes.  The titles of these episodes were revealed on imdb and aren’t included in my list below (www.imdb.com/title/tt0903747/episodes).

    I’m sure many of you have decided to watch through Breaking Bad for the finale, possibly from the pilot episode at the very beginning or from last summer’s most recent season up for Emmy consideration.  A few weeks ago I started season one and have now made my way up to “Fly” in season three.  Of course when you rewatch episodes, there are some that may have made an impression on you the first time you saw them, for reasons of plot, that don’t hold up as strongly on a second or third viewing.  And there are certainly others that affirm their greatness or reveal even more emotional depth and technical prowess on the part of the filmmakers on multiple viewings.  Two episodes that stood out to me for these reasons are “Phoenix” in the second season, which I’ve already posted quite a bit on today with regard to Bryan Cranston’s superior performance, and “One Minute” for its incredibly focused direction.

    I’m interested in what people think are the 10 best episodes this show has produced and why.  I’m sure your favorite episodes for various reasons (pizza anyone? two face? Tortuga? bathtub?) will be tough to ignore, but please focus on what you think is the absolute best work this show has put out.  I’ve read on the forums before that people tend to see Seasons 2 and 3 as highs.  And I know there are countless articles and blog posts online for Breaking Bad and other shows like The Sopranos, but I’d like to see which episodes most stand out and for what reasons.  Is it because of a character moment like Walt in “Crazy Handful of Nothin’,” Jesse in “Peekaboo,” Saul in “Better Call Saul,” Skyler in “I.F.T.?”  Is it due to how the plot developed and was executed like Hank finding the RV in “Sunset?”  Is it because of a cinematographer establishing the look of the show, such as the “Pilot” episode?   Is it when Breaking Bad takes risks like in the polarizing “Fly” episode?  Or when the show is at its most ambitious like “Dead Freight,” or most shock-inducing, “Face-Off” or “Box Cutter” for example?  Hopefully this can serve as a jumping off platform.  What do you think?

    Season One
    1. Pilot
    2. Cat’s in the Bag…
    3. …And the Bag’s in the River
    4. Cancer Man
    5. Gray Matter
    6. Crazy Handful of Nothin’
    7. A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal

    Season Two
    1. Seven Thirty-Seven
    2. Grilled
    3. Bit by a Dead Bee
    4. Down
    5. Breakage
    6. Peekaboo
    7. Negro Y Azul
    8. Better Call Saul
    9. 4 Days Out
    10. Over
    11. Mandala
    12. Phoenix
    13. ABQ

    Season Three
    1. No Mas
    2. Caballo sin Nombre
    3. I.F.T. 
    4. Green Light
    5. Mas
    6. Sunset
    7. One Minute
    8. I See You
    9. Kafkaesque
    10. Fly
    11. Abiquiu
    12. Half Measures
    13. Full Measure

    Season Four
    1. Box Cutter
    2. Thirty-Eight Snub
    3. Open House
    4. Bullet Points
    5. Shotgun
    6. Cornered
    7. Problem Dog
    8. Hermanos
    9. Bug
    10. Salud
    11. Crawl Space
    12. End Times
    13. Face Off

    Season Five
    1. Live Free or Die
    2. Madrigal
    3. Hazard Pay
    4. Fifty-One
    5. Dead Freight
    6. Buyout
    7. Say My Name
    8. Gliding Over All 

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    Marcus Snowden (The Artist Formerly Known as msnowden1)
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    #289524

    1. One Minute
    2. Face Off
    3. Half Measures
    4. End Times
    5. Crawl Space
    6. Say My Name
    7. Dead Freight
    8. Box Cutter
    9. ABQ
    10. Full Measure         

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    Irishmovielover4ever
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    Apr 22nd, 2011
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    #289525

    1. Crawl Space
    2. One Minute
    3. Fifty-One
    4. ABQ
    5. Phoneix
    6. Full Measures
    7. Half Measures
    8. Pilot
    9. Phoneix
    10. Say My Name

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    Icky
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    #289526

    1. End Times
    2. One Minute
    3. Phoenix
    4. Crawl Space
    5. Crazy Handful of Nothin’
    6. ABQ
    7. Better Call Saul
    8. Grilled
    9. And the Bag’s in the River
    10. Peekaboo

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    unsunganthem
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    #289527

    1. Full Measure
    -Cranston gives his greatest single episode performance (in my opinion). Walt eventually gets Jesse to cross the same line he crossed long ago.
    2. Face Off
    -Gus loses. All of Season Four was devoted to Walt trying (and failing) to out manuever Gus. The way Walt finally wins does ample justice to one of television’s greatest rivalries. Walt is now officially the new meth king of New Mexico.
    3. Fly
    -The perfect microcosm of this show. Walt and Jesse bond in the confines of the superlab. This is the closest we ever see Walt come to remorse for his actions. Rian Johnson’s camera work is something to behold.
    4. Half Measures
    -Walt saves Jesse. That final sequence is utterly unforgettable. “Run.”
    5. Gliding Over All
    -This is arguably the best directed episode of the entire series. With two stunning musical montages, one showing the murders of 10 potential informants and the other showing the growth of Walt’s empire. And of course…Hank’s face at the end.
    6. One Minute
    -Dean Norris’s greatest performance. The build-up to and eventual shootout in the parking lot is as intense as television gets.
    7. Phoenix
    -Walt crosses the rubicon. We see that he is no longer just the absent-minded, family man in too deep. We see that he is in fact capable of cold blooded murder in order to protect his interests.
    8. Dead Freight
    -Breaking Bad takes the old western plot device of a train heist to a whole new level. It is a perfectly sequenced set of scenes with 8 characters all working in tandem. Victory is soon spoiled by a story-altering and tragic ending.
    9. Crawl Space
    -The final scene with Walt in the Crawl Space laughing manically, realizing that he is all out of options.
    10. Confessions
    -The acting by everyone (but especially Cranston and Paul) was outrageously good here. Every scene was intense. Jesse finds out that Walt poisoned Brock; Hank and Marie get a firsthand taste of how ruthless Heisenberg can be with that DVD “confessional”; and the storm clouds continue to gather over Walt as Todd and his neo-Nazi partners come rolling back into New Mexico.

    Season Three: 4
    Season Five: 3
    Season Four: 2
    Season Two: 1 

    Honorable mention: Pilot, Crazy Handful of Nothin’, ABQ, Sunset, Salud, End Times, Fifty-One, Buyout

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    Renaton
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    #289528

    1. Phoenix
    2. Sunset
    3. Crawl Space
    4. Peekaboo
    5. Half Measures
    6. One Minute
    7. End Times
    8. Say My Name
    9. Pilot 
    10. Gliding Over All

    I feel bad for not including Crazy Handul of Nothin’, Better Call Saul or I.F.T. or Dead Freight, but it’s tough to limit this to 10. Also, shout out for underrated great episodes Down, Over, Mas and Thirty Eight Snub. 

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    probablyROB
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    #289529

    1.  Phoenix
    2.  Half Measures
    3.  …and the bags in the River
    4.  End Times
    5.  Sunset
    6.  Four Days Out
    7.  Grilled
    8.  One Minute
    9.  Crazy Handful of Nothing
    10. Crawl Space

    Honorable mention:  Full Measure, Cancer Man, ABQ, Peekaboo, Down, and Salud.

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    probablyROB
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    #289530

    1. End Times
    2. One Minute
    3. Phoenix
    4. Crawl Space
    5. Crazy Handful of Nothin’
    6. ABQ
    7. Better Call Saul
    8. Peekaboo
    9. And the Bag’s in the River
    10. Peekaboo

    If you like Peekaboo so much just put it higher.

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    Kurt Dickey
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    #289531

    01. ABQ, dir. Adam Bernstein, wr. Vince Gilligan.
    02. Peekaboo, dir. Peter Medak, wr. Vince Gilligan & J. Roberts.
    03. Phoenix, dir. Colin Bucksey, wr. John Shiban.
    04. Pilot, dir. / wr. Vince Gilligan.
    05. Grilled, dir. Charles Haid, wr. George Mastras.
    06. Full Measure, dir. / wr. Vince Gilligan.
    07. One Minute, dir. Michelle MacLaren, wr. Thomas Schnauz
    08. Dead Freight, dir. / wr. George Mastras.
    09. Fifty-One, dir. Rian Johnson, wr. Sam Catlin.
    10. Crawl Space, dir. Scott Winant, wr. Sam Catlin & George Mastras. 

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    theproblemdog
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    #289532

    It’s impossible for me to put them in an order past my top two, so I’ll just list them randomly.
    1. Fly
    2. Problem Dog
    Phoenix
    Crawl Space
    End Times
    4 Days Out
    Half Measures
    Full Measure
    Dead Freight
    …And the Bag’s in the River

    Honorable Mention: Down, One Minute, Face Off, Box Cutter, ABQ, Pilot, Salud, Buyout, Say My Name, Mandala

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    Icky
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    #289533

    [quote=”Eeeekk”]1. End Times
    2. One Minute
    3. Phoenix
    4. Crawl Space
    5. Crazy Handful of Nothin’
    6. ABQ
    7. Better Call Saul
    8. Peekaboo
    9. And the Bag’s in the River
    10. Peekaboo

    If you like Peekaboo so much just put it higher.[/quote]

    I didn’t edit it just to see which hole was gonna point it out first.

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    CanadianFan
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    #289534

    1. Phoenix
    2. End Times
    3. Half Measures
    4. Crawl Space
    5. One Minute
    6. Peekaboo
    7. Fifty-One
    8. 4 Days Out
    9. Say My Name
    10. Salud

    Honorable mentions: Pilot, Fly, Full Measures, Problem Dog, Face Off, Madrigal, Dead Freight

    That was way too hard.

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    KT
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    #289535

    **KT said to give the reasons why we chose the episodes we did. That will require some more typing on my part, which I don’t have time to do now. But since Breaking Bad is my all time favorite show and I never tire of discussing it, I will definitely check back later to add brief explanations for each episode later. 

    Yes!!  If you have time to come back and add a line or two, definitely please go ahead.  As I re-watch the previous seasons, I’m keeping mental notes of episodes that grab me.  I’ll definitely add my list soon!

    Example for Season One: Though the “Pilot” obviously sets the stage visually and introduces the characters and Walt’s story, “Crazy Handful of Nothin'” may be the strongest episode of the first season.  I remember loving “And the Bag’s in the River” on the first go and thought Walt putting the pieces of the broken plate together and then killing Krazy 8 was amazingly executed—but “Crazy Handful” seems to be on another level, especially behind director Bronwen Hughes.  It begins with a wonderful shot of light filtering through the bullet holes of the RV.  Walt sees someone else get blamed for his actions for the first time: the janitor at the school, who went out of his way to clean up Walt’s vomit in the bathroom.  There is a great transition shot of Walt peeing that turns to blood, recalling his definition of chemistry as the study of change in the pilot episode and how he uses different sprays to change the color of the flames.  Of course, Tuco is introduced and the scenes between Tuco and Jesse and later with Walt build tension very effectively with the music score and handheld camera, seemingly stopping time.  The final sequence marks the reveal of Heinsberg and Cranston plays the scene in the car of guttural exuberation brilliantly. 

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    KT
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    #289536

    Not counting honorable mentions, here are the most cited episodes so far:

    Crawl Space – 9

    One Minute – 8
    Phoenix – 8

    Half Measures – 7

    End Times – 6

    Full Measures – 5

    ABQ – 4
    Dead Freight – 4
    Peekaboo – 4
    Say My Name – 4

    4 Days Out – 3
    And the Bag’s in the River – 3
    Fifty-One – 3
    Grilled – 3
    Pilot – 3

    Crazy Handful of Nothin’ – 2
    Face Off – 2
    Fly – 2
    Gliding Over All – 2
    Sunset – 2

    Better Call Saul – 1
    Box Cutter – 1 
    Buyout – 1
    Problem Dog – 1
    Salud – 1 

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    Riley
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    #289537
    1. “Grilled”
    2. “End Times”
    3. “Gliding Over All”
    4. “One Minute”
    5. “Pilot”
    6. “ABQ”
    7. “Full Measure”
    8. “Madrigal”
    9. “Better Call Saul”
    10. “Problem Dog”
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