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The Most Important Episodes Of 'Breaking Bad'

Updated May 19, 2020 782 votes 124 voters 3.7k views15 items

List RulesVote up the episodes that mattered most in the series overall.

Breaking Bad is remembered as one of the greatest television series of all time, and for good reason. Over five seasons, fans got to watch the evolution of Walter White from mild-mannered chemistry teacher to ruthless drug lord. People were taken by the series, constantly guessing what would happen next and creating elaborate fan theories to fill in the show's gaps. It was as satisfying as it was heartbreaking at times, and the series has left a permanent mark on pop culture. And if you're missing the series, watch more shows like Breaking Bad.

The entire series is fantastic, and people have weighed in on what they consider the best episodes, but some stand out as being true highlights: the ones where big things happen and characters are faced with their toughest challenges, and often times highlighting Walter White's evil motivations. They left an impact on the characters' psyches that would be felt throughout the series and, in some instances, transformed them completely. Whether these episodes filled you with excitement, dread, or sorrow, they are the most important episodes in Breaking Bad's history. 

  • 1. 'Ozymandias' (Season 5, Episode 14)

    Photo: AMC

    "Ozymandias" is the fateful episode in which Walt is forced to watch as Hank is terminated by Jack and his crew, who go on to take the majority of Walt's buried wealth. It's also revealed that Gomez was offed in the melee that erupted at the end of the previous episode.

    This is Walt's lowest point in the series. His entire family finds out the truth, and he gets into a scuffle with Skyler before Walt Jr. calls the police on him. He takes Holly and flees, eventually leaving her at a fire station and starting a new life. 

    This is also the episode in which Walt sells out Jesse, after which Jesse becomes a meth-cooking slave. 

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  • 2. 'Felina' (Season 5, Episode 16)

    Photo: AMC

    The final episode of the series, "Felina" is a true masterpiece. Walt is on the run in New Hampshire, but decides to head back to New Mexico to finish off Jack, Todd, and the rest of the crew. Before that, he visits Gretchen and Elliot and threatens them into setting up a trust to give his remaning money to Walt Jr. They agree, and Walt goes off to set up his master plan.

    He creates an automated turret in the trunk of his car and also visits Skyler. Walt gives her the location of Hank and Gomez's bodies and admits he did what he did for himself, not his family as he previously claimed.

    Walt meets with Todd and Lydia, then goes to meet with Jack at his base of operations. He asks about Jesse, who is brought out in chains. Walt tackles Jesse to the ground and triggers the turret, which wipes out the majority of Jack's crew. Jesse offs Todd while Walt terminates Jack, and the two have a tense final moment in which Walt asks Jesse to end him. Jesse refuses and leaves, and Walt answers Todd's phone and tells Lydia he dosed her with ricin at their meeting. Walt then spends a last moment in the meth lab before collapsing and perishing just as the police arrive.

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  • 3. 'Face Off' (Season 4, Episode 13)

    Photo: AMC

    The final episode of Season 4 is one to remember because it's the last time we see Gustavo Fring. Walt and Jesse have to deal with the aftermath of a failed attempt on Fring's life, and Jesse is taken into custody in relation to Brock's hospitalization. Walt goes to his old adversary, the crippled Hector Salamanca, and the two join forces to take down Fring.

    Salamanca feigns cooperation with the DEA to get Fring to visit him at the nursing home where he lives. The ploy is a success, and Salamanca detonates an incendiary device given to him by Walt. Both Salamanca and Fring perish, and Walt tells Skyler that he "won."

    Meanwhile, Brock recovers and it's revealed he wasn't dosed with ricin, but berries from a lily of the valley plant. The episode ends on a potted lily of the valley in Walt's backyard, revealing he was the one who harmed Brock. 

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  • 4. 'Full Measure' (Season 3, Episode 13)

    Photo: AMC

    The final episode of Season 3 ends with Jesse offing Gale at point-blank range, marking a dark turn for his character. The episode begins shortly after Walt terminates two people for Jesse and then meets with Gus. Gus decides to spare Walt's life on the condition that Gale returns to replace Jesse as his assistant. Walt begins to suspect Gale is being trained to replace him, and begins hatching a plan to off him with Jesse and Saul.

    Walt is intercepted by Victor, however, and is brought to the lab, where it's clear Mike intends to terminate him. Mike asks for Jesse's whereabouts, and allows Walt to call Jesse. He quickly tells Jesse about his predicament, and Jesse rushes off to terminate Gale. 

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