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124 voters

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. 

  • 5

    'Pilot' (Season 1, Episode 1)

    Photo: AMC

    This is the episode that started it all. It introduces us to Walt and Jesse for the first time, and sets up their characters as a chemistry teacher and dealer, respectively. In this episode, Walt learns he has terminal lung cancer and gets the idea to make and sell methamphetamine to provide for his family once he's gone.

    He partners with Jesse, his old student, and the two acquire an RV and set out on their first cook. Things go wrong when they are tracked down by a couple of bad guys, but Walt manages to incapacitate them with noxious chemicals. 

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  • 6

    'Box Cutter' (Season 4, Episode 1)

    Photo: AMC

    Season 4 starts off in the aftermath of Gale's demise. Gus's henchman Victor goes to the site and confirms that Gale has perished but is spotted in the process. Victor finds Jesse and brings him to the lab, where Mike is holding Walt hostage.

    Mike calls Gus, who comes down personally to deal with the situation. In a surprise move, he offs Victor and allows Walt and Jesse to continue cooking for him. Meanwhile, Skyler investigates Walt's disappearance.

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  • 7

    'One Minute' (Season 3, Episode 7)

    Photo: AMC

    Another classic episode, this one features the unforgettable firefight between Hank and the Salamanca twins. The episode starts with a flashback to the boys as children, where Hector nearly drowns Marco after Leonel claims that he wants him gone. We then cut to the present, where the twins place a photo of Hank on an altar.

    Meanwhile, Hank gets in trouble after attacking Jesse at his apartment. Jesse files charges, and Skyler asks Walt to change Jesse's mind. Walt convinces Gus to allow him to replace Gale with Jesse, and Jesse reluctantly agrees to the deal.

    The episode's climax comes when Hank is taken down in a parking lot by the twins. After an intense struggle, Hank is able to terminate both brothers but is severely hurt in the process.

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  • 8

    'Crazy Handful of Nothin' (Season 1, Episode 6)

    Photo: AMC

    This Season 1 episode follows Walt and Jesse as they hammer out the details of their new business relationship. Unhappy with the money they are making, Walt urges Jesse to find a better distributor. In comes Tuco Salamanca, who agrees to meet with Jesse. During their meeting, Tuco savagely beats Jesse and takes his meth.

    Walter then meets with Tuco, assuming the "Heisenberg" personality for the first time. He demands to be compensated for Jesse's treatment; when Tuco refuses, he detonates a small amount of fulminated mercury. The explosion is huge, and Walt threatens to blow the rest unless they come to an agreement. Impressed, Tuco pays Walt and sets up a future deal.

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