In under 3 weeks the television community will join together in a collected celebration as Breaking Bad’s 5th and final season returns from its year long hiatus and delivers the final chapter in this outstanding television series.
I am a massive fan of Breaking Bad and believe that it is the best show currently on TV but is also a top 5 show of all time and could potentially become the greatest show ever if the final half of season 5 delivers a conclusion that is on the same level as the rest of the series.
Naturally this review will contain *spoilers* so read at your own peril, and if you are one of the people who for some reason has not watched Breaking Bad yet, I cannot stress greatly enough how much you have missed an amazing show.
So here it is 5 Defining moments in Breaking Bad.
Hank and the Twins
Wow what a scene, Hank gets a phone call telling him two men are coming to kill him, naturally he is skeptical but waits around (for some reason) to see what happens. What follows is about 4 of the best minutes of TV ever. Two bald men begin to approach (it’s a bald off), Hank gets tetchy (because he no longer has his gun) before he catches one of them in his rear mirror and slams the car into reverse as the man begins to release his clip into Hank and his car. Hank then crushes the twin’s lower half as he hits him with his car and crushes him.
The other twin approaches firing at Hank (now 2 bullets in his body) as Hank dives into the back of his car to retrieve the gun the twin he crushed dropped. Hank has disappeared and after checking on his now crippled brother he begins to follow the blood trail before putting some bullets into some poor passer by, followed by him reloading and dropping an explosive bullet.
Hank appears and enters what is left of his clip into the remaining twin (who sadly was wearing a Kevlar vest) before being shot again and floored gasping for air as the twin walks up to finish him off, before deciding that he would rather kill him more painfully.
Hank scrambles for the bullet the twin dropped as the twin fetches an axe (scraping it along the ground as he walks), the twin lifts the axe above his head (to finish Hank off) before his head is blown off by Hank’s last bit of strength as he fires the bullet, leaving 4 men lying in a pile of blood as the camera zooms out to show the parking lot.
Breaking Bad has a tendency to make amazing sequences that last around 5 minutes and this is one of many. What (for me) makes it even greater is that this happened on episode 7 of a 13 episode season. A scene like this is usually kept to the last couple of episodes in other shows, but Breaking Bad breaks the mold (as it has a tendency to do) and does it half way through a season.
The scene is shot beautifully with tense music, brilliant camera work (especially in the final sequence) and amazing visuals (such as the scraping of the axe or the clicking of the boots). In incredible scene in what was an incredible season.
Walter Saves Jesse
Walter has saved Jesse on several occasions but this was the biggest of the lot. Jesse discovers that the guys who killed Combo also killed Tomas (Jesse’s girlfriend’s brother), so he decides that enough is enough and that they must be dealt with (after previous failed attempts by Jesse). He sits in his car and shoots up for courage, he gets out and begins to walk towards the two men he begins draw his gun and the drug dealers do the same, as they begin to lift their arms to fire on Jesse a car comes flying from Jesse’s right and runs the two men over. Out of the car comes Walt who quickly finishes off one of the men who is still alive (with the guys gun) and turns to Jesse (as the camera flashes onto Walt’s face) as he tells him ‘run’.
The scene is shot beautifully, with the music resembling the heartbeat of Jesse as he approaches his two targets. The coldness of Walt as he shoots the second of the two in the head is soul chilling, to run them over could of been done in the heat of the moment but finishing the alive guy off so quickly and with such ease shows that Walt is willing to do anything to protect Jesse. It is also the start of Walt’s slip away from morality and the beginning of his massive ego trip. Which leads us to……
Jesse Kills Gale
There is no greater scene in Breaking Bad in my opinion. It has everything; Walt’s reaction to knowing that he is going to be killed, Victor and Mike’s reaction to realising what Walt had just told Jesse to do, that moment of desperation in Gale’s eyes when he realises his life is coming to an end, the look on Jesse’s face as he is about to kill an innocent man as the final seconds of the scene zooms in on the the barrel of the gun as it is fired and instantly fades to black finishing the season and leaving us asking the question of what just happened?
It is the defining moment of Breaking Bad and is the culmination of the souring of the relationship between Gus and Walt. After this event it was a partnership of convenience (between Gus and Walt) and began the chase of who was going to off who first.
This scene further solidified that Walt would do anything to protect himself and above all else that was the most important thing to him. It was also the first direct killing of an innocent person that Walt and Jesse partook in and further pushed Walter into his ego trip. Jesse killing Gale concluded the best season (so far) of Breaking Bad, it was the perfect finish to an incredible sequence.
I am the one who knocks
How could you make any Breaking Bad list without including what is quite probably the most iconic scene? It is brilliant, the scene only lasts about 1 minute at most, yet is so memorable because Bryan Cranston is so imperious in the scene.
Skyler is bitching at Walt about whether or not he is safe in the drug production business and you can see that Walt is beginning to become frustrated. This is followed by him putting her in her place by telling her that he is in control and that ‘I am the one who knocks’.
If you didn’t realise that Walt had began to turn away from his previous morals then you can no longer ignore it. There is no doubt that this is the beginning of Skyler realising the change in Walt but also in many ways Walt realising that he is now a changed man. It is an iconic scene and in many ways defines the series.
Hank Finds Out
Throughout Breaking Bad you always felt that at some point Walt was going to be discovered as a drug producer, the writers teased it constantly. However it wasn’t until the final scene in season 5’s first half where we find ourselves in the odd situation of being in the toilet with Hank taking a shit (ewwww) that it happened.
The run up to the final scenes of the episode had lead you into a false sense of security (even though you knew it would happen because of the first scene in season 5) so when Hank picked up the Walt Whitman book which Gale had gifted to Walt, you panicked, when Hank flicked through the pages and found himself on the note that Gale had written to Walt (which he wrote in gifting the book) both Hank and the audience went ‘oh shit’ and we faded to black.
The whole run up to this scene was fantastic, everything seemed to finally be going so well for Walt and everyone seemed to be happy with their lives and then this happened. You knew it was coming and yet when it did you just couldn’t believe it. There is an interesting question about whether Walt deliberately left this incriminating book in plain sight so as he would get caught or is it just that his ego was so large he thought he would never be caught?
Much like the shooting of Gale, Breaking Bad has made us think about this scene and the consequences of this scene for a year (damn they’re cruel) and the anticipation that has built up for the final half of season 5 is massive, a large part of that massive anticipation is this scene. What is Hank going to do? How does Walt get away? Does Hank confront Walt there and then? Hank finding out about Walt’s dirty little secret is an incredible cliff hanger (another thing Breaking Bad do so well) and makes everyone want just that little bit more.
So there you go, 5 defining moments in Breaking Bad. It is interesting to note that 3 of those came from the excellent season 3 and only 1 came from the also excellent (but not quite as excellent as season 3) season 4 & 5. Also all 5 defining moments contained Walt, who may I add is also an excellent anti hero and main character.
Leave a comment about your love for Breaking Bad or alternatively tell me about some of your favourite moments in the series. All comments are appreciated and enjoy the second half of season 5, I know I will.