20 Best ‘Breaking Bad’ Episodes, Ranked According to IMDb

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Considered by many to be the greatest television show of all time, Breaking Bad set an unprecedented bar for drama entertainment during its five-season run. With its antihero lead, memorable characters, purposeful storytelling, sophisticated action, and riveting twists, there’s a clear reason why the series has become a staple of pop culture and is so critically acclaimed. Bryan Cranston created one of the most iconic television characters of all time as high school chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin Walter White, otherwise known as Heisenberg.



More than ten years after its riveting finale aired, Breaking Bad continues to set the standard for what television shows can be. With fans likely still considering Breaking Bad as the best show ever, it’s fortunate that the award-winning crime-drama series is also incredibly rewatchable. It seems to be the one show that most viewers can agree did not have a single bad episode, with a standard so high that it’s incredibly difficult to choose which one is best. It’s possible to choose the best episodes of Breaking Bad thanks to IMDb, as the platform’s scores narrow down the highest-rated ones in the series.


Breaking Bad

Release Date
January 20, 2008

Creator
Vince Gilligan

Seasons
5


Watch on Netflix


20 “Hermanos” (Season 4, Episode 8)

IMDb Rating: 9.3/10

Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo Fring and James Martinez as Max in Breaking Bad
Image via AMC


Breaking Bad features many flashbacks (and flashforwards) throughout its run, and one of the most flashback-heavy episodes is the Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) centered “Hermanos.” When the DEA discovers Gus’s fingerprints in Gale Boetticher’s (David Costabile) apartment, he is brought in for questioning. Despite having an answer for everything, Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) isn’t so easily convinced that he’s innocent.


The episode offers a deep look into Gus’s backstory and how he came to enter the world of the cartel. Viewers learn that Gus’s business partner and close friend Max (James Martinez) was killed by Don Eladio (Steven Bauer) after he felt disrespected by Gus. It’s the first time fans see any vulnerability from Gus, and are given insight as to why he is the cold and unforgiving businessman he is in the present day.

19 “Phoenix” (Season 2, Episode 12)

IMDb Rating: 9.3/10

Bryan Cranston (Walter White) watches Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and Jane (Krysten Ritter) passed out in Breaking Bad
Image via AMC


The penultimate episode of the show’s second season features the moment Walt truly crosses the line between anti-hero and villain, as he commits one of his most despicable and unforgivable actions. With Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and his girlfriend Jane (Krysten Ritter) hooked on heroin, Walt holds out on Jesse’s share of their earnings. As a result, Jane blackmails Walt, threatening to reveal all of his secrets to the public if he doesn’t give Jesse his money.


Just when it seems there may be some redemption for Walt’s character, he goes to see Jesse to help him out. Both he and Jane have passed out, and Jane is on her back choking on her own vomit. Walt initially rushes to help, but hesitates, deciding to let her die as he watches on. His blackmail situation is solved, but this is something he can never come back from.

18 “Grilled” (Season 2, Episode 2)

IMDb Rating: 9.3/10

Tuco Salamnca (Raymond Cruz), Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in Breaking Bad 'Grilled'
Image via AMC


One of Breaking Bad’s most sociopathic and deranged villains is drug kingpin Tuco Salamanca (Raymond Cruz), who enters the picture early on in season one. In “Grilled,” Walt and Jesse get kidnapped by Tuco and are held captive in his desert shack. It is here where viewers first meet Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis), Tuco’s non-verbal uncle, who is in a wheelchair and uses a bell to communicate. He famously becomes one of the most notorious characters in the series later on.


As Walt’s wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) and Hank investigate Walt’s disappearance, tensions rise as Walt and Jesse try to escape Tuco’s clutches and poison him, which isn’t easy under the watchful eye of Hector. Tuco eventually realizes what they are up to, but Hank comes to the rescue looking for Jesse and ends up killing Tuco in a thrilling shoot-out.

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

IMDb Rating: 9.3/10

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) walking away from building in Breaking Bad 'Crazy Handful of Nothin'
Image via AMC


One of Breaking Bad’s most badass moments comes during the show’s sixth episode, where viewers see the first glimpse of Walt becoming Heisenberg. As Walt begins his chemotherapy treatment and shaves his head, both the side effects and medical costs catch up to him. As a result, Jesse searches for a wholesaler to buy their drugs. Enter Tuco Salamanca, who is far more unhinged than Jesse anticipated, beating him up on their first meeting.


Walt takes things into his own hands, introducing himself to Tuco as Heisenberg. When Tuco refuses to meet his demands, Walt uses fulminated mercury to cause a massive explosion in Tuco’s office, breaking windows and knocking everyone to the ground. He walks out victorious, obviously high on the rush of his actions. It’s a moment that showcases Walt’s violent streak and potential to transform into the drug kingpin he eventually becomes.

16 “Blood Money” (Season 5, Episode 9)

IMDb Rating: 9.4/10

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) looks at Heisenberg spray paint in Breaking Bad 'Blood Money'
Image via AMC


“Blood Money” is where things really begin to heat up in Breaking Bad’s final season. A significant flash forward into the future is shown, with Walt arriving at his now abandoned house where ‘Heisenberg’ is spray-painted on the wall, alluding to a bleak future for the character. In the present, Hank now knows that Walt is Heisenberg, and is reeling from the discovery.


When Walt finds out that Hank knows, the pair confront each other for the first time in one of the most intense interactions on the show, proving that any previous brotherhood between the pair is now gone. Meanwhile, Jesse is feeling guilty over his actions and tries to get rid of the money he’s earned. His struggles throughout the episode are another reminder of his good heart, and that he certainly isn’t in the same category as Walt.

15 “End Times” (Season 4, Episode 12)

IMDb Rating: 9.5/10

Walter White sitting in End Times from Breaking Bad


With the title itself foreshadowing something explosive to come in the following episode, “End Times” sees Hank’s family threatened and Walt and Jesse’s relationship almost at its worst point. Despite Gus’s insistence on killing Walt, though, Jesse remains loyal to his old friend and promises not to cook if he’s out of the picture. Meanwhile, Hank and his family are put in protective custody, but Walt refuses to take part.


Perhaps what this episode is most remembered for is one of the biggest twists in Breaking Bad, which reveals that Walt has truly gone to the dark side by choosing to poison young Brock (Ian Posada) in order to manipulate Jesse. It’s a shocking and disgusting admission that somehow only makes fans even more intrigued by what happens next and how Jesse will react.

14 “Half Measures” (Season 3, Episode 12)

IMDb Rating: 9.5/10

Walt holding a gun in Half Measures from Breaking Bad


The penultimate episode of season three marks an important part of Jesse’s character development, which is quickly pivoting to show how the morality of his and Walt’s actions is affecting his psyche. Jesse begins to lash out following the death of a child indirectly connected to his and Walt’s dealings with Gus, which soon leads to a dangerous situation when Pinkman confronts drug dealers in his neighborhood.


Walt’s initial hesitation to help Jesse highlights the ambiguity of their relationship at this point, as the protagonist doesn’t step in until the last possible second. This creates one of the most nail-biting moments in Breaking Bad, where Jesse almost loses his life before Walt steps in to save him. While the relationship between Walt and Jesse is undoubtedly complicated, this action proves that Walt does care for him on some level.

13 “Gliding Over All” (Season 5, Episode 8)

IMDb Rating: 9.6/10

Breaking Bad Hank Gliding All Over


Episode eight of the final season arguably sees Walter White at his most ruthless and inhumane – and technically, he doesn’t even lift a finger. With Hank pressuring Mike’s (Jonathan Banks) crew about the Fring investigation, and Mike out of the picture, Walt goes to extreme measures to silence anyone who may reveal his own involvement.


Using Jack’s (Michael Bowen) prison connections, Walt orders a simultaneous killing spree across three prisons in less than two minutes, in one of the show’s most violent sequences. The plan is a horrific success and cements Walt as a madman, if there was any doubt left. The episode also ends with a moment that fans have eagerly anticipated – Hank finally figuring out the true identity of Heisenberg, funnily enough, as he sits on the man’s toilet.

12 “Say My Name” (Season 5, Episode 7)

IMDb Rating: 9.6/10

Walt, Jesse, and Mike in the desert in Say My Name from Breaking Bad


In “Say My Name,” Walt is already a ruthless criminal who will do anything to expand and protect his drug empire, and he also makes sure that everyone knows it. So when he encounters a new minor antagonist Declan (Louis Ferreira), he quashes the character’s resistance against Walt’s plans and rules about his territory.


The episode sees Walt say his now-iconic and unintentionally funny line from the serious moment – “say my name.” He doesn’t hesitate to show that he’s in charge, and he has fully embraced his “Heisenberg” persona and ensures that everyone respects that name (that he once ironically loathed). Declan unwillingly gives Walt the respect he so craves, and Walt proves that now he is indeed the danger and the one who knocks. You’re goddamn right.

11 “Confessions” (Season 5, Episode 11)

IMDb Rating: 9.6/10

Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad - 'Confessions'
Image via AMC


“Confessions” sees the series get to the pointy end of things, with Walt and Jesse further away from each other than they’ve ever been. With Hank now fully aware that his brother-in-law is Heisenberg, Walt tries to convince him to do nothing because his cancer will kill him soon. Hank also confronts Jesse and tries to turn him against Walt, but Jesse thinks it’s time to move on.


With no avail, Walt records a video confessing to his crimes and names Hank as the mastermind behind it all, leaving Hank in an unfortunate position. Things also take a turn when Jesse learns that Walt poisoned Brock, sending him on a rampage where he tries to burn down Walt’s house (who, at this point, is already a bonafide Breaking Bad villain anyway).

10 “Salud” (Season 4, Episode 10)

IMDb Rating: 9.6/10

Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo Fring in Breaking Bad 'Salud'


Walter White faces many foes throughout his drug dealings, but none more cold and calculated than Los Pollos Hermanos owner Gus Fring (who has been named one of TV’s greatest ever villains by numerous publications). Gus is always one step ahead, exhibited when he executes a deadly plan during a cartel visit in Mexico. He brings Jesse along with him to cook blue meth for their hosts.


Gus makes a deal with Don Eladio and his men, where they seemingly make peace and have a toast. Gus slips away and induces himself to vomit, having poisoned the bottle of tequila. Don Eladio and his henchmen drop dead as Gus exacts his long-awaited revenge against him for killing his business partner Max. It’s a darkly satisfying turn of events and a great example of the show’s clever twists.

9 “One Minute” (Season 3, Episode 7)

IMDb Rating: 9.6/10

Hank Schrader in One Minute from Breaking Bad


“One Minute” features a violent and heart-pounding interaction between Hank and the unforgettable Breaking Bad characters, the Cousins (played by Luis and Daniel Moncada). Following an outburst that lands Jesse in the hospital and Hank in hot water with the DEA, a mysterious call warns him that he has one minute to escape before someone tries to kill him. Hank being Hank, he sticks around and ends up having to fight for his life.


Aside from the intense and action-packed sequence, this episode stands out for being a fantastic exploration of Hank’s complex character. His anger and frustration about the way he’s tricked into thinking his wife Marie (Betsy Brandt) is in the hospital gets the best of him – it’s not the last time Hank’s rage will get him in trouble.

8 “Dead Freight” (Season 5, Episode 5)

IMDb Rating: 9.7/10

Walt, Jesse, and Todd from


There’s nothing more badass in film and TV than when a crew manages to pull off a genius heist. With the DEA closing in on them, Walt, Jesse, and Mike devise a plan to steal a train car full of methylamine and bring on Todd (Jesse Plemmons) to assist. The plan seems impossible, but with some help from Saul’s (Bob Odenkirk) henchman Kuby (Bill Burr), they manage to pull it off – almost.


The train is moving, so the group must stall its transit in order to swap the methylamine with the same amount of water. The robbery itself is one of the most enthralling set pieces of the series, but just when they think they’ve gotten away scot-free, a young boy (Sam Webb) on a bike sees them. Todd shoots the boy in cold blood, leaving everyone in shock.

7 “Granite State” (Season 5, Episode 15)

IMDb Rating: 9.7/10

Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad


The penultimate episode of Breaking Bad works as both the calm before and after the storm – the slow-burn build-up to the finale and the aftermath of the explosive “Ozymandias.” Walt assumes a new identity and lives in isolation, and Jesse is imprisoned by Todd’s Uncle Jack’s gang. Both are at their lowest point, but in extremely different circumstances and mindsets.


Walt is furious that Jack has his money, throwing away everything he did and leaving his family with nothing. As a result, he turns to Saul for help. It’s also the first time Saul mentions Cinnabon, where he becomes manager under the identity of Gene Takovic in the equally brilliant spin-off Better Call Saul. The episode comes to a climactic end that teases the fallout that’s to come and just how high the stakes are.

6 “Crawl Space” (Season 4, Episode 11)

IMDb Rating: 9.7/10

Walt from


“Crawl Space” is an episode jam-packed with game-changing moments for Breaking Bad’s characters. Walt is kidnapped by Gus and taken out to the desert, where Gus fires him and terrifyingly threatens to kill him and his family – including his infant daughter. Walt, terrified, takes Saul up on his offer to help him disappear, but it will cost half a million dollars.


In a frenzy, Walt rushes to the crawl space in his house to retrieve the money, but it’s not enough. When the already unlikable Skyler reveals to him that she gave the rest of their money to Ted Beneke (Christopher Cousins) to pay off the IRS, Walt breaks down into a maniacal laugh. It is now an iconic scene in the series which ends the episode on a frightening and uneasy note.

5 “Full Measure” (Season 3, Episode 13)

IMDb Rating: 9.7/10

Walt and Gus in the desert in Full Measure from Breaking Bad


Tensions continue to rise between Walt, Jesse, and Gus in “Full Measure.” The duo’s recent violence against other drug dealers has convinced Gus that it’s best to reconsider their arrangements. Sure enough, Walt finds himself in danger of being killed and replaced later on, which prompts him to push Jesse to do the unthinkable to the only one capable of replacing him, Gale Boetticher (David Costabile).


Jesse’s storyline becomes increasingly heartbreaking here, as he actually tries to reason with Walt and desperately asks him to quit since he has all the money he’ll ever need. The difference between Jesse and Walt becomes clear when Heisenberg simply tells his former student that he will definitely be able to kill Gale – this drives a further rift between them, and obviously causes Jesse more distress down the line.

4 “To’hajiilee” (Season 5, Episode 13)

IMDb Rating: 9.8/10

Hank from


By this point in the series, any sign of previous companionship between the iconic duo Walt and Jesse is seemingly obliterated when Walt hires Uncle Jack to kill Jesse. Meanwhile, Jesse and Hank devise a plan to take Walt down and find out where he has stashed all his money. When Jesse finds the fortune, he threatens to burn it, causing Walt to send Jack his coordinates.


Walt arrives at the desert location and sees Jesse pull up, but immediately calls off Jack’s hit when he also sees Hank and Gomez (Steven Michael Quezada) with him. Hank seems to have finally caught Walt, and even calls wife Marie (Betsy Brandt) to share the good news, but Jack ignores the cancellation and arrives with his crew. This sets the stage for a deadly shootout, and the highest rated television episode of all time.

3 “Felina” (Season 5, Episode 16)

IMDb Rating: 9.9/10

Breaking Bad


In a world full of disappointing finales to great shows (looking at you, Game of Thrones), it’s a relief that Breaking Bad has one of the best finales of all time. Everything comes down to this final hour of television, and it delivers. It’s an emotionally satisfying affair for fans, leaving no stone unturned and keeping the tension high right until the very end.


Walt returns to Albuquerque one last time to settle his affairs, secure his family’s financial future, and exact revenge. In a genius plan involving a strategically positioned automated machine gun, Walt kills Jack and his gang. In the process, Walt is shot and dies and Jesse escapes from captivity, finally free of this life. This breathtaking conclusion makes Breaking Bad go down as royalty in television history.

2 “Face Off” (Season 4, Episode 13)

IMDb Rating: 9.9/10

Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring in Breaking Bad 'Face Off'
Image via AMC


In the final episode of season four, Walter White is as good as dead with Gus still lurking about. Out of options, he teams up with an old enemy who has a mutual interest – the enemy being Hector Salamanca, and the interest is the death of Gus Fring.


With his own plans to kill Hector, Gus visits his foe’s retirement home. Before he is able to do so, Hector frantically rings his bell and knowingly sets off the bomb under his wheelchair. Gus walks out with half his face blown off, but that doesn’t stop him from straightening his tie as he drops dead. Gus Fring’s shockingly gruesome death and the manner in which it happens is a large part of what makes this one of Breaking Bad‘s best episodes.

1 “Ozymandias” (Season 5, Episode 14)

IMDb Rating: 10/10

Walter White with his mouth agape in Breaking Bad Season 5


There is only one television episode with a perfect score on IMDb, and that deservedly goes to “Ozymandias.” The highest-rated Breaking Bad episode and highest-rated episode of any show in TV history, the episode is a knockout emotional rollercoaster and a masterclass in dramatic storytelling. It holds back no punches, and is mesmerizing to watch.


After a shootout that kills Gomez, Walt offers his entire fortune to Jack to spare Hank, but Hank is shot in front of him. It makes for one of the show’s most shocking moments and upsetting deaths. Walt’s money is taken, Jesse is taken prisoner to cook meth, and Walt tries to flee with his baby daughter in a dramatic showdown with his family. The stakes have never been higher in this perfect episode of television.


NEXT:The Highest-Rated TV Episodes on IMDb



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