The Best BREAKING BAD Episodes (Seasons 3 – 5)
Breaking Bad Week continues with our remaining picks for the best episodes in the series. You can see our favorite episodes from seasons 1 & 2 in our kick-off post yesterday. As is true with many quality dramas, the show just gets better and better with each passing season so these episodes selections were made all the harder just by the wealth of options.
Best Breaking Episodes from Seasons 3 – 5:
One Minute (Season 3, Episode 7)
A “Hank-centric” episode is always worth it. Throughout the series, Hank’s bumbling DEA agent always seems like a maverick man’s man who is secretly a brilliant investigator – despite his inability to realize Walt’s identity as Heisenberg. A side-story in the series introduces us to the “Cousins”, a pair of psychotic assassins who work for the cartel. They seek retribution for the death of their relative, Tuco, who Hank killed in a shootout.
While Hank returns to his vehicle in a grocery store parking lot, he receives an anonymous call warning him that the Cousins are going to kill him in one minute. Soon, Hank spots the Cousins approaching his vehicle. Unarmed, Hank still manages to escape with his life and take the life of one of his would-be killers while seriously injuring the other. He’s shot four times in the process, which sets up the new Hank – a more battle-tested and conscientious lawman. Watch this episode, because your heart will beat right out of your chest. It’s the stuff that Breaking Bad is made of. – Damen Norton
Salud (Season 4, Episode 10)
Gus Fring is my favorite television character of all time. His constantly calm demeanor on the outside masks what is an incredibly diverse and brilliant drug lord. There is no episode where Fring’s complex character is on full display then Salud, where the badass takes on the entire Mexican Cartel, and wins.
Of course the leadup to the final scene is incredible, full of tension across country between Walt, who is in fear of his life from Gus, who is recruiting Jesse to be his sole cook to get rid of Walt. In addition, we get a rare glimpse into Gus’s past, giving us an insight on what got Gus to this moment. It is, unequivocally, by favorite Breaking Bad episode, and considering the absurd amount of heart pounding, fantastic episodes this show has produced, that is saying a lot. – Kevin Taylor
Crawl Space (Season 4, Episode 11)
Breaking Bad showrunner Vince Gilligan is a master of controlled chaos, moving from crisis to crisis with the tightest in-episode plotlines on television. “Crawl Space” is a masterclass in this regard, with Gilligan and co-writers George Mastras and Sam Catlin juggling multiple interlocking conflicts, zigging when we expect them to zag, and somehow managing to make every piece fit. It’s an even bigger task in this episode, which immediately follows the carnage (with its sideways allusions to Scarface) that concludes the superlative “Salud.”
We move from the desperate treatment of a poisoned Gus (while Mike’s gunshot wound goes unattended), to the surprisingly abrupt end to the Ted Beneke arc, to Walt realizing that he doesn’t have enough cash to go into hiding from Gus because Skyler’s used it to prop up the failing finances of Beneke Fabricators. It all ends with Walt laughing manically next to a big pile of ill-gotten cash, struggling to cope with the danger he’s invited against his family, his own brutish behavior towards his loved ones, and the futility of running from an inevitable reckoning – an indelible image that could double as the show’s thesis statement. – Eric Ambler
Gliding All Over (Season 5, Episode 8)
What a note to go out on! The last episode of Season 5 Part 1 featured one of the most masterfully crafted montages in the show’s history, showing how Walter systematically disposed of all the men in jail still linked to Gus Fring’s operation. It’s a cold move, but deemed necessary since paying out all these men to stay silent just wasn’t a solid long-term solution.
While Walter has killed before, it has never been this calculated, ruthless, and this many people all at once. And then, just when you think Walter is poised to be the godfather of Crystal Meth in the entire world, with international distribution a real possibility thanks to Lydia, he says he’s getting out of the game to protect his family and save his marriage. It’ll be interesting to see where the last half of the season goes from here. – Kristal Bailey