Breaking Bad: We rank every episode
The Breaking Baddest
Breaking Bad turned 10 years old at the beginning of 2018, and in honor of its decade in existence, the cast reunited on the cover of EW. We're celebrating Breaking Bad's big anniversary and EW's reunion by looking back at the series — all 62 episodes of it. Check out more from our Breaking Bad cast reunion right here, and see which hour snags our no. 1 spot ahead.
62. ''Rabid Dog''
Season 5, episode 12
Let's get one thing clear: The worst episode of Breaking Bad is still pretty, pretty good. But this bifurcated hour suffers from an excess of moving chess pieces: By setting the table for a climactic feast, it can't help but leave you hungry for more. Part of the problem is the opening anticlimax: What happened after Jesse doused the White home in gasoline? Well?nothing. And part of the problem is the closing contrivance: This episode was, quite simply, one Bald Man too far. Throw in the single least essential scene in the show's run — at long last, a peek at Marie's therapist! — and an uncharacteristically homicidal Skyler, and you've got the least impressive episode of Bad's very impressive run. —Darren Franich
61. ''A No Rough-Stuff Type Deal''
Season 1, episode 7
This is the way Bad's first season ended: Not with a bang, but an uneasy anticlimax. It's not really the show's fault; the 2007-08 Writers Guild Strike forced Vince Gilligan & Co. to cut off production two episodes before they had originally planned. But even discounting its accidental status as a finale, there's some rough stuff here — namely, Marie's dumb kleptomania subplot and a lot of on-the-nose dialogue. (Skyler to Walt, after some surprise sex: ''Where did that come from? And why was it so damn good?'' Walt to Skyler: ''Because it was illegal.'') —Hillary Busis
60. ''Cancer Man''
Season 1, episode 4
Nearly anything would have felt like a letdown after the exquisite tension of season 1's third episode, ''...And the Bag's in the River.'' But an hour that brings the whole ''making meth'' plot to a screeching halt, focusing instead on Walt's cancer treatment and Jesse's less-than-scintillating family life? That's just adding insult to injury. (There's a reason Jake Pinkman has appeared in a grand total of one episode in all the series' seasons.) —Hillary Busis
Season 2, episode 4
Watching Breaking Bad's early installments occasionally felt like an exercise in pure masochism. For no episode was that more true than ''Down,'' a fugue of misery that follows Jesse through a series of increasingly unfortunate events — culminating with a humiliating tumble through the roof of a porta-potty. Also, Skyler's mad that Walt's keeping secrets! Lather, rinse, repeat...for 47 minutes. —Hillary Busis
Season 3, episode 11
Some suspension of disbelief is necessary when watching any TV series, even one as carefully crafted as Bad. Yet the idea that Jesse's new girlfriend just happens to be the sister of the kid who killed Jesse's pal Combo back in season 2? The coincidence was tough to swallow; it felt more like an artificial way to ratchet up pre-finale tension than an organic story development. Also underwhelming: Jesse's new girlfriend herself, a character who just never felt as fully formed as Jane. —Hillary Busis
57. ''I See You''
Season 3, episode 8
There's some great comedy here (Jesse's big day alone in the superlab), as well as a few important plot developments (Gus begins taking down the cartel). Still, the hour feels like another letdown after a series high point (Hank's battle against the Cousins in ''One Minute''); there's too much moping and not enough forward momentum. Plus, you've got to admit that Leonel Salamanca going after Walt in the hospital — despite his two newly amputated legs — was more goofy than menacing. —Hillary Busis
Season 3, episode 9
''Kafkaesque'' isn't bad, per se — but it's not particularly good either. Instead, it's just sort of...there, a 47-minute intermission before season 3's endgame truly kicks off. Chances are you don't even remember what happened in this episode, so here's a brief refresher: Jesse is balking under Walt and Gus's rules, Hank is slipping deeper and deeper into depression, and Walt Jr. is off eating breakfast somewhere, probably. —Hillary Busis
55. ''Thirty-Eight Snub''
Season 4, episode 2
A.k.a. the one with Jesse's mind-numbing, nightmarish perma-party, an event as unpleasant to watch as it must have been to attend. (Also, we get it: Jesse is self-medicating. Now what?) Other than Pinkman's downward spiral, there's not much to this episode, save Mike beating up Walt and Hank's first flirtation with rocks. Sorry, make that minerals. —Hillary Busis
Season 5, episode 10
What happens after Walt and Hank's electrifying garage confrontation? As it turns out, not much: Though Walt soon hides his illicit earnings in a remote location, everyone else spends the hour basically treading water. (Both Skyler and Marie find out about Hank's big discovery, but their newfound knowledge doesn't really change the show's status quo...at least, not yet.) There's also a Todd/Lydia interlude — but who can spare energy for newer characters at a time like this? —Hillary Busis
Season 4, episode 9
GPS tracking tomfoolery abounds as Hank tracks Gus's car and Walt tracks Jesse's car, impatient that his partner hasn't yet used the ricin cigarette on Gus. Skyler plays bimbo to get Ted out of a bind but Ted proves he's the real bimbo, for not having a strategy to get out of debt — like cooking meth. —Maricela Gonzalez
52. ''Live Free or Die''
Season 5, episode 1
After impatiently waiting for the first episode of Breaking Bad's last season, viewers are treated with answers! Just kidding. The episode starts off with a mysterious flash-forward to no-longer-bald Walt's 52nd birthday?at a Denny's?by himself?with a very lethal-looking weapon in his trunk. But hey, at least there are magnets? —Maricela Gonzalez
51. ''Box Cutter''
Season 4, episode 1
''Box Cutter'' resolves the third season finale's cliffhanger, confirming Gale's death at Jesse's hand. Other than that, though, the episode mostly just reiterates things we already know — Walt's a weasel! Mike is stoic! Gus is dangerous! —Maricela Gonzalez
Season 5, episode 2
''Madrigal'' marks the introduction of one of the series' most beloved characters: Lydia. (Just kidding!) Almost a caricature of upper-class pretension, she is Gus's Madrigal corporate contact and a giant pain in Mike's neck. Meanwhile, Walt plants the ricin in (not a DJ) Roomba, completing his gaslighting scheme on Jesse. —Maricela Gonzalez
Season 2, episode 11
RIP Combo. On behalf of rival drug dealers, a local kid shoots down Jesse's friend and henchman, sending Jesse and Jane into heroin heaven/ hell. Plus, Walt chooses his baby Blue Sky and a potential business deal with meth kingpin Gus over witnessing the birth of his second child. —Maricela Gonzalez
48. ''Seven Thirty-Seven''
Season 2, episode 1
The season 2 premiere introducess that iconic — and creepy — burnt pink bear. Also, Hank tip offs Walt that Tuco killed his henchman Gonzo — right before Tuco kidnaps Walt and Jesse. More of a setup episode than anything else, the real adventure starts in the next episode, ''Grilled.'' —Maricela Gonzalez
47. ''Caballo sin Nombre''
Season 3, episode 2
Walt unnecessarily gets nasty with a police officer. Flynn decides he's Walter Jr. again. Oh, and scary hit men twins are out to kill Walt. The episode may suffer from juggling domestic drama with criminal business, but Walt throwing the pizza on the roof in a fit of rage is an inspired moment. —Maricela Gonzalez
46. ''Hazard Pay''
Season 5, episode 3
Despite introducing Vamonos Pest and good ol' Todd, not much else happens in this season 5 episode. Sure, Walt moves home, and Skyler screams at Marie to ''shut up,'' but other than the moment where Walt is left alone sitting next to Brock on Jesse's couch, the episode lacks Bad's usual tension. Well...other than the moment where Skyler sees Walt Jr. watching Scarface with his not-so-innocent father. —Samantha Highfill
45. ''Green Light''
Season 3, episode 4
The mighty Heisenberg is at his weakest in ''Green Light'' — he loses his teaching career after hitting on the principal, sees Jesse cook his own version of blue meth, and finds out that Skyler is cheating on him. Ouch. — Shirley Li
44. ''Cat's in the Bag''
Season 1, episode 2
Walt and Jesse slowly, clumsily, and painfully attempt to tie up their first cook's two loose ends: the dead Emilio and the still-alive Krazy 8. We don't blame you if you couldn't watch this one — after all, guts fall through the ceiling at the end. — Shirley Li
Season 5, episode 11
Walt and Skyler have the world's most uncomfortable double date with Hank and Marie, who know of Walt's alter ego. The Whites leave them with a ''confession'' video, but are headed for more trouble when Jesse has a (convenient?) epiphany about the ricin cigarette. —Shirley Li
42. ''End Times''
Season 4, episode 12
Walt tries to carry out two missions in the penultimate season 4 episode: kill Gus with a car bomb and convince Jesse that Gus poisoned Brock. He fails in the former but succeeds in the latter, winning back a distraught Jesse's loyalty. —Shirley Li
Season 2, episode 5
Walt and Jesse return to cooking, while Skyler, having had enough of Walt's lies, tries instead to patch things up with Marie. Hank, meanwhile, begins to experience anxiety after his promotion and questions his abilities. —Shirley Li
40. ''Bit by a Dead Bee''
Season 2, episode 3
After Tuco is abruptly ''sent to Belize,'' Walt and Jesse concoct one of their most preposterous alibis: Walt pretends he's been in a ''fugue state,'' while Jesse holes up with a hooker. And even though Skyler has suspicions about his second cell phone, Walt refuses to stop cooking. —Shirley Li
Season 3, episode 6
Hank corners Walt and Jesse in the RV, prompting Aaron Paul to utter the classic Jesse-ism, ''This is my own private domicile, and I will not be harassed...bitch!'' The duo survives again, and, thanks to Gus, Hank becomes the new target for the Cousins. —Shirley Li
Season 4, episode 8
It's hard to imagine the cold, robotic Gustavo Fring's past, but ''Hermanos'' manages to reveal how Gus knew Don Eladio and Hector, and why he's motivated to take out the cartel. It turns out Los Pollos Hermanos means more than just a front company for Gus. —Shirley Li
Season 3, episode 5
''Mas'' presents us with an equal balance of good and bad: We get the great strip club flashback that marks the beginning of the RV, not to mention the introduction of the super lab, and a very upset Jesse smashing Walt's windshield when he learns that Gus had chosen only Walt. But we also have to sit through Hank's desperate RV search (and overall uninteresting emotional breakdown), Gomez's farewell party, and Skyler and Ted's rendezvous. —Samantha Highfill
36. ''No Mas''
Season 3, episode 1
The season 3 opener deals with the aftermath of the plane crash, including Walt's great ''people move on'' speech at the school assembly. Elsewhere, Jesse copes with accepting himself as the ''bad guy'' in rehab, and Walt comes clean to Skyler about what it is he's been doing with his time. However, we can't forget the inexplicable crawling-to-a-shrine opening that introduces the annoyingly mute Cousins. —Samantha Highfill
35. ''Bullet Points''
Season 4, episode 4
After a great opening with Mike losing a piece of his ear (but somehow not his life) in the back of a refrigerated truck, the episode trails off a little with Skyler and Walt's gambling story, complete with a Gamblers Anonymous meeting. But when Walt gets Hank to show him Gale's notebook, things get interesting again. Meanwhile, Walt's partying partner becomes a ''liability'' for Gus, and Jesse gets to take a little ride with Mike. —Samantha Highfill
34. ''Gray Matter''
Season 1, episode 5
This episode introduces the lovable Badger and also explains Walt's money troubles, as well as his sense of pride. At a birthday party for his friend Elliott Schwartz, we realize the life Walt could (and perhaps should) have had. That realization is what pushes Walt to fight his cancer and start cooking with Jesse again. We could do without the family intervention, though. —Samantha Highfill
Season 5, episode 13
Jesse has a plan to take down Walt: Go after his money. Walt has a plan to take down Jesse: Get Jack to kill him. Sidestepping a few questionable plot points — Huell in a hotel room, and Walt's willingness to lead Jesse right to the money — the episode ends with the desert showdown no viewer will ever forget. —Samantha Highfill
Season 1, episode 1
Although the pilot sets up a number of brilliant points for the series, the in-your-face nature of the first scene is a bit too jarring. As a whole, the episode runs smoothly, setting up Walt's cancer and his love of his family, and keeping us intrigued. But to have such a pulse-pounding beginning end up being an unnecessary panic at the end feels a little anti-climactic. —Samantha Highfill
Season 3, episode 3
Opening with the Tortuga flashback, this episode starts on a strong note, continuing with Walt barely evading death-by-ax from the Cousins. But when it delves too much into Skyler and Walt's unhappiness (and the beginning of her affair), it loses traction. Elsewhere, Gus meets with Tio about stopping the Cousins from killing Walt, and Hank copes with his feelings in an all-too-obvious way: By starting a bar fight. But Skyler brings the episode home when she tells Walt, ''I f---ed Ted.'' —Samantha Highfill
30. ''Crazy Handful of Nothin'''
Season 1, episode 6
This episode is packed full of important firsts: Jesse learns about Walt's cancer, we meet Tuco, and, of course, we meet Heisenberg. The middle drags a bit with a cancer support group meeting, but the tension quickly rebuilds when Hank shows up at Walt's school and Jesse has an unpleasant first meeting with Tuco. However, the ending — Heisenberg and his newly shaved head walking away from Tuco's bombed headquarters — marks the beginning of it all. —Samantha Highfill
29. ''Granite State''
Season 5, episode 15
The penultimate episode of the series feels like a giant set-up for the finale. Everything happens, and yet nothing happens at all. Walt transitions into the Mr. Lambert we've seen from previous flashforwards, Jesse is still a chained dog, and the rest of the White family waits in limbo for what is surely coming next. In the final minutes of the hour, a defeated Walt coincidentally stumbles upon a Charlie Rose interview with his old friends Gretchen and Elliott, setting Heisenberg's return into motion. —Denise Warner
28. ''Problem Dog''
Season 4, episode 7
Gale's death weighs heavily on Jesse's mind, as he confesses to his Narcotics Anonymous group that he killed a ''problem dog'' that never did anything wrong. Jesse's loyalties to Walt also waver as Mike and Gus take Pinkman further under their wings. Thus, the seeds of discontent between the meth student and his teacher begin to grow. —Denise Warner
Season 5, episode 4
Anna Gunn shines in this Skyler-centric plot. The weary Mrs. White calmly walks into the family pool, which signals her distress to Marie and Hank, who suggest they take the kids for a while. Once her children are whisked away to safety, she tells her husband that all she can do is wait for his cancer to return. Point: Skyler. —Denise Warner
26. ''Open House''
Season 4, episode 3
Marie is rarely more than Hank's pretty-in-purple accessory or a shoulder for Skyler to complain on. But her own twisted psychosis is on display in ''Open House,'' revealing a different side of Mrs. Schrader, who creates a fake backstory as she waltzes from open house to open house. Marie's plot mirrors Skyler's as Skyler hatches a plan to buy the car wash from Bogden and create a new story for herself (not to mention for Walt's meth money). —Denise Warner
25. ''Half Measures''
Season 3, episode 12
Walt learns just how far Jesse will go when he knows the lives of children are at stake, and Jesse learns how far his partner will go to protect him — events that reverberate through the rest of the series, including one killer ending. —Denise Warner
Season 4, episode 6
If you only remember one thing about ''Cornered,'' it's Walt's ''I am the one who knocks'' speech. That iconic moment is enough to lift the entire hour to the top 25 on our list. —Denise Warner
Season 2, episode 10
Walt finds out his cancer is in remission and promptly celebrates with his family. To exert his status as patriarch over Hank, Walt practically force feeds Walt Jr. shots of tequila, which the teenager can't handle. Walt's caring nature as a father figure deteriorates throughout Bad's run, but this is the first we see it affect his biological son. —Denise Warner
22. ''Gliding Over All''
Season 5, episode 8
As ''Crystal Blue Persuasion'' plays in the background, Walt builds up his empire with Todd?until Skyler forces him to realize he's made more than enough money for several lifetimes. Walt leaves the business, the kids return home, and the Whites and the Schraders have one of their famous backyard barbecues. During their family celebration, Hank takes that fateful trip to the master bathroom, where a copy of Leaves of Grass blows Heisenberg's secret wide open. —Denise Warner
Season 4, episode 10
Gus Fring's drive to exact revenge for the murder of his partner Max at the hands of Don Eladio comes to a head. He poisons himself along with Don Eladio and the rest of the cartel, killing everyone and leaving himself in mortal danger. —Denise Warner
Season 5, episode 6
Walt sheds light on his motivations as he explains to Jesse how much money he sold his share of Gray Matter Technologies for — a measly $5k (compared to the billions the company is worth now). That's why his meth empire is so important to him. You see, Walt is not a meth businessman; he's a meth business, man. —Denise Warner
19. ''Dead Freight''
Season 5, episode 5
A speeding locomotive is a pretty fitting analogy for Breaking Bad, so it's no surprise that one of the best episodes of the first half of season 5 featured an against-all-odds train heist. But, like most happy Bad moments, the celebration is short-lived: Todd pulls the trigger on a young boy riding his bike through the desert, and Jesse will never be the same. —Katie Atkinson
Season 4, episode 5
If Walt is the meth mastermind, then what is Jesse? Gus wisely pounces on this imbalance, teaming up with Mike to fabricate an attack that lets Jesse save the day, for once. A tipsy Walt, meanwhile, bristles at the idea of Gale being a ''genius,'' and his drunken ego trip drives Hank deeper into the Heisenberg investigation. (Probably should have just let the dead guy take the credit, Walt.) Katie Atkinson
17. ''Negro y Azul''
Season 2, episode 7
It's no secret now that Hank is much more than Walt's oaf of a brother-in-law, but this episode is where we learn just how complicated he really is. When a human head mounted on a tortoise comes wandering up to the DEA agents, Agent Schrader is left completely shell-shocked. His well-timed panic attack saves his life (and limbs), but he leaves El Paso missing some of his trademark bravado. —Katie Atkinson
Season 2, episode 13
The first two seasons all twisted and turned to this finale, where Walt's lies come to a head with Gus (he discovers Walt's DEA connection through a picture on a donation jar), Skyler (Walt's drugged admission of dual cell phones leads her to investigate all his unbelievable tales), and Jesse/the entire city of Albuquerque (Walt let Jane die in the previous episode, which leads to her air traffic controller dad causing a plane crash). No man is an island. —Katie Atkinson
Season 5, episode 16
It's difficult to judge series finales, which come with the weight of impossible expectation, but Bad's ending provided a satisfying tie-up for (almost) all the loose ends, portraying Walt's final days as a series of scores left decisively settled. We can quibble over minor points: Walt gets his money to his family via Schwartz Ex Machina; the guns-blazing conclusion with Uncle Jack and the Neo-Nazis could never compare to the final act of the Walt/Gus rivalry; Jesse's reduced role in the final act was a disappointing off-note, and so forth.... But Vince Gilligan wrote and directed an exquisitely tense series closer. And few images in television history are more resonant than the opening shots of Walter White, trapped inside a snow-covered car, illuminated by the lights of searching police cars, desperately begging someone — Some higher power? His own declining body? The car? — for a little more time to make things right. —Darren Franich
Season 2, episode 6
Don't you wish Jesse could just start over and be a preschool teacher? In this heartbreaking hour, Jesse goes to the house of a methhead couple that robbed Skinny Pete only to bond with their shy redheaded son through a game of peekaboo. When the dad's head is crushed with an ATM, Jesse calls the cops and leaves the little boy in the front yard to (hopefully) be taken to a better life. —Katie Atkinson
Season 2, episode 12
There have been a lot of secrets between Walt and Jesse over the years, but the one kept the longest (and angrily spit out in the third-to-last episode ever) is the fact that Walt watched Jane die and did nothing about it. And in a season of coincidences, this all happens after Walt unknowingly sits down for a drink with Jane's dad — just a couple of father figures lamenting their mixed-up kids. —Katie Atkinson
12. ''Blood Money''
Season 5, episode 9
For five seasons, fans have wondered whether Hank would uncover who Walt really is and, then, what the eff he would do when he found out. Now we know! Walt and Hank's face-off in the midseason premiere was visceral and physical. And, as always, Heisenberg got the last word(s): ''Tread lightly.'' —Katie Atkinson
Season 2, episode 2
Sometimes Hank seemed like the worst DEA agent ever — what with a meth kingpin in his own family and all — but this episode proves that he (sometimes) gets it right. On the hunt for a missing Walt, Hank instead stumbles onto Tuco's hideout and promptly takes the kingpin out. Bonus: This is where Hector ''Tio'' Salamanca first puts his handy bell to good use, warning his nephew not to eat that burrito. —Katie Atkinson
10. ''Better Call Saul''
Season 2, episode 8
The episode that inspired a spin-off! It's tough to imagine Breaking Bad before Saul Goodman. Who solved all of Walt and Jesse's pesky problems? In his premiere episode, Saul quickly proves himself indispensable (for now), saving Badger from jail time and giving the DEA a Heisenberg lookalike. ''If you want to make more money and keep the money that you make...Better Call Saul!'' —Katie Atkinson
9. ''Crawl Space''
Season 4, episode 11
The gradual pace of Bad's fourth season resembles a chessboard. ''Crawl Space'' is the moment Gustavo Fring apparently puts Walt into checkmate. Fresh from his successful cartel coup, Gus officially releases Walt from his employ, in a desert scene shot like a David Lean movie. There's more good stuff (like when Kuby and Huell pay a visit to hapless Ted Beneke), but the showstopping moment comes when Walt descends to the titular crawl space and finds his money all gone. His scream turns to crying, then maniacal supervillain laughter?and finally dead silence. —Darren Franich
8. ''Say My Name''
Season 5, episode 7
It begins with Heisenberg Triumphant: Walt meets with the Phoenix boys, and his mere presence intimidates them. ''Say my name,'' he says, basking in his glory like an emperor with a kingdom stretching to the horizon. But the episode climaxes with a final showdown between Walt and Mike, the inadvertent nemesis of season 5's first half. Mike is an honorable criminal, and the only man to speak truth to Walt's terrifying power, so Walt kills him. The closing scene is at once hilarious and devastating. —Darren Franich