8. "Peekaboo" (April 12, 2009)
Best Quote: Spooge: “Skank! Skank! Skank ass, skank!”
Most Emotional Moment: Jesse putting Spooge’s kid on the porch after calling the cops to rescue him from his junky parents.
One of the most memorable episodes solely because of the unforgettably disgusting meth head couple and Spooge’s child, forced to live in drug-induced squalor. Jesse had a weakness for childhood innocence, an emotional flaw (or strength) that followed him throughout the series. As we go on to meet Brock and Drew Sharp, it gets clearer and clearer that Jesse wishes he were a kid again.
7. "One Minute" (May 2, 2010)
Best Quote: Unknown caller to Hank: “Two men are coming to kill you. They’re approaching your car. You have one minute.”
Most Emotional Moment: Jesse’s morbid soliloquy on how he will haunt Hank for the rest of his life.
After his near-death encounters with Tuco and Tortuga, the bomb-ridden head in El Paso, we see how Hank has gone from indestructible to traumatized. This distress culminates in his disastrous mistake to put Jesse in a coma, resulting in his suspension and making him question whether he should continue in his line of work. The two fatal encounters become a trifecta after barely surviving the cousins’ assassination attempt. It’s been a bad week for old ASAC Schrader.
6. "Crawl Space" (September 25, 2011)
Best Quote: Gus Fring: “If you try to interfere, this becomes a much simpler matter. I will kill your wife. I will kill your son. I will kill your infant daughter.”
Most Emotional Moment: Walt collapsing in tears then breaking into maniacal laughter after hearing Skyler gave his money away.
My all-time favorite for so many glorious reasons: Jesse has officially made Walt replaceable. Gus has backed Walt into an inescapable corner. Gus intends to kill Hank and if Walt tries to stop him, his family will go straight to Belize. Walt lost all his money so he can’t even use Saul’s expensive disappearance service, the absolute last resort. Shit really hits the fan and there are no umbrellas in sight.
5. "Gliding Over All" (September 2, 2012)
Best Quote: Skyler: “Walt, I want my kids back. I want my life back. Please tell me, how much is enough? How big does this pile have to be?”
The “Oh Shit” Moment: Hank realizing Walt is Heisenberg while dropping a deuce.
The show’s signature montages are always excellent, but this episode contains arguably the best montage in the series: The Benjamins are rolling in. Blue Sky has become an international hit. With the booming success of the Vamanos Pest front, the meth manufacturing is running like clockwork and Walt is on top of the world. That is until Hank makes the devastating revelation that his own brother-in-law is the mastermind he’s been chasing. Then we viewers were left tortured with speculation for an entire year.
4. "Felina" (September 29, 2013)
Best Quote: Walt: “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was… really… I was alive.”
Most Emotional Moment: Walt and Jesse meeting eyes for the last time and nodding in appreciation before separating forever.
Gilligan once said that the trajectory of the story was to turn Mr. Chips into Scarface, and we all believed Walt would go out in the blaze of glory just as Tony Montana did. But he really didn’t. He spared the Schwartz’ for his son’s benefit, killed the shithead Nazis with a genius invention, emancipated Jesse, and died on his own terms in a lab so fitting of his resting place. The series finale was nostalgically satisfying and brought closure to every plot point. And that’s all she wrote.
3. "Face Off" (October 9, 2011)
Best Quote: Walt [to Hector]: “I know you despise me and I know how much you want to see me dead. But I’m willing to bet there’s a man you hate even more. I’m offering you an opportunity for revenge.”
The "Oh Shit" Moment: Gus walking out of Hector’s room, adjusting his tie, and seeing half his face blown straight to hell.
"Face Off" and "Felina" are interchangeable. Hell, every episode on this list is interchangeable (with the exception of #1, of course). I put "Face Off" at #3 because every damn second is filled with thrilling uncertainty: Brock is dying in a hospital, Walt is racing to take out Gus, Jesse is being interrogated by the two old hecklers from the Muppets, and no one knows where the hell Saul is. But once again, Walt comes out on top. (Even though he probably could have thought of something less fucked up than committing an act of terrorism.)
2. "Dead Freight" (August 12, 2012)
Best Quote: Jesse explaining the methylamine heist: “It’s all about the weight, yo.”
Most Emotional Moment: That Opie, dead-eyed piece of shit Todd murdering an innocent kid at the episode’s close.
Again, thrills can make great television and no other scene in the series was more thrilling than watching our drug king and his sharp team pull off an elaborate train heist. From the smallest detail like replacing the stolen methylamine with water to even out the weight, they literally thought of everything and executed it with finesse. Jesse James would roll over in his grave.
1. "Ozymandias" (September 15, 2013)
Best Quote: Hank, moments before being killed: “My name is ASAC Schrader and you can go fuck yourself.”
Most Emotional Moment: Walt’s tragic realization that he has truly lost everything after seeing Walt, Jr. jump in front of his mother to protect her.
I couldn’t sleep the night of September 15. I’m dead serious. This episode shook me on so many levels. Everything that I feared would happen happened, as scene after cruel scene hit so deep into my psyche that I didn’t know which way was up. It was unbearable, sickening, disturbing stuff. I am supremely confident when I say this was the best hour of cable entertainment ever. Screw Orson Welles, The Twilight Zone, and the ‘60s… we are currently living in the Golden Age of Television.