The story of Walter White — the high school chemistry teacher turned meth empire kingpin — and his former student Jesse Pinkman first aired 15 years ago in 2008, and ended ten years ago in 2013. Now is the perfect time to look back at the five illustrious seasons of “Breaking Bad” and rank them from worst to best. Although there are technically only five seasons of the show, the fifth season was split into two parts and aired separately, so those parts are counted as different seasons for this list.
6. Season One
Although it may be at the bottom of the list, the premier season of “Breaking Bad” is a great season for television, but the show was still finding its footing at this point, holding it back from heights it would later reach. There is an argument to be made that this is actually the best season of “Breaking Bad” because it sets up everything to come, but the fact that this is the shortest season at seven episodes prevents the season from having as in-depth character and story arcs as the other seasons. However, make no mistake, “Breaking Bad” has an awesome debut season.
5. Season Two
The second season of “Breaking Bad” is an improvement on the first season and makes its mark through the introduction of several characters that greatly impacted the series, including fast food entrepreneur Gus Fring, shady lawyer Saul Goodman and ex-cop-turned-enforcer Mike Ehrmantraut. This season has 13 episodes, giving the show time to flesh out its plotlines and develop its characters further. Watching the relationship and trust deteriorate between White and his wife is heartbreaking to watch, as he starts to lose the one thing he was trying to protect — his family.
4. Season Three
The beginning of season three of “Breaking Bad” is one of the slower parts of the series, as White has retired from making meth and is instead trying to rebuild his family after separating from his wife. While this is indeed entertaining television, season three ramps up once White gets back in the game and “Breaking Bad” goes from great to must-watch television. This season of “Breaking Bad” has some of the show’s most iconic moments, including White and Pinkman’s RV being destroyed, the infamous fly stuck in the laboratory and Pinkman committing his first murder.
3. Season Five Part One
The first half of the final season of “Breaking Bad” is an excellent set of eight episodes that build to one of the tensest moments in the whole series — White’s cover being blown to the police. Other highlights of the season include the flash-forward to the show’s finale, White robbing a train and the iconic meth-making montage set to “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” The only thing holding back part one of season five is that it lacks a true villain, as Fring has died by this point in the show, and Uncle Jack has yet to be fully introduced as the antagonist for season five.
2. Season Four
The fourth season of “Breaking Bad” is perhaps the most complete season of the show as it takes viewers on an incredible journey as White attempts to dethrone Fring from his meth empire crown. It is hard to pick out highlights from the season because it is just so consistent with great moments laced throughout, but perhaps the peaks are when Pinkman, Fring and Ehrmantraut take out the cartel by themselves, and then the eventual fall of Fring at the hands of White. Season four is near-perfect television and would easily be the number one season for most shows, but “Breaking Bad” is not most shows.
1. Season Five Part Two
If 20th-century television has taught us anything, it is that ending television shows is incredibly hard. Shows like “Game of Thrones,” “Dexter” and “How I Met Your Mother” ended in unsatisfying ways that left fans with a bad taste in their mouths. Fortunately, “Breaking Bad” ended with perhaps its strongest season as White uses his influence and blackmail to evade capture by the police. Meanwhile, Pinkman is enslaved by a white supremacist gang. This leads to an epic confrontation where White frees Pinkman and gives his life in the process, a fitting fate for the hero-turned-villain.