Greatest TV Seasons: Breaking Bad Season Five (2012-2013)
What is the greatest season of your favourite TV series? And what makes it stand out from those seasons around it? Every fan will have their own opinion of what is great and what isn't and here at The Digital Fix, our team of writers are going to complete the possibly impossible task of selecting what season of their favourite shows makes the cut above all others.
Next up, is the American crime-drama phenomenon Breaking Bad, created and produced by Vince Gilligan. Breaking Bad finished back in 2013 spanning the way for a spin-off series Better Call Saul and film El Camino. But what is the greatest season of this award-winning juggernaught?
Breaking Bad was something of a snowballing show, each episode and season progressively became more intense as it gave one continuously addictive story-line. I was fortunate enough to watch the show after it had all aired but I don't think I could have handled waiting each week or year to see what unfolded in Walt's incriminating journey.
Each progressive season offers something in the way of delivering an epic story-arc that is part of something much larger afoot - typical of a drug-organisation. So deciding a greatest season is possibly down to which story-arc had the biggest impact on the grand journey of Walter White. We have the early days of Walt getting in way over his head with Tuco Salamanca - not forgetting the infamous melting bodies in the bath scene. Season Two gave us Walt and Jesse's own enterprise - no shortage of its own troubles - which led to the introduction of a certain lawyer (Saul). Season Three really accelerates; providing the intimidating mute Salamanca twins, hellbent on revenge for Tuco - leading to the season's highlight episode One Minute.
Season Four is even better; even more intense and delivers one gripping moment after another. The relationship between Gus Fring and Walter really comes to fruition - through all its deceit. Giancarlo Esposito's performance of Gus Fring in Breaking Bad was exquisite; he was a consistently perfect subtle villain. The constant out-witting and questioning of each other's motives bmade for exciting TV and the season patiently orchestrated and built up the story of Gus Fring - making it nigh impossible not to admire the man. Season Four finishes with one of the greatest moments in TV, not just Breaking Bad, with 'Face-off' - the very clever and gruesome demise of the intelligent villain.
Whilst it was an incredibly close-call, Season Five offers such a climatic finish to a wonderful TV show and is that final stage of the 'snowball' effect, making it the greatest season of Vince Gillian's Breaking Bad.
Season Five, across its two-parts, gives epic closure to the journey of Walter White and really turns up the stakes. In the first half we see how Walt makes the most of Gus' demise and leads the meth empire; we also see Hank finally make the discovery that the infamous Heisenberg and his brother-in-law are one and the same. Already promising an adrenaline and emotion-filled second half to the final run, season five delivered the epic showdown between Walt and Hank, followed by the crumbling of Walt's world, losing his family and his money - truly alone because of his actions. Walter White may have been the perfect villain all along but you couldn't help but root for the guy.
The entire show gave many epic moments and produced countless high-quality episodes. Consistent impressive performances from Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have undoubtedly contributed to the show's success and its most climatic moments but here are the top five episodes from what is the greatest season of Breaking Bad.
Season Five's Five Greatest Episodes
5.05 Dead Freight
Dead Freight was one of Walt's final episodes in which he was 'on top of things' and the mutually agreed train heist was fantastic television. Visually it was stylish and offered impressive cinematic quality in its delivery. This episode is superbly written and directed, having a mini-film feel to it, providing the pulse-racing moments that keep you on the edge of your seat and the cliffhangers leaving you desperate for more. Todd shooting the kid on the bike would go on to have huge ramifications.
To'hajiilee contributes largely towards the end of the journey, feeling like it is accelerating towards some impending doom. Jesse and Hank, the unlikeliest of partnerships, team up to try and out Walt - masterfully done mind, proving there was always more selfish intent there with Walt than just providing for family - his money. The episode sets up the deadly confrontation between Walt and Hank.
Written by Moira Walley-Beckett and directed by Rian Johnson, Ozymandias was the first episode of television to achieve a perfect 10.0 user-review score on Imdb - hailed as the greatest episode of Breaking Bad; perfectly written, performed and executed. Hank died the way he lived - without compromise, but Hank knew he was a goner, telling Walt, "You want me to beg? You're the smartest guy I ever met, and you're too stupid to see - he made up his mind 10 minutes ago."
The episode title refers to the poem "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley, which recounts the crumbling legacy of a once-proud king. Keeping in theme with this poem; the episode depicts Walt's world crumbling around him. The episode closes with Walt and his one remaining barrel of money being picked up by the 'identity man' in the red van, ready to disappear. How the might hath fallen.
5.15 Granite State
The title refers to the nickname of New Hampshire, which is where Walt is relocated upon being given a new identity. The episode focuses on Walt's new low, taking a long hard look at where his actions have landed him - alone with his money - money doesn't buy happiness might be the message. We also see Jesse Pinkman, fallen from grace - lucky to be alive thanks only to Todd, the man Jesse despises for killing the kid, as a prisoner to Jack and his men - forced to cook the quality meth for them. Jesse is tortured, bullied, beaten and mentally tormented which at times made for uncomfortable viewing - in the right way.
Felina has been hailed as one of the greatest TV series finales of all-time and despite all the events that had occurred up to this point, Felina still carried an element of unpredictability as to what Walt's fate would entail. The episode carried real excitement and adrenaline as it was always clear Walt would exact his revenge on all those who contributed to his downfall - but how? In a perfectly paced episode, Felina delivers a monumental showdown with Walt and Jack's gang not before Walt so proudly confirms Lydia's 'Ricin' fate. We see a dying Walt, accepting of his end, smiling nostalgically as he admires the equipment. Despite Walt's fate, it still felt like Walt had the final say.
Season Five's Greatest Moments
Walt has all nine legacy members of Gus Fring’s empire killed in just two minutes spread across multiple prisons (Gliding over all).
Hank finals the Walt Whitman poetry in Walter White's bathroom (Bullet Points)
"To my other favourite W.W".
Walter White shoots Mike Ehrmantraut and they sit by the river for him to die in peace (Say My Name).
Skyler White enters the pool, submerging herself due to her depressive state (Fifty-One).
Walt hiring the two 'best hitmen west of the Mississippi' - Skinny Pete & Brandon with laser pointers (Felina).
Walter White blasting away all of Jack and his men remotely from the trunk of his car (Felina)
Jesse's cry and scream of relief as he drives off free from capture (Felina)
Walt uses a giant magnet to destroy evidence of his and Jesse's activities stored on Gus Fring's laptop in the police super-lab (Live Free or Die).
Hank, looking possessed, punches Walt as it becomes clear to Walt that Hank knows (Blood Money).
Walt's confession video framing Hank for being Heisenberg (Confessions).
Walt rolling his one remaining barrel of money across the desert (Ozymandias).
What is your favourite season of Breaking Bad? And what episodes and moments make it to your list? Let us know in the comments below.