On Sunday, “Breaking Bad” fans will learn if Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is still the one who knocks or the one who’s been knocked over. If the last couple of episodes have been any indication, fans of the Emmy-winning drama might feel a little wobbly too. Did Todd really have to execute Andrea (Emily Rios) in front of Jesse (Aaron Paul)? How much more devastation can viewers endure without pulling a Baby Holly--"Mama! Mama!"
If the past is prologue, we know the answer. As AMC’s Emmy-winning drama marches to its highly anticipated finish, TODAY curates its uniquely delivered death toll.
Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and Walter White (Bryan Cranston) in kinder, gentler days.
Drug Dealer Krazy-8 can’t put one over on Walt
(Season 1, "...And The Bag's in the River")
Technically, Emilio (John Koyama) was Walter White’s first murder since he did succumb to the chemistry teacher’s poisonous gas and later melted in Jesse's bathtub. But just when Walter decided to show Emilio’s partner, Krazy-8 (Maximino Arciniega), some mercy he realized the meth distributor was going to turn the tables on him and he had no choice but to strangle him with his own two hands. Let’s give the mad scientist props for at least saying, “I’m so sorry” when he did it. Mr. White has not been that polite since.
Hank kills Tuco
(Season 2, "Grilled")
The insanely violent Mexican drugpin Tuco (Raymond Cruz) was a formidable foe for amateurs Walt and Jesse early on in the series. But not for ASAC Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), who blasted him in the head during a desert shootout.
Serving a head on a turtle
(Season 2, "Negro Y Azul)
Tortuga (Danny Trejo) was a member of the Juarez drug cartel who became a DEA informant. Viewers had no idea he was murdered until his head showed up atop a tortoise in the desert with a cute note that said, “Hola DEA.” Then boom! Just like that, a few agents died. Kudos to Otto, the actor tortoise.
Gang initiation: Little Tomas shoots Combo
(Season 2, "Down")
Shocking? Check. Vicious? Check. Jesse’s pal Combo (Rodney Rush) never saw young Tomas (Angelo Martinez) coming and neither did we. It was brutal, and the first of many personal losses for sweet Jesse.
Walter lets Jane die
(Season 2, "Phoenix")
An overdosed Jane (Krysten Ritter) was choking on her own vomit, and it would have been so easy for Walt to save her life. But Heisenberg made a decision to save himself because she had been threatening to rat him out to the cops. The choice drew a line in the sand for many fans who could never empathize with Walter again.
Twice the bad-ass: the death of the Salamanca cousins
(Season 3, "One Minute")
In one of the series’ most thrilling sequences, Hank proved what he was made of. He may have been a sitting duck in his car, but he still managed to gun down both assassins, even though he was seriously wounded himself. (One of the Salamancas survived, though his legs were amputated. Mike took care of the rest by visiting him in the hospital).
Walt saves Jesse’s life
(Season 3, "Half Measures")
It seemed like Jesse might be gunned down in the middle of the street trying to avenge the deaths of his buddy Combo and Tomas (the little brother of his girlfriend Andrea, whom Jesse assumed was killed by Gus Fring’s dealers). But there came Walt to the rescue in a speeding car. By the time it was over, Walt had hit the drug dealers with his car and finished one of them off with his own gun. Hooray for Heisenberg!
Jesse pulls the trigger on Gale
(Season 3, "Full Measure")
“I saved your life, will you save mine?" Walt implored. So, in one of Aaron Paul’s finest moments in the series, Jesse gave in and shot Gale (David Costabile) in the head. By then Jesse had already lost Combo and Jane, Tomas was dead, and Jesse was in a world of hurt and trouble.
Gus slits his loyal henchmen’s throat
(Season 4, "Box Cutter")
Victor (Jeremiah Bitsui) made the tragic mistake of allowing Gale’s neighbors to see him when he tried to stop Jesse from killing Gale. For that, he paid dearly. Without saying a word, Gus slit Victor’s throat in front of Walt and Jesse and made them clean up the bloody mess.
Cartel shatters Gus
(Season 4, "Hermanos")
In a flashback, we learned that Gus Fring endured huge personal costs, too. When Gus and Max, his best friend and co-founder of Los Pollos Hermanos (and perhaps lover) visited cartel boss Don Eladio (Steven Bauer) to propose a business venture, things took a heart-breaking turn when Don Eladio ordered Tio Salamanca (Mark Margolis) to kill Max (James Martinez).
(Season 4, "Salud")
Years later, Gus exacted his revenge on Don Eladio and his men by gifting him with a bottle of tequila he poisoned. The men dropped like flies in a sunny poolside massacre, and Gus Fring proved he was a singular force.
(Season 4, "Face-Off")
As Walter White and Gus Fring plotted each other’s demise, there were many amazing moments in the show’s fourth season. Gus Fring may be long gone, but his desert threat “I will kill your infant daughter!” is still ringing in everyone’s ears. As much as he is missed, the end of Fring was one of the show’s highest points. When Jesse didn’t have the guts to poison the kingpin, Walt knew he couldn’t get him himself, so he employed Gus’ other archenemy, the quadriplegic Tio Salamanca, who was more than happy to use his bell to ding Gus and himself out of existence. It was a brilliant plan and one of the most suspenseful episodes of the series. It also gave us Gus’ amazing final act of elegance: adjusting his tie with half his face blown off, just before collapsing. It also was the impetus for Mike’s wonderful line later when Walt’s ego was completely out of control: “Listen, Walter, just because you killed Jesse James, don’t make you Jesse James.”
What the …Todd?
(Season 5, "Dead Freight")
When innocent Drew Sharp (Samuel Webb) rode his bike over to where Walt, Jesse, Mike and Todd (Jesse Plemons) were celebrating committing a train heist like no other, Todd waved hello, took out a gun and executed the kid. “Noooo!” screamed Jesse and the rest of the world.
Oh no you didn’t, Walt!
(Season 5, "Say My Name")
What was worse, that Walt shot Mike or that seconds after fatally wounding him, he realized he didn’t have to and actually said it out loud? “Let me die in peace,” Mike said to Walt with a look of utter disgust.
10 jailbirds, 3 prisons, 2 minutes
(Season 5, "Gliding Over All")
Mike’s guys who were being paid to keep quiet just couldn’t be trusted anymore, so Walt hired a guy who ordered other guys to kill them during a two-minute period at three different prisons. It was all very “Godfather,” and was punctuated by Frank Sinatra’s “Pick Yourself Up” playing over the multiple murder montage.
(Season 5, "Ozymandias")
We all knew it was coming but it was excruciating to watch and brilliantly executed. Hank went out like a man with his dignity intact while a crushed Walt saw his entire empire crumble, and seemed to be in genuine pain over the loss of his brother-in-law. You will not be forgotten, ASAC Schrader.
What the … Todd — again?
(Season 5, "Granite State")
Just to keep Jesse in check and for no other good reason, Todd shot Andrea in the head and left her little Brock an orphan. “Just so you know, this isn't personal,” he noted before pulling the trigger as Jesse screamed and sobbed in an almost fetal position in the car. Like the rest of us.
First published September 28 2013, 6:31 AM