Attempting to choose the best, or even your favourite scenes from one of the greatest television shows ever screened, is a considerably difficult task. Akin to deciding who your favourite player is in the football team you support, or which of your children you prefer: You may have great reasons for making the selections you have, but there are always nagging doubts that you could have chosen differently. With that being said, here are the 5 best scenes from the recently concluded AMC drama.
Season 2 – Episode 8 – Better Call Saul
“You’re now officially represented by Saul Goodman and Associates….”
In a TV show rammed with colourful characters, criminal lawyer Saul Goodman threatens to steal the show in almost every single scene he shows up in. With his witty swagger, Goodman provides the principle comic counterbalance as proceedings become increasingly dark. This is rarely better displayed than in the episode in which he first appears in Season 2, eventually providing a ‘patsy’ as an alibi to prevent Badger from having to snitch on the ‘real’ Heisenberg.
After an amateur attempt at intimidation by Walt and Jesse; constituting kidnap, a hastily dug hole and ski masks, an initially comically panicked Goodman, talks his way up from his knees dishing out some basic ‘ABC’ gangster advice, before negotiating to become Walt and Jesse’s lawyer.
Season 3 – Episode 6 – Sunset
‘This is my own private domicile and I will not be harassed…… BITCH”
Hank’s relentless trailing of Jesse results in following him to a scrapyard, where Walt has arranged for the RV that had acted as their mobile meth lab to be destroyed. Hank himself is unaware just how close he is to uncovering his brother in law as the mythical drug lord he has been pursuing, as he traps Walt and Jesse inside. Luckily for the pair, in the nick of time the scrap yard owner shows up, displaying an exceptional working knowledge of the US constitution to delay Hank’s forced entry into the RV.
A classic example of the peerless tension at the heart of many of Breaking Bad’s best scenes, some great dialogue ensues between Hank and Jesse, before Hank is called away by a phone call from Saul Goodman’s secretary, alerting him to his wife Marie’s involvement in an entirely fictional accident. The destruction of the RV goes ahead as planned.
Season 4 – Episode 6 – Cornered
“I am the one who knocks”
Arguably the best monologue of the show, in which the extent of Walt’s transformation from submissive unassertive chemistry school teacher, to the malevolent swaggering hubris of drug king pin Heisenberg, is revealed to his wife. After the shooting of his assistant Gale, Skylar has the audacity to question Walt’s credentials by suggesting that he is in over his head and is not a hardened criminal. Walt’s dismayed rebuttal questions who she thinks she is talking to, asserting should he decide to not turn up for work a business big enough to be “listed on the NASDAQ” would go under.
A lot of the great scenes in this show occur in dramatic high pressure situations, whereby the audience is kept guessing as to the likely outcome of any given scenario. Conversely, the chilling effectiveness of this monologue is that it is delivered mid scene, in the tranquil domestic setting of the White family home. Walt rhetorically offers to clue Skylar in on exactly who he is, before uttering the iconic words destined to join the pantheon of greatest lines in TV history: “I’m not in danger Skylar, I AM the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot and you think that of me?! NO. I AM the one who knocks”.
Season 5 – Episode 8 – Gliding Over
“Whacking Bin Laden wasn’t this complicated”
Walt’s association with his would be new apprentice Todd; one of the ostensibly meekest but yet chillingly malevolent villains in television history, leads him to employ the services of his Uncle Jack. The poorly postured, perpetually smoking, slack jawed Jack is leader of an Aryan Neo Nazi gang with some serious prison connections. Although never actually seen engaging in any overtly fascistic activity, the multiple swastika tattoos suggest pretty solid credentials. At the height of his criminal power, Walt hires Jack and the gang to ruthlessly cover his tracks, organising hits on 10 men simultaneously, across 3 different prisons, in 2 minutes.
The ensuing montage shows the plan orchestrated perfectly, the visceral brutality of prison shankings set to Nat King Cole’s ‘Pick Yourself Up’. As with most songs in the show carefully lyrically chosen, the schmaltzy music strikingly offsets the wave of brutal killings. The scene culminates with Jack calling Walt to say: “It’s done”.
Season 5 – Episode 13 To’hajiilee/ Episode 14 Ozymandias
“My name is ASAC Schrader, and you can go fuck yourself”
Closing out the 13th episode overlapping into the 14th, Hank’s successful chase concludes in him finally managing to outsmart his brother in law, trapping Walt in the remote location of the first place he and Jesse ever cooked, conveniently also where he has his money buried. Things take a decided turn for the worse with the ominously funereal paced arrival of Uncle Jack’s heavily tooled up white supremacist gang. The subsequent few minutes see Hank’s cold blooded execution and the point Walt loses ultimate control of his life, his family torn apart and his millions stolen.
After surviving a hail of bullets of Third Reich esque proportions, in a shoot out with the ‘Nazis’ that kills his partner Gomie, Hank rightfully goes out like a boss, refusing to beg and telling Uncle Jack to go fuck himself.
Despite being 2 episodes from the end of the season, as usual the brilliance in leading you into believing Jesse also might meet his demise is exceptional. Essentially the crux of the whole saga, the scene is brutally effective in resolving Hank’s pursuit of Heisenberg and setting in motion the events of the final showdown in the remaining episodes.