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Nightmare Fuel / Breaking Bad

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"What's the matter, Schrader?! You act like you never saw a severed human head on a tortoise before!"
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The drug trade is known for its violence and brutality towards innocents and criminals alike. But in the ruthless criminal world of Breaking Bad, with vicious and ruthless criminals in the region, everyone from cartel members to citizens should tread lightly. Very lightly.

As per Nightmare Fuel guidelines, all spoiler tags are unmarked!


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    In general 
  • Walter White. While not initially terrifying as he starts off as a meek, middle-aged high school teacher, his progression into villainy is what's truly scary. We see him cross the Moral Event Horizon so many times it's hard to recognize that the Walt at the beginning of the series and the Walt at the end is still the same person. His character highlights how even the most morally decent person in the world can do terrible things if given the proper motivation and mindset.
    • What's more disturbing is that it's never really clear if Heisenberg was born as a result of Walt's immersion into the criminal underworld or if he was latent in Walt's mind and the cancer diagnosis just gave the persona the chance to come out...
  • The Cousins. Their stoic, Ax-Crazy nature, their brutal murders, and their thirst for revenge for the sake of family... both packaged with a giant silver axe. These are two people you do not want to cross.
  • Tuco Salamanca. He's a Moodswinging Psychopathic Manchild who beats Jesse to a pulp when he first meets him, murders his own enforcer for finishing his sentence without a shred of guilt, and kidnaps Walter and Jesse and intends to force them to make meth for the cartel, probably for the rest of their lives. He is, in Walt's own words, "an insane, degenerate piece of filth", and almost always hopped up on meth. If it isn't obvious already, this is definitely not a man you would ever want to cross paths with, or even attempt to piss off. It says a lot that he is considered one of the most brutal villains on the show.
  • Gus Fring. Philanthropist, businessman, community member, drug kingpin, sociopathic murderer, the devil in sheep's clothing.
  • Todd Alquist is Nightmare Fuel made flesh. Behind this average-looking man hides a cold-blooded killer with no sense of empathy. His second appearance is him shooting a kid on the spot, without warning, without so much as asking his bosses' permission. Several episodes later, he beats Jesse to a pulp, imprisons him in an underground dungeon, and enslaves him to meth-cooking, all while holding Andrea and Brock, two innocent civilians, hostage. When Jesse tries to escape, instead of shooting him just as Jesse begs him to do, he shoots Andrea as a warning while leaving Brock alive as leverage. And all after giving him ice cream for a good day's work.
  • The Neo-Nazis, and Jack Welker himself. They're... they're just too good at what they do. Shank ten different people all locked up in prison within a 2 minute window? No problem. Execute Declan's entire drug gang in a matter of seconds? Easily pulled off. Murder two DEA agents and bury them in the desert? Done. Torture a man and enslave him to force him to cook meth? Piece of cake. Break into Skyler White's house to blackmail her despite the fact that there are police watching the house and getting away without being caught? Did it already. Murder Andrea Cantillo directly in front of her house and saying they'll have no problem tracking down her son Brock and doing the same to him? They'll do it.
    • Want to know something else? The Aryan Brotherhood, the group that Jack Welker's gang is based on, is the most vicious prison gang in the United States. They only make up 0.1% of the prison population, they are responsible for up to 30 percent of murders in the federal prisons. Truth in Television, indeed.

    Season 1 
  • Walt and Jesse, after killing a drug dealer, attempt to dispose of his body by dissolving it in hydrofluoric acid. Unfortunately, Jesse is too impatient to go out and buy a plastic bin to use as per Walt's advice, preferring to use the bathtub instead. What results is the acid eating through the bathtub and the floor beneath it, resulting in a vile little pile of half-dissolved, gelatinized drug-dealer remains (with chunks of bone) falling right through into the hallway below. It says a lot about this show that this same moment is listed under Funny Moments.
  • Walt strangling Krazy-8 with a bike lock. Although the way he deduced what he'll do was awesome, it still gives a scary glimpse of Walt's inner ego, Heisenberg.
  • Jesse's meth-induced hallucination where he thinks two violent-looking biker thugs have come to his house to kill him with a grenade and machete, while Jesse frantically escapes his house by running out the back door and climbing over the fence. Then we cut back to the front yard and it turns out it was just two neatly-dressed Mormons on bicycles.
  • Tuco beating No Doze to death for talking out of turn. Along with him nearly beating Jesse to death when it seemed like he would act compliant before.
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    Season 2 
  • The opening teaser of the season. The eye sucked into the filter, the charred teddy bear, the impure whiteness of the pool, the lack of explanation, the sirens wailing in the background... Similar scenes are shown in other cold opens throughout the season with the same features, revealing a little more with each time it is shown before culminating in the season finale, when we are shown workers in hazmat suits working in the area around Walt's house, with two corpses covered up nearby, suggesting that Walt and Jesse died in an accident while cooking meth. The fact that Walt and Jesse survive to the end of the season and what we saw was the aftermath of a mid-air collision between two planes, indirectly caused by Walt, brings little comfort.
  • Walt's borderline rape of Skyler. He stops, thank God, but just imagine if that was in Season 5 and his Heisenberg side fully took over.
  • Jesse pulls up to Walt's house in the middle of the night. Walt wonders what the hell he's thinking showing up to his family's home. Jesse seems very shaken-up and unresponsive. Walt notices something in the backseat..
  • "Negro y Azul". "What's the matter, Schrader?! You act like you never saw a severed human head on a tortoise before!" Then BOOM. And Hank gets a big BSOD as a result.
    • The aftermath of the explosion is horrifying to watch as well.
      • We see several officers on the ground, bloody and injured/dead.
      • The most disturbing part has to be the anguished, agonized screams of Vanco after getting his leg blown off at the knee.
      • Also, the audio is dampened, implying Hank has been temporarily deafened by the blast as he rushes to put a tourniquet on Vanco's stump.
  • The couple who rob Skinny Pete in "Breakage" and own the creepy, disgusting house in "Peekaboo". Doubles as a Tear Jerker since the couple has a small child who lives in these terrible conditions and is blissfully unaware of it. Spooge and his lady basically are an idea of how drugs can ruin your physical health too, given their appearances.
    • The way Spooge's Lady cackles in delight as her husband has Skinny Pete at knifepoint...
    • Also, the room where the child sleeps has a lock on the door.
    • That horrible noise when the woman drops the ATM on her husband's head...
  • In "Over", the way that Walter says "Stay out of my territory", and the facial expression that goes along with it are not just scary to the drug dealers to whom he says it, but to the audience as well. It’s one of the first major signs of how much Walt is changing.
  • The opening of "Mandala". Combo gets stared down by a pair of thugs from their car, starts getting nervous, and then gets shot by a little kid, not even in his teens, who was biking around the neighborhood. They share a horrified expression, then as Combo tries to run, the kid guns him down in the street.
  • Jane's death. Holy crap. It comes out of nowhere, with Walt attempting to wake up Jesse and accidentally moving Jane onto her back in the process. We then get to witness 30 seconds of Jane spasming and choking on her own vomit, while Walt just stands there, unwilling to do anything.
  • That. Fucking. Teddy Bear. It only appears in four episodes, and only for a few brief moments in the opening every time, but it makes a hell of an impression. And then we learn where it came from and what happened to it, and the context just makes it infinitely worse.
  • The plane crash. As improbable as it may be, it's still terrifying to behold, especially when you consider that it only happened indirectly because of Walt's negligence.

    Season 3 
  • The season premiere and the Establishing Character Moment for the cousins. They enter what is clearly a cartel controlled village where the meth cooks are crawling. Okay, they must be subjugated, but then the cousins join them crawling to church. Okay, they must be wrapped up in some religious fever, which they are, praying to Santa Muerte for the death of Walter. Okay...that took a turn, and shows just what heavy hitters we are dealing with.
  • "I. F. T.": Tortuga's Cruel and Unusual Death in where we get to watch his head being severed in gruesome fashion by the cousins, earlier in season 2 you get to see what happens to him with his head attached to the tortoise that was originally offered as a gift.
  • The shootout between Hank and the Cousins in "One Minute". Dear God. Hank is unarmed, vulnerable, and is given a minute to try and escape from two cartel hitmen. Ramming Leonel into the back of a car, he is shot to hell before Marco decides to try and kill him with an axe. He barely survives after shooting him in the head and the episode ends.
  • "I See You":
    • The Reveal that Leonel had his legs amputated. And then he starts crawling across the floor...
    • Gus' chilling phone conversation with Juan Bolsa, where we fully see the extent of his plans, as well as the sense of calm satisfaction as he hears Bolsa's Villainous Breakdown and being gunned down by the federales. At this point, his Affably Evil persona starts to disappear, and the Magnificent Bastard that lies beneath and eventually becomes Walt's greatest enemy begins to emerge.
  • They may have deserved it, but in "Half Measures", the drug dealers get ran over by Walt when Jesse tries to kill them. You get to see their bodies get dislocated as they are ran over, and a quick glimpse of their faces beforehand.
  • Walt at the end of "Full Measure" when he plays his bargaining chip and orders Gale's death. The way Walt goes from seemingly afraid and pleading to being fully confident, dominant and in control is as sudden as it is frightening. The Oh, Crap! face Mike has as he desperately tries to call Gale says everything. Mike finally met Heisenberg.

    Season 4 

  • Gus in "Box Cutter", climaxing with him slitting Victor's throat with the titular instrument, grasping him tightly all while giving a cold, emotionless, Terminator-like stare to everyone. It's obvious that Victor was probably going to be killed seeing how he was witnessed at Gale Boetticher's apartment, but the way he does it is enough to unsettle the audience, everyone in the room, and even Mike.
    • What really makes this scene extremely cringe-inducing is just how realistic Victor's death looks. Instead of simply dropping dead or writhing for a bit like you see in most media, his Slashed Throat treatment consists of him thrashing and squirming for a long, uncomfortable amount of time, all while he emits incredibly disturbing gasping noises and the gaping gash in his neck is deliberately held open like he's a human PEZ dispenser to ensure that he bleeds out.
    • To top it off, Gus' words afterwards show how little his deeds have affected him emotionally.
      Gus: Well? Get back to work.
  • From "Cornered":
    • The opening truck heist. Like in "Bullet Points", you have the ruthless cartel hitmen ambush a Los Pollos Hermanos refrigerated truck. The way they off the guards in this one (seeing how the previous attack was foiled by Mike) is to lock them in the back of the truck, hook up a tube from the exhaust pipe to the ventilation system, then lay on the gas pedal to suffocate them to death. You can see the guards' desperation as they make a last-ditch attempt to shoot out the doors to escape only to be overcome by the fumes.
    • Walter White's defining "The One Who Knocks" speech. At this point, Skyler is initially scared out of her mind that her husband has gotten in way too deep in this "meth business" and has doomed himself and their entire immediate family. Walt, his pride offended by his wife's clueless yet perfectly reasonable assumption that Walt is still just a timid, basically harmless high school chemistry teacher who couldn't possibly understand, let alone overcome, the evil forces arrayed against them, reasserts his dignity and sets Skyler straight with the Badass Boast of all Badass Boasts. The shocked, utterly horrified look on Skyler's face when it's over tells you all you need to know: she no longer has any idea who the hell she's married to.
    • Walt pays three of Gus' Spanish-speaking laundromat workers to clean his meth club just to spite Gus. Then, Tyrus comes to put the women on a "bus to Honduras." Of course, Walt immediately senses something off and pleads Tyrus to have Gus only blame him and not take it out on the workers. Tyrus responds "he does," implying that Gus may be sensible enough to not blame the three innocent workers but he will probably kill them due to circumstances.
  • "Hermanos": Gus' friend and co-founder of Los Pollos Hermanos Max Arciniega being headshotted and Killed Mid-Sentence by Hector right before his eyes. Not only is Gus restrained from attacking him, but he is practically tortured and forced to look at his dead companion. One can imagine the pain that he lived with for the next 20 years.
  • "Salud":
  • "Crawl Space":
    • The ending, commonly regarded as not only one of the best scenes of the series but one of the most harrowing scenes put to TV. Rushing home to retrieve his hidden cache of money, Walter tears apart his and Skyler's hiding place — under the house — to find a fraction of the money he needs. Skyler then tells him she had to give the money to Ted Beneke. Walter then realizes that, as that money was the only thing standing between his wife and children and their murder at the hands of Gus, the death of his family has been sealed, and he has no apparent way out. He screams as if watching his family die right in front of his own eyes, tenses in a fetal position and appears to be sobbing, but reveals himself to be maniacally laughing his ass off. This is followed by Skyler taking a phone call from a panicked and terrified Marie who has just learned that assassins are coming after Hank, while Walt is still laughing in the background. The final shot of the episode chillingly moves up from Walter lying motionless in the crawl space as if buried alive, and a piercing whistle over the soundtrack sounds like the last bit of air leaving his lungs. It's no wonder that many fans call this the moment where Walter White "dies" and permanently becomes Heisenberg.
      • All of the props in the world must be given to Bryan Cranston's performance for making this scene so haunting; his depiction of a man going through a complete psychological collapse in real time is enough to haunt the viewer for a long time, from the first noise he makes once reality sets in to the very end.
      • Dave Porter's score for the scene is just as haunting, starting with the thumping industrial beat that plays over Walt racing home before segueing into dark, anxiety-inducing ambience as Skyler tells him the truth, which progressively morphs into a shrill, deafening wall of noise over the final shot.
    • Gus' threat to Walt before his mad dash back home is especially chilling.
      Gus: I will kill your wife. I will kill your son. I will kill your infant daughter.
    • Let's not forget the entire situation with Ted Beneke from being bullied into signing a cheque to then falling and breaking his neck in the same episode. Imagine the situation from Ted's point of view. He's at home, minding his own business when two thugs show up at his house and proceed to enter uninvited. The men intimidate him and force him to sign a cheque. Yes, Ted is a bit of a jerkass, but having people show up at your house, force their way in and then bully you. Nobody should have to experience that. Then the poor guy decides to run for it, falls and crashes head first into the counter, breaking his neck. The crunching sound. Then it is unclear whether Ted is alive or dead. All the viewer sees is Ted's hand twitching, possibly for the last time. Nice.
    • The closing credits music caps this off by being initially almost silent, before segueing into a heavily distorted and atonal version of the show's main theme... that then simply abruptly ends.

  • "Face Off":
    • The Wham Shot, revealing that Walt poisoned Brock. It's quite unnerving watching earlier episodes in the series after this, knowing how much of a ruthless monster Walt eventually becomes. The fact that it's punctuated by the G minor chord at the end of ''Black'' does not help with the creepiness.
    • The ultimate fate of Gus: Half of his face gets blown off, but we "get" to see him walk out of an exploded room looking like Harvey Dent before he suddenly drops dead. The entire right half of his skull is exposed, covered only by a bloody, chunky, torn stretch of flesh, his eye socket entirely hollowsave for a twitching severed muscle cord. Not only that, but the entire right side of his jaw is completely obliterated, with only a few cracked, barely visible top teeth visible.
    • After Gus drops dead, the camera shows a brief glimpse of the carnage in the room. There are no signs of whatever remains of Tyrus and Hector, except for a single severed leg lying in the middle of the room.

    Season 5 
  • Peter Schuler's suicide in "Madrigal"; he puts one end of a defibrillator on his heart and the other end in his mouth. Yeesh.
  • Skyler's attempted drowning in "Fifty-One". Made all the more disturbing by the Dissonant Serenity with which she does it.
    • Walt and Skyler's argument after the pool incident where Walt stalks Skyler around the room as she frantically retreats as she tries to come up with something, anything, to keep the dangerous, murderous drug kingpin she's married to away from their kids, and Walt continuously shoots each and every one of her suggestions down in increasingly harsh manners. This isn't a domestic dispute between Walt and Skyler like had been in the other seasons, this is Heisenberg trying to get Skyler to "behave" and back under his control.
  • Almost everything Walt says to Skyler in Season 5, sounds more like a kidnapper attempting to induce Stockholm Syndrome, especially the lines meant to sound loving. It is disturbing, to say the least. Lampshaded by Skyler: "I don't need to hear any of your bullshit rationales."
  • The death of the boy in "Dead Freight" who accidentally stumbles upon a heist. Not to mention that he's dissolved in acid in the beginning of the next episode, meaning that his body will never be found and his family will never know what happened to him.
    • An overlooked moment from that same episode: Mike, Jesse, and Walt kidnapping Lydia, taking her to an abandoned building, and Mike threatening to kill her if she doesn't get the information they need from Hank. Not only that, but Walt is on the same page as Mike probably for the first time ever, with Jesse being the only one of the trio who doesn't want to kill her.
  • Walt during "Say My Name". Intimidating two experienced drug-dealers to work for him, by using Gus Fring as an example? Check. Getting a Hair-Trigger Temper during Jesse's calm reasoning why they need to leave the drug business? Check. Him shooting Mike in cold blood when Mike gives a well deserved "The Reason You Suck" Speech? Check.
  • The Prison Montage in "Gliding Over All": nine gang-stabbings topped off by a man being burned alive. There's not even a single Gory Discretion Shot, either. You see every second of the killings, including the awful first shanking that seems to last forever. Additionally, the last victim is set alight in his own cell, with his cries for help going unanswered. The song that's playing does not make it better.
  • From the beginning of "Blood Money": Hank leaving Walt's house after realizing he was Heisenberg, and the massive panic attack he has on the drive home that, at first, seems like a heart attack!
    • The last sentence in the exchange between Walt and Hank after the latter notes that he doesn't even know who he's talking to.
      • Made lighter by the fact that the worst Walt wants to do to Hank is to force him to be quiet, implied by the confession tape. He would never kill Hank no matter what.
    • When Walt asks Jesse why he tried to give his cut to Kaylee, as there's no clear reason why he should do so, Jesse — absolutely exhausted and emotionally raw to the point of tears — reveals that he's already realized that Walt killed Mike simply for posing a threat to him. After lying that Mike is alive and well, Walter delivers this chilling line: "I need you to believe this. It's not true; it's just not." Under normal circumstances this would be a clumsy attempt at reassuring someone, but the context and his tone of voice make the meaning very clear"I don't want to have to kill you, but if you ever become a problem, I will, so push this out of your mind." Jesse, having no real choice, plays along, and is left to contemplate the depths his friend has sunk to.
  • The last few minutes of "Confessions". Seeing Jesse totally fly off the handle and attempt to burn down Walt's house is utterly terrifying. It's made all the more intense by the music that plays during that particular scene.
  • In "Rabid Dog", Jesse firmly establishing the outside view of Walt as The Dreaded to Hank and Gomez. Considering Jesse originally thought of Walter as nothing more than an annoying Jerkass teacher who randomly decided to break bad, this is pretty unsettling.
    Jesse: What if it's about... killing me? Y'know, getting me out in the open? Hire some uh, some clock tower guy or have me sit on a poison needle, y'know?
    Hank: Nothing's going to happen to you. I mean, the plaza is one of the most wide open public places in all of Albuquerque, it's the middle of the day and Agent Gomez and I will be there with you.
    Jesse: Look, you two guys are just... guys, okay? Mr. White? He's The Devil. Y'know, he is — he's smarter than you, he's luckier than you. Whatever you think is supposed to happen, I'm telling you, the exact, reverse, opposite is gonna happen! Okay?"
  • Almost every minute of "Ozymandias":
    • Hank and Gomez's deaths as their corpses are dragged into a grave carelessly. And the people involved plan to keep that a secret.
    • The fate of Jesse, who is tortured and forced into slavery by Uncle Jack and Todd. His worn-out clothing, his untamed hair and beard, his broken spirit... if you didn't have a fear of being kidnapped, you probably do now.
    • Walt blaming Jesse for the shootout at To'hajiilee, having him dragged kicking and screaming from under his car and almost executed before his eyes. Then he gives Todd his blessing to torture any information given to Hank and Gomez out of Jesse before killing him. Then telling Jesse that he let Jane choke to death when he could have saved her. Realizing how much Walt has betrayed him and for how long takes all the strength out of Jesse. This is all especially jarring after the cold open in which we are given a flashback to their first cook at the same location a year earlier, reminding us of the now ancient teacher-student relationship they once had and how simple their situation was then in comparison to the present.
    • The knife fight between Skyler and Walt. Given how far the show has been willing to go before, one could spend the whole scene terrified that Skyler, Walter Jr., or even Walt is going to end up with a knife in their gut.
    • Just the shot of Skyler and Walt Jr. cowering on the ground in front of Walt, one of Jr.'s arms flung protectively in front of his mother, looking up at Walt like he's some sort of monster — which by this point, he is. To be fair, Skyler did attack him first, but Walt went into Hyde pretty quickly.
      • How about the kidnapping of Holly by Walt? Skyler, screaming and crying, bangs on Walt's truck while Holly stares at her, crying as well, and then Walt drives off backing into Skyler's car and out of the neighborhood, possibly for the rest of his life from Skyler's knowledge.
  • "Granite State": When Walt hears the Schwartzes badmouthing him on TV. He instantly turns from depressed and suicidal, to ice-cold determined. It's like a non-physical Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde transformation. All with the extended Breaking Bad theme playing. Heisenberg is back!
    • The worst part was Skyler being confronted by Todd and two Neo-Nazis in balaclavas in Holly's room. Todd threatens her and her children, all while remaining eerily calm and polite.
    • Walt's homemade chemo treatment. People with a fear of needles should stay far away. It's even worse that his assistant's only training came from YouTube videos.
  • The final episode, "Felina":
    • How Walt ensures Walter Jr, will receive his inheritance. He breaks into the Schwartz home, looking at their belongings while Elliot and Gretchen cook and banter unaware. He then has Badger and Skinny Pete use laser pointers on them, making them think that they are in the sights of two snipers, and convinces them that they'll live under constant supervision and fear until Walter Jr. receives Walt's money through them, possibly for the rest of their lives as well.
    • Walt entering Skyler's apartment. In an unnervingly-calm scene shot in a specific angle, Skyler sits in the kitchen and talks with a panicked Marie over the phone about Walt being back in Albuquerque, with Marie worrying that Walt may plan to do something horrible to the either of them, or the police. After reaffirming Marie that she's looking out for herself, she hangs up the phone... and says "Five minutes." The camera then pans slowly forward, revealing that Walt has been standing in the kitchen the whole time, hidden by a banister in the shot. Even though he actually snuck into the house with benevolent intentions, it's still very discomforting how he is simply... there, almost like an abusive ex breaking into someone's apartment.
    • Todd's death. While he dodges the machine gun, Jesse seizes the opportunity to wrap his shackles around Todd's neck and strangle him to death. They spend over a minute writhing on the floor as Jesse screams in rage, and the struggle is punctuated with the nauseating sound of Todd's neck snapping at the end. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
    • From Lydia's perspective: Imagine calling Todd to ask if Walt had been killed, only to hear from Walt himself that not just Todd, but the entire Aryan Brotherhood gang is dead and that cold you thought you had is actually an incurable poison that he slipped into your favorite tea sweetener. Imagine learning that you have have only days to live, knowing that you cannot be cured, from somebody who treats this as simple collateral.
    • Hell, Walter White himself is Nightmare Fuel incarnate in this episode. He has come back to Albuquerque even more dangerous than ever before, and, in a matter of hours, killed Jack Welker and his extremely evil gang, killed Lydia, set Jesse free, and guaranteed Elliott and Gretchen that they will donate the rest of his money to his family. All of this, while looking like an absolute wreck who can't do any more damage than he has already done. Holy shit!

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