Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Breaking Bad

Go To

Breaking Bad is a crime drama, revolving around a disillusioned chemistry teacher who decides to become a drug dealer, with his reasons for doing it gradually and twistedly transforming over time. The show ran on AMC from 2008 to 2013.

Unmarked spoilers are present throughout the subpages as well as some of the synopsises below. If you haven't seen the series yet, it is suggested that you tread lightly.


    open/close all folders 

    Season 1
"You see, technically, chemistry is the study of matter, but I prefer to see it as the study of change: Electrons change their energy levels. Molecules change their bonds. Elements combine and change into compounds. But that’s all of life, right? It’s the constant, it’s the cycle. It’s solution, dissolution. Just over and over and over. It is growth, then decay, then transformation."
Walter White

Walter White, a 50-year-old high school chemistry teacher from Albuquerque, New Mexico, discovers that he has lung cancer. As he fears for how his family would get by financially without him, he discovers from his brother-in-law, DEA agent Hank Schrader, that there is money to be made in the manufacture and sale of methamphetamine. He teams up with Jesse Pinkman, a former student and long time veteran in the drug trade, to create meth to sell so he can secure his family's financial future. Little does he know, the drug trade is far more dangerous than he realizes...

  1. "Pilot": After discovering how lucrative cooking meth can be, Walt and Jesse form a partnership and take their first uneasy steps into making drugs and money.
  2. "The Cat's in the Bag...": Following an unfortunate run-in with Jesse's drug business acquaintances, Walt and Jesse need to deal with a dead body and a living witness.
  3. "...And the Bag's in the River": Walt's home life is in chaos as he struggles to find a way to deal with a possibly vengeful witness.
  4. "Cancer Man": Walt finally comes clean to his family about his cancer, and must decide whether undergoing treatment - and cooking the meth to afford it - is worth it.
  5. "Gray Matter": A reunion with old friends causes friction in Walt's life as Jesse tries to replicate Walt's cook.
  6. "Crazy Handful Of Nothin'": To increase their profits, Walt and Jesse attempt to enter into a business arrangement with Tuco, a successful - if unhinged - drug lord.
  7. "A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal": With their old cooking methods causing them to miss Tuco's quotas, Walt and Jesse must formulate a new recipe.

    Season 2
"We gotta be Tuco! Alright, cut out the middle man, run our own game!"
Jesse Pinkman

At first, Walt and Jesse find themselves at the mercy of a psychotic druglord named Tuco Salamanca. After managing to escape with their lives, Walt intends to fill the power vacuum left in New Mexico's drug industry following Tuco's demise. As they stand to make even greater gains in their illegal enterprise, however, the personal cost for selling meth begins to hit Walt and Jesse where it truly hurts, as Walt's home life begins to fall apart and Jesse learns all too well of the dangers of overstepping one's boundaries in a deadly game where one misstep can prove fatal...

  1. "Seven Thirty-Seven": Walt and Jesse find their lives in danger from Tuco's wrath and try to form a plan to deal with the drug lord.
  2. "Grilled": Walt and Jesse are held captive by Tuco as the feds close in on him. They must escape, or risk capture - or death.
  3. "Bit By A Dead Bee": Free from Tuco's captivity, Walt and Jesse must account for their extended absences to their family and the authorities.
  4. "Down": Jesse is evicted from his house as Walt's relationship with Skyler becomes increasingly rocky.
  5. "Breakage": Walt and Jesse expand their operations to increase their profits. Unfortunately, the customers prove to be very dangerous.
  6. "Peekaboo": Jesse tries to get back the dope and money that was stolen by one of his friends as Walt contends with an old friend who has caught on to his lies.
  7. "Negro Y Azul"note : In the wake of Jesse's efforts to get back what was stolen from him, the reputation of Heisenberg grows, and the potential for profit with it.
  8. "Better Call Saul": One of Jesse's friends and dealers is busted, forcing Walt to elicit the aid of a morally-bankrupt lawyer.
  9. "4 Days Out": Worried that he may not have long to live, Walt takes Jesse to work on their biggest cook to date.
  10. "Over": Good news: Walt is in remission! Bad news: now, Walt has no idea what to do with his life...
  11. "Mandala": One of Jesse's friends is killed by rival dealers, causing Jesse to spiral as Walt attempts to broker a new partnership with a lucrative - and safe - drug lord.
  12. "Phoenix": Jesse wants his half of the money made from their last cook, but Walt refuses to budge. When Jesse's girlfriend threatens to out him, however...
  13. "ABQ": Jesse's girlfriend dies of a heroin overdose in the days leading up to Walt's surgery.

    Season 3
"No more half measures, Walter."
Mike Ehrmantraut

Walt finds himself torn between his need to make money to leave his family when cancer claims his life, and his desire to keep his family together as his wife, Skyler, discovers just what he does when she's not looking. He and Jesse soon find themselves in the employ of the American southwest's most power drug kingpin, Gustavo Fring, who has the resources to make meth in volumes they could never before have imagined, and make millions in the process. As Jesse continues to prove an unstable asset, however, Walt will need to decide how far he is willing to go, and how much he will risk, to protect his partner...

  1. "No Mas"note : Skyler discovers just what Walt does when she's not looking and demands a divorce, leaving Walt reluctant to continue cooking.
  2. "Caballo Sin Nombre"note : Walt tries to get himself back home and in Skyler's good graces, but it is a tall order. Unbeknownst to him, he is now in the cartel's crosshairs...
  3. "I. F. T.": Skyler must contend with Walt forcing himself back into her home. If she can't drive him away, she'll make his life miserable in whatever way she can.
  4. "Green Light": Jesse strikes out on his own, and Gus uses the opportunity to manipulate Walt back into his employ.
  5. "Mas": Gus shows Walt the superlab he had built to cook meth and makes him an offer he could never refuse.
  6. "Sunset": Hank is closing in on Jesse's RV lab! Walt must have it disposed of before it's too late.
  7. "One Minute": Hank lashes out at Jesse following the RV lab's destruction. It's not only his career that is in danger, however, but his life as the cartel set their sights on him!
  8. "I See You": Hank is brought into the hospital, his life hanging in the balance, leaving Walt concerned for the safety of his family.
  9. "Kafkaesque": Jesse thinks he should be making more money, so he starts skimming some of the product he makes with Walt.
  10. "Fly": A typical day at the office takes a turn for the bizarre when Walt becomes consumed by the desire to kill a fly in the superlab.
  11. "Abiquiu": Jesse becomes cozy with a lady from rehab whom he tries to hook on meth, only to learn something disconcerting about Gus...
  12. "Half Measures": Jesse becomes obsessed by a desire for revenge for the death of a friend, and Walt must decide how to deal with him.
  13. "Full Measure": The death of Gus's dealers places Walt and Jesse in his crosshairs. Gus is prepared to have them replaced, which would spell Walt's doom...

    Season 4
"I am not in danger, Skyler, 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!"
Walter White

Walt and Jesse find themselves in Gustavo Fring's crosshairs. Both are still too invaluable to his drug empire to dispose of, but their days are clearly numbered. Walt must pull out all the stops to stay one step ahead of Gus, on top of continuing to accrue money to leave behind for his family. Is it possible for him to outsmart one of the most devious and dangerous criminals north of the border?

  1. "Box Cutter": After having Walt's potential replacement killed, Walt and Jesse are detained by Gus's men and await their fate.
  2. "Thirty-Eight Snub": With his life in danger, Walt buys a gun to protect himself while Jesse struggles with guilt over the murder he committed.
  3. "Open House": Walt and Skyler buy a car wash to use as a money-laundering front while Jesse continues to spiral.
  4. "Bullet Points": Walt and Skyler prepare a script to explain their purchase of a car wash while Jesse's increasingly self-destructive behavior proves to be a liability.
  5. "Shotgun": Jesse must accompany Gus's hired gun, Mike, on a side job as Hank investigate's a mysterious murder...
  6. "Cornered": Walt's relationship with Skyler grows precarious as Jesse helps Gus and Mike deal with the cartel's increasingly aggressive tactics.
  7. "Problem Dog": Walt concocts a plan to have Gus killed with Jesse's aid. Meanwhile, Hank's investigation has an unexpected breakthrough...
  8. "Hermanos": With Hank now questioning him, Gus reminisces about his dealings with the cartel as Hank enlists a concerned Walt in conducting his own off-the-books investigation.
  9. "Bug": Walt has Jesse arrange a meeting with Gus to get rid of him...but can Jesse really go through with it?
  10. "Salud": Gus takes Jesse to Mexico to deal with the cartel once and for all while Walt deals with the fallout from their fight.
  11. "Crawl Space": After destroying the cartel, Gus must decide what to do with Walt now that he has become an immutable liability to his operation.
  12. "End Times": Gus is closing in on Walt, who must pull out all the stops if he hopes to survive.
  13. "Face Off": Walt and Jesse grow increasingly desperate as Gus manages to evade death. Their one hope may be one of Gus's oldest enemies...

    Season 5
"You asked me if I was in the meth business or the money business. Neither. I'm in the empire business."
Walter White

Gustavo Fring is dead, and Walt stands as the undisputed kingpin of the American southwest. From his new position of power, he can make meth in unrivaled quantities, and profits beyond his wildest expectations. As Walt enjoys his newfound power, however, his reasons for continuing his criminal enterprise is called into question: is he still trying to make money to support his family, or is he simply building his empire to satisfy his growing ego? Will his unchecked pride and greed ultimately bring about his downfall?

  1. "Live Free Or Die": With the authorities now investigating Gus's operation in full earnest, Walt must destroy the evidence tying him to his drug empire.
  2. "Madrigal": Gus' nest egg for Mike's granddaughter is taken by the feds, along with the hush money for Gus' other associates, forcing Mike into an uneasy alliance with Walt.
  3. "Hazard Pay": Walt, Jesse, and Mike begin to use a new tactic for cooking and selling their meth. Running a solo operation on their own, however, proves less than profitable.
  4. "Fifty-One": As Walt's birthday comes, Skyler discovers he has returned to cooking and begins to fear for her family.
  5. "Dead Freight": With the materials for cooking meth running low, Walt, Jesse, and Mike enlist the aid of a less-than-trusting business partner to secure more from a passing train, along with an associate from the exterminator company front.
  6. "Buyout": With the stresses of the job and attention from the authorities becoming too much, Jesse and Mike plan to leave the business and take their shares of their money with them, to Walt's chagrin.
  7. "Say My Name": As Walt recruit's Mike's contact from another state to distribute his product, Mike finds himself forced to flee.
  8. "Gliding Over All": Walt uses his remaining partner's contacts with neo-Nazis to deal with the rest of Mike's associates as he grows his business.
  9. "Blood Money": Hank has discovered Walt's darkest secret, and the two brothers-in-law are set to clash with each other.
  10. "Buried": Walt has his immense profits buried in the desert as Hank deals with the fact that his brother-in-law is a drug kingpin.
  11. "Confessions": With Hank doggedly determined to bring him in, Walt must find a way to get him off his back.
  12. "Rabid Dog": Jesse discovers one of Walt's darkest secrets, and enters into an alliance with Hank to see him arrested.
  13. "To'hajiilee": With their first attempt to bring Walt in failing, Jesse suggests exploiting Walt's one weakness: his insatiable greed.
  14. "Ozymandias": Walt's neo-Nazi associates kill Hank and take most of his money. His family is afraid of him. The authorities are closing in on him as his criminal empire collapses.
  15. "Granite State": Walt goes on the run as Jesse is forced to work as the neo-Nazis' slave and Skyler is scared into silence by them.
  16. "Felina"note : Walt returns to New Mexico to make amends with his family, secure his children's financial future, and settle the score with his enemies.


Example of: