Breaking Bad Season 1 Episodes Ranked and Reviewed

Breaking Bad is nothing short of sensational – the acting, storytelling and cinematography are some of the best I’ve ever seen, and that’s partly why I consider this to be the greatest TV show of all time. It would make sense to start at the beginning, so today I’ll be ranking and reviewing each episode in season 1.

I rank every season of Breaking Bad in this list:

7 – Gray Matter

Rating: C

One of the most important episodes in the show’s run, as we finally get an insight into Walt’s ideology and why he does the dastardly things he does. It’s a shame such a pivotal episode is one of the dullest.

6 – Cancer Man

Rating: C

Every season of Breaking Bad (apart from maybe season 5) has a slump of boring episodes, and it’s the fourth episode “Cancer Man” coupled with “Gray Matter” that form this season’s lull.

The finale with Walt unhinged and blowing up a car was cool, but other than that not much happens.

5 – Cat’s in the Bag …

Rating: B

I remember being amazed that the show spent two entire episodes on the aftermath of the pilot, and it just goes to show how detailed and meticulously explored this world and its characters are.

Admittedly it’s a fair step down from the explosive pilot, but we needed that time to catch our breath and prepare ourselves for the next episode (the ending with the bathtub was awesome as well).

4 – A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal

Rating: B+

The is easily the worst season finale of the entire show, but that’s for a good reason. Production had to rush the finale due to the 2007-2008 writers strike, so they had to quickly rap up half a season’s worth of episodes.

That’s not to say the episode we still got wasn’t good, in fact it’s pretty darn amazing seeing Walt don his famous costume and Tuco delivering some completely undeserved fury to one of his henchmen.

3 – … And the Bag’s in the River

Rating: A-

A more stripped back episode than the incredible pilot, but just as effective with it’s storytelling and character development. I don’t want to spoil too much, but there’s an argument to be made that this is when Walt ended up going down the destructive path of Heisenberg.

2 – Pilot

Rating: A-

Possibly the greatest TV pilot ever, it’s teaser instantly sucks you in with the semi-naked man hectically driving an RV, before crashing it and pulling out a gun. From that moment on I was hooked, and this break-neck pace sets up the rest of the series perfectly.

1 – Crazy Handful of Nothin’

Rating: A

Walter White waltzing into Tuco’s lair and confronting him has to be the highlight of the season, and since it’s the first time Walt uses his Heisenberg alias there’s a good case to be made that this is where his legend began.

This is sort of the true finale to the season, as it has all the epic moments and important story beats of later finales. This was one of the episodes that convinced me early on that I was watching the all-time greatest show, and I wasn’t wrong.

Season Rating: B

Pretty good for a first season, but the dry spell in the middle and small number of episodes stops it from being anywhere near A tier. Let’s see the stats:

  • 3 A (43%)
  • 2 B (29%)
  • 2 C (29%)

Very solid, not a single bad episode and half of the episodes are amazing. The only way is up from here, but until then you should read some of my latest posts:

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