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Breaking Bad is one of the most acclaimed shows in recent memory. But you know what? It’s also super disturbing. Whether it’s visually unsettling or emotionally unsettling, Breaking Bad broke a lot of boundaries that fans are still marveling over (and being equally upset by) today.
But what are the most disturbing scenes on the show? It was actually difficult to narrow it down to just 10. And while its prequel show, Better Call Saul, has its share of disturbing moments, it definitely pales in comparison to Breaking Bad. So what made the top ten? Scroll down to find out.
Oh, and spoiler alert, of course.
10. Gus Loses Half His Face – Season 4, “Face Off”
Walt gets the upper hand in his power struggle with Gus Fring, and manages to include Hector Salamanca into his plans by planting a bomb in his wheelchair. When Gus goes to visit Hector to taunt him, Hector gets the last laugh when he taps the bell on his wheelchair and detonates the bomb, killing himself and fatally injuring Gus in the process.
To this day, I still can’t get Gus’s scream out of my head just before the bomb goes off. There’s also that delicious reveal when you see half of Gus’s face, only to see the camera move and you witness the full horror. Yowza!
9. Hank’s Death – Season 5, “Ozymandias”
Hank and his partner, Gomez, are involved in a shootout with some white supremacists. Gomez buys the farm, and Hank gets his next. Meanwhile, Walt is forced to watch his brother-in-law die.
This scene still sticks with me because Hank’s death was teased in the previous episode, “To’hajiilee”, but there was no way they were going to kill off Hank. No way in Hell. And then, they kill off Hank. Even after five seasons of murder, Hank’s death was still shocking, and made even worse by Walt’s guilty face, since he knew it was all his fault.
8. Jesse Kills Gale, Season 3, “Full Measure”
Walt is worried that Gus will kill him once Gale learns to cook meth just like him. So he decides to kill Gale. But after circumstances involving Victor and Mike get in the way, he tells Jesse that he has to do the deed himself. Jesse goes to Gale’s house and tearfully shoots him.
This moment sticks with me because it totally broke Jesse. Like Jesse said, he wasn’t a murderer, and he was forced to kill Gale, who was also completely innocent. Well, besides the whole cooking meth thing, but still! Other than that, Gale was harmless. He didn’t deserve to die.
7. Leonel Drags Himself on the Floor With Severed Limbs – Season 3, “I See You”
Leonel and Marco Salamanca (better known as “the Cousins”) go after Hank on Gus’s command, but Gus warns Hank in advance, giving him the advantage. Marco dies, but Loenel gets crippled. Once in the hospital, Loenel sees Walt, who he was initially sent to kill, and crawls out of bed with amputated legs, dragging blood across the floor.
This was a visually shocking moment. Seeing Walt’s troubled face was disturbing enough but watching Loenel dragging his bloody stumps across the floor still gives me chills.
6. Walt Poisons Brock – Season 4, “End Times”
Walt nervously spins a gun in his back yard, ruminating on what to do about Gus. The gun eventually points to a plant. Meanwhile, Jesse is convinced that Andrea’s son, Brock, is poisoned by a ricen cigarette. But we find out that Walt actually poisoned Brock with a Lily of the Valley plant.
By this point, Walt was already a scoundrel, but to think that he would poison a child just to keep Jesse close to him was unfathomable. Even Scarface doesn’t hurt kids!
5. Gus Slits Victor’s Throat – Season 4, “Box Cutter”
Following Gale’s death, Gus wants to send a message to Walt and Jesse that he’s not messing around. So he slits his assistant, Victor’s, throat right in front of them, stone-faced.
I knew Gus was hardcore, but I didn’t know he was this hardcore. Watching Victor, who tried to prove his worth by cooking meth himself, die at his emotionless boss’s hand, proved just what kind of sociopath Gus truly was.
4. Walt Berates Skylar Over the Phone – Season 5, “Ozymandias”
In a fit of madness (or cunning) Walt kidnaps his daughter, Holly, after his wife tries to stab him and his son calls the police. He later calls her and berates her over the phone, but only because he’s aware that his phone is tapped and he wants to make sure that she isn’t implicated in his crimes.
This scene is an emotional gut punch. Holly says her first word (“Mama”), and watching Walt cry, even after everything he’s done, hits me right in the feels. Plus, it’s disturbing to watch five seasons worth of misdeeds finally crashing down on Walt in a single episode.
3. Tortuga’s Head Rides a Real Tortuga – Season 2, “Negro y Azul”
Tortuga (played by Danny Trejo) is a cartel member turned informant. And for some reason, the cartel isn’t happy about this. So they decapitate him, strap his head to a real tortuga, and plant a bomb to the turtle. Hank is lucky to make it out of this encounter alive.
Decapitation always sickens me, so seeing the happy-go-lucky Tortuga meet such a grisly demise still startles me. Plus, seeing a moving head (just a head!) through binoculars gives me the creeps! And to think that this scene started out as a joke in the writers’ room!
2. Todd Shoots a Child – Season 5, “Dead Freight”
After successfully robbing a train full of methylamine, Walt, Jesse, and Todd are ready to celebrate. But then a kid on a dirt bike who likely witnessed the whole thing, waves, and Todd waves back. And then, he shoots the kid in cold blood.
I sometimes wonder who was the bigger sociopath on Breaking Bad—Gus, or Todd? I often have no qualms with seeing adults get murdered in TV shows and movies. But kids? No. Kids, I just can’t stomach. So seeing Todd mercilessly kill a child with no remorse disturbed me on an emotional level. The show was no longer fun for me. Compelling, yes. But not fun.
1. Walt Watches Jane Die – Season 2, “Phoenix”
Walt thinks that Jane is bad for Jesse since they're both heroin addicts. Plus, she’s blackmailing him so that Jesse gets the money that he earned. The two lovebirds vow to get clean, but then shoot up again. Walt goes to their house, and finds them zapped on heroin. When he tries to wake Jesse, he knocks Jane over and she begins to choke on her own vomit. Rather than trying to help her, Walt watches her die.
This was the moment that I began to wonder, “Wait. Is Walt the bad guy of this show?” I also remember screaming, “Do something!” at my television as Jane started choking. I was disturbed the whole night after this episode, and it both made me respect the show more, but it also sickened me that I had rooted for this guy at one point. After seeing this episode, I thought, nope. No more.
And that’s the list. What do you think is the most disturbing moment of Breaking Bad? Sound off in the comments.
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Lover of Avatar (The Last Airbender, not the blue people), video games, and anything 90s, he will talk your ear off about Godzilla, so don't get him started.
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