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Top 10 Breaking Bad Episodes + Digs (spoilers, ish)

I know the premier of the last season is still a long ways off, but I'm still rmore and more excited revery day. List is my Top 10 favorite episodes from rthe show thus far. It was hard to whittle rit down.rOh, also, digs.
10 Goodtime Boys
What's Left to Let Go

Buyout (s5e6): My only inclusion from Season 5 (thus far), which is not a
statement on the show's declining quality or anything like that, but more a
testament to how strong its back-record is. Plus, as with most seasons of this
show, it's always difficult to gauge the individual pieces before the whole puzzle is
revealed, so this rating is temporary at best. It also just narrowly beats out its
bookends, the terrifically tense modern Western "Dead Freight," and the short story
with tragic ending "Say My Name," almost solely on the virtue of its best part: the
worldless, ambient-scored cold open, which is not only a bit the show has turned
into an art form unto itself, but also one of the most achingly sad moments the
show has ever presented.
Note on dig: Just starting to listen to these guys, and am really liking what I hear.
It's like Pianos Become the Teeth from England--which, where's the downside?
Foreign Tapes

Face Off (s4e13): Notorious at this point, if only for its never-tiresome GIFs, but
rightfully so. Does a fantastic job employing all of the shows disparate elements:
frantic scrambling improvisation form the protagonists, Western-indebted
atmosphere of standoffs and showdowns, and a mix over over-the-top, just-this-
side-of-absurdity with gripping, awful, wounding pathos. And maybe best of all,
one of the few times when the show provides a pretty much definitive solution to
an issue. And where somehow the resultant feeling is even more stomach-knotting
than (or perhaps because of) the qualified "successes" we viewers are used to.
Best part: the walk into (yes, you read that right) the meeting with Tio.
Note on dig: I'm sort of in the growing-on-me phase with this album, but that's just
fine by me, since I can still pop it on and know that a song or two I really like is
coming up, but am still not overfamiliar enough to predict the exact melodies, so I'm
still "surprised" by them.
8Olafur Arnalds
For Now I am Winter

Salud (s4e10): It's with good reason that Gustavo Fring will go down as one of
television's all-time top villains--and, ironically, it might be due to the fact that just
so much of his arc, particularly throughout season 4, seems to paint the entire
show in a different light, where Gus is the ACTUAL well-intentioned protagonist with
sinister secrets and a tragic origin story--and, further, the one who we SHOULD
have been rooting for this whole time, if only we'd dropped in on him sooner. Best
part: terrific toast.
Note on dig: Gorgeously devastating neo-classical-meets-electronica-meets-post-
rock-meets-lullaby. Come to think of it, might work well in an episode.
Odd Blood

Grilled (s2e2): In a way, this episode looks in retrospect like sort of a testing
template for the brutally intense, internal episode mini-arc that the show would
later just about perfect--but boy, what a skillful test it is. Plus, it does a fantastic
job blending in the gallows humor with the oppressive darkness, which this show
has always done expertly. Best part: the (second-)most awkward dinner ever.
Note on dig: This is an album I always come back to and find something new to
like--or something old to like more. In this case, it's the latter, with the somehow
David Byrne-esque "I Remember."
6The National
Trouble Will Find Me

Fly (s3e10): Pretty much the textbook definition of "divisive episode" in pop culture
vernacular at this point, this unabashedly pace-slowing bottle episode works well in
both setting up things that pay off down the line (see #2) and also doing even
further deepening definition and exploration of damaged characters who were
plenty complex already. "4 Days Out" is often (and justifiably) heralded as a great
example of the same basic structure, but I still prefer "Fly" somehow, maybe
because its overlays still more history onto that older model. Best part: the oft-
neglected, spectacularly intense ladder near-confession.
Note on dig: The National continues its dynamic winning streak of loser-geared
mope-rock. None of that, despite what you may think, is meant to be insulting.
5Fort Minor
The Rising Tied

Down (s2e4): A slower episode than some included (and to come), but "Down"
stands out for me just because of the masterful way is captures the utter misery of
our dual protagonists, albeit in dramatically different scenarios, then clashes it all
together into a grand outpouring of all the misdirected vitriol--and subsequent
defeated yet peaceful acceptance--stemming from grief. Best part: Jesse's
argument with his mother always struck me as particularly, painfully realistic.
Note on dig: Overlooked this when it came out, but it's quickly becoming a not-all-
that-guilty pleasure of mine. And it's miles better than most of what the parent
band's produced in recent memory.
4Daft Punk
Random Access Memories

Crawl Space (s4e11): Even though it had already been announced that the show
would have a fifth and final season, it was tough to watch this episode and not feel
a shockingly serious threat that the end times, so to speak, would be Walter-less.
Of course, I'm sure we all secretly knew he would work his sociopathic MacGyver
magic and escape somehow, but that did nothing to reduce the frantic, frenetic
energy of the episode's final act. Best part: dat cackle.
Note on dig: Even genius needs and editor, as they say, but I've spent far worse
75 minute increments of my life, and none of them contained quite this many
delightfully infectious earworms.
3Dark Tranquillity
We Are the Void

One Minute (s3e7): The third season, which might be my personal favorite overall
of the show, and it was also, perhaps not coincidentally, the first where I started
watching in real-time. I remember it being up against Treme (which is a great show
in its own right, just way different stylistically) at 10pm on Sunday, and I would
fluctuate between which one I watched in my apartment's living room those nights.
I opted for Breaking Bad this evening, and my three roommates, who'd only
sporadically seen the show, all showed up at various point, and each ended up
sitting and watching, glued to it, along with me. After the ending, the titular
minute, one of them put it best: "We're not gonna let you watch Treme on Sundays
anymore." Note must also be given to its immediate predecessor, "Sundown,"
another near-miss for this list, and one that shares this episode's knack for
climactic, borderline impossible face-offs (hey...), and also sets up a lot of the
payoffs that make this episode work so well. Best part: this is counter-intuitive,
but the scene with Hank and Marie in the elevator always gets me, if only because
it really hits home just how crippling (whomp wah) this situation is, and will be.
Note on dig: Lotta folks have hate for this album, which I sort of ignored when it
was first released, but I think it actually might be one of my favorite in the band's
discography. Does a good job balancing the metal and the melody.
2The Shouting Matches

Half Measures (s3e12): It was neck and neck between this and "One Minute" for
this spot, but I've ultimately gotta give it to "Half Measures" just because, while it
employs the same general build-crushing-tension-into-explosive-result setup (see
also, #7), it does so while exponentially strengthening the core emotional center of
the show. If you can call whatever Walt and Jess have that. Best part: "Run."
Note on dig: Just fun stuff. Like Justin Vernon joined Wilco.
1Nine Inch Nails
The Fragile

...And the Bag's in the River (s1e3): This is the episode that really "sold" me on the
show. Even "Half Measures" and "One Minute," which are fantastic, can't match it
in terms of its masterful balance of depth and pacing. While the beginning episodes
of the show are great, they tend to be almost too quick-paced for their own good.
When the show finally slows its roll a bit, the true colors start to appear. And
(un?)surprisingly, they're more blue than red. Best part: Walter repeating "I'm
Note on dig: NIN's most underrated album, in my opinion, even though collective
consensus seems to have swung in its favor over the years. Psyched to be seeing
these guys with Godspeed, even if it cost me 50 clams.
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