When even the “worst-rated” episode of a series still has a 7.6 rating, it’s clear that the series really never had a “bad” episode. Breaking Bad was one of the best shows on television this decade, perhaps even of all time. And it also had one of the best series finales ever. So it’s really hard to categorize any of its episode as being “the worst.”
But like any series, there were really strong episodes that had everyone talking, and ones that were less so. A few episodes didn’t live up to the rest, and the series got off to a slow start before really picking up steam. Thankfully, the “worst” episodes were neatly spread out among the first few seasons, with the later seasons containing episodes that were all universally praised.
Updated on May 2nd, 2020 by Matthew Wilkinson: No matter what the quality of the show is, there are always going to be some episodes that are unfortunately not rated as high as others. Whether it be because the plot is weak or there isn’t enough excitement.
Sometimes episodes just don’t connect, even in a brilliant series such as this. So which were considered the “worst” episodes of Breaking Bad? Here are the worst 15, according to IMDb ratings.
“Caballo sin Nombre” (2010)
When an episode that is rated as high as 8.7 makes the top 15 worst episodes list, it proves just how strong the series is overall. “Caballo sin Nombre” took place in season three and puts a lot of focus on Walter Jr. as he is forced to deal with the fact his parents have split up.
He battles back and forth between them trying to get clear answers for the reasoning without much to show for it. This episode also features the amazing moment where Jesse buys his house from his parents, much to their surprise as he gets one over on them. Oh, and this episode features the unforgettable pizza toss.
“No Mas” (2010)
This was the season three opening episode which directly follows on from the major plane crash that takes place prior to this. The damage and carnage is shown all around, especially at the school where Walt works, which leads to him making a very awkward speech.
Meanwhile, things in Walt’s home life don’t get any easier as the season’s over-arching storyline between him and Skyler kicks off as she throws him out. Jesse also finishes up his time in rehab and has a new sense of clarity, but also guilt over the plane crash as he pieces the dots together.
While Walt is forced to move out in the previously mentioned episode, later on in the season during “I.F.T,” he makes the decision to move back in without Skyler agreeing to it. It leads to her actually calling the police and a very intense scene takes place.
Jesse continues to struggle emotionally in this episode following the death of Jane, meanwhile the Salamanca cousins start to make their journey towards them as they set out for revenge.
This episode came late on in season three when the tension was really beginning to boil, which is why it’s a surprise it was ranked slightly lower by IMDb. The episode features several smaller storylines such as Hank and his battle with recovery and Jesse learning a big piece of information about Combo’s death.
However, the big storyline in this episode is the fact that Skyler attempts to get firmly involved in Walt’s operation. Despite the fact he had been trying to keep her in the dark about the situation, she quickly questions the work Saul is doing and begins to come up with money laundering ideas of her own.
Taking place in the middle of season four, “Cornered” is ranked at 8.5 by IMDb, which is still a very impressive score, but does rank as the top 15 worst episodes. Skyler begins to believe that Walt is hiding things from her, which leads to her taking a new approach in dealing with her husband and his activities.
On the other hand, Jesse is busy with Mike and Gus, attempting to prove himself to both men in order to showcase that he is worth being kept alive and part of the operation. He ends up working closely with Mike, driving around hitting up different pickups, and it begins the bond and respect the two men wind up having for each other.
This episode from the third season reveals how Gustavo Fring uses his chicken farm and Los Pollos Hermanos restaurants to smuggle in blue meth. But too much focus on things like Jesse’s group therapy meeting and Hank’s recovery in the hospital detracted from the real meat of the show, thus ranking this episode as the 10thworst.
That said, it’s the first episode where we see Skyler really get on board by devising a cover story to explain their newfound wealth, claiming that Walt developed a blackjack card counting system.
“Bit by a Dead Bee” (2009)
Walt covers up his dirty deeds by stripping naked and pretending that he blacked out (from his cancer, of course) and is unable to remember the last few days. Also in this second season episode, Jesse gets taken in and questioned by Hank.
With Walt spending most of the episode in the hospital, we didn’t get to see him in action, so there really wasn’t any compelling action in the episode. And that’s really what viewers wanted, and expected from, this show by this time.
Also from season two, in this episode, Walt and Skyler deal with the piling medical bills for Walt’s cancer treatment, and Walt comes to the realization that what he’s doing isn’t enough, and he needs to work even harder, and make his blue meth business even bigger, if he’s going to be able to pay for his treatments.
And let’s not forget the initial goal, which is to build a nest egg he can leave for his family once he’s gone. With more cat and mouse between Walt and Hank, and escalating arguments between Walt and Skyler, the episode wasn’t one of the series’ strongest.
“Gray Matter” (2008)
Gray Matter Technologies is the name of the company Walt co-founded with his friend Elliott and former girlfriend Gretchen. Walt missed out on making millions by taking a cheap buyout before the company became massively successful using his research, and Gretchen and Elliott married each other.
To say the relationship with Walt and his former partners is awkward is an understatement. We learn the whole story in this episode, and why Walt refuses to sell his share in the meth empire for such a small fee, for fear of history repeating itself. It explains Walt’s ego and pride. But the episode focused too much on the back story.
“Cancer Man” (2008)
As amazing a series as Breaking Bad was, it did get off to a slow start. In this, the fourth episode of the first season, things indeed move slowly. There’s a family barbecue where Walt confesses to the extended family that he has been diagnosed with cancer, while Jesse hallucinates from taking too much meth and ends up back in his family home.
This is before Walt’s true descent into Heisenberg, but viewers were clearly anxious for the storyline to pick up faster than it was. The episode does end on a high note, though, when Walt causes the BMW of an a****** he’d come across earlier burst into flames.
“Thirty-Eight Snub” (2011)
In the latter part of the series, in the fourth season, Walter purchases a gun from an illicit dealer, Jesse gets high with his friends at home, Walt and Skyler argue over buying the car wash to use for laundering money, and Hank continues his recovery.
It’s a necessary episode to show things progressing on all ends. But it wasn’t one of the series’ most compelling. And the scenes tended to thrive in this series when Walt and Jesse were together, not apart.
With Skyler growing more suspicious of Walt in this second season episode, he’s still trying to maintain his “good dad and husband” front, while Jesse is struggling with potentially losing the ability to continue to live in his aunt’s house.
The dynamic between Jesse and his mother provides an interesting look into his family life, and the constant friction between Walt and Skyler made viewers despise her character, even though Walt was the “bad guy.” But viewers really didn’t care so much about Jesse’s back story and might have been tired of Walt and Skyler’s bickering by then.
“Green Light” (2010)
In season four, Walt confronts Ted about his affair with Skyler and gets tossed out of his office, only to be saved by Mike. Walt discovers that Saul has bugged his house, is forced to take leave from his job at the school, and deals with feelings of guilt over letting Jane choke to death on her own vomit in front of him, especially when he hears that her father attempted to commit suicide.
Not every episode can be gold, and this was one of the in-between ones that just made viewers crave more of the intensity they’d seen in the episodes wrapped around it.
“Open House” (2011)
Another from season 4, Skyler tries to get Walt to turn himself in and end this all, but he’s not having it. Marie attends an open house posing as a divorcee and steals a figurine suggesting she’s back to her kleptomaniac ways. It had no bearing on the plot and seemed like a story inserted to give her character some kind of purpose.
While Saul tries to push the nail salon as the perfect business to launder money, Skyler insists on the car wash, and plays to Walt’s bruised ego to finally get him to agree. They fake an environmental issue and get the owner to sell. The whole thing was essential for the story, but the episode was lacklustre at best.
From the third season, this “bottle” episode, dubbed the worst of the entire series, is more symbolic than anything else, demonstrating Walt’s loss of control and foreshadowing what was to come. A buzzing fly is loose in the lab, distracting Walt as he desperately tries to catch and kill it. He fails, and believing the fly is contaminating the cook, becomes obsessed with killing it.
Jesse ends up being the one to finally kill the flying insect, while Walt is confronted with another fly in his apartment. It was a calm before the storm episode to help prepare viewers for the intense action to come. Nonetheless, viewers were thoroughly disappointed with this break from the usual drama.