The List: Top 10 “Breaking Bad” episodes

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From the October 3, 2013 edition

That’s it. There is no more. So here’s a look back at the best “Breaking Bad” episodes of the last five seasons. Possible spoiler alerts abound. You’ve been forewarned.

10. “…And the Bag’s in the River” (Season 1, Episode 3)

“Breaking Bad” had an incredible pilot, but it wasn’t until here that Walt was faced with getting his hands dirty — not just letting the chemistry do it for him — when it came to the Emilio and Crazy 8 situation.

9. “Salud” (Season 4, Episode 10)

Walt has had his fair share of Rube Goldberg-ian schemes, but this was the episode where Walt’s most formidable rival, Gus, pulled off his own in enacting his long-awaited revenge on the cartel.

8. “Crawl Space” (Season 4, Episode 11)

Everyone remembers — and is unnerved by—Walt’s manic cackle of despair at the episode’s close, but do they remember Gus’ speech in the desert that took him to that place?

7. “Face-Off” (Season 4, Episode 13)

The chess match of death between Walt and Gus was utterly epic and terrifying, but the culmination was the pinnacle. The episode begins with a bit of humor — Jesse asking Walt if he actually brought a bomb into a hospital — before going full throttle toward the series’ most memorable image (and the episode’s title).

6. “4 Days Out” & “Fly” (Season 2, Episode 9 & Season 3, Episode 10)

Picking between the two bottle episodes is impossible — even if there are still fans who (incorrectly) despise “Fly.” Both went to great lengths exploring the complex relationship between Walt and Jesse, and were two of the series’ most visually stunning outings.

5. “One Minute” (Season 3, Episode 7)

“Breaking Bad” is known for its unbearable intensity, and the battle between Hank and the Cousins is a shining example of edge-of-your-seat material. “One Minute” is also significant because it transitions Season 3 in a new direction, one where Gus reveals himself as a master villain.

4. “Fifty-One” (Season 5, Episode 4)

The episode with the most visceral confrontation between Walt and Skyler — after her beautifully haunting descent into the family pool — is where “Breaking Bad” stopped being a crime drama. It became a horror show with Walt as the monster at the center.

3. “Full Measures” (Season 3, Episode 13)

As the culmination to “Breaking Bad’s” best season — and best season of television, ever — “Full Measures” is frightening, tense and sad. And who can forget Heisenberg’s best moment: “You might want to hold off … your boss is going to need me. 6353 Wantabo, apartment six. Yeah.”

2. “Half Measures” (Season 3, Episode 12)

A truly powerful episode is highlighted by Mike’s unforgettable, “No more half measures, Walter” speech and climaxes in the series’ most oh s--- moment. There’s been no better use of Walt’s Pontiac Aztec.

1. “Ozmandias” (Season 5, Episode 14)

A truly harrowing, heart-wrenching and just brilliant episode. “Breaking Bad” is a series about consequences, and the consequences playing out in “Ozymandias” result in powerful stuff. Rian Johnson directed three episodes on this list (“Fly,” “Fifty-One”), but his work here is astonishing, especially the shot of Skylar running down the street.