Breaking Bad (season 5)

Breaking Bad (season 5)

Region 1 DVD covers for The Fifth Season and The Final Season.
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 16
Original network AMC
Original release July 15, 2012 (2012-07-15) – September 29, 2013 (2013-09-29)

The fifth and final season of the American television drama series Breaking Bad premiered on July 15, 2012, and concluded on September 29, 2013 on AMC in the United States and Canada. The 16-episode season is split into two parts, each containing eight episodes. The first part of the season was broadcast from July 15 to September 2, 2012, and aired on Sundays at 10:00 pm ET. The second part was broadcast from August 11 to September 29, 2013, aired on Sundays at 9:00 pm.[1] It debuted in the UK and Ireland on Netflix, showing one day after the episodes aired in the U.S. and Canada.[2] Part 1 was released on region 1 DVD and region A Blu-ray on June 4, 2013,[3] and part 2 was released on November 26, 2013.[4]

After receiving three nominations for seasons two, three, and four, both halves of season 5 won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2013 and 2014. The second half of the season also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2014. Guinness World Records called it the highest-rated TV series of all time, citing its season 5 Metacritic score.[5]


Part 1

After erasing all evidence linking him to the murder of Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), Walter White (Bryan Cranston) starts his own operation and resumes cooking meth. Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) joins Walt and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) as a distributor, although he distrusts their methylamine supplier Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser), a shipping executive with Madrigal Electromotive GmbH, the parent company of Los Pollos Hermanos.[6][7][8] Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) arranges for Walt and Jesse to go into business with burglars who work for a pest control company called Vamonos Pest. The exterminators use the pest control business as a front for burglary, and will keep quiet in exchange for payouts. Walt and Jesse use the business' fumigation tent on random houses as a mobile laboratory.[9] Skyler (Anna Gunn) removes the children from the house after she realizes Walt has returned to the meth business.[7]

Walt, Jesse, and Mike rob a train carrying methylamine, assisted by Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons), an employee of Vamonos Pest. A child spots them and Todd kills the boy on the spot. Jesse, horrified by the shooting, and Mike, who is being tailed by the DEA, decide to exit the business. They sell their shares of the methylamine for $5 million each to Declan (Louis Ferreira), a Phoenix-based meth producer and distributor. Walt refuses to sell his share of the methylamine and cuts a distribution deal with Declan. He negotiates a $5 million severance for Mike. Walt then hires Todd as his assistant cook. When Mike refuses to give Walt the names of Gus's former employees who receive hush money, Walt impulsively shoots and kills him.

Walt gets the names from Lydia and has Todd's uncle Jack (Michael Bowen), an ex-con with ties to the Aryan Brotherhood, arrange their deaths. Lydia distributes Walt's meth to the Czech Republic, earning Walt tens of millions of dollars. Skyler is overwhelmed by the profit and convinces Walt to retire. During a family cookout, Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) flips through Leaves of Grass in Walt's bathroom and discovers that it is dedicated to "W.W." by "G.B." As Hank recalls a conversation with Walt regarding the initials from his earlier investigation, surmising that "G.B." is Gale Boetticher (David Costabile), he realizes that Walt is Heisenberg.[10]

Part 2

Walt discovers Hank is secretly investigating him, believing Walt to be Heisenberg. The two have a violent confrontation, where Walt reveals his cancer has returned and will likely be dead in six months. Walt buries his barrels of money in To'hajilee, a remote reservation, and then blackmails Hank into silence by recording a fake confession that names Hank as the mastermind of the meth operation. Meanwhile, Jesse learns of how many deaths have come with his $5 million, and he tries to divest it by throwing the money onto people's front lawns. He is brought into the police for questioning but refuses to speak out against Walt. Lydia finds Declan's product to be inferior, and has Declan and his associates killed; when she cannot lure Walt back to cook, she reinstates Todd, who still has yet to perfect the process as well as Walt's. Walt convinces Jesse to adopt a new identity through Saul's contact. Jesse agrees, but as he is about to leave, he discovers Walt had poisoned Brock. He races back to the Whites' home, dousing it with gasoline when Hank arrives and convinces him to help catch Walt. Walt arrives later, discovers the damage, and arranges a contract on Jesse with Jack, the price being one more cook to help Todd improve.

Jesse helps Hank stage a photo of them finding Walt's buried money that they send to Walt, demanding he come to To'hajilee before they burn it all. Walt races there but sees he has been set up, with Hank, Gomez, and Jesse following him, and contacts Jack to come with his men. However, he has a change of heart and willingly surrenders to Hank after telling Jack to stand down. Jack and his crew still come, and they get into a gunfight that kills Gomez and wounds Hank. Walt pleads for Jack to spare Hank, but Jack shoots Hank in the head. Jack's men, using the GPS coordinates Walt gave them, pinpoint the location of the buried money, dig up all seven barrels and load them into their vehicles, leaving Walt with only one. Jack is prepared to kill Jesse but Todd insists they need Jesse alive to help them cook. As Jack and his gang leave with Jesse, Walt spitefully tells Jesse he watched Jane Margolis (Krysten Ritter) die.

Marie Schrader (Betsy Brandt) tells Skyler that Hank has Walt in custody, convincing Skyler to turn over Walt's fake confession and to tell Walt Jr. (RJ Mitte) everything that has happened. When they return home to find Walt packing their bags and that Hank is dead, Skyler pulls a kitchen knife on him, and the two fight. Walt escapes with Holly, but later comes to his senses. He calls Skyler to apologize and takes full responsibility for the meth business, which is recorded by the police, and then leaves Holly at a local fire station. He takes on a new identity through Saul's contact, and is relocated to a cabin in New Hampshire, living in total isolation with his remaining money for several months. Todd threatens to kill Skyler to keep her silence to the DEA, while they force Jesse to cook under duress. After Jesse tries to escape, they kill Andrea in front of him as punishment.

Walt is on the verge of surrendering to the police when he sees his former wealthy business partners Elliott and Gretchen Schwartz being interviewed on Charlie Rose, disavowing his contributions to Gray Matter. Enraged, Walt makes for New Mexico. There, he coerces Elliott and Gretchen to take the rest of his money as a trust fund for Walt Jr. on his 18th birthday. He purchases a M60 machine gun, and recovers the vial of ricin hidden in their now-abandoned home. Walt visits Skyler and Holly one last time, telling her where they can find Hank's body and making his amends. He also meets with Lydia in a coffee shop, secretly poisoning her with the ricin. Walt arrives at Jack's compound, demanding to see Jesse. When they bring in Jesse with shackles, Walt appears to attack him in anger. After both of them tumble to the ground, Walt remotely triggers the machine gun mounted in the trunk of his car, firing on the compound. During the spray of bullets, most of Jack's men are killed, and Walt is mortally wounded. Then, the two kill Jack and Todd. Walt asks Jesse to kill him, but Jesse refuses and instead drives away in relief. Walt makes his way to their lab and smiles nostalgically at the equipment before collapsing and dying. A large squadron of police enter the lab moments after he collapses.


Main cast

Recurring cast


No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
Part 1
471"Live Free or Die"Michael SlovisVince GilliganJuly 15, 2012 (2012-07-15)2.93[11]
In a flash-forward, a ragged bearded Walt has breakfast at a Denny's restaurant in Albuquerque, on his 52nd birthday (a little over a year into the future). In the present, news of the three deaths at the senior center Casa Tranquila spreads as Walt heads over to see his family. Walt destroys evidence of his and Jesse's activities in the police superlab stored on Gus Fring's laptop. Mike acted as the third man with location information.
482"Madrigal"Michelle MacLarenVince GilliganJuly 22, 2012 (2012-07-22)2.29[12]
A German businessman commits suicide to evade questioning about his ties to Gus Fring. The DEA filters through various leads in hopes of finding something. In order to rebuild their lives and form a new profitable drug business, Walt and Jesse decide to look to Mike as a new partner. A Madrigal executive named Lydia becomes Mike's methylamine supplier.
493"Hazard Pay"Adam BernsteinPeter GouldJuly 29, 2012 (2012-07-29)2.20[13]
Walter moves back into the house, to Skyler's dismay. Walter, Mike, and Jesse meet with Saul to discuss finding a new place to "cook." They use a pest control business as a cover, cooking in the houses that have been tented over. When it comes time to divide the earnings of their first cook, Walter is upset about the amount of money going to Mike's former men, whose assets were seized when they were arrested. Walter hints to Jesse that he may consider an attempt to remedy this situation.
504"Fifty-One"Rian JohnsonSam CatlinAugust 5, 2012 (2012-08-05)2.29[14]
Lydia offers up her own employee to the DEA and Mike offers her a replacement – Jesse. Together, she and Jesse spot a tracking device on a barrel of methylamine. Mike believes she placed the device herself. Since Walt admits cooking again to Skyler, they discuss the safety of the children.
515"Dead Freight"George MastrasGeorge MastrasAugust 12, 2012 (2012-08-12)2.48[15]
Mike and Lydia work to get the methylamine delivered for the operation. Walt and Jesse try to work through several ideas to keep undercover. The heist goes almost as smoothly as planned, but Todd notices a young boy stopping by on his dirtbike and immediately kills him, much to Walt and Jesse's dismay.
526"Buyout"Colin BuckseyGennifer HutchisonAugust 19, 2012 (2012-08-19)2.81[16]
Walter, Jesse, Mike, and their associate deal with the aftermath of the methylamine train heist. Mike is experiencing increased pressure because he is under constant DEA surveillance. Mike strikes a buyout deal, which Jesse phones Walter to discuss. Walter invites Jesse to his home to talk, and confides in Jesse his regret about selling out of Gray Matter for $5,000 and his plans to build another empire. When Skyler arrives, Walter insists Jesse dine with them. At dinner, Skyler reveals she knows that Walter told Marie about her affair with Ted Beneke. Talking after dinner, Walter tells Jesse that Skyler sent their children to live elsewhere and is waiting for his "cancer to come back", and that he intends to continue cooking meth at all costs, because "the business" is all he has left.
537"Say My Name"Thomas SchnauzThomas SchnauzAugust 26, 2012 (2012-08-26)2.98[17]
Walter, Jesse and Mike meet with Declan, so that Walter can negotiate a deal to cook with Jesse and pay off Mike. Jesse decides to quit instead and so Walter employs Todd as his assistant. Told to end his pursuit of Mike, Hank instead follows the lawyer, Dan Wachsberger, who is laundering Mike's money. Dan gives in to the DEA, but Walter finds out and warns Mike. When they meet, Walter demands that Mike tell him the names of the nine people in prison whose silence Mike has been paying for. Mike refuses, so Walter shoots and kills him just before he is able to drive away, immediately regretting the decision when he realizes Lydia would give him the names.
548"Gliding Over All"Michelle MacLarenMoira Walley-BeckettSeptember 2, 2012 (2012-09-02)2.78[18]
Walter meets with Lydia to obtain the names of Mike's associates. Lydia partners with him to expand his distribution overseas to the Czech Republic. Walter takes the names to Todd's uncle, who has ties with Aryan Brotherhood gangs operating in the prisons. The nine prisoners and Mike's lawyer, including at least one ready to flip for Hank, are killed. Walter's meth production runs profitably and uninhibited. Skyler makes another effort to convince Walter to give up meth production, and Walter ultimately relents. Walter pays back Jesse his cut of the planned methylamine sale, and ceases the production and distribution of his methamphetamine. The Whites' children move back in, and the family seems to be back in order. During a family cookout, Hank (Dean Norris) flips through Leaves of Grass in Walt's bathroom and discovers that it is dedicated to "W.W." by "G.B." As Hank recalls a conversation with Walt regarding the initials from his earlier investigation, surmising that "G.B." is Gale Boetticher, he realizes that Walt is Heisenberg.[10]
Part 2
559"Blood Money"Bryan CranstonPeter GouldAugust 11, 2013 (2013-08-11)5.92[19]
In a flashforward, Walter arrives at his dilapidated and fenced off abandoned house to grab the vial of ricin. In the present, Hank requests all files of the Fring case and matches the handwriting in Walter's copy of Leaves of Grass with that of Gale. Meanwhile, Jesse throws his money away in a residential neighborhood. Walt's cancer returns and after a chemo treatment, he finds his copy of Leaves of Grass missing. Walt immediately searches for and finds a GPS tracker on his car. Walt confronts Hank, and Hank reveals that he knows Walter is Heisenberg.
5610"Buried"Michelle MacLarenThomas SchnauzAugust 18, 2013 (2013-08-18)4.77[20]
Hank reaches Skyler before Walt. He attempts to obtain a statement from Skyler, but she refuses because she's worried that she'll be caught for her part in getting Ted injured. Walter buries his money in the desert at the Tohajiilee Indian Reservation. Lydia tries to convince Declan to use Todd as his chemist, but when he refuses, Uncle Jack's gang kills Declan and his associates and take the equipment. Hank, unable to obtain information from Skyler or Walt, returns to his office at the DEA to learn that Jesse is being detained and questioned.
5711"Confessions"Michael SlovisGennifer HutchisonAugust 25, 2013 (2013-08-25)4.85[21]
Jesse refuses to cut a deal with Hank. At an arranged meeting in public, Walt, Skyler, Hank, and Marie try to negotiate. When Walt's attempts to negotiate with Hank fail, he leaves Hank and Marie with a DVD of Walt implicating Hank as the mastermind of the methamphetamine business. Walt offers Jesse money to leave town for good and assume a new identity. Jesse agrees, until he realizes that Saul took the ricin cigarette from him so that Walt could poison Brock. Jesse lapses into a rage and breaks into the White home and douses it with gasoline.
5812"Rabid Dog"Sam CatlinSam CatlinSeptember 1, 2013 (2013-09-01)4.41[22]
Walt finds Jesse's car crashed in his driveway, and his house unoccupied and doused in gasoline. He leaves a message on Jesse's voice mail to meet in order to explain himself. Skyler pushes Walt to kill Jesse. Backtracking, Hank is seen stopping Jesse from torching the Whites' house. Jesse agrees to cooperate with Hank, who videotapes Jesse's confession. Jesse goes to meet Walt while wearing a wire. He instead calls Walt, refusing to meet and threatening to "get him where he really lives." Walt calls Todd to say he has another job for his uncle.
5913"To'hajiilee"Michelle MacLarenGeorge MastrasSeptember 8, 2013 (2013-09-08)5.11[23]
Walt calls Todd to negotiate a hit on Jesse. Todd's uncle agrees on the condition that Walt cook again so that Todd can observe him. Hank attempts to learn the whereabouts of Walter's money through Huell. Huell doesn't know but stays at his place so he is MIA. Saul mentions to Walt that he has no idea where Huell is and can't seem to reach him. Walt attempts to lure Jesse out of hiding by having Andrea call him, but Hank intercepts the message. Aware that Walt has buried his money somewhere, Hank stages a photo to convince Walt that Jesse found the money. Walt panics and frantically drives to To'hajiilee, where the money is buried, pleading with Jesse by phone not to burn the money, and unintentionally confessing to various murders. Walt calls Todd's uncle and demands that he and his crew come to his rescue. Upon seeing Hank and Gomez with Jesse, however, he orders them off. Walt surrenders, but Todd's uncle and his crew arrive. Walter begins screaming at them to leave, but seeing that Walt is in custody, they draw their weapons. After a standoff, both sides open fire as Jesse, in Walt's vehicle, and Walt, in Gomez's Yukon, cower down and attempt to avoid the fusillade of bullets.
6014"Ozymandias"Rian JohnsonMoira Walley-BeckettSeptember 15, 2013 (2013-09-15)6.37[24]
Jack and his team remain unscathed while Agent Gomez lies dead and Hank has been shot in the thigh. Walt begs Jack not to kill Hank, offering Jack $80 million in cash in exchange for Hank's life. Nonetheless, Jack executes Hank and his men dig up all seven barrels, leaving one for Walt. At Todd's suggestion, they take Jesse as a hostage in order to get information from him about how much he told the DEA. As Jesse is taken away, Walt tells him that he watched Jane die. Marie tells Skyler that Hank has Walt in custody, and Skyler agrees to tell the truth to Walt Jr. When they return home, they find Walt packing and insisting the family leave immediately. Skyler suspiciously asks Walt where Hank is while Walt doesn't answer. She immediately knows that Hank is dead and decides not to go with Walt. Skyler resists, holding a knife to defend herself. Skyler and Walt fight over the weapon, with Walt Jr. defending his mother and eventually calling the police on his father. Walt escapes with Holly. After taking full responsibility for the meth business during a call to Skyler that is monitored by the police, he leaves Holly at a fire station and assumes a new identity through Saul's contact. After being beaten and tortured for information, Jesse is forced by Todd to help him cook meth when he sees a picture of Andrea and Brock in the lab.
6115"Granite State"Peter GouldPeter GouldSeptember 22, 2013 (2013-09-22)6.58[25]
Walt relocates to a cabin in New Hampshire, and Saul leaves for Nebraska. After being interrogated by the DEA, Skyler is threatened by Todd not to talk about Lydia. Jesse tries to escape from the Aryan Brotherhood's compound, but is caught. He's then held bound and gagged and taken to Andrea's house in a van to witness Todd killing her. Walt calls Walter Jr., but Walter Jr. gets enraged and hangs up the phone after telling his father that he should just die. Walt then calls the DEA to turn himself in. While sitting at the bar, Walt watches Charlie Rose interview Elliott and Gretchen; both deny Walt has any serious claim to or history with Gray Matter. The police encircle the bar, but he has already left.
6216"Felina"Vince GilliganVince GilliganSeptember 29, 2013 (2013-09-29)10.28[26]
Walt locates Gretchen and Elliott and gives them the money to give to Walt Jr. when he turns 18, threatening that he has hired hitmen who will kill them should they fail to do so. He then crashes a meeting between Lydia and Todd, putting the ricin in Lydia's stevia. He travels to Skyler's new apartment and admits he continued his pursuits in meth production for his own satisfaction and ego, rather than for the benefit of his family as he had always asserted. He then drives to the Aryan Brotherhood's headquarters with the M60 machine gun which he has jury rigged in the trunk. When Jack brings Jesse in from cooking to show him to Walter, Walt tackles Jesse to the ground and triggers the M60, which wounds Walt and kills the Aryan Brotherhood members, except for Todd, whom Jesse strangles to death, and Jack, whom Walt finishes. Jesse refuses to kill Walt, though Walt asks him to. Lydia calls Todd and Walt answers, telling her within earshot of Jesse that she has been poisoned by the ricin he had placed in her stevia during their impromptu meeting that morning. Jesse climbs into Jack's car and drives away, simultaneously laughing and crying with joy and relief. Walt spends his final moments in the meth lab, taking one last nostalgic look around before collapsing and dying. Police find his body in the lab moments later.

Development and production

In July 2011, series creator Vince Gilligan indicated that he intended to conclude Breaking Bad with the fifth season.[27] In early August 2011, negotiations began over a deal regarding the fifth and possibly final season between AMC and Sony Pictures Television, the production company of the series. AMC proposed a shortened fifth season (six to eight episodes, instead of thirteen) to cut costs, but the producers declined. Sony then approached other cable networks about possibly picking up the show if a deal could not be made.[28] On August 14, 2011, a deal was made in which AMC renewed the series for a final 16-episode season.[29] Filming began for the season on March 26, 2012.[30] Filming for the second half of the season began on December 7, 2012, during which AMC sent the cast and crew cupcakes decorated with characters and props used throughout the show's run.[31][32]

Vince Gilligan explained that the season was split at his request in order to have more time to write the final episodes. Thomas Schnauz revealed that the writers initially tried to conceive a 16-episode arc in advance of completing the first eight episodes, but that most of these plans were scrapped as new plot points emerged "that threw everything into a little bit of chaos."[33]

Dean Norris had asked Gilligan to kill off Hank during the first half of the season after being cast in a comedy pilot. However, Gilligan declined his request, citing the importance of Hank in the final eight episodes.[34]

Talking Bad

Main article: Talking Bad

After the success of the live talk show Talking Dead, which airs immediately following new episodes of The Walking Dead, AMC decided to create a similar series, titled Talking Bad, for the remaining episodes of Breaking Bad. Chris Hardwick, host of Talking Dead, also hosted this series; Talking Bad also had a similar logo and theme music to Talking Dead. Talking Bad featured crew members, actors, producers, and television enthusiasts, recapping the most recent episode, and taking questions and comments from viewers.[35]


Critical response

Both halves of the fifth season received universal acclaim from television critics; the season, as one whole, is often considered one of the greatest of all time. It achieved an average rating of 9.8 based on 45 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes,[36] and holds a 99 out of 100 based on 22 reviews on the aggregate review website Metacritic, making it the highest rated season of any show on the site.[37] In his review of the second half of the season, Seth Amitin of IGN stated, "Whether you call it a 'half-season' or consider these final eight episodes its own season, this final batch of Breaking Bad is one of the best runs of episodes TV has ever offered."[38] "Ozymandias" in particular was widely praised and has since been called one of the greatest television episodes ever broadcast.[39]


The fifth season had six separate episodes become the most watched episode in the series up to date, in order: "Live Free or Die" (2.93 million),[40] "Say My Name" (2.98),[17] "Blood Money" (5.92),[19] "Ozymandias" (6.37),[24] "Granite State" (6.58),[25] and "Felina" (10.28).[26]


For the 65th Writers Guild of America Awards, the series received four nominations for Best Episodic Drama, for "Buyout" (written by Gennifer Hutchison), "Dead Freight" (George Mastras), "Fifty-One" (Sam Catlin) and "Say My Name" (Thomas Schnauz), and won for Best Dramatic Series.[41][42] For the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, the series received 13 nominations, with three wins. It won for Outstanding Drama Series, Anna Gunn won for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, and it won for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series. Nominations included Bryan Cranston for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Jonathan Banks and Aaron Paul for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, George Mastras and Thomas Schnauz for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series ("Dead Freight" and "Say My Name"), and Michelle MacLaren for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series ("Gliding Over All").[43] For the 29th TCA Awards, Breaking Bad was named Program of the Year, and also was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Drama, and Individual Achievement in Drama for Bryan Cranston.[44]

For the 66th Writers Guild of America Awards, the series won for Best Dramatic Series and Gennifer Hutchison won for Best Episodic Drama for "Confessions".[45] The series received two other Best Episodic Drama nominations, Thomas Schnauz for "Buried" and Peter Gould for "Granite State".[46] For the 20th Screen Actors Guild Awards, the cast won for Best Drama Ensemble, Bryan Cranston won for Best Drama Actor, Anna Gunn was nominated for Best Drama Actress, and the series was nominated for Best Stunt Team.[47] For the 71st Golden Globe Awards, the series won awards for Best Drama Series and Best Drama Actor (Cranston), while Aaron Paul was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.[48] For the 30th TCA Awards, the series won for Program of the Year and received a nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Drama, and Bryan Cranston was nominated for Individual Achievement in Drama.[49] For the 4th Critics' Choice Television Awards, the series won for Best Drama Series and Aaron Paul won for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Bryan Cranston received a nomination for Best Actor in a Drama Series and Anna Gunn received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.[50] For the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, the series won Outstanding Drama Series, Bryan Cranston won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Aaron Paul won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, Anna Gunn won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama, Moira Walley-Beckett won Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for "Ozymandias", and Vince Gilligan was nominated for both Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for "Felina".[51]


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