It’s a pretty universally agreed upon fact that Breaking Bad is one of the greatest television shows ever made. This story of a chemistry teacher who decides to “break bad” and delve into the methamphetamine business after being diagnosed with cancer takes the audience on an often times shocking and often times heartbreaking ride from start to finish.
One of Breaking Bad‘s strengths is it’s ability to get it’s audience sincerely emotionally invested into the story and characters, only to pull out some devastating moves once everyone really cares. But what are the saddest moments in Breaking Bad history?
Walter Loses His Family
Clearly by the end of the series, Walter White has fully gone off the deep end, so it’s completely understandable that once everything comes crashing down, his family sees him for the terrifying stranger that he is.
However the moment that Walt really loses his family is a poignant one, because up until that moment it seems like there is still hope, and it seems like Walt can at least still pretend that everything he has done was for his family.
Walter Lets Jane Die
Clearly Walt could never have predicted all of the awful things that would ensue after he decided on a whim to let Jane Margolis die of her overdose, but it’s still a huge moment for the series and for the protagonist.
Walter is obviously worried about losing Jesse and rightfully recognizes that Jane is a problem, but his decision to let her die when he could have possibly saved her is a horrific one.
The Plane Crash
Walt’s decision to let Jane die seems like a pretty spur of the moment one, so the fact that his instinctive decision leads to such devastating consequences for so many people is pretty horrifying.
Everyone around him suffers at the loss of Jane, but the biggest side effect of Walt’s decision is the deaths of dozens of people through the plane crash.
Andrea Is Murdered
It seems like every time Jesse grows a significant attachment to anyone, it’s an immediate signal that they’re going to die brutally and unfairly. But the most brutal and unfair death of one of Jesse’s loved ones has to be Andrea.
Jesse endures a whole lot at the hands of the loathsome Todd, but one of the most heartbreaking moments in his prolonged torment is when Todd shoots Andrea just to teach Jesse a lesson.
Todd Murders A Boy
It takes a lot of awfulness to be the actual worst person in a series about drug dealers and murderers, but Todd managed to win that dubious distinction in his relatively short tenure on the series.
Todd is a special level of sociopath, so when Walter and Jesse tell him that they need to pull off a job with no witnesses, he doesn’t even think twice about murdering a little boy who just happens upon the group of them in the desert.
Jesse Kills Gale
There are actually a lot of murders that go on throughout the course of Breaking Bad, and at least Gale was a willing participant in the drug trade and understood the risks that come along with it.
However, this moment is a particularly difficult one to stomach just because, at his heart, Jesse is not a killer. The pain that Jesse has to cope with for actually murdering someone is tough to watch.
Jesse Is Tortured
Most of the characters in Breaking Bad are morally ambiguous and not always appealing people. But it’s pretty obvious that despite his flaws, Jesse is at his heart a pretty decent person who has gotten way too deep into a dangerous and violent world.
And nothing punctuates that more clearly than when Jesse is abducted, imprisoned, and tortured for months by some of the most truly evil characters in the show.
Although it’s hard to call any death fair, it does at least seem fair to say that many of the characters in Breaking Bad who wind up getting killed also always knew what they were getting into, unlike some of the deceased collateral damage throughout the series.
But Mike’s death is tragic because he’s a character everyone loved, because he didn’t really deserve to die that way, and because his assertion that everything would have been better had Walt not succumbed to his own vanity is the truth.
Hank Is Killed
There’s a reason that Walt’s ultimate downfall is punctuated by Hank being killed. While Hank wasn’t always perfect, he was one of the very few characters in the show who was trying to do the right thing, and Walt’s belief that he was smarter than everyone is what got Hank killed.
And what makes it hurt even more is that Hank was astoundingly brave in the face of death, and he was killed by the worst characters in the show.
It’s fair to say that Walter White began the story of Breaking Bad as a decent person in dire straits, and by the end of the show he was pretty much a monster.
But he was still the protagonist of the series, so seeing him finally succumb to the fate that was doled out to him in episode one, and to see it happen after his entire world had collapsed, was pretty heartbreaking.