Breaking Bad is rightfully classified as one of the greatest shows to ever hit the little screen, and it would take a laundry list a mile wide to cover all the reasons why. Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and the series creator, Vince Gilligan truly did the world a favor when they introduced us to the unlikely duo of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.
While, undoubtedly, the most famous faces from the show, several other characters crossed Walter and Jesse’s path throughout the series six-year run and quite a few of them caused some trouble for the crystal-meth king-pins of the south-west with their intellectual competence. Then there were others – not so much. Here are the main characters of Breaking Bad ranked in order of intelligence.
“For Christ’s sake, Marie, they’re minerals!” It really seemed as though Marie’s character was only around to make sure there was a relationship between Walter and Hank, making them brothers-in-law by marriage. Otherwise, Marie’s character did nothing but cause problems.
Throughout the entirety of the show her mannerisms were confined to caring too much about Hank’s safety yet also wanting him to get promoted and move up in the DEA, not caring about anything else when one of those two were called into question, and just to spice things up she was an in-denial kleptomaniac who refused to admit it even when confronted, caught, or arrested. Just like Marie, this ranking wasn’t too much of a thinker
Walter White Jr.
To be perfectly clear, this ranking has nothing to do with Walter Jr.’s disability; it’s simply because, in the fast-paced, drug-laced, action-packed thrill ride that is the entirety of the Breaking Bad series, the stakes are higher than a high-school student can get involved in, or even comprehend. Every other character on this list was involved in the drug business in some form-or-fashion.
Whether it was cooking it, moving it, legally defending it, or trying to stop it’s creation and distribution altogether, compared to everyone else Walter Jr. was simply kept in the dark. Don’t worry, Flynn, you had every right to believe your father wasn’t a crystal-meth kingpin.
Another character like Walter Jr. that simply got lost in the fray of overwhelming and complex secondary characters, Steve Gomez can’t fairly be called stupid, or at least not intellectual, simply because he failed to see what everybody besides Hank failed to see.
The chase for the ‘blue-sky’ meth and it’s creator, Heisenberg, had so many stops and starts during the shows run that everyone besides Hank had just come to consider the guy himself a phantom or a ghost story. The guy with the second most bad-ass goatee in Breaking Bad definitely wasn’t stupid, just victim to being a character used for filling in the cracks.
“Keep your d*** mouth shut, Skyler, you stupid b****.” Yikes, while we’re not gonna be as hard on her as a found-out Walter White was, Skyler’s rank on this list isn’t exactly going to pull a 99.1 percent rating either. Despite the good or bad things that Skyler did throughout the show (yes, she did a handful of both) ultimately her rank boils down to the fact that it took her so long to do anything about her husband, in terms of turning him in.She took part in his schemes, even controlling some of them, and laundered his drug money knowing full well that he, “was the danger,” and yet she did nothing. Come on, Skyler, you didn’t kill Hank but you certainly sent Heisenberg knocking to his dor.
While maybe not the brightest character to make his way through the Breaking Bad set, you can’t argue that Jimmy McGill didn’t know what he was doing. It might not have always seemed like it, what with his spineless negotiation tactics, constant need to be surrounded by security, and magnetic-like ability to attract Walter White at his worst times.
But Saul Goodman got Walter and Jesse out of more than a few jams with some highly dangerous people and that earns him at least a 15 percent cut out of our list. Better call Saul!
Ladies and gentlemen, you will always remember this as the day that you almost caught meth-cook Walter White! He was so close. The man who refused to give up on the trail of Heisenberg ultimately met his end by it, but never forget that Hank was seemingly the only DEA agent who was still positive that the real mastermind behind it all was still out there, no matter how many times it looked like the case was closed.
It may have been a slip-up and a book of poems that ended up being the final bread crumb, but ASAC Schrader was the one who finally put it all together.
He definitely didn’t start this high on the list, with his Captain Cook nickname and signature ‘chili P’ that he would add to all of his batches, but Jesse easily had the greatest character arc among any of the Breaking Bad characters and transformed himself from a junkie-punk to a compassionate, highly-capable, caring individual.
Not to mention that you don’t become the number two crystal-meth cook in all of America by being stupid (well, maybe not that kind of stupid). Jesse suffered through dozens of ups and downs throughout the show, but one thing that’s for certain is that he chose to learn from every one of them. Science, b****!
Jesse may have been the character the audience sympathized most with, but Mike Erhmantraut was undoubtedly the biggest surprise of the series. When Saul Goodman informed Walter and Jesse in season 2 that he knew a guy who ‘handled things’, not a single viewer expected to see a man who looked like he was more prone to rocking chairs than gunfights.
But somehow, Mike ended up being one of the most bad-ass P.I.’s that television has ever seen, and he did it all by having a brain the size of a crystal-meth drug ring. Sorry Kaylee didn’t get her inheritance money, Mike.
The man who started his own crystal-meth empire from scratch; the man who held a 20-year grudge against The Cartel and managed to kill their leader; the man who would’ve proved intellectually incapable of besting had it not been for one former high-school chemistry teacher.
Gustavo Fring appears in fewer episodes than anybody else on this list, and during that time he still managed to show his intellectual superiority over not just his enemies, but his confidants as well. The biggest antagonist of the series and undoubtedly Heisenberg’s greatest threat and obstacle, the-man-who-hides-in-plain-sight deserves the credit he’s due.
Was it ever even up for debate? Heisenberg himself was always destined to take the number one ranking on our list since he ultimately proved time and time again that he could intellectually outwit anybody he crossed paths with.
Whether it was lying to his family about his whereabouts or activities, manipulating Jesse or Saul in order to bend them to his will, or outmaneuvering Gus, Mike, or Hank at any number of points throughout the series, Walter White made it clear from the get-go that Breaking Bad was his world – everybody else was just getting high in it. (But seriously, don’t do drugs).