It’s genuinely difficult to call Breaking Bad anything aside from the greatest TV show ever made. We are presented with one of the most interesting stories in television history, alongside some of the most intriguing characters, mesmerizing visuals, graphic scenes of violence, and hilarious one-liners of all time. They all combine to one of the most perfect pieces of media ever.
This ends up overshadowing the fact that Breaking Bad delivered on some of the most fascinating, mysterious pre-credits scenes of all time. We’ve ranked the ten best pre-credits moments in the history of Breaking Bad.
Towards the end of season three, audiences are treated to a pre-credits scene that takes them all the way back to Walt and Skyler’s younger days, just as they’re about to buy the house that so many of the events of Breaking Bad will come to take place in. Skyler optimistic and pregnant, while Walt has probably never had a single thought about becoming a meth kingpin. It’s dramatic irony at its finest.
The opening moments of season three introduced us to the Cousins, a pair of ominous characters who we would see wordlessly and hauntingly wander Albuquerque for many episodes to come. It’s filmed with an ominous yellow tint and ends up showing that classic sketch of the man we know to be Walter White for the first time.
Negro Y Azul
Breaking Bad was never a show to shy away from experimentation, but the opening to this season two episode was a bold move, even for them. In the middle of an incredibly intense set of episodes, we’re shown a full music video for a track called “The Ballad Of Heisenberg.”
It might be funny, intentionally poorly-made, and confusing, but it holds a surprising amount of depth.
This episode opens with an advert for Los Pollos Hermanos, narrated by Gus Fring and full of delightful looking fried chicken. This gives way rather quickly to a montage of the production of blue meth. The juxtaposition of these two scenes is a clear demonstration between the bad lurking below the good, and the almost invisible divide between good and evil we see in Walt at this point in the show.
Better Call Saul
This episode, which also happens to share its name with a certain Breaking Bad spin-off, is one of the funniest in the show’s history and kicks off with one of its most comedic pre-credits scenes focused on everyone’s favorite meth-head, Badger. We see Badger realize that the man sitting next to him is an undercover police officer, effectively read his entire plan back to him out loud, and still fall into the trap and get arrested.
Say My Name
Over the course of Breaking Bad, we were provided with a lot of quotes that will endure for years to come thanks to perfect scriptwriting and a marvelous performance from Bryan Cranston. One of the most prominent comes when he forces Declan to call him Heisenberg, showing a character who couldn’t be further from the innocent, scared man of the first season.
By the time this episode comes around, Jesse’s girlfriend Jane is already dead, and we know that Walter White watched her die without interfering. Jane and Jesse, in the past, are at an art museum, laughing and joking and making particularly poignant remarks about things we know will never happen.
Out of context, it’s rather ordinary, but, if you’d seen even a moment of Jane and Jesse together before, it’s one of the saddest sequences in the show’s entire run.
Season two was a huge step up from the quality of season one, and the mystery of the cold-opens kept us guessing until the dramatic conclusion to the season. At the start of this episode, we are presented with part one of the four-intro-arc of black and white visions of a floating eyeball and, later, a pink teddy bear who would simultaneously signal the downed 737 at the end of the season, as well as the eventual demise of Gus Fring.
Live Free Or Die
The version of Walter White we see in this cold-open is unlike any version of the character we have seen by this point. He is bearded and alone, sculpting his birthday bacon in New Hampshire. We are given no time frame or context and have no idea if we are being shown the final moments of Breaking Bad many episodes early, or if we’re being taken far into Walt’s post-meth future. It’s intriguing and haunting, and all the more rewarding when it finally makes sense.
It was always going to be impossible for Breaking Bad to top its first-ever moments thanks to their contextless intensity. Seeing Walt in his now-iconic white underwear with Jesse unconscious and two presumably dead bodies in the near vicinity was one of the most explosive ways for audiences to think: “yes, I think I’ll watch this.” It all becomes even more powerful when you compare the hard-headed, hairy hedonistic Walt of the later seasons to the genuinely terrified man before us in these moments.