Breaking Bad revolved around the life of high school chemistry teacher and later drug king pin, Walter White (Bryan Cranston). Walter was a mild mannered, middle class father and husband. He finds out that he has cancer and this leads him into the criminal world. He begins to cook and sell crystallized methamphetamine with the help of a former student, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). Initially, Walter begins to cook and sell meth as a way to provide for his family financially. The meth is of the highest quality anyone has ever seen. Its distinctive blue color leads to it being called, Blue Sky. Walt soon becomes greedy, manipulative, selfish and violent. He only cares about building and maintaining his drug empire. He becomes known in the drug world as Heisenberg. Walter’s wife is Skylar (Anna Gunn), his son is Walter Jr. (RJ Mitte) and his daughter is Holly (Elanor Anne Wenrich). Skylar’s sister is Marie Schrader (Betsy Brandt) and her husband is D.E.A agent, Hank Schrader (Dean Norris). Other characters in the series include, lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), drug king pin, Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), his enforcer, Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) and cold blooded killer, Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons).
Breaking Bad was created by Vince Gilligan and aired from January 20, 2008, to September 29, 2013, on AMC. The series is considered one of the greatest of all time. It was a massive success both critically and commercially. The series was highly praised for its brilliant writing, incredible cast and fantastic directing. The idea behind the series was to take a character from protagonist to antagonist. The series won 16 Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards and is in the Guinness Book of World Records for highest rated series. The success of the series led to the prequel spin off series, Better Call Saul.
Walter’s rise to the top was not an easy one. He was responsible for the deaths of several beloved characters. In some cases, he was directly involved and other times was indirectly involved. The series contained some of the most heartbreaking and gut wrenching deaths; here is a look at 12 of them.
12) Domingo “Krazy 8” Molina Killed By Walter White
1st Appearance: “Pilot”
Death: “… And The Bag’s In The River”
This death wasn’t gut-wrenching because of the character that died, but more because of the circumstances surrounding the death. Domingo Molina, a.k.a Krazy 8, was a meth distributor. When Krazy 8 finds out about Walter and Jesse’s new business venture, he goes a little…mmm…what’s the word…that’s right…crazy but with a K. However, Walter and Jesse end up capturing Krazy 8 and lock him in Jesse’s basement. Walter contemplates killing Krazy 8 but is unsure. He goes back and forth on his choice. Walter and Krazy 8 even bond and share some beers. Eventually, Walter realizes that Krazy 8 plans on killing him if he lets him go. In a crucial moment for the character, Walter kills Krazy 8 by strangling him with a bike lock. Later, killing would not be such a difficult choice for Walt.
11) Christian “Combo” Ortega Killed By Tomas Cantillo
1st Appearance: “Cancer Man”
Christian “Combo” Ortega was a good friend of Jesse Pinkman. He also worked as a drug dealer selling Walter’s meth. His death was gut wrenching on many different levels. He was dealing in a rival gang’s territory. 11-year-old Tomas Cantillo, the younger brother of Jesse’s future girlfriend, Andrea Cantillo, gunned Combo down. Tomas killed Combo in order to join the rival gang. Later, Tomas is also murdered, presumably by Gus Fring’s men. Combo is one of the first characters that is good friends with Jesse to die. It was also on the order of Walter that Combo was selling meth in enemy territory.
10) Max Arciniega Killed By Tio
1st Appearance/ Death: “Hermanos”
Max Arciniega was an associate of Gustavo “Gus” Fring. Together, they created the fast food franchise, Los Pollos Hermanos. Max was responsible for both the cooking of the chicken and meth. The meth was obviously not a part of any official combo on the menu. They gave away free samples of the meth to get the attention of Don Eladio Vuente. Gus paid for Max’s education. It’s possible that Gus and Max were lovers but that is not stated. The Don has his number one enforcer, Tio, brutally kill Max right in front of Gus. The image of Max’s blood pouring into the pool haunted Gus. Gus got his revenge years later, by poising and killing the Don and his entire cartel.
9) Andrea Cantillo Killed By Todd Alquist
1st Appearance: “Abiquiu”
Death: “Granite State”
Poor Jesse Pinkman and the women that love him. Jesse meets Andrea at a Drug Addition meeting. Initially, he just wants to sell meth to her but he soon develops feelings for her. He also discovers that Andrea’s younger brother, Tomas, is the one who murdered his friend Combo. This was on the orders of Gus. Jesse grows very close with Andrea and her young son. However, Jesse is captured and imprisoned by Jack Welker and Todd. Jesse is forced to cook meth for them. However, he makes an attempt to escape. He gets caught and in order to make sure he never tries to leave again they take him to Andrea’s. Jesse is tied up in a car and is witness to Todd shooting Andrea in the back of the head.
8) Gale Boetticher Killed By Jesse Pinkman
1st Appearance: “Sunset”
Death: “Full Measures”
Gale Boetticher is a highly intelligent chemist. He is hired by Gus Fring to set up the superlab to cook and sell meth. However, he urges Gus to hire Walt because of the purity of the meth. Gale was very well mannered, smart and cultured. He and Walt get along very well but Walt had to replace Gale with Jesse, so that Jesse wouldn’t sue Walt’s brother-in-law, Hank. The time that Gale and Walt do spend together gives Gale the opportunity to learn Walt’s method of cooking meth. Walt realizes that with Gus having Gale, he didn’t need Walter or Jesse anymore. In one of the most intense moments of the series, Jesse kills Gale in order to keep himself and Walt safe. This death leads to Jesse being full of guilt and begins his downward spiral.
7) Gustavo “Gus” Fring And Hector “Tio” Salamanca
Gustavo “Gus” Fring: 1st Appearance: “Mandela” and Death: “Face Off”
Hector “Tio” Salamanca: 1st Appearance: “Grilled” and Death: “Face Off”
Gustavo “Gus” Fring was a mild-mannered businessman. He owned and operated the Los Pollos Hermanos chicken franchise. He appeared to be a good community leader who was trying to give back. In reality, he was actually a drug king pin and the main antagonist of season 4.
Hector “Tio” Salamanca was the right hand man of drug king pin Don Eladio Vuente. He was responsible for the death of Gus’s close friend/associate, Max Arciniega. At one point, he was one of the most feared killers in the south. However, he either suffered from a stroke or some type of motor neuron disease that left him in a wheel chair. The only way he could communicate was with the use of a bell. Gus and Tio had killed and hurt several of each other’s loved ones. Gus would often visit the home that Tio was living in and taunt him over the recent deaths of his nephews. Despite both characters being villains, they were two of the most popular in the series. Fans loved to hate them. In one of the most memorable and gut wrenching scenes, Tio denotes a bomb attached to his wheel chair by ringing the bell. In the process, he kills himself and Gus.
6) Mike Ehrmantraut Killed By Walter White
1st Appearance: “ABQ”
Death: “Say My Name”
Mike Ehrmantraut was an enforcer, right hand man and all around badass killer for Gus Fring. Mike is cool, calm, smart and terrifying. He initially hates both Jesse and Walter, but he starts to form a bond with Jesse. However, he still hates Walter. After the death of Gus, Walt, Mike and Jesse start their own meth operation. Walt and Mike were constantly arguing and bickering, often with Jesse in the middle. Mike seems to feel sad over the fact that Jesse is still in the drug trade. It’s clear that Walt wants Mike gone. Walt shoots and kills Mike. Mike slowly dies as he looks at a river. For those that loved and miss the character, you can dry your eyes, as Mike is a main character on the prequel series, Better Call Saul.
5) Drew Sharp Killed By Todd Alquist
1st Appearance/Death: “Dead Fright”
The murder of Drew Sharp is one of the most surprising and gut wrenching deaths. The character only appears in the first few minutes of the episode and returns for the last few minutes. He was an innocent 14-year-old boy. He was riding his bike and exploring the dessert area. He finds a creepy little tarantula that he puts in a jar to keep as a pet. In a twist of terrible luck, Drew stumbles upon Walt, Jesse and Todd, moments after their successful train heist. It’s not clear if Drew knew or understood what was going on. Regardless, Todd was not going to take the risk and killed Drew. Jesse was horrified over the murder. Drew’s parents and the police launch a massive manhunt to find the young boy. In a very sad moment, Walt, Mike, Todd and Jesse dispose of the body and bike.
4) 167 Passengers on Flights Wayfarer 515 and JM 21
Throughout the second season, several episodes start with a strange black and white flash-forward. The flash-forward depicts dead bodies and a pink teddy bear in Walter’s backyard and driveway. In the previous episode, Walter allowed Jesse’s girlfriend, Jane Margolis, to die. Both Jesse and Walt are full of guilt and grief over her death. Jane’s father, Donald puts on a brave face but it’s clear he is devastated. He decided to go to work to get his mind off of her death. He works as an air traffic controller. He can’t stay focused because of his grief and he causes two flights to crash into each other, killing 167 passengers. The debris falls into Walt’s backyard. This increases the guilt Walt feels over killing Jane, as he is indirectly responsible for the crash.
3) Hank Schrader Killed By Jack Welker’s Men
1st Appearance: “Pilot”
One of the most gut-wrenching and tragic moments in the series revolved around the death of one of the most beloved characters. Hank Schrader was the brother in law of Walter. Hank was also a D.E.A. agent and had dedicated a great amount of time to tracking down the mysterious meth king pin, Heisenberg. Hank is highly intelligent and very committed to his job. He is unaware that Walter is Heisenberg, the very person he had been investigating for a year. Hank finds out and becomes even more determined to bring Walt down. However, Hank and good friend/partner Steve Gomez, get caught up in a gunfight with Jack Welker’s men, who were trying to protect Walt. Walter unsuccessfully pleads for Hanks life, but it’s too late. Hank and Steve are murdered and buried in the dessert.
2) Walter White Shot By His Own Gun
1st Appearance: “Pilot”
Walter White, a.k.a. Heisenberg, was the protagonist, antagonist and anti-hero throughout the series. He is a dedicated father and husband. He is a high school chemistry teacher. He was highly intelligent, a skilled chemist and caring. He then finds out that he has cancer. Walter begins to cook and sell meth as a way to provide for his family financially, in case he dies. However, soon he becomes violent, greedy and selfish. Although, he still seems to care deeply about his family and Jesse. Regardless, his goals and ambition are all about his drug empire. Walt commits many crimes and kills many people. He becomes a terrifying, unstoppable drug kingpin. In the end, he loses everything, including his family, Jesse and all the money. He seeks redemption and saves Jesse from Jack Welker. He also gets revenge for the death of Hank. Walt is shot and slowly dies. In his last moments, he reminisces about his empire.
1) Jane Margolis Chokes On Vomit
1st Appearance: “Breakage”
Jane Margolis’s death is possibly the most gut wrenching and heartbreaking death in the whole series. It has long-term implications on the series and has a chain reaction throughout the whole story. Jane was a former drug addict and the love of Jesse Pinkman’s life. However, the closer Jane and Jesse got, the further Jesse was getting from Walt. Walt won’t give Jesse his half of the money because he is certain Jesse and Jane will spend all the money on drugs. After doing heroin and meth, Jane and Jesse fall asleep. Walter breaks into Jesse’s home and tries to shake Jesse awake, but this causes Jane to fall on her back and she starts to choke on her vomit. Walter chooses not to do anything and watches Jane die. He does this because he views Jane as an obstacle, but he initially feels an intense guilt. In a heartbreaking moment, Jesse wakes the next morning to discover Jane’s dead body. He tries everything to revive her but it’s too late. Jesse believes that he is responsible for her death. Jesse soon enters drug rehab and becomes drug free. After she dies, he calls her cell phone to hear her voice. The grief and pain her father, Donald, felt would lead to him accidentally cause an aviation accident.
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