Breaking Bad (season 5)
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Region 1 DVD covers for The Fifth Season and The Final Season.
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||16|
|Original release||July 15, 2012 –|
September 29, 2013
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. It debuted in the UK and Ireland on Netflix, showing one day after the episodes aired in the U.S. and Canada. Part 1 was released on region 1 DVD and region A Blu-ray on June 4, 2013, and part 2 was released on November 26, 2013.
After receiving three nominations for seasons two, three, and four, both halves of season five 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. The season's Metacritic score of 99/100 led the show to be listed in Guinness World Records as the most acclaimed television series in history.
- Bryan Cranston as Walter White
- Anna Gunn as Skyler White
- Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman
- Dean Norris as Hank Schrader
- Betsy Brandt as Marie Schrader
- RJ Mitte as Walter White, Jr.
- Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman
- Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut
- Laura Fraser as Lydia Rodarte-Quayle
- Jesse Plemons as Todd Alquist
- Steven Michael Quezada as Steven Gomez
- Michael Bowen as Jack Welker
- Kevin Rankin as Kenny
- Lavell Crawford as Huell Babineaux
- Charles Baker as Skinny Pete
- Bill Burr as Patrick Kuby
- Louis Ferreira as Declan
- Chris Freihofer as Dan Wachsberger
- Matt L. Jones as Badger Mayhew
- Emily Rios as Andrea Cantillo
- Mike Batayeh as Dennis Markowsky
- Adam Godley as Elliott Schwartz
- Jessica Hecht as Gretchen Schwartz
- Jim Beaver as Lawson
- Christopher Cousins as Ted Beneke
- Larry Hankin as Old Joe
- Carmen Serano as Principal Carmen Molina
- Michael Shamus Wiles as ASAC George Merkert
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|47||1||"Live Free or Die"||Michael Slovis||Vince Gilligan||July 15, 2012||2.93|
|In a flashforward, a ragged, bearded Walt, living under a different identity, has breakfast at a Denny's restaurant in Albuquerque on his 52nd birthday (a little over a year into the future). He pays for and receives a key from a patron, which he uses to open a car trunk containing an M60 machine gun. In the present, news of the three deaths at the senior center Casa Tranquila spreads as Walt heads over to see his family. Walt uses a giant magnet to destroy evidence of his and Jesse's activities stored on Gus Fring's laptop in the police evidence lockup. Mike acts as third man with location information.|
|48||2||"Madrigal"||Michelle MacLaren||Vince Gilligan||July 22, 2012||2.29|
|A German businessman from Madrigal, the parent company of Los Pollos Hermanos, 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. Mike refuses, but soon learns that a Cayman Islands account Gus set up for Mike's granddaughter has been frozen by the DEA. A Madrigal executive named Lydia hires a hitman to start killing off people that can tie her to Gus, including Mike. Mike thwarts his attacker and goes to kill Lydia, but instead asks her to be the methylamine supplier for Walt and Jesse.|
|49||3||"Hazard Pay"||Adam Bernstein||Peter Gould||July 29, 2012||2.20|
|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.|
|50||4||"Fifty-One"||Rian Johnson||Sam Catlin||August 5, 2012||2.29|
|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. After Walter admits cooking again to Skyler, they discuss the safety of the children. Skyler decides that the children are safer staying with Hank and Marie. Meanwhile, Hank gets a promotion to ASAC.|
|51||5||"Dead Freight"||George Mastras||George Mastras||August 12, 2012||2.48|
|After Walter bugs Hank's new office and Mike learns he was wrong about Lydia placing the tracking device, the team works through several ideas to obtain methylamine from another source. They decide on a train heist, with Todd assisting in the operation. The heist goes almost as smoothly as planned, but Todd notices a young boy stopping by on his dirtbike and witnessing the operation. He immediately shoots and kills the boy, much to Walter and Jesse's horror.|
|52||6||"Buyout"||Colin Bucksey||Gennifer Hutchison||August 19, 2012||2.81|
|Walter, Jesse, Mike, and their associate deal with the aftermath of the methylamine train heist. Mike, under increased pressure from constant DEA surveillance, strikes a deal to sell the methylamine to Declan, which will net the three partners $5 million each. Jesse is on board and Mike offers to pay his men out of his own share, but Walter refuses to go along. Walter invites Jesse to his home, and confides to Jesse his regret about selling his share 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 "counting the days" until his cancer comes back. He proclaims that he will continue cooking meth at all costs, because "the business" is all he has left.|
|53||7||"Say My Name"||Thomas Schnauz||Thomas Schnauz||August 26, 2012||2.98|
|Walter, Jesse and Mike meet with Declan, so that Walter can negotiate a deal to cook with Jesse and pay off Mike. Jesse still wants to quit the business, so Walter employs Todd as his assistant. Told to end his pursuit of Mike, Hank instead follows Dan Wachsberger, the lawyer 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.|
|54||8||"Gliding Over All"||Michelle MacLaren||Moira Walley-Beckett||September 2, 2012||2.78|
|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. Mike's lawyer and the nine prisoners, 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 after realizing they now have more money than can even be counted. Walter pays back Jesse his cut of the planned methylamine sale, and ceases 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 flips through Leaves of Grass in Walt's bathroom and sees the dedication 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.|
|55||9||"Blood Money"||Bryan Cranston||Peter Gould||August 11, 2013||5.92|
|In a flashforward, Walter arrives at his dilapidated and fenced off abandoned house to retrieve a hidden 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, suspecting that Hank has now uncovered the truth. Walt confronts Hank, who accuses him of being Heisenberg. Walt warns Hank to "tread lightly".|
|56||10||"Buried"||Michelle MacLaren||Thomas Schnauz||August 18, 2013||4.77|
|Hank reaches Skyler before Walt. He attempts to obtain a statement from Skyler, but she refuses to talk. Skyler also refuses to say anything incriminating when Marie visits, only saying "I'm so sorry." Walter buries his money in the desert at the Tohajiilee Indian Reservation. Lydia, facing pressure from her Czech Republic customers, tries to convince Declan to use Todd as his chemist. When Declan refuses, Uncle Jack's gang kills him and his associates and takes the meth production 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.|
|57||11||"Confessions"||Michael Slovis||Gennifer Hutchison||August 25, 2013||4.85|
|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, breaks into the White home, and douses it with gasoline.|
|58||12||"Rabid Dog"||Sam Catlin||Sam Catlin||September 1, 2013||4.41|
|Walt finds Saul's car crashed in his driveway and his house unoccupied and doused in gasoline. He leaves a message on Jesse's voicemail 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.|
|59||13||"To'hajiilee"||Michelle MacLaren||George Mastras||September 8, 2013||5.11|
|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.|
|60||14||"Ozymandias"||Rian Johnson||Moira Walley-Beckett||September 15, 2013||6.37|
|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, but he doesn't answer. She immediately knows that Hank is dead but, instead of calling the police on him, she attacks him with a knife. 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.|
|61||15||"Granite State"||Peter Gould||Peter Gould||September 22, 2013||6.58|
|Assisted by Saul's contact Ed, 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. As punishment, Jesse is taken to Andrea's house in a van and forced to watch Todd murder her. Walt calls Walter, Jr. from a pay phone in a bar, 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. When Rose asks about their connection to Walter White, both deny that Walter has any serious claim to or history with Gray Matter. The police soon encircle the bar, but Walt has already left.|
|62||16||"Felina"||Vince Gilligan||Vince Gilligan||September 29, 2013||10.28|
|Walt locates Gretchen and Elliott and gives them over $9 million 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 mortally wounds Walt and kills everyone else, except for Todd, whom Jesse strangles to death, and Jack, whom Walt shoots in the head. Jesse refuses to shoot Walt, though Walt asks him to. When Lydia calls Todd, Walt answers and informs her within earshot of Jesse about the poisoned stevia. Jesse escapes in Todd's car, crying in joy. As he succumbs to his gunshot wound, Walt spends his last moments gazing around the meth lab before suddenly collapsing and dying. The 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. 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. On August 14, 2011, a deal was made in which AMC renewed the series for a final 16-episode season. Filming began for the season on March 26, 2012. Then in April 2012 Bryan Cranston revealed that the final season would be split into two halves, with the first half airing in 2012 and the second in 2013. After a four month break, 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.
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."
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.
Gilligan stated that the introduction of the M60 machine gun in the season's pilot episode created several problems down the line in writing. When the premiere script was developed, the machine gun was written in as a thought-provoking idea to suggest to the audience that something significant was going to happen later in the season and draw them in. However, at that time, they did not plan out how the gun would be used, and Gilligan believed that with sixteen episodes, they'd be able to figure something out. As Gilligan started writing the last four to five episodes, his staff reminded him about the machine gun. Gilligan was of a mind to simply drop the machine gun but realized this wouldn't work. He eventually had a eureka moment where Walter would need to use the machine gun to kill multiple people at once rather than a single individual, leading to developing the character of Jack Welker and the white supremacist gang to be the target of Walter's wrath.
After the success of the live talk show Talking Dead, which aired 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.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the fifth season has an approval rating of 97% based on 97 reviews, with an average rating of 9.45/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Breaking Bad's final season cements its status as one of television's great series, propelling its narrative to an explosive conclusion with sharp direction and assured storytelling." On Metacritic, it holds a 99 out of 100 based on 22 reviews, making it the highest-rated season of any show on the site. 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." "Ozymandias" in particular was widely praised and has since been called one of the greatest television episodes ever broadcast.
The fifth season had six separate episodes that became the most watched episodes in the series up to date, in order: "Live Free or Die" (2.93 million), "Say My Name" (2.98), "Blood Money" (5.92), "Ozymandias" (6.37), "Granite State" (6.58), and "Felina" (10.28).
The first half of season five was watched by an average of 2.6 million viewers per episode; the second half averaged 6.04 million viewers. As a whole, season five averaged roughly 4.32 million viewers per episode.
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. 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"). 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.
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". The series received two other Best Episodic Drama nominations, Thomas Schnauz for "Buried" and Peter Gould for "Granite State". 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. 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. 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. 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. 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".
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