Breaking Bad Season 5 (2012-2013)

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) in the final episode of Breaking Bad

The 16-episode fifth and final season of Breaking Bad 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 pm ET on AMC in the United States and Canada. The second part was broadcast from August 11 to September 29, 2013, aired on Sundays at 9 pm. It debuted in the UK and Ireland on Netflix, showing one day after the episodes aired in the US and Canada.

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, with 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, while 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.

The fifth season has received universal acclaim from TV critics and has since been widely considered to be one of the greatest television seasons of all time. It achieved an average rating of 9.8, based on 43 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. It has a rating of 99 out of 100 based on 22 reviews on the aggregate review website Metacritic, making it the highest rated season of any show on the site. The fifth season had six separate episodes become the most watched episode 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 the final episode “Felina” (10.28).

In 2013, 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 received three nominations for Best Episodic Drama, for “Buried” (Thomas Schnauz), “Confessions” (Gennifer Hutchison) and “Granite State” (Peter Gould), and is nominated for Best Dramatic Series.

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.

Plot (spoiler)

After erasing all evidence linking him to the murder of Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), Walter White (Bryan Cranston) starts his own operation and resumes cooking meth. Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) joins Walt and Jesse (Aaron Paul) as a distributor, although he distrusts their methylamine supplier Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser), a shipping executive with Madrigal Electromotive GmbH, the parent company of Gus Fring’s Los Pollos Hermanos.

Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) arranges for Walt and Jesse to go into business with burglars who work for a pest control company called Vamonos Pest. The exterminators use the pest control business as a front for burglary and will keep quiet in exchange for payouts. Walt and Jesse use the business’ fumigation tent on random houses as a mobile laboratory. Skyler (Anna Gunn) removes the children from the house after she realizes Walt has returned to meth-cooking.Walt, Jesse and Mike rob a train carrying methylamine assisted by Todd (Jesse Plemons), an employee of Vamonos Pest. A child spots them and Todd kills the boy on the spot. Jesse, horrified by the shooting, and Mike, who is being tailed by the DEA, decide to exit the business. They sell their shares of the methylamine for $5 million each to Declan (Louis Ferreira), a Phoenix-based meth producer and distributor. Walt, however, refuses to sell his share of the methylamine and cuts a distribution deal with Declan, negotiating a $5 million severance for Mike. Walt then hires Todd as his assistant cook.

When Mike refuses to give Walt the names of Gus’s former employees who receive hush money, Walt impulsively shoots and kills him. He then gets the names from Lydia and has Todd’s uncle, Jack Welker (Michael Bowen), a former convict with ties to the Aryan Brotherhood, arrange their deaths. Lydia distributes Walt’s meth to the Czech Republic, earning Walt an extraordinary amount of money. Skyler is overwhelmed by the profit and convinces Walt to retire.

During a family cookout, Hank (Dean Norris) flips through Leaves of Grass in Walt’s bathroom and discovers that it is dedicated 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. He then begins to secretly investigate Walt, who discovers a tracking device on his car and realizes Hank knows his secret. Hank meets with Skyler and asks her to go on record with a confession, but she refuses. Shortly after Marie (Betsy Brandt) learns the depth of Skyler’s involvement with Walt’s operation. In the meantime, Walt buries his money in the desert.

Jesse, overwhelmed with remorse over deaths that earned him $5 million, attempts to dispose of his money by throwing it in people’s front lawns. Police bring him in for questioning, but Jesse refuses to roll over on Walt. Declan supplies methamphetamine for Lydia’s Czech connections, but she is dissatisfied with the product’s quality. Walt rebuffs her attempts to lure him out of retirement. She then arranges to have Declan and his associates killed in an ambush and reinstates Todd as cook. Lydia, however, remains dissatisfied with Todd’s product, but he promises to improve.

Walt meets Jesse and Saul in the desert and offers Jesse money to leave town and assume a new identity. Jesse agrees, but then he realizes Walt poisoned Brock and framed Gus and agrees to help Hank catch Walt. Walt contracts with Todd’s uncle to order a hit on Jesse. The price is one more cook, in order to teach Todd how to improve his product. Jesse calls Walt to tell him he will get him where he really lives.

Walt receives a picture on his phone from Jesse showing an opened barrel of money, identical to the ones Walt buried in To’hajilee. Jesse calls Walt and offers him an ultimatum: meet at the site of the buried money or he will burn every barrel. Walt frantically drives to the reservation. Realizing he was set up, Walt hides, calls Jack and tells him to bring his men over as soon as possible. When Hank and Gomez arrive with Jesse, Walt tells Jack not to come and surrenders to Hank.

Walt waits handcuffed in the back of the SUV. Jack and his crew pull up to the site, take cover and draw on their weapons on Hank and Gomez. Helpless, Walt watches the gang kills Gomez and pleads for them to spare Hank. To support that plea, Walt admits to Todd’s uncle that the specific location he gave them referred to the place where he buried $80 million. Moments before being shooted and killed by Jack, Hank tells Walt that Todd’s uncle made up his mind before the confrontation even started. After that, Jack and his gang steal almost all of Walt’s $80 million, leaving Walt with one barrel. With Walt’s blessing, they are going to execute Jesse as well, but Todd convinces Jack they may need him alive in order to find out what he told the DEA.

In the meantime Marie confronts Skyler and tells her Walt is in custody. She offers her and Hank’s support, provided Skyler turns over all of Walt’s false confession tapes implicating Hank and tells Walter Jr. the truth about his father. Skyler agrees and tells her son everything about his father. They return home to find Walt hastily packing their bags. He explains they need to flee. Skyler realizes Hank has been killed and pulls a kitchen knife on Walt. They fight, Walter Jr. calls the police on his father, and Walter Sr. flees. He then uses a contact of Saul’s to assume a new identity and moves to a secluded cabin in New Hampshire.

Todd and his gang threaten Skyler with demands that she doesn’t mention Lydia to the DEA agents. Jesse cooks for Todd under duress and tries to escape his captivity. He is caught in an escape attempt and Todd kills Andrea in front of him as punishment. Walt decides to call Walter Jr., who hangs up on him after accusing Walt of killing Hank. He then calls the Albuquerque DEA office in order to surrender, but afterward sees Elliott and Gretchen on a Charlie Rose interview, in which they both deny Walt made any major contribution to Gray Matter, besides the name. The police arrive at the bar to find no trace of Walt.

Walt steals a car and returns to New Mexico. He coerces Elliott and Gretchen to use his drug money to create an irrevocable trust in favor of Walter Jr. that he’ll receive on his 18th birthday. Gretchen and Elliott are to claim it is their donation to Walt’s innocent children, who had a monstrous father. He proceeds to purchase an M60 machine gun and recover the vial of ricin from his now-abandoned house. He constructs a remote-activated machine that allows the M60 to fire unmanned. Walt then visits Skyler and Holly and bids them farewell.

Walt meets Lydia and Todd at a coffee shop to discuss a new business proposition. He previously laced the only packet of stevia sweetener in the container on her table with the ricin. Lydia dismisses Walt as she adds the ricin to her tea. Later that day, Walter confronts Jack and his gang at the compound. Eventually he triggers the M60 mounted in the trunk of his car, which shoots through the wall and kills most of the gang members, but Todd survives while his uncle Jack is mortally wounded. When the gunfire stops, Jesse strangles Todd with the chain of his handcuffs, finally breaking Todd’s neck.

Walt, who was hit by a ricocheting bullet from the machine gun, begins to bleed. He asks Jesse to kill him, as he now truly wants to die. Jesse refuses and drives away from the compound. Walt walks to the lab, and smiles nostalgically as he takes a final look around. He leaves a bloody handprint on a chemical tank, then falls onto his back with a smile, dead. Police enter the lab moments after he collapses.

Episodes (spoiler)

Episode 1: Live Free or Die
In a flash-forward, a ragged bearded Walt has breakfast at a Denny’s restaurant in Albuquerque, on his 52nd birthday (a little over a year into the future). In the present, news of the three deaths at the senior center Casa Tranquila spreads as Walt heads over to see his family. Walt destroys evidence of his and Jesse’s activities in the superlab stored on Gustavo Fring’s laptop.

Episode 2: Madrigal
A German businessman 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. A Madrigal executive named Lydia becomes Mike’s methylamine supplier.

Episode 3: Hazard Pay
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.

Episode 4: Fifty-One
Lydia offers up her own employee to the DEA and Mike offers her Jesse as a replacement. Together, she and Jesse spot a tracking device on a barrel of methylamine. Mike believes she placed the device herself. Since Walt admits cooking again to Skyler, they discuss the safety of the children.

Episode 5: Dead Freight
Mike and Lydia work to get the methylamine delivered for the operation. Walt and Jesse try to work through several ideas to keep undercover. The heist goes almost as smoothly as planned, but Todd notices a young boy stopping by on his dirtbike and immediately kills him, much to Walt and Jesse’s dismay.

Episode 6: Buyout
Walter, Jesse, Mike and their associate deal with the aftermath of the methylamine train heist. Mike is experiencing increased pressure because he is under constant DEA surveillance. So he strikes a buyout deal, which Jesse phones Walter to discuss. Walter invites Jesse to his home to talk and confides his regret about selling out 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 waiting for his cancer to come back, and that he intends to continue cooking meth at all costs, because that business is all he has left.

Episode 7: Say My Name
Walter, Jesse and Mike meet with Declan, so that Walter can negotiate a deal to cook with Jesse and pay off Mike. Jesse decides to quit instead. Told to end his pursuit of Mike, Hank instead follows the lawyer, Dan Wachsberger, 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.

Episode 8: Gliding Over All
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. The nine prisoners and Mike’s lawyer, 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 he ultimately relents. Walter pays back Jesse his cut of the planned methylamine sale and ceases the production and distribution of his methamphetamine. The Whites’ children move back in and the family seems to be back in order. However, during a lunch by the pool Hank skims through Walter’s copy of Leaves of Grass and realizes that he is Heisenberg.

Episode 9: Blood Money
In a flashforward, Walter arrives at his dilapidated and fenced off abandoned house to grab the 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. Walt confronts Hank, who reveals that he knows Walter is Heisenberg.

Episode 10: Buried
Hank reaches Skyler before Walt. He attempts to obtain a statement from Skyler, but she refuses. Walter buries his money in the desert at the To’hajiilee Indian Reservation. Lydia tries to convince Declan to use Todd as his chemist, but when he refuses Uncle Jack’s gang kills Declan and his associates and take the 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.

Episode 11: Confessions
Jesse refuses to cut a deal with Hank. At an arranged public meeting, Walter, 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 and breaks into the White home and douses it with gasoline.

Episode 12: Rabid Dog
Walt finds Saul’s car crashed in his driveway and his house unoccupied and doused in gasoline. He leaves a message on Jesse’s voice mail to meet in order to explain himself. Skyler pushes Walt to kill Jesse. Backtracking, Hank is seen stopping Jesse from torching the White’s house. Jesse agrees to cooperate with Hank, who videotapes Jesse’s confession. Jesse goes to meet Walt while wearing a wire. He instead calls Walter, refusing to meet and threatening to get him where he really lives. Walt calls Todd to say he has another job for his uncle.

Episode 13: To’hajiilee
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. 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. When he realizes he was set up, 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’ Yukon, cower down and attempt to avoid the fusillade of bullets.

Episode 14: Ozymandias
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 Walter Jr. When they return home, they find Walt packing and insisting the family leave immediately. Skyler resists, holding a knife to defend herself. Skyler and Walt fight over the weapon, with Walter 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.

Episode 15: Granite State
Walt is relocated to a cabin in New Hampshire. 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. He’s then held bound and gagged and taken to Andrea’s house in a van to witness Todd killing her. Walt calls Walter Jr. from a bar, but his son 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. Both deny Walt has any serious claim to or history with Gray Matter besides the name. The police encircle the bar, but Walter has already left.

Episode 16: Felina
Walt locates Gretchen and Elliott and gives them the money 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 jerry-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 wounds Walt and kills the Aryan Brotherhood members, except for Todd, whom Jesse strangles to death, and his uncle Jack, whom Walt finishes. Jesse refuses to kill Walt, though Walt asks him to. Lydia calls Todd, not knowing he has just been killed, and Walt answers his cell, telling her within earshot of Jesse that she has been poisoned by the ricin he had placed in her stevia during their impromptu meeting that morning. Jesse climbs into his car and drives away, simultaneously laughing and crying with joy and relief. Walt instead spends his final moments in the meth lab, taking one last nostalgic look around before collapsing and dying. Police find his body in the lab moments later.

Cast and characters

  • Bryan Cranston as Walter White (16 episodes)
  • Anna Gunn as Skyler White (16 episodes)
  • Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman (16 episodes)
  • Dean Norris as Hank Schrader (13 episodes)
  • Betsy Brandt as Marie Schrader (13 episodes)
  • RJ Mitte as Walter White, Jr. (13 episodes)
  • Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman (12 episodes)
  • Steven Michael Quezada as Steven Gomez (12 episodes)
  • Jesse Plemons as Todd Alquist (11 episodes)
  • Laura Fraser as Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (9 episodes)
  • Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut (7 episodes)
  • Michael Bowen as Jack Welker (7 episodes)
  • Kevin Rankin as Kenny (7 episodes)
  • Lavell Crawford as Huell Babineaux (6 episodes)
  • Charles Baker as Skinny Pete (3 episodes)
  • Bill Burr as Patrick Kuby (3 episodes)
  • Louis Ferreira as Declan (3 episodes)
  • Chris Freihofer as Dan Wachsberger (3 episodes)
  • Matt L. Jones as Badger Mayhew (3 episodes)
  • Emily Rios as Andrea Cantillo (3 episodes)
  • Mike Batayeh as Dennis Markowsky (2 episodes)
  • Adam Godley as Elliott Schwartz (2 episodes)
  • Jessica Hecht as Gretchen Schwartz (2 episodes)
  • Jim Beaver as Lawson (1 episode)
  • Christopher Cousins as Ted Beneke (1 episode)
  • Larry Hankin as Old Joe (1 episode)
  • Carmen Serano as Principal Carmen Molina (1 episode)
  • Michael Shamus Wiles as ASAC George Merkert (1 episode)


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