‘Breaking Bad’: 10 Most Memorable Murders – Rolling Stone
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‘Breaking Bad’: 10 Most Memorable Murders

Meth is the product, but blood is the fuel that powers Walter White’s drug empire

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Blue methamphetamine is the product and cash is the currency, but the fuel that powers Walter White’s drug empire on Breaking Bad is blood. When creator Vince Gilligan‘s modern crime masterpiece returns for its final suite of eight episodes this Sunday, it’ll be the final stage of the journey for kindly schoolteacher Mr. White – and the murders committed by Walt, his allies and his enemies have served as signposts along the way. Some are spectacular, others subdued, but none are simply sensationalistic: each killing reveals something about the killer, the victim or the world they inhabit. Read our list of the show’s 10 most memorable murders to see which kills made the cut.

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4

Mike Ehrmantraut (Season 5, Episode 7: “Say My Name”)

The murder of Mike, the grandfatherly fixer who reluctantly helped Walt set up his nascent drug empire, is a study in contradictions. It's Walt's single nastiest, most vindictive, most pointless kill – he shoots Mike in the gut because the man pissed him off, pretty much. There's no justification in terms of protecting someone or something important, and Walt himself even tells Mike before he dies that he's realized he could have gotten the information he was after some other way. But the death itself is almost serene, with Mike slumping over quietly after sitting and staring at a sun-dappled river for his final moments. Granted, he had to growl "Shut the fuck up and let me die in peace" to earn that last half-minute of rest.

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3

The Cousins (Season 3, Episode 7: “One Minute”)

Breaking Bad's most thrilling action sequence? Its answer to the big Dan Dority/Captain Turner streetfight in Deadwood Season 3? The most suspenseful shootout of all time? Yes on all counts. Tipped off by a voice-distorted Gus Fring that the sharp-dressed, silent, stone-cold Salamanca brothers were on their way to execute him for his killing of their cousin Tuco, Hank Schrader fights for his life in a crowded parking lot with any weapon at his disposal, from guns to his SUV. The staging of the showdown – in such a banal suburban environment – made it both nightmarish and, thanks to all those car-obstructed blind spots, almost unbearably tense to watch, even when the badly wounded DEA agent improbably comes out on top.

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2

Jane Margolis (Season 2, Episode 12: “Phoenix”)

First things first: If you think Walt didn't kill Jane, the young tattoo artist whose affection for Jesse knocked her straight off the wagon, you're in the wrong reading group. One look at Mr. White's face as he watches Jane choke to death on her own vomit following a post-blackmail bender with Jesse says it all: he knows he's responsible for the loss of her life, and he's making the choice deliberately. Sure, he's got reasons beyond self-interest – he's terrified for his family, and he legitimately believes Jane could cost his young friend Jesse his own life in turn through their shared addiction. But ultimately he's presiding over the end of a life in order to save his own skin. And he knows it.

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1

Gus Fring (Season 4, Episode 10: “Face Off”)

The kill that launched a thousand GIFs. As Walt's ice-cold antagonist since the middle of Season Two, Gus Fring needed a fittingly spectacular send-off, and that's what he got. At the culmination of an elaborate plot that required winning back his estranged partner Jesse's sympathies (by poisoning his girlfriend's kid) and enlisting the aid of his old enemy Hector Salamanca, Walt succeeded in taking down a kingpin with an improvised explosive rigged to a wheelchair in a nursing home. Like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off, the Chicken Man kept on strutting for a minute – just long enough to show the audience that half his face had been blown off in the explosion before collapsing. But the blast's most lasting fallout may well have been Walt's chilling proclamation after the fact, indicating he's now every bit as much of a monster as Gus ever was: "I won."

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