Breaking Bad’s Best Episodes: #20 “Pilot”

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Over the course of the next three weeks, leading up to the series finale of Breaking Bad, I will be posting capsule reviews of my 20 favourite episodes from the series, all listed in chronological order.

Click here to see the entire list, posted thus far.The complete list will be published on September 30th.


Season 1, Episode 1: “Pilot”

Over the course of the summer, the Sound On Sight staff posted 60 reviews of some of the greatest TV pilots ever made (we plan on continuing this list come December). One of those reviews was for the pilot to Breaking Bad, written by Film Editor, Josh Spiegel. Josh perfectly summed up the episode in one sentence stating, “the pacing in the pilot is so fast and the stakes so clear, so that the pilot emphasizes for us the urgency that will be present in every hour”. I couldn’t have said it better myself. The very first episode of AMC’s hit series does a hell of a job setting up the stakes – its anti-hero – and his world. In 57 minutes we find out Walter White is diagnosed with cancer, and only has six months to live. He becomes a drug dealer and kills a couple of bad guys, all with the power of chemistry – and by the time the episode ends, we realize Mr. White is a man who has been pushed around his entire life – and now he’s finally fighting back – and we root for him to succeed. Oh how times have changed.

Remember the shot of Walt drying his money in the restroom. The sound and camera work become so disorienting, it mirrors Walt’s reaction to his cancer diagnosis. At this precise moment, it becomes clear that Breaking Bad would be a series that would tell its story equally in dialogue, performances and in visuals. And ever since, the cinematography, writing and acting as been among the very best (sometimes the best), in all of television.

Watch some highlights below! Enjoy!

– Ricky D

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