Breaking Bad

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jan 20, 2008 on AMC

Episode Fan Reviews (24)

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out of 10
665 votes
  • Tips on How to Productively Cope With Poor Health - Breaking Bad S1E1 Review

    Could Breaking Bad have begun its first episode in a less unorthodox fashion? Sure, it could but then it wouldn't be Breaking Bad. It's a great start to a series, what with Walt speeding around in an RV, dressed in only his tightie whities, a couple of bodies sloshing around in the back of the vehicle. It's such a bizarre and frenetic scene and, coupled with his great confession to his family and that badass image of him pointing the gun at the sirens, does a fantastic job of making you wonder "whaaaat is happening?" (in a good way).

    And answering that question is what this episode does masterfully. We get a perfectly paced introduction to Walt's life and his family as well as various hints at the kind of guy he is behind the bumbling, goodie two shoes veneer. Some of it won't be clear until later episodes, but even here, Walt is not just written as a nice guy dealt a bad hand. He's written as a sympathetic guy with very tangible character flaws. He's established as being extremely smart, with his plaque for contributing to a Nobel Prize, his moments of teaching Chemistry to his students, and his ability to "be the goddamn Iron Chef" per Jessie when it comes to cooking meth. With his intelligence though comes a subtle (and not so subtle) superiority complex. It is just barely there with his frustration at his students who don't share his passion for chemistry but it is completely unleashed whenever he is around Jessie. His entire demeanor is condescending, from berating Jessie on his lack of proper lab protocol to the fact that he outright blackmails Jessie just so he can start making money. He tells Jessie that he didn't expect him to amount to anything which apparently justifies treating him like crap throughout the episode.

    Meanwhile, his insecurity is on full display during his birthday party around Hank (though based on how poorly and tool-like Hank is written here, I don't know how anyone would be comfortable around him). And his passivity around Skyler, whether it is casually accepting a substandard vegetarian breakfast on his birthday or casually accepting a disinterested handjob, also on his birthday, is pretty striking (and definitely plays into his "I don't control my life except for when I am involved in my illegal drug manufacturing side job" mindset). Basically, we are given a character for whom it makes sense that he would decide he needs something more and Bryan Cranston plays it perfectly.

    The rest of the episode works very well, though not quite as well as Walt's character building. The plot moves expediently as we speed through Walt's reaction to this life altering news. We get his tirade towards Bogdan, his assault on the bullies at the department store, and, of course, his decision to team up with his former deadbeat student to cook meth. Yet none of it seems rushed because of the great writing and acting.

    Speaking of the deadbeat student, Jessie and Walt's interactions are another strong aspect of the episode. Their chemistry is spot-on from the beginning and Walt's derision towards Jessie is always entertaining. He has some priceless moments like his befuddlement at Walt's reasoning for cooking meth and his cow-house comments. He isn't very developed yet, but he's entertaining in this episode.

    The same can't be said of the rest of the main cast. Walt Jr. is introduced as a good-natured kid with some good banter with his parents but nothing much of any substance is provided to him as a character. Marie isn't given much to do but in her roughly two minutes of screen-time, she comes off as very one-dimensional and like a throw-away character. At least her one dimension isn't too annoying though. Hank's is basically there to LOUDLY SCREAM OUT how different he is from Walt. Need Walt to not seem tough? Let's have Hank tossing around his gun and bragging about firearms at a party to impress his nephew. Need Walt to seem like a pushover? Let's have Hank drink Walt's beer at his own 50th birthday party like some overgrown frat boy.

    Skyler comes off better. She is much more prevalent than Hank or Marie and subtly gives off the impression that she basically runs Walt's life, though not maliciously. Just little things like giving Walt the amazing birthday breakfast of veggie bacon (I would be pretty pissed if this happened to me on my birthday) and chiding Walt at using the wrong credit card give us a good view at their marriage. The handjob scene thoughit's a funny scene but I feel like it veers so far towards the comedy that it undermines her characterization. She comes off as tone-deaf and completely insensitive. Basically, Walt (and Jessie to a lesser extent) are written with nuance and care while the rest of the characters are a bit rushed and over the top in this episode.

    Drama-wise, this episode suffers a bit from being a pilot episode because it can't reach the level of tension that future episodes will. Walt's cancer diagnosis and his situation both are well established but in terms of immediate drama, the episode is merely good rather than fantastic. Part of that may be the choice to have the flash-forward in the teaser which marginalizes the intensity of the action scenes in the final act. However, I think that was a good choice because the teaser colors the rest of the episode in a very "how the hell did we get there??" Plus, it was a shock to me that the teaser wasn't from the end of the season but merely to the end of the episode. The fact that the episode made it to that point without feeling contrived is incredible.

    All in all, a good episode (and great pilot) that firmly establishes the world and creates one of the greatest characters ever in Walter White. There are some minor quibbles with the supporting characters and the drama not being quite as compelling as future episodes but this episode does the job of setting up the greatest show ever.

    Rating: 77 Bads Broken Out of 100

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  • ? Huh?

    How do you work this?
  • Really good

    Loved this episode Bryan Cranston is great as Walter White and can see that he feels the only way to make a difference is to make lots of money although Drug Dealing does have its risks. I keep watching as I only just started this but its very good.
  • Breaking bad

    Breaking bad
  • aracely

  • Yesok

  • The Beginning of Everything

    Suicide is not a solution, but cooking crystal meth is. That's the lesson that Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, learns over the course of Breaking Bad. He's doing this with the help of a former student, Jesse Pinkman, who is a rather dim-witted fellow, but one that has experience in cooking and also selling the stuff the unlikely pair commences to make in this pilot. Added to that are Skyler, Walt's pregnant wife, Walt Walt's handicapped teenage son, Marie Schrader, Skyler's sister, and her husband Hank, a successful DEA agent. And with a fantastic cast and crew, these are enough ingredients to create a ten-time Emmy-winning show that is additionally the best-rated fiction TV show on IMDb.

    The main characters are introduced through a handful of incredibly accurate scenes, with my favorite being the view on Walt as a teacher, in which his passion for the subject is obvious, but his disappointment with his apathetic class is as well. A couple of minutes later, Jesse makes his appearance in one of the best scenes the whole first season has to offer. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have a brilliant screenplay by Vince Gilligan to work with, but they deserve praise on the same level as they portray their characters fantastically well. I could say that for numerous scenes in this pilot, but this particular part is a rememberable gem I'd like to point out. It doesn't take long for feces to hit the fan, and once it does, 'awesome' is the singular word to describe it. The process of cooking crystal meth is staged superbly and also remarkably improved by the great soundtrack choices and the unique way of editing all of that a deserved Emmy for Lynne Willingham.

    Other hugely impressive parts about this episode are the cinematography and the set design. The bleak parts of Albuquerque where the series is set are perfectly reflective of Walt's mentality and are captured in such great pictures by the Oscar-winning cinematographer John Toll. There's almost no scene in the 58 minutes of this pilot that doesn't include an amazing point of view by the camera team and the inventive shots impress me every time I decide to watch the episode. And last but not least, actually most importantly, the story and the screenplay are just wonderful. They get even better over the course of the seasons, but this pilot is a terrific start already and gives you an outstanding first look at the interesting characters Mr. Gilligan has invented. I don't quite consider it a 10 yet, as I'm aware of how excellent future episodes of Breaking Bad will be.
  • Not the Best Pilot

    There were a bunch of things wrong with this pilot. Way too Fear and Loathing, loses originality points there. The acting leaves so, so, so much to be desired that it was physically painful at times and that's detrimental when it's coming from the main character. It glorifies the main character in its opening scene in a way that is inauthentic to who he is - it's incongruent with his growth over the three weeks covered and such becomes obvious when they return to the present. Continuity within a single main character is one of the most basic staples and they failed. The messages it was promoting were terrible, from taking the easy road out to sexism. The show might be great now, but it has really terrible roots.
  • Breaking Bad

    With all the people telling me to watch this show and the high ratings it gets I found I had to watch it This first episode was very good and it starts off with a chemistry teacher Walter White who finds out he has lung cancer and it makes him look at life from a different perspective and he becomes a drug dealer Walter soon realises that it wasn't as easy as he thought This was a good pilot episode and I will continue to watch this show.
  • 1x01 "Pilot"

    I've heard a lot about this show, not only on, overall in the Internet and in magazines. So in a boring Satuday night I decided to give this show a try.

    I couldnt sleep that night. This show is pure lightning. The amazing performance by Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul plus the depth of Bryan's character make this the best pilot I've ever seen.
  • Now THIS is how you start a show! This is the first episode I have watched, and I am addicted already! We meet Walt and Jesse, who go into the meth business together. This had humor, thrills, and an epic conclusion. A fantastic pilot.


    In this, the pilot of Breaking Bad, we meet Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher, who due to an accident at a car wash, develops terminal lung cancer. In order to make money (and cushion his family's future), he and one of his former students go into the meth-making business. And along the way, the two encounter trouble from competition.

    Usually, pilots don't hook me immediately. But this show is an exception. This pilot is for a lack of a better phrase, epically awesome! The emotions are real, the humor is fresh and new, and the action was impressive. I was surprised at the humor, and how funny it actually was. The acting, especially by Walt, helps buy the character(s), and makes you believe the characters are real. The action surprised me too, and I was on the edge of my seat... well, bed.

    I just got done with the pilot, and if this is this good, I can't wait to see the rest! Considder me addicted!

    My Score: A

  • We meet Walter White and Jesse Pinkman in the fantastic pilot

    The pilot of Breaking Bad, for me, was like a breath of fresh air. I was coming off of "The Shield" finale, and I knew that Lost and 24, two shows that I grew up with, would be ending soon. Therefore, I turned to two separate shows to keep me grounded: Dexter and Breaking Bad. Dexter is great, don't get me wrong, but this show just grabbed me in a completely different way.

    First off, the show seems to take ideas that are boilerplate for dramas or for television shows period and flip them on their head. We get the typical "show something exciting at the beginning and go back a few weeks to show how it happened!" which is one of the oldest tricks in the book. However, Breaking Bad does it with such energy and vigor that it's hard to complain about it. We meet Walter White, a Chemistry teacher who just turned fifty and suffers from inoperable lung cancer.. but he hasn't told his family this. His life seems to be one dull moment after the other, and we learn that he was once involved in research that lead to a Nobel prize.. from that to this? It seems like a depressing step down, but Walt does what he can. His wife is pregnant with their second child and his first son has a mild case of cerebral palsy.

    So what does he do? After watching his DEA brother-in-law take down a few bad guys at a meth lab, he decides to put his chemistry skills to good use. With the aid of one of his former students, Jesse, he begins cooking meth, presumably for money to help pay for any operation or chemo bills. From here, we get an incredible build-up, from an innocent chemistry teacher to a guy who has nothing to lose and is willing to break the law, or "break bad," for a chance to get money for him and his family. It's the usual anti-hero set-up, as the protagonist prepares to do things we wouldn't normally do but he still cheer for him.

    The episode is incredible for a pilot, setting up future plots, establishing background (at least minor background) for certain characters and giving us incredible performances all around. Bryan Cranston is amazing here, and he won a well-deserved Emmy for this episode. Aaron Paul also proves himself to be a great actor too. As for the supporting characters, I would call them the weakest part of a nearly perfect show, but as someone who has already seen the show, I can say that the characters get better over time.

    Just watch the way the episode unfolds and the way we lead up to that eerie and incredible first and final scene. This was just a taste of what was to come in the future for the show.
  • this was kind of sorta maybe awesome


    Before I got into this show, people told me how great the start to it was. How the first like 3 episodes were really strong starts to the show and how the quality only gets better and better. So, I watched this pilot episode. I rewatched it recently, and yea; it's kind of awesome. I loved it. Scenes i really liked were Walt telling Jesse if he did not cook with him, he would turn him in to the police, Walt using what he learned earlier in the episode to kill those two guys in the RV, Walt standing on the guy's leg who was making fun of Walt Jr., amongst other things. My favorite thing about the first couple seasons are the interactions between Jesse and Walt, and this was a fantastic opener to a fantastic show. Not only is the plot pretty great, but the acting, particularly Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, is great. Best acting I've seen in a while, maybe even ever. Definitely an awesome start to the tv series Breaking Bad. A+ grade (though you probably knew that already).

  • Weeds on Meth?

    In the boredom of a quiet 2am I found this show. As much as I am a fan of his work on Malcolm in the Middle I was pleasantly surprised by Bryan Cranston performance in tis new show which is essential Weeds but without the gloss and soft pedaling.

    Gritter but still with humour and heart, from a somewhat slow first few acts it does suck yo in like any good show should. Crisp indie direction, relaxed solid performance, a subtle musical score and another look at life in the shadows of American sunshine. I look forward to the rest of the season.

  • Pilot episode.

    One of the best new shows of the decade, I'm telling you this with only watching the first episode. Excellent writing, original plot, amazing acting, intriguing characters, shall I go on? I have a feeling that this show will be one of my all time favorites, a really excellent pilot episode.

    From the first scene, I was immediately enticed and intrigued in to the show. Every second kept me in suspense, I feel as though this show needs some recognition. Not a lot of people watch it considering on we only got over 2000 votes on the rating.

    I think not a lot of people know about this show, and I was one of those people, all I know is that if anyone asks about this show, I will definitely recommend it. The plot is amazing, a chemistry teacher/car washer goes through a mid life crisis and decides to make meth.

    The interactions between Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston were amazing. I was astonished at Bryan Cranston's wonderful acting right after getting off a sitcom, must have been quite a transition and I commend him for that. We've got a lot of intense scenes, and intriguing characters. I guess I should tune in to AMC more often.

    Amazing show, definitely recommend it, perfect pilot episode.
  • Pilot which introduces us to the main character, Walt. Shows how he gets involved in cooking Meth and the initial bumps along the way.

    Not the best of pilots, but shows promise for future episodes. Will definitely tune in for more episodes. It introduces us to the main character; Walt White. It also introduces us to Walt's dark side, he gets attracted to the drug business, beats up a bully who made fun of his son, as well and killing two drug dealers using his chemistry skills. Interesting show. Censored nudity and swear words. Not suitable for children at all (duh!). Episode seemed kind of dull at moments, could use some more music, that's why I gave it a low rating, but the promise it shows will make me tune in...probably.
  • .

    Well well,i can't say i wasn't surprised to find out that this show isn't actually that bad!I started watching it last night and for the first 5-10 minutes i couldn't stop wondering when malcom and his crazy mother would show up..! But after all bryan cranston is pretty believable..even if in some scenes he looks like a total brutal and crazy man...i mean..ok this guy just found out he is going to die for lung cancer but the way he kills those guys is pretty evil...i can't imagine my chemistry teacher (that by the way is incredibly hot,what a woman..^^)doing something like that...but after all the 58 minutes series is pc cool to we'll just have to wait and see how it all turn out!
  • A new fan of the show...

    I saw previews before for Breaking Bad, but never had the time to catch it on the television. But after Nip/Tuck ended, I had a spot open on my television schedule to fit a show in. I kept seeing previews for Breaking Bad, and I thought I'd get into it. But by this time, the third season was under way. I actually bought the first season immediately afterwards, watched it, and thought it was some of the best TV I've ever seen in my life.

    The character of Walter White is an amazing one in the pilot. I know I wouldn't have kept the demeanor he kept throughout the whole episode. I mean, the doctor tells him he has terminal lung cancer, and the most he can do is tell the doctor he's got mustard on his shirt. What the heck? That is true art right there, and I'm not talking about the meth they were cooking. I'm talking about the acting.

    I learned Bryan Cranston won the Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama Series for this show. I can see why. The way his character acted in this episode would have made even myself afraid of him. He is going down a road that I definitely hope not to go down someday, and I'm talking about the lung cancer. But he seems to be taking it very well, and he's even going out to get some money out of it.

    Jesse was very funny in this episode. I can already tell the two are going to be a pair with a lot of dark comedy on the side. This show is very promising, and I regret not having gotten into it sooner. But I've made up for my past mistakes of missing it, and I know that once I am caught up on the rest of the episodes I've missed over the last two seasons, I will be sitting in my living room at 10:00 on Sunday nights watching this show.
  • Scary promo - great show!

    The promo of the Breaking Bad series featuring Bryan in his tidy whities was not an inducement to tune in, but I did, and I'm glad I did. My initial reaction was, "From 'Malcolm in the Middle' to THIS?" But I quickly became engrossed in the plot. So different is Bryan's role in the BB series from Malcolm that it took some acclimatization. He really is a good actor and the plot is strange, exciting, and all-too-plausible. I enjoyed laughing my heinie off at Bryan and cast in Malcolm, but I fast became enamored of the dark drama in the BB series.

    Hope this show continues.
  • The BEST new show on television.

    This episode is phenomenal in every aspect of the word. Bryan Cranston's performance is marvelous, as is the supporting cast, especially that of Aaron Paul as dealer Jesse Pinkman. But the real issue here is the plot - simply an amazing, original and brilliant idea for a show - a 50 year old chemistry teacher is diagnosed with inoperable and terminal lung cancer, so he decides that he will finally 'awake.' And by this, he means taking on the production of methamphetamines. Being that he is a chemistry teacher, he can 'cook' the illegal and highly addictive drug 'chem meth' better than anyone in New Mexico has seen. This is one hell of a great pilot episode to a wonderful show. More people need to be watching this.
  • You know...

    What a stunning kick off into this offbeat new series that has you hooked by the brain the entire time, very engaging. I think I just found a new reason to tune in to the new up and comer AMC who's new shows Mad Men and Breaking Bad are proving to be stunningly original, looks like we might have a new HBO on our hands. Cranston shines as a subtly middle aged man who is miserable and his circumstances couldn't suck more than they do. His wife is prego, his son has a muscular disorder, and he doesn't make hardly any money. That's where the meth comes watch and be amazed as we give our attention to this stunning new series, Breaking Bad!!!
  • Review.

    Walter White, a 50-year old chemistry teacher, secretly begins making crystal methamphetamine to support his family when he finds out that he has terminal lung cancer. He teams up with his old student, Jesse Pinkman, who is a meth dealer. While they are cooking their meth, two men appear and ask Walter to show them how he produces his meth, despite intending to kill Walter after he shows them. Walter decides to kill them to save himself. Wow This show is brilliant I can't beleave I haven't watched it already its well written acted the cast are great the premise is different but good and you real feel for Walter and what he is going through.
  • I like the antihero genre, and "Breaking Bad" carries this off decently, although a bit formulaic-ly. Despite a bit of campiness, I see potential to for this show to be darkly funny and I like the cast. I'll keep watching.

    I was drawn to this show for the premise; it seemed like "Weeds" but not as campy. I also missed out on the start of "Weeds," so this was a chance for me to get in on a good series from the beginning.

    The premise generally lived up to my expectations, the show had a bit of formulaic-ness to it, and the bad guys didn't live up to my gritty expectations. However, I thought Bryan Cranston was very good, as was Anna Gunn portraying his soon to be totally over-bearing wife. This (along with the writers strike and the fact that all my other favorite shows have been cancelled or on hiatus) will keep me tuning in for awhile yet.

    I like the premise of the good-guy gone bad. I like the genre of the anti-hero. While this means that I like Clint Eastwood and spaghetti westerns, this genre is really only starting to be felt on TV. "The Shield" was one of the first shows that really embraced it (sometimes the cops on Shield are "good-guys," sometimes they're not), but "Dexter" and others have since adopted the archetype. So, these shows have a good track record IMO, so I was willing to give this one a try.

    The show seemed a bit formulaic, but I think that is sort of part of any pilot; you need to meet the characters and show's feel obligated to give you at least a glimpse into why characters act as they do. We find out that the main character has terminal cancer, that his wife is pregnant, that his son has special needs, and that he has generally been screwed over despite all of his hard work and good intentions.

    The bad guys didn't seem quite real to me. This show is not really meant to be a black comedy (at least I didn't get that impression from the pilot; this might change), but it is far from "gritty" as well. The bad guys seemed a little too stereotypical and not quite scary enough to me.

    Still, I think that Bryan Cranston's practice as the usually-dorky-Dad on "Malcolm in the Middle" has prepared him well for this role, and he and the actress who play his wife (Anna Gunn) are the highlights of this show for me.

    The intro seemed like it might be a preview of the end of the series (impending arrest, Walter White standing in the middle of the street with a gun in his tightie-whities), but it was only a preview of the end of the episode. I liked this bit of misdirection.

    I'll keep watching; I'm curious to see where this is heading.
  • Nice.

    I'm intrigued by the concept behind this show. A straight-edge high school chem teacher in the '80s is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer and so, in order to make money quickly, makes the best meth anyone's ever seen. He quickly finds himself surrounded by the dregs of society and let's not forget for a moment how discovery is one last-minute dinner invite with his brother-in-law away.

    Options for introducing this story might have included a few more shots of how dangerous the actual purchase and use of meth is. As it was, it seems like a lot of procedurals have already demonstrated to me how dangerous it is to cook the stuff. What about the use and distribution?

    And, um, isn't the vanity license plate "Cap'n Cook" just a little bit too ... front and center?

    I do think Mr. White is a sufficiently intriguing character to anchor a series. I liked how he stood up for his son and I like how he's trying to create the best possible situation for his wife and family, given the terrible news he just got concerning his health.

    I like how he's pretending to still be holding stuff together even tho it's all unraveling in every direction. I loved him telling his ridiculous boss where to stick his ridiculous and demeaning carwash.

    What I didn't like is that everything seemed to be happening at once. And how flaky the kid was. You just don't dodge the bullets he's dodged and stay a flake. The dealer was a little too cliche, I didn't like her sister or the brother-in-law and it doesn't feel like a man with an RV and a desert should have too much trouble disposing of bodies.

    All that said, however, I enjoyed it. The dialogue could be a little clearer but I think they set up a good situation and I'll be interested to see where they go with it.
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