Breaking Bad has been off the air since 2013 but there are still fans who can quote it from memory. Few dramas that came before or after the hit AMC show have had the same impact on television, though many have tried.
The series Breaking Bad excelled at telling a complete story from start to finish and each individual moment added up to a greater whole. But along the way, certain scenes and lines resonated deeply with fans and left a lasting impact.
Whether it was Walter White admitting to his true motivation or Hank Schrader tragically accepting his fate, these are the 10 most epic quotes from Breaking Bad.
“Say my name.”
Walter White transforming into Heisenberg doesn’t happen at one specific moment, but if you could narrow it down, it would be during season 5 episode 7 when Walt tells Declan who he is.
“Who the hell are you?” the meth distributor asks Walt. He figures out that Walt is Heisenberg.
When Declan calls him by his alias, Walt expresses pride in his identity. “You’re god*amn right,” he says.
“Just because you shot Jesse James, don’t make you Jesse James.”
Mike Ehrmantraut is well-known for delivering epic lines and a lot more wisdom than any of the people he works for. Walt can’t believe Mike doesn’t want to work for him anymore after Gus Fring’s death.
But there’s a major difference between Walt and Gus, and Mike does not like or trust Walt. This line shows that no matter how many adversaries Walt gets rid of, it doesn’t change his own personal flaws.
“Yeah, science, b*tch!”
Jesse’s most frequent phrase in the series inspired fans to beg the actor, Aaron Paul, to say the line whenever they meet him. Using “b*tch” wasn’t accidental, however. The line reminds the audience that Jesse is much younger and more inexperienced than his partner Walt and highlights his adolescent tendencies.
In other words: it’s easier to have sympathy for Jesse. And all the “b*tches” add some much-needed comic relief.
“Nothing can change what we’ve done.”
Walt justifies every action he makes while Jesse retains his conscience throughout the series, which tortures him for every wrong step. When Walt says, “You need to stop focusing on the darkness behind you. The past is the past. Nothing can change what we’ve done,” he’s trying to get Jesse to see things his way.
But that will never happen for a person who hasn’t turned himself over to evil.
“No more half measures, Walter.”
Mike had a long career as a cop before going to work as Gus Fring’s enforcer. He tells Walt the chilling story of the time he let a domestic abuser off the hook after he begged for his life and promised never to hurt his wife again. But then Mike admits that two weeks after the interaction, the abuser killed his spouse.
That leads to his life lesson. “The moral of the story is I chose a half measure when I should have gone all the way. I’ll never make that mistake again. No more half measures, Walter.”
“I am the one who knocks.”
One of the most memorable scenes in Breaking Bad happens when Walter tells his terrified wife who he really is. In season 4 episode 6, Skyler is becoming increasingly terrified of the people who might be after them. But Walt exasperatedly explains that it’s other people who should fear him.
He tells her, “I’m not in danger Skyler, I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No, I am the one who knocks.”
“How much is enough?”
“There is more money here than we could spend in 10 lifetimes. Please tell me: how much is enough? How big does this pile have to be?” Skyler wonders as she and Walt survey their giant pile of cash. The money is enough to make Walt question what his real motivations for continuing to make meth truly are.
“Someone needs to protect this family from the man who protects this family.”
At some point during Walt’s journey to make money, his motivations change. He doesn’t admit it until the end of the series but Skyler sees it much earlier. She tries to explain that to him in season 4 episode 6 when she tells Walt that she’s trying to keep her family out of danger while he keeps making things worse.
“You’re too stupid to see — he made up his mind 10 minutes ago.”
Hank gets executed by Uncle Jack while they’re out in the desert but not before Walt uselessly pleads for his life. As a trained DEA Agent, Hank knows the pleas are useless and delivers this single line before getting shot and killed, as he predicted.
“You want me to beg? You’re the smartest guy I ever met, and you’re too stupid to see — he made up his mind 10 minutes ago.”
“I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really — I was alive.”
The last time Walt ever talks to Skyler he finally has a moment of self-revelation. All along the audience watched as he succumbed to his worst nature on a quest for power. But it’s in the finale that he finally says why he kept making meth: because he wanted it for himself, he was good at it, and he liked it.