It’s time for the showdown to end all showdowns, as two of the most popular characters in the history of TV – in the history of entertainment, even – face off to determine who is the most badass of all. With many decades and thousands of characters to choose from, it has come down to 24′s Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and Breaking Bad’s Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and while each has a fair case as to why they’re more badass than the other, it’s to be decided (totally objectively) in this article.
We’re going to run down all the key areas, ranging from body counts to slippery escapes and awesome one-liners, and though Bauer might appear to have a head-start given how many more episodes there are of 24, we can’t forget the massive impact Walter White had in his briefer 5-season run on our TV screens.
As always, whether you agree or not, I’d love to hear your feedback and I look forward to arguing with you in the comments! So without any further ado, let’s crack on.
10. Arch Enemies
Jack: It’s basically Jack’s life’s work to create mortal enemies for himself and then dispatch them as creatively as possible. Season 1 saw him facing off against terrorist Victor Drazen (a preposterously-accented Dennis Hopper), before the finale revealed that Nina Myers was actually a mole, and she would be his true nemesis until her demise in season 3. Other than that, notable foes include two Mexican drug kingpins in the Salazar Brothers, a terrorist played by The Mummy, a rogue former buddy played by Robocop, and the corrupt President Nix-I mean Logan. If that’s not enough, Jack has even had to bring down his own brother and father, as well as his old buddy and former colleague Tony Almeida.
Walt: Tuco Salamanca was Walt’s introduction into the violent meth world, and taught him a thing or two about the Hell-raising nature of the business. Walt’s most famous and fierce enemy, however, was certainly Meth lord and fried chicken entrepreneur Gus Fring, who was not only a physical force to be reckoned with (due to his loyal army of cronies), but an extremely discreet, cautious and savagely intelligent foe. Season 5 saw the positioning of Lydia and Uncle Jack as primary antagonists, and of course, who can forget about Ted Beneke, who screwed Walt’s wife Skyler and fell from grace so spectacularly?
WINNER: It’s a tough one, because Jack has clearly had more general foes to wipe out, but the deviousness of characters like Gus Fring (including Fring’s longevity on the show) allowed the (anti)hero-villain dichotomy to be better built up. After all, each 24 season almost guaranteed to introduce a new villain, whereas characters like Gus hung around for multiple seasons, amping up the unpredictability, whereas it was almost always certain that Jack would come out on top. This one goes to Walt.
This article was first posted on January 2, 2014