Breaking Bad ran for five seasons between 2008 and 2013, and changed the landscape of television forever. Not since Tony Soprano had audiences been so transfixed by one man's on-screen journey. Walter White is one of this generation's definitive protagonists, a brilliantly drawn anti-hero (and just plain villain) whose metamorphosis from chemistry teacher and family man to drug lord and criminal mastermind has proven to be one of the greatest character arcs ever put to the small screen.
Along the way, Walt teamed up with Jesse Pinkman, a lovable drug addict and meth-maker, went to war with a number of sinister drug kingpins, alienated himself from his own family, killed his rivals and out-manoeuvred the authorities with a thrilling blend of luck and cunning.
Needless to say, with all this going on, that Breaking Bad is a show made up of shocks. Death is constant. Threat, violence, betrayal and tragedy is rife. Breaking Bad prides itself in shocking (and even alienating) its audiences when it comes to the big moments. Walt and Jesse's insane and terrifying escapades lead to some events which still shake long-time fans to the core.
The following list will have a look at thirteen of the show's most shocking moments, from surprise killings, character developments and out-of-nowhere speeches. Major spoilers follow.
13. Hank Dies A Hero
In hindsight, Hank Schrader was doomed as soon as he learned the truth about Heisenberg. At the time, though, Hank finding out about Walt's secret life was a serious turning point in the show's final season, promising a final stand between the former friends as their personal and professional lives collided.
Hank went through a lot on Breaking Bad (which we'll get to), and he spent much of the show's run as the macho-man figure of the series. Loud, obnoxious and a bit crass, he grew massively as a man thanks to a slew of bad injuries, gunfights, and finding severed heads on turtles.
By Season Five, Hank had become the show's true hero. He stepped up to the plate as the character the audience suddenly found themselves rooting for.
In the masterful episode "Ozymandias", Whilst trying to find Walt's hidden stash of money, Hank and his long-time partner Steve Gomez find themselves ambushed and out-gunned by Jack Welker and his white supremacist gang. Gomez is killed in the shoot-out, and Hank is badly injured. In hopes of saving his brother-in-law's life, Walt pleads with Jack to let him live, even offering up his hidden loot.
But Jack doesn't bite, and Hank accepts his fate by stating his name and rank, and telling Jack to: "Do what you gotta do." He is cut off before he can finish, and Jack executes him much to Walt's dismay. It's a tragic and wrenching moment, but looking back it really was inevitable.