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Mistakes That Are Hard To Ignore In Breaking Bad

Let's just get right to it: Breaking Bad is one of the greatest shows in the history of television — a triumph of writing, acting, cinematography, scoring, editing, and just about everything else. It deserves every single one of the awards it's won, its vision and character development will be studied by jealous storytellers across all mediums for decades, and it pushed the limits of what was possible to show and explore on TV in much the same way The Sopranos and The Wire did a few years before. Sure, you could argue that certain plot developments were a bit more cartoonish than we'd come to expect for such a realistic show, or that the addition of literal Nazis to the final act was a bit over the top. But those things hardly diminish Breaking Bad's greatness. And yet, even a show this close to perfect isn't completely flawless — and we've got the collection of Breaking Bad mistakes to prove it. They were easy to miss, but once you notice these errors, they're impossible to ignore. 

Walt's magical flying pants ("Pilot")

In the first shot of the series (a flash forward to the end of the pilot), we see Walt's khakis float gracefully through the air and land in the dirt, right before an RV runs them over. It's one of the most memorable shots of the first season, but nothing about it makes any sense at all. First of all, how did the pants land in front of the same RV that launched them into the air in the first place? Wouldn't they be flying backwards? Secondly, when the story finally catches up to this moment at the end of the episode, we get a different version of the same event in which the pants do fly backwards. So not only does the cool shot that opened the series make no sense, but the version we see later doesn't sync up with it. Luckily, we were all too wrapped up in what was happening to care one way or the other.

Gunderwear ("Pilot")

Moments later in the same sequence, Walt's panicked driving causes him to crash the RV in some underbrush. He heads outside to get his bearings, puts his shirt back on (luckily only the pants went flying) and, hearing approaching sirens, runs back inside to throw a last-minute plan into motion. He grabs one of the two handguns Emilio and Krazy-8 (Jesse's contacts through which he and Walt had hoped to sell their first batch of meth before things went very, very wrong) had brought with them, and stuffs it in his underpants. Then he goes outside to record a goodbye video for his family, and meet what he assumes is his final fate. Thing is, there is no scenario in which a loose pair of six-to-a-pack Walmart briefs would be able to support the weight of a firearm without slipping to the wearer's ankles. Now that would've been a sight. And something Jesse never would've let Walt forget. 

Welcome to class ("Pilot")

Turns out Breaking Bad's pilot episode has more mistakes than one. Walt asks the students in his high school class, "Chemistry is the study of what?" They give him a handful of amusingly incorrect answers ("chemicals?") before he eventually answers the question for them, with one of the show's most famous quotes: "Technically chemistry is the study of matter. But I prefer to see it as the study of change." Cue a million early Breaking Bad teasers and post-finale compilations which featured the line. It truly does capture the theme of the show. But then, after what's clearly a day one introduction to the subject, he immediately asks the students to turn to chapter six so they can discuss ionic bonds, as if they were halfway through the semester. Shouldn't they start with more basic, foundational stuff? Maybe chapter one? Just a thought. No wonder Jesse failed this guy's class; Walt is a brutal instructor. But we already knew that.

An eye-opening mistake ("Cat's In The Bag...")

After a coin flip sticks Jesse with the unenviable task of disposing of Emilio's corpse, Walt tells him to buy a special bin at the hardware store that could handle the special acid in which the body will be chemically disincorporated. Jesse can't find one big enough and decides that, instead of getting two, he'll just do the dirty deed in the bathroom upstairs. While Jesse's throwing the body inside the tub, though, Emilo blinks. Maybe he'd survived Walt's poisoning too, just like Krazy-8 (who was bike locked to a pipe in the basement). If that's the case, he certainly didn't survive the acid Jesse bathed him in moments later. To be fair, neither did the bathtub (or that entire floor of the house). 

In reality, though, Jesse would've been fine. Mythbusters tackled this sequence in a special episode and proved that while enough hydrofluoric acid could, under specific circumstances, eat through flesh, it wouldn't do nearly as much damage to ceramic and wood as the show led us to believe. Still, though: please, please, please do not try this at home... or get into the meth business and have to worry about corpse disposal to begin with. It's even less fun than the show makes it look. 

The infinite popsicle ("Over")

Jane Margolis rebukes Jesse in front of her father, Donald. Jesse, hurt by the insult, corners her into having the dreaded "what are we?" talk in his sparsely furnished apartment. He thinks there's more to their relationship than some superficial, occasional hook-ups, whereas she insists she did him a favor by keeping her suspicious dad off their back and not jeopardizing their lease agreement. Why ruin a good thing? Anyway, she's snacking on a lemon popsicle while they talk. Between shots, the frozen treat goes from full, to half finished, to untouched again, in the span of only a few seconds. She definitely didn't have time to wolf the first one down and open a second in the time we're shown, and we're fairly certain she didn't regurgitate the half she'd eaten back onto the stick for seconds. Turns out she doesn't have that kind of luck when it comes to throwing up.

Two bags of blue ("Green Light")

With Walt having (temporarily) retired from the meth business in order to salvage what's left of his home life, Jesse commits to being "the bad guy" (his words) and recruits his idiotic friends to continue cooking and selling Blue Sky on his own. He meets up with the recently fired Walt at the high school and shows him his product in the parking lot, expecting his former teacher to heap praise on him for its chemical purity and consistency with their previous efforts. Unfortunately, things don't go quite so smoothly. Turns out Mr. White is far too upset with Jesse for using his signature formula without permission to notice that the plastic bag the stuff is contained in magically switches between a slide to seal pouch and a regular zip-loc. Here's an idea, though: maybe schedule 1 narcotics shouldn't be contained in see-through bags to begin with?

Just another shootout ("One Minute")

Season 3 features the infamous Cousins: two stone-faced Mexican terminators who sneak into the States to kill Walter White, who they believe is responsible for the death of their cousin Tuco. Gus Fring intervenes, saving the life of his lucrative chemist by siccing the cousins on Walt's brother-in-law Hank Schraeder, who'd actually pulled the trigger on Tuco. But things go south when they try to kill him, and the result is a flurry of bullets, crashing cars and silver-tipped axes stuck in the pavement. It is, hands down, one of the most intense action shootout sequences that's ever graced the small screen, and it very nearly leads to the death of our favorite bald cop. In the background immediately afterwards, though, while some people scream and others run for help, two onlookers are seen leaning against some cars, having a casual chat. Hell, maybe they were just as accustomed to the chaos and violence Walt had brought to Albuquerque as we were by the middle of the third season.

Instant shatter glass and the magic bullet ("Full Measure")

In the season 3 finale "Full Measure," Mike breaks into a small compound where the cartel is holding Gus Fring's chemical supplier, Duane Chow, hostage. After sending balloons into the power lines, Mike dispatches, with a single bullet, the two cartel enforcers who rush outside to investigate the sudden loss of power. If you watch closely, though, you'll notice the glass behind them shatters a split second before he fires. At the end of the same sequence, Mike finds Chow alive and alone in the back, and correctly deduces from his demeanor that one last enforcer is hiding on the other side of the wall, waiting for him to step out into the open. Chow, hands up in surrender, raises and lowers them to indicate the height at which Mike should aim his weapon to place a bullet in the man's skull. Mike nails it. Bang. But we have two problems here. One, how did Mike know exactly where the man was standing (left to right)? And two, how did he manage to send a bullet through the wall without leaving a hole?

Vanishing blood ("Box Cutter")

After Jesse kills Walt's planned replacement, Gale Boetticher, the two plead their case to Gus that they're his only hope of delivering the chemically pure meth Fring's customers have come to expect, and doing so on time. Gus knows they're right, but needs to reassert his dominance to prevent future disruptions and, ahem, insubordination. He decides to do this, like most bosses would, by dragging a box cutter across the throat of their sub-par potential alternative, Victor, and dropping his lifeless corpse at their feet. Even Mike, hardly a virgin to violence, is stunned at this display of monstrous brutality. When Gus drops the corpse, though, the stream of blood ominously inching towards Walt and Jesse vanishes between shots and becomes a pool of the stuff contained around Victor's head. Where did it go? Nobody cleaned anything up until after Gus left. To be fair, we were also too unnerved by Gus's cool, calm, order to "get back to work" to notice anything was out of place other than Walt and Jesse still being alive. 

Bad blood ("Bug")

The Mexican cartel would love nothing more than to eliminate Gus Fring and seize his territory for themselves. But as Mike later explains, they need Gus alive for his distribution network. That's why the sniper they dispatch to intimidate Gus and force him to negotiate doesn't shoot the man himself, who calls his bluff by standing in plain view and daring the sniper to take him out. The sniper does, however, off one of Fring's unsuspecting henchmen, who coats the white truck behind him with a half-gallon of blood and brain matter. Cue Fring's operation descending into madness as everyone scrambles to cover. What we don't notice as Mike, Jesse, and the other present characters flee in panic — or as Gus begins his triumphant, completely badass stroll out into the open — is that the blood splatter on the truck changes size and shape in between shots. Weird.

A shocking death ("Madrigal")

The police insist they only want to have a little chat with Peter Schuler, the German executive of Madrigal Electromotive, about his ties to Gus Fring and the New Mexico meth superlab he'd supplied equipment for. Yeah, sure. A little chat. Schuler decides to off himself via Automated External Defibrillator (AED), and locks himself in the company bathroom to do this. He takes off his shirt, boots up the device and, while German cops pound on the door and rattle the knob, delivers a deadly shock that sends him to the cold floor with a sickening thud. There goes a nice lead in the case. Problem is, even if the man had attached electrodes properly enough for the device to detect his heartbeat, which he didn't, said heartbeat wasn't irregular enough to trigger the shock. A more realistic scene would be the police barging into the john to find a confused, shirtless Schuler wrestling with a device that refuses to kill him.

Lucky freight ("Dead Freight")

Walt, Mike, Jesse, Todd Alquist, and Kuby (one of Saul Goodman's men) pull off an incredible train heist in season 5's "Dead Freight" by stealing precious methylamine from the train car carrying it and replacing it with an equal weight's worth of water so the crew won't be suspicious at their next weigh-in. This plan requires a lot of moving parts. Kuby had to park a sabotaged truck on the tracks to force the train to stop, at which point Mike, hiding in the bushes, would tell Walt, Jesse and Todd to begin the drain & switch using massive tanks buried in the sand beneath a bridge under the targeted train car. Problem is: Lydia didn't call in the information about which train car had the methylamine until the night before the job, after they'd already selected the bridge and buried the tanks. And Kuby couldn't have just parked the truck anywhere, since his doing so off the side road intersecting the tracks would've certainly triggered the exact robbery alarms the whole plan was designed to get around. 

Jack the prophet ("Gliding Over All")

At the tail end of the first half of season 5, after Walt has dealt with Mike and right before Hank has a little epiphany on the toilet, Walt hires the services of white supremacist Jack Welker and his neo-nazi gang to eliminate the imprisoned witnesses Hank is trying to break in order to unmask the still-at-large Heisenberg. In the absence of hazard pay, it's only a matter of time until someone squeals. Already, given the potential value of the targets to the DEA, this is a tall order. But Walt goes on to insist that the targets, including Mike's imprisoned (now former) lawyer, be killed simultaneously so as to prevent any of them from being secured and talking later. Jack quips, referring to the complexity of Walt's plan, that "whacking bin Laden wasn't this complicated." Problem is, this episode takes place in 2009, roughly two years before the actual death of the notorious Al Qaeda leader. Did Jack know something we didn't?

Some wounds are invisible ("Ozymandias")

After Hank's death, Walt demands Skyler and Walt, Jr. pack their things and flee with him. But Skyler's had enough. She slashes Walt's outstretched hand with a kitchen knife, triggering a brief but heartbreaking fight between the two in front of their children. Thing is, she didn't nick him and she didn't miss. That was a deep, blood-drawing laceration at which he stared in shock for a full second before trying to wrestle the knife away from her. So the question is, why isn't there a visible scar on Walt's hand in the show's final two episodes, "Granite State" and "Felina"? We know they take place as far out as a year after the events of "Ozymandias," but a cut that nasty would leave a permanent scar, especially since there's no way Walt, fleeing a nationwide manhunt, would've stopped by a hospital for stitches. Keep in mind: this is the same show that depicted Hank limping two seasons after his close call with the Cousins, and the indentation of Walter's fist in his oncologist's paper towel dispenser. It pays attention.