Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Most Underrated Breaking Bad Episode Of All

Over the course of its bracing, white-knuckle, five-season run on AMC, Breaking Bad was the very definition of must-watch television. In truth, the traumatizing story of Walter White's (Bryan Cranston, in a true breakout performance) harrowing transformation from mild-mannered chemistry teacher into a murderous criminal mastermind and meth kingpin pretty much broke the mold for a new generation of small-screen dramas, essentially ushering in the current so-called "Golden Age of Television."

So revered was Breaking Bad during its time on AMC that the series became a major awards season player (and frequent winner), earned millions of weekly viewers with its pitch-black, meth-fueled narrative, and eventually became the object of obsession by the entirety of the pop culture zeitgeist. It did so while also putting AMC at the forefront of the original programming game not just in the cable realm, but across the entirety of television. 

That's an impressive feat for a series that aired just 62 episodes on an extended cable channel. It helps, of course, that there really isn't a bad episode of Breaking Bad in the batch. So true is that statement that it almost seems unfair to label any one of them as underrated. For every "Ozymandias," or "Fly," however, there are undoubtedly episodes even the staunchest of Breaking Bad fans might tend to overlook when recounting their personal faves.  

It'd be nice to think the brutal season 4 episode titled "Bug" isn't among those glanced-over episodes, but it appears the episode ranks nearer the top of the most overlooked in the series' vaunted canon, which means it's high time fans rediscovered this underrated Breaking Bad gem.       

Season 4's 'Bug' was a brutalist dramatic beast from which you couldn't look away

"Bug" is admittedly not one if Breaking Bad's flashiest episodes, which may be why it's less revered than others. Vince Gilligan's pulse-pounding drama did, after all, build its rep on high-style, high-drama hour-longs, with any episode that didn't leave heads spinning and hearts heavy potentially being viewed as underwhelming.

That "underwhelming" label isn't entirely accurate for "Bug," however, as the episode features one of Giancarlo Esposito's most memorable moments as meth overlord Gus Fring, and an absolutely barbarous throw-down between Walt (Cranston) and Jesse (Aaron Paul). 

Regarding the fisticuffs, Walt and Jesse had been increasingly at odds most of the season, with Walt questioning his partner's desire to get out from under Gus's thumb by any means necessary. Things reach a point at which Walt actually bugged Jesse's car, and furiously confronted him after discovering Jesse had met with Fring, but hadn't killed him. Learning of Walt's betrayal, Jesse understandably takes umbrage, and the pair proceed to do the man-dance while completely smashing up Jesse' freshly-cleaned abode in the process.

The episode ends with Walt bested, and Jesse asking if he can walk before unceremoniously telling the man to leave and never come back. Sure, it wasn't the end of Walt and Jesse as we knew them, but the scene served as one of the more furiously hammered nails in the coffin of that partnership. 

As for Gus, his screen-chewing moment came with his distribution plant under fire by Cartel snipers, and there's just no forgetting Esposito's defiant disposition as he stands in the open showing the sniper up. It's literally the most Gus thing he ever did, and ranks among the character's most singularly defining acts. 

Gus's scene alone should tab "Bug" as a must-see episode, but coupled with Walt and Jesse's room-smashing bruiser, "Bug" should probably earn a spot among Breaking Bad's best.