After five enthralling seasons, Breaking Bad came to an end in 2013. The AMC success was perfect (literally, according to Rotten Tomatoes) and concise, not attempting to draw the story out any longer than necessary solely due to fan dedication to the series, a mistake many shows seems to make. It did lead to a prequel series, however, Better Call Saul, following lawyer Saul Goodman’s rise to glory when he eventually meets Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, but fans have been left wondering what happens after Breaking Bad ended ever since. Thanks to a recent announcement from Netflix, we’ll finally get those answers on the streaming service in October with El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. Back on board is Vince Gilligan, the show’s original writer and director.
Fans and critics alike have nothing but praise for Breaking Bad, obvious by the 110 awards it won out of the 262 it was nominated for over the course of the six years it was on air. While Breaking Bad is arguably one of the best television series of all time, that doesn’t mean it’s without its faults like any other show. Believe it or not, continuity errors and plot holes abound. Here are 30 continuity errors and plot holes in Breaking Bad that you might have missed the first few binge-throughs.
Let’s break this scene down: Jesse dissolves a dead body in a bathtub with hydrofluoric acid, melting the bathtub in the process. For one, hydrofluoric acid is extremely toxic. The gloves and mask he uses aren’t enough protection, and he realistically would have suffered some pretty significant lung and eye damage from that stunt. Secondly, yes, hydrofluoric acid would eat through skin, but the calcium in bones would neutralize it, so there’s no way the entire body could be dissolved in acid, let alone burn through the bathtub as well. Mythbusters challenged this scene and proved that neither the entire body nor the bathtub or floorboards could be dissolved by hydrofluoric acid. Also, can we talk about the fact that the bottles were misspelled and labeled “hydroflouric” acid? And why is such a dangerous acid just readily available in a high school chemistry classroom?
On the pilot episode, we see Walt celebrating his 50th birthday. On season five episode four (aptly named “Fifty-One”), he turns 51. The series finale, which is the 16th episode of season five, takes place on Walt’s 52nd birthday. By this logic, the first four seasons take place over the course of a year, while the final season is also about a year long. However, Walter Jr. (later known as Flynn) celebrates his 16th birthday toward the end of the fourth season (episode ten), and is somehow coming up on his 18th birthday by the series finale. Skyler also refers to Holly as 18 months old toward the end of the series, but she was born on season two, about six or seven months after Walt’s 50th birthday.
According to Walt and Skyler’s divorce papers, Walt’s birthday is September 7, 1959. This makes sense considering his 50th birthday was around the time school started back up on the pilot. But right before this supposed "52nd birthday," he had just driven 30 hours from New Hampshire back to Albuquerque, and there was snow on the ground in New Hampshire when he both arrived and departed. Did it snow all summer? It was likely still winter when he left New Hampshire, so it couldn’t have been his birthday when he arrived at Denny’s in New Mexico.
Walt is literally a chemist. And a high school chemistry teacher. He comes home smelling like chemicals every day. Why is it different all of a sudden now that he’s using those chemicals to create meth? Especially if those chemicals were taken from the school, he would smell like them regardless of how he’s using them. And he never strips down to his underwear at school or in his old chemistry lab just to ...well, use chemicals, so why is that necessary now?
For a show so heavily reliant on chemistry, some of the chemistry knowledge is just not there. On “Dead Freight,” Walt and Jesse pull off a heist, stealing methylamine directly from a freight train while replacing it with water so the cargo doesn’t change weight and no one suspects a thing. However, there’s one issue with this plan. They’re pumping water into the tank while simultaneously pumping methylamine out. Water is heavier than methylamine and would fall to the bottom of the tank, only to be pumped right back out along with the methylamine. Walt, you’re a chemist, you should know this.
I’d say spoilers on this one, but come on, this scene aired eight years ago. Walt teams up with Hector Salamanca, a mute wheelchair-bound old man in a nursing home (and former cartel drug runner, and uncle to season one and two villain Tuco Salamanca), to kill mob boss Gus Fring. They rig up his wheelchair with a bomb that he sets off with Gus in the room. It’s a suicide mission for Hector. The last we see of Gus, he steps out of Hector’s room and turns, half of his face blown clear off. It’s a beautiful (yet graphic) scene. But unfortunately, it’s illogical. The bomb was under the wheelchair, and Gus stood up before it went off. It would be believable if his legs were blown off, or if he was completely blown to bits given the state of the room (and claim by the news broadcast that a fireball consumed the room), but not that only half of his face was affected by the bomb.
The layout of Walter’s house is different depending on if it’s seen from the inside or outside. From the backyard, you can see the outline of a fireplace next to the backdoor. However, from the inside, there is no fireplace. The glass backdoor is directly behind the Whites’ dining room table every time they are seen eating, and yet there is no fireplace to be seen in the dining room. Where did it go?
Walt’s brother-in-law Hank Schrader is a DEA Agent unknowingly on the hunt for Heinsenberg over the course of the series. His partner is Steven Gomez, a.k.a. “Gomie,” the calm and collected counterpart to Hank with his loud and boisterous nature. On the first episode of the series, Hank and Gomie take Walt on a ride-along drug bust, and before leaving the van, Hank calls Gomie “Frank.” Maybe the character’s name was changed after the writers realized they named the pair of DEA Agents Hank and Frank.
We saw Walter White turn 50 years old in 2008. (Although according to his birthdate on the divorce papers, he should have turned 49 in 2008.) Therefore, a year later on his 51st birthday, it should be 2009 (or maybe 2010, if we’re to assume the divorce papers were correct and not the air date of the pilot episode). Regardless of how you look at it, the expiration date on the tag of Walt’s new car should not be 2012. But alas, it was.
Mike Ehrmantraut is a smart dude. His whole job seems to be cleaning up everyone else’s messes, both literally and figuratively, because he thinks things through whereas his associates are too quick to get into trouble. However, on the season two finale “ABQ,” he makes a rookie mistake that’s much more believable as a continuity error than a fault of Mike himself. He wears gloves while cleaning Jesse’s apartment after Jane’s death, but removes them before exiting, meaning he left fingerprints on the doorknob. He places both gloves in a bag while still in the apartment, but then is seen leaving with one glove in hand. These gloves should still be worn at this point, not indecisive on whether they’re in a bag or a hand, neither of which makes sense for someone at meticulous as Mike Ehrmantraut.
Breaking Bad takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as I’m sure you’re all aware. For Walt’s 51st birthday, he buys a new car, as well as one for his son, Walter Jr. In a conversation one night by the pool, Walter Jr. is telling Hank how fast he was driving his new car. Hank makes a comment about how the Highway Patrol could make their ticket quota in a month just by catching speeders like him. But there is no Highway Patrol in New Mexico. They’re called the State Police.
Another fact-checking goof occurred on the season two episode “Grilled.” Hank goes out in search of a missing Walt and winds up at the Pinkman residence talking to Jesse’s mom. He asks to be put in touch with Jesse because he believes he might know where Walt is. She says she hasn’t seen him in over a month, so Hank starts to leave, but not before asking if he still drives the ‘89 Chevy Monte Carlo. However, Chevrolet stopped making the Monte Carlo in 1988, so the car in question could not even exist.
This is a bit of a gross scene. Okay, it’s really gross. Domestic rape is a real thing and should not be taken lightly or ignored. Walt tries to get physical with Skyler in the kitchen while she’s wearing an avocado mask and very clearly telling him “no.” She hits her face on the fridge during the struggle, but it leaves no immediate trace of the mask. A few minutes later when Walter Jr. arrives home, he sees a large avocado smear that wasn’t there earlier.
On the pilot episode, we see Walt teaching a chemistry class on the first day of school. These students clearly know nothing about chemistry at this point. For one, it’s the first day of the school year, so the first day of this class, and for two, Walt clearly asks them, “What is chemistry?” as if they don’t even have an answer to that basic of a question yet. So then why did he immediately have the class turn to Chapter Six to learn about ionic bonds, something much more complex than understanding the basic concept of chemistry?
On season four, Mike takes Jesse on a ride-along while he picks up money from Gus’s dealers in isolated locations. Walt doesn’t know where Jesse went except that he’s missing until Mike calls him and tells him Jesse is safe with him. Walt gets Jesse on the phone and asks where they’re driving, and Jesse tells him North. Either Jesse is dumber than we thought, or the writers goofed this line because they are clearly seen driving toward a sunrise, which would be in the East, not the North.
On “Live Free or Die,” Walt, Jesse, and Mike learn that Gus Fring’s laptop has been taken into a police station — which would likely connect these three men to various crimes. Jesse has the genius idea to use a giant, super-powerful magnet to hurl the computer into the wall of the evidence room, destroying it and everything on it. It works and everything in the evidence room crashes into the wall nearest the magnet and is destroyed. But when testing the magnet, Walt and Jesse are told to “remove anything metal.” Obviously this magnet is pretty strong. So then why, when the door to the evidence room was opened, were the officer’s gun, belt, and badge not similarly thrown into the wall?
Toward the end of the first episode ever, Walt and Jesse are standing outside the RV in the middle of the desert and Jesse asks Walt what he did to Emilio and Krazy-8. Walt explains that he created a toxic gas and poisoned them with it, immediately vomiting after the mini chemistry lesson. We hear the sound of puking and see Walt wipe a bit off his mouth when he stands back up, but the next full shot of the RV in the desert — mere moments later — shows no sign of Walt’s vomit.
On “Full Measure,” Mike goes on a mission to kill the cartel members who are holding Gus’s chemical supplier hostage. Mike is a badass, so he has no trouble at all doing what needs to be done. At one point, Mike and a cartel member are standing on opposite sides of a wall, both of which are visible to the supplier, Duane Chow. Duane raises his hands to signal to Mike where to position his gun so he can shoot the cartel member through the wall. The man on the other side of the wall is instantly killed, his blood splattered all across the barrels behind him. However, there is never a bullet hole in the wall separating them.
On the same episode, Mike also kills two members of the cartel on the stairs leading up to the building. The men are standing in front of the open door, which has a large glass window in it. The glass breaks ever so slightly before Mike actually fires the gun, killing them. Timing is important, folks.
“Ozymandias” is the third to last episode of Breaking Bad. The episode opens with a flashback to Walt and Jesse’s first cook in the RV in the middle of the desert, Walt in his underwear and still with a full head of hair. During the flashback, we see Walt call Skyler, which is a scene we didn’t see back when this happened on season one. Skyler is pregnant with Holly, as she would have been at this time. There’s just one tiny issue: while Skyler was pregnant with Holly, she had long hair. On this scene, she has short hair the same as she does on later seasons.
A few episodes before the series finale, on an episode called “Felina,” Skyler grabs a large knife from the kitchen and cuts Walt’s right hand. It was no small cut and Walt had to wrap his hand in duct tape. But then on the series finale, not long after the struggle with Skyler occurred, we’re shown his right hand a few times, but there is neither a cut nor a scar. Suspicious?
At the beginning of the final season, we’re shown a flash forward to the conclusion of the series, when Walt has just come back to New Mexico after his stay in New Hampshire. During this flash-forward, he has hair again, but it’s short and looks well-maintained. However, when the series reaches that same point chronologically, his hair is much longer and messier.
On the series finale, Walt rigs up a machine gun in the trunk of a car to go after white supremacist Jack Welker and his gang, who have enslaved Jesse to cook meth for them. Walt dives on top of Jesse right before hitting the button to fire the machine gun to save him. In one shot, Jesse is lying to the right of Walt, but when he stands up, Jesse is shown to be on his left.
On the same scene, obviously we know a machine gun went off, killing all of Jack’s gang of white supremacists, drug lords, and crime bosses. The gun was firing in all directions, easily assumed to kill every member of the gang. However, a shot lingers above Kenny, who was sitting in a massage chair at the time of the machine gunfire. The shot was meant to give the illusion that he was still breathing in the moving massage chair (a bit creepy honestly), but there is no bullet wound or blood. He’s dead — there’s no question about that — but there’s no clear evidence that he was actually shot.
On season two, Jesse lives next door to his landlord and girlfriend, Jane Margolis. She’s a recovering heroin addict who ultimately overdoses and dies in Jesse’s apartment — Walt allows it to happen. But before that, she spends a lot of time with Jesse in his home. On the episode “Over,” she’s seen eating a popsicle in his kitchen. The popsicle goes from being completely uneaten, to half-eaten, right back to uneaten during back-to-back shots while she’s talking to Jesse about the nature of their relationship. That's gotta be a fluke!
Like many of you I’m sure, I do not speak German. Apparently neither does actress Laura Fraser, who plays Lydia Rodarte-Quayle on Breaking Bad. Lydia works for the German manufacturing and shipping company Madrigal, and supplies methylamine to a few different drug lords during her time with the company. On the beginning of the episode “Fifty-One,” we see Lydia making a phone call in what is supposed to be German. In reality, she’s just speaking nonsense words and sounds that can pass for German to those of us who don’t understand the language. That seems a bit lazy.
Let’s be real here, handguns are not light objects. Back to the pilot episode, we see Walt tuck a handgun into his underwear while mostly naked in the desert. Just logically speaking, this is not physically possible. You know, unless Walt for some reason owned a pair of underwear with a hidden gun holster in the waistband, and just happened to be wearing them that day in case he was planning on picking up a gun while he decided to cook meth naked in an RV in the middle of the desert.
On season four’s “Bug,” the Mexican cartel sends a sniper to attack Gus and his men at their warehouse. One man is immediately shot in the head while standing in front of a white truck. Obviously, his blood was splattered all against the side of the truck. But between shots, the blood splatter on the truck changes size and shape which is a bit distracting.
At the end of “To’hajiilee,” the fourth to last episode of the series, there is a shoot-out between Jack and his gang and Hank and Gomie, while Walt is handcuffed in the backseat of Hank’s car after finally being caught as Heinsenberg. Walt dives into the seat when the shooting starts, and his glasses fall off. However, at the start of the next episode “Ozymandias,” when the scene picks up right where this one left off, his glasses are back on again. Walt is handcuffed and therefore has no way to put his glasses back on once they’ve fallen off.
On the first episode of the series, the audience sees Walt working at a car wash after school. Teachers are not paid enough, so that’s unfortunately believable. What’s not, however, is that a few of his students were shocked (and a bit too amused) to find Mr. White washing a car’s tires. Moments before his boss sent him outside to wash those tires, he was working the cash register. The students had to have seen him when they paid for their car wash, so all parties involved would have already acknowledged each other.