Given the subject matter of Breaking Bad, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there were a lot of deaths over its five seasons. In fact, by the end, there weren’t too many characters left standing. Some of these character deaths left viewers satisfied while others left a big impact on the fans.
The show was very good at keeping audiences on their toes with who would live and who would die. With some early demise, it felt like these characters still had something interesting to add to the show. Likewise, there were some characters who fans might have wanted to see exit a lot earlier.
Gone Too Soon: Gus Fring
There is probably no death on Breaking Bad more memorable than Gus Fring’s shocking end. He had been made such a chilling and formidable enemy to Walt that such an explosive demise was needed. But as great as it was, it did leave a noticeable hole in the show.
While the final season of the show was still amazing and arguably benefited from Fring’s death, to have Walt’s greatest adversary leave the show so long before the end felt somewhat like a missed opportunity.
Overstayed: Uncle Jack
While Gus Fring was a complex villain who had qualities fans could admire while still being scared of him, Uncle Jack was someone that was just easy to hate. A white supremacist gang leader, it was clear that Jack was just a pure evil dude from the beginning.
He certainly served that purpose well and was effectively chilling. However, as the final villain of the series, he was a bit of a letdown. It felt like he was more of a henchman so for him to gradually become more central to the last episodes of the series was a bit disappointing.
Gone Too Soon: Tuco Salamanca
The first major villain of the series that Walt and Jesse had to contend with was Tuco Salamanca and he was perfect for that role. He was an explosive and unpredictable force that helped communicate just how much Walt and Jesse are in over their heads in this business.
Given his wild energy, it is possible Tuco could have grown tiresome before too long. However, he was such a big part of the story and so represented such a significant threat to Walt and Jesse that his rushed exit from the show didn’t do him justice.
Overstayed: Gale Boetticher
Gale was actually a very interesting character to include in the show. He was also a very talented chemist who, like Walt, seemed like the last person who would be in this type of business. But it was his pure love of chemistry that made the job a real passion for him.
It is also true that Gale was meant to be a bit annoying. Despite his friendly demeanor, he was a character who needed to get under the audience’s skin and was seen as a problem. That helped to make his death all the more impactful.
Gone Too Soon: Tortuga
It’s always a joy to see Danny Trejo pop up in any project. When he showed up in Breaking Bad as Tortuga, a cartel member who is also an informant for the DEA, he seemed like a perfect fit for the show.
Given that Trejo was a pretty big name for the show and his character seemed to be set up as important, it was shocking to see his decapitated head show up so soon after being introduced. While certainly a memorable death, it was a waste of Trejo.
Overstayed: Gretchen Schwartz
Walt’s history with Gretchen is actually a very important part of his story and key to understanding his ego. But while her role in the show is needed, she didn’t need to become such a recurring element of the series.
The drama of Skyler thinking that Gretchen helped to pay for Walt’s treatment was a bit forced and grew frustrating the more it was dragged out. But the decision to bring Gretchen and Elliott back into the story for the last episode and make them more villainous was really unnecessary.
Gone Too Soon: Mike Ehrmantraut
Though he started out as something of a lackey for Saul Goodman, Mike quickly grew into one of the best characters on the show. He was a badass who wasn’t afraid to put Walt in his place and showed an unexpected amount of heart as well.
His final confrontation with Walt was perfect and helped cement Walt as the villain of the story. But it’s hard not to think about how interesting it might have been if the battle between these two was saved for the main event in the final season.
Overstayed: Lydia Rodarte-Quayle
Lydia is another interesting concept for a character where the execution was not quite perfect. She represents the corporate side of the drug trade who never wanted to confront the ugly and violent side of the business but was very willing to order the death of anyone in her way.
However, the more she was kept around on the show, the more her cartoonish aspects became harder to ignore. She became a cliché of high-society people that didn’t fit with the rest of the show.
Gone Too Soon: Jane Margolis
Jane’s death was perhaps the most heartbreaking on the show and a key moment in Walt’s descent into villainy. It is one of the most memorable moments in the show and it’s hard to even suggest anything be changed about it.
At the same time, it was a relief when Jane was brought into the story and offered Jesse some much-needed happiness. While their relationship was getting unhealthy in the end, it would have nice to see Jesse hang onto that happiness a little longer.
Overstayed: Ted Beneke
While most of the characters who overstayed their welcome at least offered something important to Breaking Bad, Ted Beneke feels like a character who sucked energy from the show. His whole storyline with his affair with Skyler and his own financial struggles added little to nothing to the series.
Every time the show would switch focus to these storylines, it felt like all the momentum suddenly came to a halt. Even how he was finally dealt with was a rare misstep for the show.