The Saddest Moments on "Breaking Bad" Image via AMC

Hank's Last Words

Episode: "Ozymandias" (Season 5, Episode 14)

Despite his early asshole jock persona and prideful, less-than-appreciative treatment of his wife, Hank Schrader was always the hero to Walt's anti-hero, and before he dies he proves himself the better man.  

Leg-shot by Walt's neo-Nazi contract killers, his friend and former partner Steve Gomez laying dead on the desert floor, Hank realizes that the triumphant and loving phone call he just shared with Marie, to say he'd outsmarted and arrested Walt, who could no longer hurt their family, will be their last. Although he's lived with fear and PTSD from violent episodes, and loves his his wife dearly, in the final reckoning he faces death with pride, defiance, and contempt for the corruptible men before him, unwilling to give them the satisfaction of his tears or pleas for mercy. 

Meanwhile, frazzled Walt, ever the negotiator, begs head goon Jack to spare Hank's life because he's family, and when that doesn't convince him, tries to buy his safety with $80 million and get his DEA agent brother-in-law to promise he'll keep quiet about their meth dealing and murder if he lives. Touched by Walt's desperate attempts to save his life, Hank addresses him intimately, as the man he once loved and admired, for the first time since he figured out Walt was Heisenberg and began doubting that he ever really knew the man: “You’re the smartest person I ever met and you’re too stupid to see he made up his mind 10 minutes ago.”

The gunshot that punctuates Hank's final words, when he tells unmoved Jack to "Do what you're gonna do—" rings through the canyon, and like horrified Walt, the viewer could remain frozen there for ages, like the stratum on the canyon walls, contemplating the loss and how it all went wrong that a good man lost his life for a lesser man's ego-fulfillment. —Justin Monroe

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