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With the final season coming out in less than a week, anticipation for what will come in Breaking Bad is growing every day. With how amazing the show is, it is actually a very difficult one to follow the timeline. Some episodes take place over the course of a few weeks, sometimes there are two episodes for one day. Because of this, it becomes very challenging to place exactly where Walt is in his life.
This was actually so difficult for me that I had not realized only one year was passing until the fifth season when Walt had his 51st birthday. After realizing so much could happen in just 12 months, I decided to plot everything that happened and do my best to see how much time has passed since the last event. Above is my attempt to plot the Breaking Bad chronology.
Luckily some of this very time consuming rewatching and plotting on a calendar has already been done. Ray Rahman of Vulture.com plotted the first 3 seasons episode by episode, explaining just about how much time has passed. The original article can be found HERE, but what he had written is pasted below. I decided to extend this until season 5 episode 4 in order to get to a full year since the first episode.
Now, you may wonder why I only went to season 5 episode 4 and not finish the entire season. This is because it becomes very difficult to figure out how much time has passed in the last few episodes. When Walt is dealing to the Czech Republic and building his mass fortune, months could be, and are likely passing. Because of this, sticking from his 50th birthday and ending on his 51st seems to be the most logical timeline.
Please let me know of any errors you see or discrepancies you may have with what I made in the comment section. I realize a lot of this can be tweaked a bit depending on how many days you believe have passed since previous episodes in what chronological fashion. You can see my (and Ray Rahman’s) analysis here:
“Pilot,” Season 1, Episode 1 (3 weeks)
The story gets started at precisely 5:02 a.m. of everyman Walt’s 50th birthday and ends three weeks later, where we catch up with the pantsless, post-first-kill Walt we ran into in the episode’s cold open.
“Cat’s in the Bag … ” Season 1, Episode 2 (3 weeks, 2 days)
After a glimpse of Walt and Jesse’s cleanup of that first kill, we go through the next two days of Walt’s life, during which we see him distractedly teaching the same class in two different shirts and dealing with Krazy 8.
” … And the Bag’s in the River,” Season 1, Episode 3 (3 weeks, 3 days)
As the elliptical titles suggest, things pick up in this episode right where they were left off in the previous one — Krazy 8′s last day on Earth; the next day, a substitute fills in for Walt while he contemplates what he’ll tell Skyler about that night.
“Cancer Man,” Season 1, Episode 4 (4 weeks)
An entire weekend passes, as do at least two school days and one visit to the oncologist.
“Gray Matter,” Season 1, Episode 5 (4 weeks, 6 days)
Another weekend passes, during which Walt and Skyler go to Ramen-loving college chum Elliot’s birthday party; Walt says the party occurred “the other day” toward the episode’s end, just before meeting Jesse.
“Crazy Handful of Nothin’,” Season 1, Episode 6 (6 weeks, 3 days)
Things are getting in full swing: medical tests, three-day time lapses, cooking, law-enforcing in-laws, Tuco, hair loss, and, finally, Walt’s head-shaving transition into Heisenberg.
“A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal,” Season 1, Episode 7 (7 weeks, 3 days)
The season ends with a slew of events (baby shower, oncology visit, moonlit chemical thefts, junkyard meetings with Tuco) that should logically take about a week’s worth of time.
“Seven Thirty-Seven,” Season 2, Episode 1 (8 weeks, 3 days)
Hank watches the security footage of Walt and Jesse’s meth-ingredient heist and helps us (if not his brother-in-law) out by mentioning that it occurred about ten days ago; Tuco kidnaps Walt and Jesse the next day.
“Grilled,” Season 2, Episode 2 (8 weeks, 4 days)
The same sun that, uh, grilled Tuco at the episode’s start is still up by the time he dies.
“Bit by a Dead Bee,” Season 2, Episode 3 (9 weeks)
Hank interrogates Jesse and reveals that Tuco’s death was Sunday and that it’s now Tuesday — one day before the dementia-faking Walt returns home to Skyler, who asks about his second cell phone.
“Down,” Season 2, Episode 4 (9 weeks, 6 days)
Thank goodness for exposition: Jesse’s parents kick him out of his house while, elsewhere on the same day, Walt refers to the second-cell-phone talk as having occurred “the other night”; then, toward the end, Jesse whines to his mom about having been kicked out “the other day.”
“Breakage,” Season 2, Episode 5 (11 weeks, 4 days)
Time speeds up like a methhead as Walt finishes his first stage of chemo with his oncologist and a time-lapse montage zooms through four days of drug dealing, all capped by Walt giving Jesse a gun to use when taking care of business.
“Peekaboo,” Season 2, Episode 6 (11 weeks, 5 days)
Jesse begins executing his interpretation of taking care of business by going after the methheads that stole from skinny Pete, giving the impression we’re hot on the heels of the last episode.
“Negro y Azul,” Season 2, Episode 7 (11 weeks, 6 day)
Walt visits Jesse, who’s sleeping off his morbid TCB sesh, which seems to have happened the day before. Jesse hops in bed with landlady Jane at the episode’s end.
“Better Call Saul,” Season 2, Episode 8 (12 weeks, 2 days)
We jump right back in to catch some of Jesse and Jane’s charming pillow talk. But time waits for no man — least of all for Saul, whose mettle is established to us over a number of days.
“4 Days Out,” Season 2, Episode 9 (13 weeks, 2 days)
Walt and Jesse cook through a long weekend before realizing they’re trapped ina bottle episode the desert.
“Over,” Season 2, Episode 10 (14 weeks, 1 day)
Walt, fresh from his escape from the desert, takes a day off from work; then, soon enough, we’re at a weekend get-together; and, finally, Skyler’s at work, flirting with the boss.
“Mandala,” Season 2, Episode 11 (15 weeks, 3 days)
Walt and Jesse go to Los Pollos Hermanos to find Gus, whom we saw Saul recommend to them about “a week ago”; then, two days later, Walt gets an important-looking text.
“Phoenix,” Season 2, Episode 12 (19 weeks, 6 days)
We pick up where we left off, in week fifteen, with Walt rushing to meet his new baby. The school week resumes shortly thereafter, and the last thing we see is Walt letting Jane die. Based on the information in the next two episodes — that the plane crashes only a month after Jane’s death, but the baby is also 7 weeks old by then — we have to assume almost four weeks pass before Jane dies, but this doesn’t seem true in the episode. It’s likely there is some continuity problem here.
“ABQ,” Season 2, Episode 13 (22 weeks, 6 days)
Skyler helpfully tells the oncologist that the baby’s 7 weeks old now; finally, Walt’s household is damaged by both marital separation and debris from a plane crash.
“No Mas,” Season 3, Episode 1 (23 weeks, 1 days)
Newscasts surrounding the plane crash establish that Jane died about a month ago. Then we jump ahead when Skyler mentions “last week’s” plane crash.
“Caballo Sin Nombre,” Season 3, Episode 2 (24 weeks, 4 days)
Walt’s transitional living situation makes it pretty easy to mark how many nights pass.
“I.F.T.,” Season 3, Episode 3 (25 weeks)
Walt once again spends much of his time trying to find a place to sleep every night.
“Green Light,” Season 3, Episode 4 (25 weeks, 5 days)
A couple of awkward days of school pass, which ends with Walt getting fired.
“Mas,” Season 3, Episode 5 (26 weeks, 3 days)
Walt takes a few days before eventually accepting Gus’s million-dollar job offer and parting ways with Jesse.
“Sunset,” Season 3, Episode 6 (26 weeks, 5 days)
Walt spends an entire day cooking with his new BFF Gale before he and Jesse meet with Gus at, yep, sunset.
“One Minute,” Season 3, Episode 7 (27 weeks)
The titular minute that ends the episode was preceded by two days’ worth of Walt visiting Jesse in the hospital and working with Gale in the lab.
“I See You,” Season 3, Episode 8 (27 weeks, 1 day)
A still-healing Jesse visits Walt’s swanky new lab, bringing up his feeling toward that “sunset” from “a couple of days ago”; the episode ends the next night, with Hank in the hospital.
“Kafkaesque,” Season 3, Episode 9 (28 weeks, 2 days)
Hank’s hospital visitors kindly tell us about a week has passed.
“Fly,” Season 3, Episode 10 (28 weeks, 3 days)
Walt and Jesse spend a day in the lab getting contemplative (about a fly) for another bottle episode.
“Abiquiu,” Season 3, Episode 11 (29 weeks, 5 days)
Walt and Sklyer have a number of long overnight talks. Hanks hospital visits, and Gus’s dinner date with Walt all happen over a number of an approximate work week.
“Half Measures,” Season 3, Episode 12 (30 weeks, 5 days)
Wendy gives a string of blow jobs over a time-lapsed montage, the first of many; later, on the episode’s last night, Walt starts murdering people for Jesse.
“Full Measure,” Season 3, Episode 13 (31 weeks)
Walt spends what might be Gale’s last days cooking with him; the cliff-hanging episode ends with Jesse’s gun in Gale’s face.
“Box Cutter,” Season 4, Episode 1 (31 weeks 1 day)
Episode takes place over one day, beginning right where we left off, Jesse gun in hand. Gus kills Victor
“Thirty-Eight Snub,” Season 4, Episode 2 (33 weeks 4 days)
You are left to assume a week or so have passed since the last episode ended. Walt buys a gun and a couple days later Mike beats up Walt. Roughly 1 weeks passes since last episode
“Open House,” Season 4, Episode 3 (33 weeks 6 days)
Begins day after last episode. One day passes and Hank gets Gales files. Walt also buys the carwash.
“Bullet Points,” Season 4, Episode 4 (35 weeks 3 days)
No bruises on Walt’s face so you assume it is a week later. Next day Walt comes clean about gambling and Hank shows Walt Gale’s file. Couple of days past and Jesse goes with Mike for the first time.
“Shotgun,” Season 4, Episode 5 (35 weeks 4 days)
Starts same day. Jesse gone all day. Walt tells Hank in the evening that he doesn’t think Gale is his “genius”.
“Cornered,” Season 4, Episode 6 (35 weeks 6 days)
Starts next day. One more day passes and in the evening we hear Gus tell Jesse he “sees things in people”.
“Problem Dog,” Season 4, Episode 7 (38 weeks)
Starts a couple of days later. Couple days pass and Walt gives the ricin to Jesse. Later in the episode we are led to believe one week has passed since Walt gave Jesse the ricin due to Walt arguing with Jesse over how long it has been.
“Hermanos,” Season 4, Episode 8 (42 weeks)
Starts a couple of days later. Gus is questioned. Roughly 2-3 weeks pass during this episode due to the amount of money Skyler hides and because when Jesse and Saul are talking it seems like he has been doing weekly deliveries to Andrea a couple of times. Then Hank has Walt put the tail on Gus’ car.
“Bug,” Season 4, Episode 9 (43 weeks)
Roughly 3 days since the bugging of Gus’ car since he has gone back and forth to work 3 times, so this means this episode starts 2 days after the previous. Two days later Jesse visits Gus’ house. The next day Jesse and Walt fight.
“Salud,” Season 4, Episode 10 (43 weeks 1 day)
Starts day after last episode. Jesse goes to Mexico and Gus kills the cartel. All happens in one day.
“Crawl Space,” Season 4, Episode 11 (43 weeks 4 days)
Starts next day. Roughly 2 more days pass and Gus threatens to kill Walt and his entire family.
“End Times,” Season 4, Episode 12 (43 weeks 5 days)
Same day as previous episode. Brock is poisoned. That night Jesse threatens to kill Walt. Next day Walt fails at killing Gus.
“Face Off,” Season 4, Episode 13 (43 weeks 5 days)
Starts and ends in same day as previous episode. Walt kills Gus and burns down lab.
“Live Free or Die,” Season 5, Episode 1 (46 weeks)
Starts with the same day, but you are led to assume some time has passed since Hank walks around the lab with a cane. Roughly one week passes and Mike, Jesse, and Walt decide to use the magnet on Gus’ laptop.
“Madrigal,” Season 5, Episode 2 (47 weeks)
You assume a couple of days have passed and Mike is interrogated by Hank.
“Hazard Pay,” Season 5, Episode 3 (50 weeks)
2-3 weeks pass from last episode. This is a bit difficult to tell, but I am going off of previous time frames, when Walt’s birthday is, and how long it would take to have Mike change his mind and work with Walt. Mike, Jesse and Walt team up and work with Vamanos Pest Control.
“Fifty-One,” Season 5, Episode 4 (52 weeks) [Title Corrected]
A week or two later and we are at Walt’s 51st birthday.
Author: Sean Aranda