Breaking Bad is without a doubt one of the most critically acclaimed and praised TV shows of all time. The acting, music, themes, and setting are all top-notch. But one part of the show that doesn’t often get enough respect by the critics and fans is its spectacular use of foreshadowing.
Sometimes, Breaking Bad will foreshadow something for later in the episode or sometimes wait a few seasons before the big reveal. Either way, read on and see seven astonishing moments of foreshadowing in Breaking Bad that you may have missed.
Warning: Article contains spoilers.
1. Gale’s Tea Kettle
In the season three finale “Full Measure”, Gale Boetticher’s passing is telegraphed moments before it actually happens.
Prior to Jesse turning up at Gale’s apartment and shooting him dead, Gale points a laser thermometer on his boiling kettle. It looks like a laser sight on a sniper rifle. In the season four premiere when the police are collecting evidence, we see the same kettle with a bullet hole in the exact same spot where Gale pointed the laser.
In the season four episode titled “Hermanos”, we get a glimpse of how Gus Fring got into the meth manufacturing and selling business. The flashback follows a backstory that features him and his Los Pollos Hermanos business partner, Max. After offending a big-time kingpin, Max is killed as Gus is held to the ground and forced to watch his friend die.
Sound familiar? Well, it should. That’s because, in the season five episode “Ozymandias”, Walt suffers an eerily similar fate as he lays on the ground in the same manner after watching the execution of his brother-in-law, Hank. The two also share a very similar grimace in these moments of sorrow and agony.
3. Finale License Plate
This case of foreshadowing is very easy to miss. However, it holds great importance for the main characters of Breaking Bad.
At the very beginning of the final season, the camera pans down a car with New Hampshire license plates during a flashforward. The motto “Live Free or Die” is at the top of the plate. This subtle hint alludes to the fates of the show’s two main characters. In the end, Jesse lives free as he escapes the Neo-Nazi compound in a car, while Walt eventually succumbs to a gunshot wound and dies.
4. Jane’s Passing
In retrospect, the show foreshadows Jane’s passing quite a few times throughout the series.
First happens when Jesse tries to make Jane breakfast in bed. However, Jane wakes up early. This leads to Jesse saying, “You weren’t supposed to wake up.” Only for Jane to reply, “Ever?”
Another moment is soon after Holly is born. When Walt and Marie put Holly to bed, they make sure to lay her on her side in case she “decides to do a little spit-up.”
Finally, in a post-foreshadowing flashback, Jane tells Jesse that he’s so sweet that she “threw up in her mouth a little bit.”
5. Getting Out of Trouble with a Robot
This is another piece of foreshadowing that takes multiple seasons for the payoff to occur.
While Jesse and Walt are in a tricky situation during season two, Jesse brings up the idea of building a robot to get them out of the situation. Well, in the series finale, Walt takes Jesse’s advice. As such, he builds a trunk-mounted machine gun to fight the Neo-Nazis.
As it turns out, Jesse’s idea way back in season two saves his life in the finale.
6. The Song at the Beginning of the Finale
This is more brilliant foreshadowing by the Breaking Bad writers.
The song that plays at the beginning of the series finale essentially lays out what will happen during the finale. The song in question is “El Paso” by Marty Robbins. The lyrics that appeared during the scene are:
I saddled up and away I did go/
Riding alone in the dark.
Maybe tomorrow a bullet may find me/
Tonight nothing’s worse than this pain in my heart.
The rest of the song actually has a ton of symbolism and lyrics that relate to the show, so it is fairly clear that they used this song for a reason.
7. The “Face Off”
The largest instance of foreshadowing in Breaking Bad comes in season two. Throughout the season, a pink teddy bear is shown multiple times as a recurring part of flashbacks. The bear has a couple of interesting features, as it is missing an eye and half of its face is burned.
Flash forward to season four where Walt finally devises a plan to kill Gus Fring. In the explosion that kills Gus, his face eerily resembles that of the bear’s. He’s missing an eye and one side of his face is badly burned.
It is quite weird that something so harmless and innocent as a teddy bear essentially foreshadows one of the more grisly scenes in Breaking Bad.