Top 15 Breaking Bad Cold Opens
11. “…And the Bag’s in the River” (01x03)
At the end of the previous episode, the dissolved remains of Emilio’s corpse fell through the bathtub, through the floor, and into the main downstairs hallway. This cold open shows us the aftermath. This could have been simple: some gross shots of them wiping everything down, blood leaking into the basement, Krazy 8 tied up down there, gradually realizing what is happening, etc. We get all of that, but the way it is intercut with a flashback is what makes it so fun. A much younger Walt is seen flirting with a cute grad student (who we later find out is Gretchen Schwartz, probably not yet married to Elliot), going over the chemical components of the human body on a white board. Walt is charming, feigning surprise as Gretchen lists off the elements and their percentages in the human body. Turns out the vast majority of the matter that composes us is just 8 or 9 elements. Even calcium which makes up almost all of our skeletal system (past Walt notes, as present Walt inspects a piece of Emilio’s jaw bone) is only 0.25%! This innocuous, flirty little discussion of the human body in a purely scientific sense is juxtaposed with the grim reality of the human body broken down to its pure elements: a bucket of chunky red goop being poured into a toilet. It’s sickening, it’s bleak, but it’s also strangely funny in a way that most TV shows aren’t.