‘Breaking Bad’: The Crazy Train Heist Scene From 'Dead Freight' Never Had to Happen — Here's Why

Breaking Bad ran the gamut of emotions, which helped make it one of the most beloved television dramas of all time. The series was at once heartfelt, dangerous, exciting, introspective, smart, mysterious, dark, and hilarious. The writers played on fans’ emotions with true skill.

“Dead Freight” (season 5 episode 5) was the most heart-pounding, pulse-racing episode of Breaking Bad. During the episode, Walt, Jesse, Mike, and Todd pull off a train heist for the ages that leaves fans on the edge of their seats the whole time.

The complicated heist is a masterpiece of suspense and drama. However, it technically didn’t need to happen.

‘Dead Freight’ combined sorrow and joy on ‘Breaking Bad’

There’s no guarantee that the crew would pull off their tricky train heist. It all comes about when Walt and Jesse need a way to access large quantities of methylamine to continue manufacturing their signature blue meth. The group considers robbing a train but quickly abandon the idea, fearing they’ll wind up killing the conductor. They want to steal the chemical without getting caught or hurting anyone.

So the group comes up with a convoluted plan which allows them to rob the train secretly. While one person forced the train to stop by obstructing the tracks, the others got to work draining the container of methylamine before it got moving again. It was brilliant yet nerve-racking.

Did the ‘Breaking Bad’ crew need to rob a train?

“The methylamine keeps flowing, no matter what. We are not ramping down. We’re just getting started. Nothing stops this train,” Walter White says in a moment of foreshadowing. But did the group have to rob a train to get the methylamine they needed?

Without getting too deep into the science, it’s true that Walt could have made methylamine himself rather than risking people’s lives in a complicated train heist.

Breaking Bad Wiki Fandom reports that “methylamine is much easier to synthesize than the other meth precursors, and neither of methylamine’s precursors (like phenylacetone) are hard to find or restricted.” There’s also a chance writers didn’t want fans to get an accurate step-by-step tutorial of meth production.

Considering all these facts, the crew never had to rob the train, which led to evil Todd shooting a child witness at the end of the episode.

‘Breaking Bad’ creator Vince Gilligan chose drama over realism

It’s true that Walter White could have made his own methylamine in the lab. But that wouldn’t have been as exciting as the train heist episode and wouldn’t have driven the narrative forward.

In “Dead Freight,” viewers realized that Walt didn’t have a strong sense of right of wrong while Jesse did. Plus, they learned that Todd was an evil psychopath with no moral compass.

Overall, the train heist episode wasn’t realistic, but it was exciting. Breaking Bad fans were willing to suspend disbelief enough to appreciate the underlying message without worrying too much about realism. “Dead Freight” remains one of the most popular episodes of the series.

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