Sure, DVDs and Netflix have sort of ruined the fun of a good, old-fashioned scheduled TV marathon. (They’re not exactly special when you have the power to make them happen any time.) But it’s still hard not to get excited about AMC showing all 62 episodes of Breaking Bad over the course of four days – even if the network totally missed the opportunity to call this marathon “Four Days In.”
Never seen an episode of Breaking Bad? You’re gonna want to watch this. Devoured every episode of Breaking Bad multiple times already? You’re still gonna want to watch it, or at least part of it. But when should you pay close attention, when should you keep one eye on the TV and another on your laundry – and when should you order the chicken? Worry not; EW’s got you covered. (All times are ET/PT, even though Walt and Jesse go by Mountain Time. Deal with it.)
12 p.m.: “Pilot” time. Walt with hair! Walt with a legitimate job – two, in fact! Walt with morals! Marvel at what a difference two years make, then marvel that all the action of Breaking Bad takes place within just two years.
1:30 p.m.: Make sure to finish your lunch before the gruesome ending of “Cat’s in the Bag…”
3:12 p.m.: “…And the Bag’s in the River” ends; finally catch your breath. Then go ahead and leave the couch; one of Breaking Bad’s finest episodes is followed chronologically by one of its most skippable, a.k.a. “that one with Jesse’s brother.” In fact, if you need to beg off the marathon for a long stretch of time, it might as well be now: While season 1 and the beginning of season 2 are instrumental in the grand scheme of Bad, they’re also clunkier and less gripping than the show’s later period.
8 p.m.: Realize that some of season 2’s finest moments – “Peekaboo,” “Better Call Saul,” “4 Days Out” – won’t air until the wee hours. Watch them on Netflix instead. Only feel a teensy bit bad for cheating.
12 p.m.: Start today’s viewing with the less-than-essential “Over.” Go ahead and pay half-attention…
12:20 p.m. …until Walt’s “celebratory” “You Beat Cancer!” pool party. Try to go shot-for-shot with Walt only if you dare.
2:08 p.m.: Grab tissues. You’ll need them for the end of “Phoenix,” especially if you’re feeling those tequila shots.
3:08 p.m.: JAAAAAANE!!
4:16 p.m.: “No Mas” Bad for now; you’ve been through a lot today. Take a quick disco nap.
7:20ish p.m.: Come back to the couch in time to watch Skylar unleash Breaking Bad’s third-greatest f-bomb in “I.F.T.”
7:30 p.m.: Celebrate all you’ve achieved since Saturday by making breakfast for dinner; use the bacon spell out however many hours you’ve spent watching Breaking Bad over the past two days.
11:40 p.m.: Attention flagging? Buck up and make sure you’re settled in to see one of the show’s greatest 60-second stretches – the end of ”One Minute.” After that, bed awaits.
12 p.m.: Get ready for “Full Measure,” which is even better than you remember – even if its “oh my God what’s going to happen?!” ending loses some power when you don’t have to wait 13 months to find out.
3:12 p.m.: Time for “Open House.” Marie fans: Sit down, stay awhile! Everyone else: Go ahead and catch the last hour of Goodfellas on A&E instead.
6:24 p.m.: “Who are you talking to right now? Who is it you think you see? Do you know how much I make a year? I mean, even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. Do you know what would happen if I suddenly decided to stop going into work? A business big enough that it could be listed on the NASDAQ goes belly up. Disappears! It ceases to exist without me. No, you clearly don’t know who you’re talking to, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot and you think that of me? No. I am the one who knocks!” (After this, feel free to tune out for a few hours.)
8 p.m.: Now’s the time to order/go out and buy/make some fried chicken, in preparation for…
8:32 p.m.: …”Hermanos.” Add extra salt to represent Gus’s tears. His delicious, delicious tears.
10:49 p.m.: If the idea of drinking on a work night doesn’t phase you, break out yesterday’s bottle of tequila; you’ll want it handy for the ending sequence of “Salud.” When Gus toasts, you toast.
11:59 p.m.: Go to bed, unless you want Walt’s crazed “Crawl Space” laughter to give you nightmares. (Truly dedicated to this marathon? Set your alarm for 2:59 a.m., when “Face Off” is scheduled to end, so that you can wake up, scream ”GUUUUSSS!!!”, then immediately fall back asleep.)
12 p.m.: Not working today – or faking sick just so you can watch Breaking Bad with all of its original commercial breaks intact? We admire your commitment! Gear up for “Hazard Pay.”
12:30 p.m.: Around the episode’s midpoint, pull out a cigarette. If any salad-eaters give you side-eye, you know what to say to them:
4:16 p.m.: As “Say My Name” begins, have a contest with your viewing partners to see whose version of “You’re goddamn right” sounds the most Heisenbergian. If you have no viewing partners, simply eat more fried chicken.
5:15 p.m.: MIIIIIIIIKE!!
6:20 p.m.: “Gliding Over All” is almost over. Make sure you’re not taking a bathroom break when Hank takes his.
7:28 p.m.: We’re in the homestretch now, which means breaks – for anything longer than commercials, including sleep – will soon cease to be an option. But if you must step away, do it anytime between now and 10:39 p.m., when season 5’s three weakest episodes – “Buried,” “Confessions,” and “Rabid Dog,” – play.
10:40 p.m.: Hunker down; prepare to leave your heart at “To’hajilee.” If you need a pick-me-up, try some meth. Kidding! Drink chamomile tea with stevia instead.
11:43 p.m.: Brace yourself.
11:44 p.m.: “Ozymandias” begins.
11:50 p.m.: HAAAAANK!!!
12:15 a.m.: JESSEEEEEEE!!!
12:30 a.m.: WAAAAALTTTT WHAT ARE YOU DOING WHAT ARE YOU DOING WHAT ARE YOU DOING
12:40 a.m.: “MAMAAA!!”
12:47 a.m.: “Ozymandias” ends. Exhale.
1:30 a.m.: Grab a parka if Walt in New Hampshire gives you sympathy chills. Wonder how, even now, you feel any semblance of sympathy for this fictional monster.
2:03 a.m.: “Felina” begins. Take off your watch.
2:37 a.m.: Wonder why Uncle Jack and his crew never sang “Don’t be stupid/Be a smarty/Come and join/The Nazi party” to Walt. Realize you may be getting punchy.
3 a.m.: JESSEEEEEEE!!
3:05 a.m.: TOOODDDD!!
3:07 a.m.: LYDIAAAAA!!!
3: 13 a.m.: WAAAAAAALLTTTTT!!!
3:17 a.m.: IT’S OVER! Before collapsing, thank 2013 for bringing us such a satisfying conclusion to an epic show, and hope that 2014 has something even better in store – for you, and for Jesse Pinkman. (He made it to New Zealand – right, guys? Right?!)