One of television's best dramas returned last night for the first half of its fifth and final season. The season premiere episode, "Live Free or Die," was highly anticipated, to say the least, following the shocking events of October's season 4 finale, "Face Off." But it was hard to tell just how anticipated it was until the ratings for the premiere episode were released on Monday morning.
The episode nabbed 2.9 million viewers, according to AMC, which is a record-setting amount for the series. By comparison, "Face Off" nabbed just 1.9 million. Until last night's episode, the season 4 premiere, "Box Cutter," had been the show's highest-charting episode with 2.58 million viewers tuning in.
Big gains were also made in the coveted 18-49 age bracket, with 1.9 million viewers from that demographic tuning in (a 34% gain from last season).
"Live Free or Die" kicked off the show's final season with a bang, as Walter and Jesse enlisted the help of a reluctant Mike in order to deal with the ramifications of Gus Fring's death following the season 4 finale. Their plan involved a giant magnet, which they used to destroy the police evidence room, which held a laptop with incriminating evidence. In doing so, however, they inadvertently provided the police with a possible new lead.
Next week's episode, "Madrigal," will see Mike doing further damage control within Fring's organization, as well as providing us a glimpse of the mysterious international company that was funding it. We've seen it, and if you thought "Live Free or Die" was good, just wait until you see the opening scene of next week's episode.
Breaking Bad will air "Madrigal" July 22 on AMC.