Tag: Breaking Bad blog (Page 2 of 4)

Breaking Bad 3.10 – Lord of the Flies

I don’t know if it’s by intent or happenstance that tonight’s episode of “Breaking Bad” is arguably the first installment of the season that isn’t necessarily a must-see, but I guarantee that a lot of viewers will be watching it tomorrow on TiVo and thinking, “Okay, I definitely made the right decision to watch the ‘Lost’ finale last night.”

Let me clarify that statement a bit: I didn’t think it was a bad episode. I mean, I laughed out loud at one point, I was on the edge of my seat during another portion, and there was even a full-fledged “oh, shit” moment in the midst of the goings-on. (Granted, it took place at approximately the same point when I laughed out loud, but it still counts.) Indeed, for fans who’ve been waiting to see some semblance of the old Walt & Jesse dynamic, it was a gift, since they were virtually the only people in the episode. But if I’m to be perfectly honest, there was nothing crucial that went down during the course of the proceedings that couldn’t have been covered quite handily within a few seconds of film in the “Previously on ‘Breaking Bad'” bit at the beginning of next week. Plus, if I’m to be honest, I think everybody at AMC is getting ready for the “Lost” finale, too: it’s 4:30 PM EST on Sunday afternoon as I write this, and they still haven’t posted any photos from tonight’s episode on the press site!

Oh, well, let’s just go ahead and get to it, shall we?

I’m not entirely sure why I was so creeped out by the opening of this week’s “Breaking Bad,” but, holy mother of God, not only was I twitching, but I actually started to get a little queasy. It wasn’t like you saw anything other than the close-up of the fly, but hearing Skyler play “Mockingbird” over the shot…I immediately thought, “Oh, shit, the baby’s dead.” And, surely, that’s what we were meant to think, along with the inevitable uncertainty about whether or not they’d really take things down such a dark path. That’s the thing about “Breaking Bad”: no matter what they throw at you…and lord knows they’ve thrown us a lot…the show follows a creative direction that’s so unlike any series on television that you still constantly find yourself thinking, “Yeah, but they wouldn’t really do that, would they?” And in this case, they didn’t. Still, you’d think by now I’d realize that there’s nothing Vince Gilligan won’t do.

Once Walt got up and at ’em after a long night of fitful sleep, it was off to work he went, diving headlong into what I can only presume was the meth lab equivalent of spring cleaning. Jesse, of course, spent most of the time bitching and moaning…until, that is, Walt’s anal accounting discovered a discrepancy in the amount they’d been yielding. You could see the sweat building on Jesse’s brow as he attempt to throw out any and all possible explanations for the situation…evaporation, condensation, even spillage…at which point I think we probably all knew definitively that there’d be no possible way for him to get away with pulling the wool over Walt’s eyes for the long haul.

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Breaking Bad 3.9 – What’s The Point In Being An Outlaw When You’ve Got Responsibilities?

Who wants chicken? I know *I* did after watching the awesome commercial that opened tonight’s episode, but…did anyone else happen to read the tiny credit that ran across the bottom of the screen toward the beginning of the ad? “Los Pollos Hermanos, Inc. is a registered trademark of Madrigal Electromotive.” I don’t think we’ve ever heard anything about this parent company before, but I’m suddenly beginning to wonder if this means that we’re going to see Walt working his way even higher up the chain of command in this operation. One thing’s for certain: he and Jesse are making up for lost time with their production. I loved the cut from the chicken in the commercial to the meth in the lab, and seeing them put the baggies into the contains of batter made me realize what a well-oiled machine Gus has going for him. Indeed, for one brief moment, I allowed myself to think, “Walt and Jesse are finally back on track and proving once again that, when they actually roll up their sleeves and get down to business, they’re capable of big things.”

It didn’t last, of course.

Chalk it up to being drug-free, but Jesse’s been more than a little schizo lately. Last week, I referred to him as being “about as loud, obnoxious, and useless as any human being can be,” but this week, in addition to working perfectly alongside Walt, he’s suddenly talking about how he’s been checking the numbers and has now decided that the deal they have with Gus is, in his words, “bullshit.” Walt seems astonished by this change in attitude (“You’re now a millionaire, and you’re complaining…?”) and can’t even be bothered to discuss the matter with Jesse, who asks outright, mostly to himself, “What’s more important than money?” Not therapy, apparently. He’s continuing to attend his meetings, which is something, I suppose, and they clearly still serve as opportunity for him to get a few things out of his system, as evidenced by blending of a fictional job at a laundromat with shards of reality (“My boss is a dick, the owner a super-dick”) and his highly illuminating story about the wooden box. But after he made the very foolish decision to step out into his own dealership and allowed Badger and Skinny hijack the therapy session in order to promote the return of the blue meth to the area…? That’s a brand new low.

That reminds me: was anyone else having “Superman III” / “Office Space” flashbacks tonight? Jesse’s clearly planning to skim the excess meth from Walt’s haphazardly measured containers, which immediately brought to mind Richard Pryor’s character’s plan to skim half-cents off the paychecks at Webscoe Industries. And what was the name of that character?

Gus.

We’re through the looking glass here, people…

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Breaking Bad 3.8 – It’s All, Like, Shiny Up In Here

Last week’s episode so wreaked havoc on my theory on how the next few episodes would play out, thanks to Hank’s parking-lot battle with the Cousins (I was sure they’d stalk him for awhile before going after him), that I walked into this week’s “Breaking Bad” with absolutely no clue about what to expect. I even said as much to Dean Norris when I talked to him, but he assured me that the show would stay intense and action-packed right through to the end of the season, adding that, despite the status of the Cousins, “There are plenty more bad guys where they came from.” I wouldn’t say that this week’s installment was entirely action-packed, but it certainly had some moments of intensity, that’s for sure.

Things kicked off with a battered and bruised (and, lest we forget, tattooed) Jesse preparing to leave the hospital, but as he’s waiting at the curb for his ride to show, he happens to see Hank rolled in on a gurney, looking decidedly worse for wear. The initial look on Jesse’s face was horror, and one wonders if maybe he thought that his own life might be in danger as well, which is a pretty reasonable consideration if you’re thinking in terms of, “If they can take down a DEA agent, they can take down anybody.” It doesn’t take long, however, for the horror to turn into bliss at the realization that the man who kicked his ass nine ways to Sunday has been taken down a peg himself.

Poor Gale. He thought that he and Walt were simpatico, but, uh, not so much. And, no, it’s not about his screw-up in setting the temperature that set Walt off last week. It’s apparently more to do with rhythms…or, at least, that’s the story that Walt’s trying to spin. Classical vs. jazz? Yeah, that explanation lasted about as long as it took for Jesse to open his dumb-ass white trash mouth. I don’t believe we’ve seen the last of Gale.

We have, however, seen the last of Walt at the SuperLab for this episode. Turns out that the lack of cell phone reception in the facility means that Jesse actually knew about Hank’s condition before Walt did. Once he finds out, however, he’s off to the hospital, where he meets up with Skyler, Walt, Jr., and, of course, Marie, along with quite a few of Hank’s fellow DEA agents. In addition to finding out that one of the Cousins survived, albeit in critical condition, we also discover that Marie had no idea that Walt’s weapon had been confiscated from him. Cue a royal ass-tearing from Mrs. Schrader, one which finds Hank’s ex-partner, Steve, getting reamed. Unfortunately, Walt finds himself on the receiving end of her venom, too, thanks to the very reasonable suggestion that none of this would’ve happened if it hadn’t been for Walt’s connection to Jesse. You can see in Walt’s eyes that he did indeed feel some guilt over the situation (though it’s likely less because of his former student and more for his own disgraceful actions a few episodes back), and the next thing you know, he’s turned into Super Family Man. You can see him actively struggling with his desire to be elsewhere and to just be doing something other than sitting around, but he’s trying his best to be there for a change…even at the expense of the deal he’s made with Gus.

Meanwhile, Jesse’s being about as loud, obnoxious, and useless as any human being can be. He’s really been all up and down the emotional spectrum over the course of this season, and I have to admit that it was good fun to see him acting so utterly irresponsible as he giddily explored the SuperLab to the strains of Prince Fatty’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” but it struck me as being a little ridiculous. Yes, he’s been through a lot of the past few days, and he’s more earned himself the chance to blow off a little steam, but after he kicked so much ass as a meth maker on his own, it still rang untrue to me that he wouldn’t at least be trying to figure out the lab on his own. But it was a typical dumb-ass move for Jesse to call Walt at the hospital, and it was a cruel but character-appropriate closing comment that Jesse made: “Tell your douchebag brother-in-law to head to the light.” Nice. The guy’s a complete dumbass, but you can’t help but love him. Well, we can’t, anyway. Victor – Gus’s right-hand man – doesn’t appear to feel the same way…at all.

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Breaking Bad 3.7 – Never Trust A South American

This show is going through one of those periods where you hate to call any episode out as being the best of the season, not because it wasn’t…because, brother, you’d better believe it was…but because you find yourself saying it so many times during the season that it feels like you’re damning it with faint praise. I mean, in essence, what I’m saying is, “Holy shit, that was the best episode since last week!” Which it was, but…oh, never mind, let’s just get started.

It was funny to start the episode with that flashback, seeing that one of the cousins was a crybaby back in the day. I knew the whole “I wish he was dead” comment was going to come back into play; I just didn’t think it would happen quite so quickly. Say, does anyone know if Tuco’s uncle has written a text on child rearing? I feel like he may have a couple of lessons to teach me beyond what we saw tonight.

But let’s get serious, shall we? Holy shit, I knew Hank was going to go ballistic on Jesse, but…wow. To say that that scene was everything I expected would be a lie, because it never occurred to me that he’d give him quite that level of beatdown. That was a full-fledged, no-holds-barred pummeling, with absolutely no restraint whatsoever. Whew. You better believe Internal Affairs is going to want a word with him…

Of course Saul is going to be at Jesse’s bedside, taking pictures and trying to get the money shot. The Rocky joke was good, but the Beatle quip when Walt walked into the room was better: “You’re now officially the cute one of the group. Paul, meet Ringo. Ringo, meet Paul.” It was absolutely stupid for Walt to sneak in to see Jesse, even if he was concerned about his condition. Yeah, he could’ve explained his presence away with the old “he’s my former student” line, but that’s got to be getting pretty hoary by now. I have to admit that I didn’t expect Walt to express guilt over the situation, but once he did, I certainly wasn’t surprised that it lasted for only a couple of seconds before he had to remind Jesse, “But the plan did work…” Personally, I thought Jesse’s speech was a little long, but, shit, you couldn’t really argue with much of it…which is why I didn’t expect Saul to flip and suggest that Jesse might actually want to go a different direction. Nor did I expect Jesse to be quite so bitter toward Walt. (“You’re my free pass…bitch.”) I did agree with Walt’s theory that if Jesse didn’t give up the ghost during Hank’s “interrogation,” he probably never will, but I certainly couldn’t ignore Saul’s ominous suggestion about “options.”

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Breaking Bad 3.6 – There’s Crime…And Then There’s Crime

Remember how I opened last week’s blog by saying, “This, my friends, was one hell of an episode, offering up multiple moments which will almost certainly inspire me to say the same of future episodes”? I couldn’t have been more right: not only was this the best episode of Season 3, but it was one of the best installments of “Breaking Bad” to date, serving up moments that were nailbiting to the Nth degree and an ending which left me screaming at the TV, demanding that next week’s episode start right now, dammit!

Well, it’s about time the Cousins got legitimately threatening again. They’ve just kind of been hovering in the background lately, glowering but not really doing anything specific to match their completely bad-ass look. Now, to be fair, it’s not like they haven’t wanted to seriously fuck some people’s shit up…specifically, Walt’s shit…but they’ve been held at bay by their attempts to maintain some semblance of civility within the organization. That whole pre-credits sequence was nice and nerve-jangling, but its conclusion, with the seamless sonic blending of one cousin biting into a piece of fruit and the other dropping his axe into the officer’s skull, was just another example of the show’s ability to get a laugh out of some seriously dark shit. The next time we saw them, they were sitting in Gus’s fine, upstanding establishment, back to their usual all-you-have-to-do-is-look-at-us-to-know-that-you-shouldn’t-fuck-with-us schtick, but, hey, if it works, why change it? It was instantly obvious that they had no intention of going anywhere until Gus gave them what they wanted…which, of course, is why he eventually did just that.

Sort of.

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