March 13, 2012

All caught up on Breaking Bad

Over a week ago I finished the 4th season of Breaking Bad. My initial reaction was one of amazement at how great they were able to wrap that season up. I've had some time to step back and think about it, and I am still impressed with what they were able to do over the last 3-4 episodes.

From the beginning I've watched all the seasons in bursts of 2 or 3 episodes at a time. I never had to wait week to week. There were times at the beginning of season 4 where the show seemed to spin it's wheels. I didn't notice the effect much because I could blow through it so quickly. If I had to wait a week between each episode for ep. 3-8 I might have gone crazy. The show was never bad, but there was a lot of stuff that felt like "filler." Walt was MIA though much of the first half of the season. I mean, he was on screen, but he didn't seem to be doing anything. I had no clue how they were going to wrap it up, but they did an excellent job.

While I found Walt's journey through season 4 to be frustrating, I can't help but appreciate what they have done with that character. At the beginning of the show it was so easy to be sympathetic for him. No I oscillate between feeling sorry for him, rooting for him to "win", being amazed at his actions/stupidity, and totally hating the guy. At the end of season 4 I was totally rooting for Walk to beat Gus, but at the same time I was sympathetic to Gus. There are so many shades of gray in this show. I simultaneously can hope a character succeeds, and totally loathe them. The concept of "good guys" and "bad guys" doesn't apply. They are all bad. I guess the cops are technically "good guys" but I find myself hoping they aren't able to put the pieces together most of the time. Surely Hank is going to keep digging in, and at some point things will come to a head with him and Walt.

I really enjoyed how Walt's ego is what caused Hank to redouble his efforts into the investigation. Walt couldn't stand the thought of Hank believing Gale was the mastermind behind everything. He couldn't let that go even though it would have kept Hank from getting in his business. Walt's ego showed up several times this season and when it happened it was the worst version of Walt there is. That dude is spinning out of control and I have no clue what the next season will bring.

Season 5 has been set up almost as a refresh. The characters seemingly have the opportunity to return to "normal" lives. I doubt it will happen, but I'm really not sure what the complicating factor will be. Walt and Skylar could go back to being a family, but I somehow doubt that will happen. That won't be enough for Walt. He is addicted to his new lifestyle and now feels like he is a badass. Something bad is going to happen for sure.

Jesse is a big question mark. I'm not sure what that guy is going to do. Walt totally screwed him all of season 4. If you think about it, Jesse would have been in a much better situation if Gus had succeeded in killing Walt. Jesse would have been making a lot of money, and wouldn't have to deal with Walt's bull crap anymore. Not only did Walt ruin the sweet gig Jesse could have had going, but he used Jesse's girlfriends kid to do it. If Jesse ever finds out about what happened with Jane, and that Walt was there when she died; Jesse will flip out. Early on in the relationship Jesse was the one that felt like dead weight, but that dynamic has totally flipped. Through the second half of season 4 I thought about how much better off Jesse would be without Walt around.

I haven't loved a television show as much as I do Breaking Bad for a long time; if ever. There is something about the show that has me so wrapped up in everything that is going on. I haven't been this taken by an hour long drama since LOST broke my heart a couple years ago when it fell flat on its face in the final season. I guess Breaking Bad could still potentially suffer a similar fate down the stretch, but I somehow know in my soul that it won't. These last 2 mini-seasons of Breaking Bad are going to be awesome. I can't wait to see what happens.

Filed Under: , , , ,