September 6, 2012

Breaking Bad, the halfway point

I'm still processing that last episode of Breaking Bad. I liked it, but I didn't. There was a lot of excellent sequences. It was a technically impressive finish to the first half of the season. However, it felt weird. I don't know how to describe it. Something didn't feel right about it.

There are a couple reasons why it might have seemed jarring. The first, and most obvious one, is the timeline. It has taken us 4.5 seasons to get through just over a year of Walter's life. In this episode we skipped over 3 months in a music montage. Breaking Bad has always made the viewer see the excruciating details of starting a meth enterprise. We were aware of pretty much everything that Walt was up to. In this past episode he started supplying meth on another continent and we didn't see anything about how it worked. We didn't see them trying to figure out the distribution network or anything. In the past Walter would have demanded to know exactly how it was all going to go down, and we would have been there to see it as well.

Speeding forward so quickly also created some other situations that didn't seem right. At the end Skylar almost smiled when she looked at Walt. What happened in those 3 months? What made her change her mind from wanting Walt dead? Maybe they will revisit it later. I don't know. But if not it feels a little "cheap".

I also felt slightly let down with the end of the episode. When we cut to the Whites' pool area all of the sudden there was so much tension. My stomach was in knots. I just knew something bad was going to happen. I didn't know what to expect, but I thought it would be something big. When we got to go into the restroom and watch Hank take a crap I didn't know what to expect. As soon as he started reaching for the book I knew what was up. We aren't sure where that book came from... but we have to assume it was Gale. They also used that flackback of Hank's memory of the conversation before, which I don't think we had seen in Breaking Bad before. I wish that right before it cut to credits as Hank was staring at the book we would have heard a plop in the toilet. That would have felt strangely appropriate.

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