There aren’t enough adjectives to describe the outstanding debut of the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad, one of the greatest television shows ever committed to… television. It was in parts mysterious, ominous, hilarious, suspenseful, mournful and tragic. It settled us right back into the flow of the show, reminded us why we love it so much and tensely tee-ed up the batshit events that are no doubt on the way.
I will now discuss everything that happened, which is the long form description of the verb “to spoil”.
In true Breaking Bad form, the episode started with a cryptic and inconsequential scene that slowly reveals a shocking visual cue. We’ve seen it before with the insect in the jar panning to the body of the boy in the desert and the mysterious teddy bear in the pool following the plane crash. In this case, some nicely shot skateboarding (complete with obligatory fish-eye lens), pulls out to reveal a breath-taking visual reveal as the viewer’s brain slowly pieces together the familiar, ruined remains of Walter White’s backyard and pool. We’re then reunited with future Walt as he takes a tour through the delapidated ruins of his family home, stopping to take in his alter-ego’s name spray-painted on his living-room wall. It seems like a safe bet that a year from now, his secret is out.
His final destination, a familiar plug socket, laying shelter to our favourite tiny container of white powder – all hail the return of the ricin! I can’t wait to find out what part this is going to play, along with the assault rifle in Walt’s boot. Good work on Bryan Cranston’s part, not only for his typically incredible acting, but for also directing this episode. The shot of Walt’s reflection in the broken mirror was a nice little touch. This pre-title scene finished on a fun note, with two simple words that are brilliantly used again only five mintues later – “Hi Carol.” Kudos to that actress for some spot-on scaredy-pants-acting.
On the other side of the ever-brilliant theme music, we’re treated to what I consider to be the most tense slow-zoom toilet reveal in the long history of slow-zoom toilet reveals. Hank emerges from his cliffhanger revelation a different man – visibly shaken, as he staggers back out to his family, perfectly timed to his wife jokingly telling Walt “you are the devil”. Throughout the rest of the episode we watch as this bombshell moment physically and mentally take its toll on him. By the final scene, he is a broken man – eyes bloodshot, weird, wiry beard hairs protruding from his chin, his voice barely a whisper as he tells Walt “I don’t know who you are.” This was Dean Norris’ episode through and through and he was outstanding in it.
Back in the car-wash, we’re treated to a taste of Walt and Skyler’s lives post-crystal. Walt’s doing his best to be Captain Ordinary and is remaining committed to the promise he made his wife, turning down an offer to return to glory and focusing instead on the most profitable placement of air fresheners. Skyler still seems somewhat distant and detached from her husband, but stands up to protect what they have when she’s threatened by a remnant of Walter’s past.
Walt is clearly adjusting well to normality, but Jessie, the heart of the show, is not so easily able to car-wash his hands free of the blood. We first find him in a familiar scene – stoned with his friends, but entirely disengaged from their frankly outstanding Star Trek conversation. He spends the episode trying to rid himself of his memory-tainted fortune, culminating in his beautiful, tear-filled Robin Hood moment. It’s amazing to look at where Jessie and Walt’s characters were at Season 1 and trace it to this brilliant conversation on the couch – Jessie, once a criminal, now swimming in wealth and broken with guilt; Walt, once an honest man, now a murderer, lying as easily as he breathes.
The episode finished with Hank and Walt, as we were sure it would. To try and describe that final showdown wouldn’t do it justice. You saw it, it was amazing. So I’ll leave it by just saying that I am ridiculously happy to have this show back and I will be gripped for the next 7 bittersweet weeks. I’m going to stay committed and recap each episode, so do come back soon. And have an A1 day.
SEVEN GREAT QUOTES:
- “Hi Carol.”
- “Does bubblegum belong anywhere near ocean spray? No.”
- “Spock has total vulcan control over his digestion.”
- “I think he’s dead and I think you know that.”
- “Barn Door Open!”
- “I’m a dying man who runs a carwash. My right hand to God that is all that I am.”
- “If that’s true… if you don’t know who I am… then maybe your best course… would be to tread lightly.”
TWO AMAZING BITS OF FASHION:
- Saul’s green shirt
- Walter White’s Tighty Whites
ONE BRILLIANT MONTAGE:
- Hank doing his own version of a Youtube unboxing video
THREE GREAT CONVERSATIONS:
- Badger’s Star Trek script
- Walter convincing Jessie he didn’t kill Mike
- Hank and Walter’s showdown