We are now three episodes into the second part of season five of AMC’s Breaking Bad. (Come on AMC, just call it season six already.) We only have five more to go before the story of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) comes to a close.
With only five episodes left with titles like “Rabid Dog,” “To’hajiilee,” “Ozymandias,” “Granite State,” and “Felina,” (29 September 2013), you have to wonder what’s up. Where’s it headed? Let’s talk about that for a moment.
Every episode title makes sense… after the fact. But before hand, nah. Beforehand, it’s always about keeping you guessing.
Warning for the Time-Shifted/DVD Viewer:
The following is a conversation aimed at folks who have already seen the show to date, or like spoiling their viewing experiences.
Hence, this article contains spoilers.
“Rabid Dog” (the next upcoming episode) could be anything from an actual rabid dog that one of our characters has to deal with, to possibly the build up of anger that we’ve seen in Jesse over the last few episodes. And literally, last few seasons.
Or what about the episode titled “Granite State?” That’s the nickname that the state of New Hampshire holds, but what could this mean? If Jesse lives till then, is it where he ends up hiding? Or is this where someone ends up, in a block of granite?
Knowing Walter, I would be surprised if he ends up dunking his own sister-in-law, Marie (Betsy Brandt) in a block of granite. Or anyone else for that matter.
Breaking Bad is pretty much my television viewing highlight of the week. Having followed the series from day one through to now, there’s an incredible story unfolding, from the mind of show creator Vince Gilligan.
Gilligan has been behind such favorites as the movie Hancock, and the TV series The X-files.
This final season has been no different than previous seasons. They keep you guessing, while opening with interesting teasers. And not unlike previous seasons, the season opener is one to keep you wondering through the entire season.
In the first part of season five, (Last TV season), we saw Walter buying a very large gun from someone. We never saw what came of that moment because it’s aimed at what I presume to be the final episode.
At the beginning of this TV season’s second part of season five (aka, six), we were treated to a different teaser. One where Walter sneaks into his own abandoned house. His drug dealing nickname is written on the wall. Here, he’s collecting the Ricin cigarette he’s hidden in the wall outlet. And after, as he comes out of the house, his neighbor sees him, drops her groceries while freaking out.
Oh, and the M60 from the first teaser was now in his trunk.
After seeing three episodes so far, I’m wondering if the gig is really up in a public sense, or if this is just a message to him, from a nemesis and he’s still getting away with what he’s done? His neighbor freaking out could just be someone who thought he was dead possibly. Or that she now see’s America’s Most Wanted, back at his home. This could go either way. Hell, for all we know, she could be freaking out because an armada of armed cops or thugs are coming for him and only she sees it.
Gilligan does that to us. Remember back to the season where there was debris all over the front and back yards of Walter’s house?
Walter seems to be truly out of the business. He’s closed shop and is trying to move on with his “booming” car wash business.
But now we see a dilemma we never saw coming.
Hank learns that Walter is Heisenberg. But there is no real proof. And even with Walter facing off with him and saying so, he says he’ll never catch him. And Hank is powerless.
And here, we thought that if he did discover the truth, he’d be able to pursue him. But Hank is freaked out that Heisenberg being his own brother-in-law, only puts him in a very bad situation. (Which got ultimately worse with Walter’s taped confession, putting it all on Hank as his drug boss, using his position in the DEA to manipulate the system.)
It doesn’t help that Marie let Skylar (Anna Gunn) pay for Hank’s medical bills. Or that they watched their kids for them for several weeks. All, seemingly incriminating points in that nasty little confession threat of Walter’s.
Walter just gets uglier with every episode and with every episode, I am losing track or hope of exactly what options Hank might have.
So far in these last three episodes, we are watching would could be described as the deconstruction of Jess Pinkman.
Each episode shows Jesse slowly breaking down.
From snapping and throwing money out of his car window, to letting himself get captured by the police, to discovering in the latest episodes that Walt and Saul have conspired, stealing his ricin cigarette. Which sets Jesse off in a huge way.
Yet despite Jesse being caught be the police, his stance is “Eat Me” when asked to turn on Walter.
I truly cannot decide which way Jesse is headed. But I surmise that it has all started when he decided that Walter killed Mike (Jonathan Banks), because Mike was slowly becoming the true father figure he never had, or that Mike was more honest (brutally) with him than anyone else in his life.
Adding that to the murders he’s already committed and been a part of, that’s not what he’s been about and it’s taking it’s toll on him.
I was pretty stunned to see that she’s now on board with Walter, and beyond that, protecting him (and herself) from the law.
She’s been given an opportunity by Hank to spill the beans and thus, protect her from prosecution, but she decides not to.
Her flip from calling Walter dangerous, to being totally behind him (it seems), has stunned and disappointed me.
And this b*sh*t about what’s done is done, it’s in the past crap. Give me a break lady. That’s nothing but an excuse from someone who wants to try to pretend it’s all good now, and to forget the wrongs which she has also committed.
Yet this latest development, where Walter is implicating Hank and her sister in his criminal ring with his false confession, could, maybe trigger a “blood is thicker than water” mode in Sky.
We can only hope.
Walter White Jr.
Walt Jr (RJ Mitte) is so far, one of the few untouched by all of Walter’s deeds. Sure, he’s been lied to. Sure, the Schraders are trying to “kidnap” their kids to get them out of the house. But so far, he appears untouched by the noise.
Now that Walter told him about his cancer coming back, he’s devastated about this situation.
What will he do, thinking his dad is looking once again down the barrel of the reaper’s aim?
Crap, Saul (Bob OdenKirk) is Saul. Looking like a two-bit lawyer, yet incredibly good and smart at what he does.
Despite his lucrative relationship with Walt and Jesse, he’s always getting the short end of the stick when either one of them gets into a tizzy.
WORD ON THE STREET is that Gilligan is considering or trying to launch a Saul Goodman spin-off. Let’s keep our eyes out for that one! Me… I’d love a Jesse spin-off too or instead of. There’s so much to Jesse we can still learn about!
Oh Marie, the woman who cannot for the life of her, keep a secret. I can’t decide who will be the one true loose cannon that sets things off for everyone… Todd (Jesse Plemmons*) or Marie.
Todd is cold, calculating, and truly does not seem capable of remorse. I can’t tell if it’s even in his dna.
But Marie, time and time again, as blown what ever secret she has carried. And this time, she herself, her husband and the White kids she cares about, are threatened.
I have to wonder at what point Marie might take matters into her own hands and kick start events?
*I have to hand to actor Jesse Plemmons. He’s been in some shows and movies I’ve watched and he pulls off the smart/innocent/wide-eyed roles in the past. This role of Todd, has peeled off the innocent/wide-eyed character trait and just left the smart/cunning role.
I’m enjoying this new role of his and have NO CLUE where it’s headed.
From having gone from innocent victim of cancer, to the dumb-ass family protector, to the man caught up in events… that’s all been excusable because it’s been done for a better cause. Despite this season’s events still being extenuation of those decisions, he’s taken it to an entirely different level.
Now, Walter is always able to justify his violence and the ends to his own means, no matter who it hurts.
With his cancer is back, that seems like the perfect karma. And as anyone whose ever dealt with cancer, most of the time when cancer returns, it’s not a good thing. But in Breaking Bad, who knows!!!
Burying the money out in the desert seems pretty smart… and playing a lottery ticket with those numbers is another incredibly smart move on Walters part. (Hey, if that lottery ticket actually wins, they would have legitimate money to their name!)
(BTW: The latitude and longitude of the money actually points to the production studios in New Mexico! [34 59′ 20″ -106 36′ 52])
But as we see, Walter is fully capable of lying through his own teeth and believing it, or seemingly believing it. He has gone beyond any mode of morals and has become as insidious as any mass murderer or drug dealer out there.
And the fact that no other criminal ilk is looking for the cook of the blue meth has me confounded, though as we have seen, Todd thinks he can cook it up, as well as Lydia.
If someone starts producing the blue meth again, this could actually give Walter an out, if Hank tracks the new stuff to the copycats. That would suck. Or maybe, give Hank a lead, with granted immunity.
In The End
At the time of this writing, one HAS to see that there’s so much to take place, or that needs to take place, or that fans hope it takes place, that it is mind boggling.
I truly am not sure where the series is headed. And that’s as refreshing as has been the actual characters and the growth they’ve all experienced throughout these five (six!) seasons.
Sure, you can say that the end of Breaking Bad will see
A) Walt dead, all for naught.
B) Walt alive, but with the law on his ass, his family never benefits from his efforts.
C) Walter gets away with it all, only to die a lonely man, his family broke or even dead!
D) Walter dies, but the real inspiration for it all, his family, is taken care of for all their years.
And who knows who suffers whatever other fallout may come from his actions. Will all the murders and deaths surrounding Walt’s acts really be for naught? Will the Mexican drug cartel show up and make everyone’s life a living hell?
That last option, “D,” Think about it… the Schraders love the White’s kids. If Walter dies, does Hank lets it go, for the sake of “family” and the kids? (I’m banking on Marie’s input on this one.) But can it be that with Heisenberg written all over the inside of his house, does Walt Jr. NOT know what’s happened?
But I’m forgetting about nuances that have been thrown into the mix for what, no reason? Todd, Hank getting set up to possibly being black-mailed, Jesse losing it, the one, quickly mentioned Czech drug gang, the spouses of our primary characters…
Ug… there are so many different directions this can go right now.
But if his lung cancer is back, with an ego as large as Walter’s, I can’t imagine he won’t want to go out in a bang as big as that ego of his. But if so, how many bodies will he leave in his wake?
OK, I could on and on about what could be. I could even dig and see what showrunners have said, but I’ve seen showrunners lie through their teeth about things. So rather than upsetting myself about showrunners, let’s give thanks instead.
But we have to stop and give thanks. The creative culmination of work from both in front of and behind the camera is truly amazing for this show.
From show creator Vince Gilligan, whose contributed to just about every episode as the writer, is evident. And it’s nice to see someone create a series, and continue to pamper it with their attention.
Other folks involved include exec producer Mark Johnson (Chronicles of Narnia, The Notebook and the most excellent series, Rectify), Melissa Bernstein (Rectify) and countless others that Gilligan collected under his wing.
BTW: Bryan Cranston has 21 episodes credited to his name as producer!
And despite the power of the starring cast, the supporting cast has also been chosen with such craft, that it never hurt the series to date… from Jonathan Banks as Mike (NOW THERE’S A SPIN-OFF I’D LOVE TO SEE! It would have to be a prequel obviously), to Giancarlo Esposito’s festidious criminal, Gustavo ‘Gus’ Fring. It’s been a pure pleasure.
Cinematography by Michael Slovis (Law and Order: SVU, 30 Rock, Royal Pains, Fringe, CSI) and Reynaldo Villalobos has been wonderful to boot, making the dreary flatness of the New Mexico landscape look enticing. How dare they!
Of course, no venue is any better than its editors. Between Kelley Dixon (Good Will Hunting, Reservoir Dogs, Shameless, Without a Trace) and Skip Macdonald, boom!!! It’s done right and the end product is seamless.
And all those oddball one-shot scenes, all worthy of their own tales. For example, in the second episode this season, when Walter backs out of Hank’s driveway, and comes within inches of destroying a remote controlled toy car.
How priceless, to see how close (and unknowing) Walter comes to destroying the innocence that toy car represents. Was that a clue to the series end? Who knows!
= = =
LIAR: Walt to Jesse: “Listen to me: I did not kill Mike. The last time that I saw him, he had his bag — the one that I brought him — and he got into his car and he drove away. And, for all I know, he is alive and well … Jesse, I need you to believe this.”
HERO: Hank to Walt: “You drove into traffic to keep me from that laundry. That call I got, telling me Marie was in the hospital? That wasn’t Pinkman. You had my cell number. You killed ten witnesses to save your sorry ass. You bombed a nursing home. Heisenberg. Heisenberg!”