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Tuesday, July 26, 2011
TV Round-Up: Breaking Bad
Thirty-Eight Snub
One of the things I've heard producer and series creator Vince Gilligan say time and time again about Breaking Bad is that it's not just the story about how a guy goes from Mr. Chips to Scarface, but also about the times in between those actions and the ramifications on the characters. No where is that more evident than in this week's episode as we see the continued fall-out from not only what happened last week, but from everything that's happened up until now.

The episode starts out with Walt deciding he has to take matters into his own hands and eliminate the threat of Gus. He buys a black market gun and then practices drawing it, hoping to get into a room with Gus and eliminate Gus. But Walt's plan begins to derail when it appears that Gus has finally clued in that being around Walt isn't a good idea and he'll send his messages now through other sources. He's also less trusting of Walt and Jesse, making the two re-weight their final payload after cooking. Walt goes to Gus's home to try and kill him but is warned off by Mike. Then later Gus tries to convince Mike to get him in a room with Gus and Mike summarily belts him one and delivers a few quick kicks to the ribs to make his point.

Watching Walt's attempt to resurrect and channel the Heisenberg persona is fascinating. In the past, Walt has used the persona has used the persona in short bursts and while we've seen that he really, really likes it, he's never embraced it for long. One big thing in those cases in the past is the other parties involved near saw Heisenberg coming. Gus is aware of Heisenberg and is probably aware that this side of Walt could be coming for him. If he's not, at least Mike is and Mike is ready to send back his own message--as bad as you think you are, you aren't bad enough to take me on...at least not yet. Gilligan has stated several times that this season will be a chess match between Gus and Walt, with Walt having to embrace the bad-ass side of himself. So far, the opening moves of the chess game seem to all be going to Gus. Walt pulled a surprise move in eliminating Gale, but since then he's been on the defensive, reacting to Gus's moves.

The question is--will Walt ever get to where he's two steps ahead of Gus again? Will Gus allow it? Walt is incredibly reactionary to danger and threats at times. He and Jesse tend to get into the most trouble when something goes awry that Walt didn't anticipate. I have to wonder if this season we'll see Walt stumble into a victory over Gus not because of being meticulous but because the lack of foresight in some areas makes Walt too unpredictable.

Meanwhile, on the Jesse front, his downward spiral continues. Last year, he said he came to the realization in therapy that he's the bad guy. And while we saw him embrace it last year, this time he's crossed a huge line and is having a hard time dealing with the consequences. He's haunted by the fact that he killed Gale and possibly by all the baggage he's accumulated in the time he's been associated with Walt. He's made some moves to try and get some of the pieces back into his life, but each one falls short. He bought his aunt's house from his parents but it's not quite filing the void. He's trying to reach out to his old drug running buddies and throw a wild party, but it's not quite filling the void. Even his relationship with Andrea is meant to be an attempt to rekindle some kind of feeling of normalcy with someone, but it doesn't work. While Andrea shares some characteristics with Jane, she can't quite fill the void left by Jane's death. It's interesting to see that Jesse tries to give some of the money he's made to Andrea so she and her son can escape their situation...but that he's just as ready to believe she could easily spend it all on drugs as the escape. Basically, she'd put herself on the same spiral that he's on--once on the wagon, but now completely fallen off and picking up speed as he plummets downhill.

Meanwhile, Hank continues to rehab, being wonderful to his physical therapist but putting Marie through the ringer. His obsession with minerals has to be leading somewhere but right now I can't quite see where it might all go. I have a feeling should Hank ever get back on the Heinsenberg case, Walt is in a lot of trouble because he'll be even more relentless than before.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/26/2011 03:11:00 AM | |
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