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Thursday, September 01, 2011
TV Round-Up: Breaking Bad
"Problem Dog"
What was once a show exclusively about Walt has, in many cases, made Walt almost a supporting character this year. Walt is still fascinating to watch, but what's really interesting is how compelling all the supporting characters have become over the past several years.

First and foremost is Jesse, who this week agrees to help Walt take out Gus. Or does he? Watching the episode, I couldn't help but wonder if Walt's asking Jesse to kill Gus won't lead to a betrayal of some kind. All season, Gus has been working to split up the team of Walt and Jesse, driving a wedge between them. As Vince Gilligan has said, this season is a chess match between Walt and Gus. If so, what piece is Jesse? Or what piece is he to each player of the game? I think he's more than just a simple pawn the two push around...maybe more like a bishop or a knight. (I'm not as strong in my chess playing ability as I should be, so I could be way off base here).

But now with Jesse having the poison to take out Gus, any scene in which Gus and Jesse appears becomes tension filled. Will Jesse follow through? Can he handle the guilt from killing another human being? It's interesting to see how little Walt agonizes over the deaths he's caused over the years and how much Jesse does. The scene with Jesse playing the video game as he tries to confront what he's done to Gale was nicely done.

Next up, there's Skylar, who while she once embraced the Walt is a drug cook lifestyle and wanted to help it keep the family together is slowly realizing that Walt may be in deeper than she thought or imagined. Last week, Walt scared her with his statement of his place in the drug empire and this week she's flabbergasted by how much money Walt makes and the difficulties of laundering $7 million plus a year. Clearly the car wash isn't going to be enough, but how many other legal businesses can they acquire before the IRS comes sniffing around.

Speaking of that, one of the early running plots on the show was how despite the sheer volume of cash Jesse and Walt brought it, it was never enough to cover their fumbles and mistakes. We get a hint of that there when Walt has to pay a huge price tag to get rid of the evidence he trashed Walt Jr.'s new car by doing doughnuts in an empty parking lot and then setting the car on fire. Saul asking for the money and giving us the total just reminded me of early days when Walt and Jesse had to make more meth to cover the bills from the last boneheaded move. It also doesn't solve the problem of Walt buying the car and not returning it. Perhaps it was insured, but even that could raise some questions. I can't imagine they've introduced this plot only to have it end here.

Perhaps it will finally all register with Hank, who is back on his feet this week and back in the game as it were. The scene with Hank pitching just how Gus could be a drug kingpin was nice, as was his final ace in the hole. Clearly the noose is about to get a bit tighter for Walt and company...and I can't wait.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/01/2011 01:52:00 PM | |
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