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Monday, August 22, 2011

Breaking Bad- This Week And Last Week (Shotgun and Cornered reviews)

We are almost halfway into season four of this show and there has yet to be a moment that knocks our socks off. Granted, most of those moments seem to happen in the final episodes of each season (with the exception of Walt committing his first murder in, like, episode three of the first season). It’s time to pick up the pace, we say. We thought the show was going to do it when Mike drove Jesse into the desert. We though, “Oh no! Is Jesse dead?” Hardly. They just spent most of the episode driving around together and digging up money.

However, even a slow series of Breaking Bad entries are better-made, more insightful, and more interesting than 90% of other shows. At least we know it’s all going somewhere. But a lot of the individual scenes this season have been a little too long. Like three weeks ago when Skyler went over the cover story with Walt. Or when Mike and Jesse made their first stop. That was like five whole minutes of getting out of the car and digging. Yeah, there was tension. But it was just too dang long.

The whole point of having Jesse tag along with Mike was for Gus to set up a fake attack on Mike that Jesse could avert. That way, Jesse would catch the same pride disease that Walt seems to have contracted. Gus hoped to drive a wedge between Jesse and Walt by making Jesse believe that he can do business and roll in this crowd without Walt’s skills and protection.

Walt occasionally goes back to the smart nerd we know, and this was one of those times. He instantly figured out what Gus was trying to do. But then Walt made it worse by explaining it to Jesse in a very non-tactful way. “It’s all about me!” he said. But props to Walt. We didn’t figure out that’s what Gus was aiming at (a rift between Jesse and Walt). If it works, Jesse is too dumb to deserve to live.

Skyler and Walt officially own the car wash now. We were thinking: Walt has done a lot of horrible things, but he has mostly done them to criminals. He hasn’t really been hurting innocents. Skyler, on the other hand, conned an honest businessman into selling her his life’s work. Who’s the real villain here? Skyler and Walt had sex last week, and it was disgusting. We are always show softcore, porny scenes of two young, perfect, lithe bodies wriggling, mostly outside of marriage. You’ve seen Skyler and Walt. Did we really need to see ALL of Skyler and Walt? Bleck. It was jarring.

The best part of the episode before this Sunday’s was when Walt went over to Hank and Marie’s for dinner and basically shot himself in the foot due to his ego. Hank was going on about how Gale was a real genius, and Walt couldn’t have a dead nerd that he didn’t like taking credit for his meth masterpiece. So he told Hank that he really thought that Gale was just copying the work of the real Heisenberg, who is probably still out there. We busted out laughing. This was so dumb, but it was so true to the character Walt has become.

The camera panned over to a very unhappy looking Skyler. She was probably going through all seven of George Carlin’s dirty words in her head. So Hank settled down to take another gander at the case and found a link between Gale and Gus’ chicken restaurant. It. Is. So. On. Our wish for this season is for the Hank and Heisenberg confrontation to happen.

So now we get to this week. Another reviewer summed it up this way: “This episode slathers on the reminders that Walt is a petty, egotistical, short-tempered man who is not nearly as smart as he believes himself to be.” Yup, this episode gave Walt nothing kind to do. If someone watched this show for the first time last week, they would probably think the protagonist of this show was Mike. Walt gave Skyler this whole rant about how he is the biggest, baddest drug dealer around. She got upset and left. Rather than placate her, Walt went out and bought his son a sports car, out of spite. We wish our parents would buy us stuff when they are mad…

Then Walt got three Honduran ladies in big trouble by paying them to clean his lab when Jesse bailed (after being offended by Walt). They have to be bused back to their mother country, because they saw the meth lab. That was a pretty good use of fragmented Spanish to get them to do it in the first place though. Walt IS smart; he’s just not wise.

At the end of this week’s episode, Jesse and Mike sat outside of a meth dealer’s house, staking it out. It was your classic Breaking Bad meth shack, complete with idiots with bad teeth, filthy rooms, guns, and suspicion. The cartel rivaling Gus’ stole some of Gus’ blue meth, and the meth shack people had bought some of the meth from that rival cartel. Bored of the stakeout, Jesse got out of the car, got one of the meth dudes to dig a hole in his own back yard (so that he would be occupied), and went inside to talk to the remaining methie.

That guy was totally gross and paranoid though, and Jesse had to knock him out with an adjacent bong and take his shotgun from him. Mike showed up just in time to see Jesse not completely bungle his big move. During this episode, Mike also seemed fatherly toward Jesse. It’s obvious that the show is starting to have the two forge a real bond. Jesse is loveable, in his way. After all, he is the only person that Walt is not a complete douche to/Loyalty to Jesse is Walt’s only remaining redeemable quality.

And that might get taken away as Walt continues to see himself as the bad ass running the show when he so clearly is not. A substantial relationship between Mike (who is not completely heartless. Remember his story about trying to save the abuse victim?) and Jesse could lead to many exciting places in the second half of the season.

Will they take on Walt together? Will they take on Gus together? Will Mike be like, “Just kidding, I don’t really care about you” and shoot Jesse in the face? Only time will tell. We are also looking forward to watching Walt be a poor car wash manager, because you just know he's gonna suck at that. We also think that Skyler should go this season, whether she dies or leaves Walt for good. This show needs better female characters. Jane was likeable and Marie is more interesting than Skyler. There's just too much Skyler, even though she is more capable and smarter than Walt will ever be.

Grade for both episodes: B-


  1. I would argue that Walt's love for his wife and family is his most redeeming quality.

  2. We don't think he's been showing them love the same way he does Jesse. He puts them in danger, treats Skyler with disrespect, turns her son against her, spoils her son, and lets his ego run rampant.

    With Jesse, he puts himself in danger, puts his life on the line, and shows unconditionally loyalty, even when Jesse messes up.

    It's about sacrifice. He will risk loss for Jesse before his family. At the beginning of the show, he was all about his family. We feel like he's lost that.