Breaking Bad – Season 5, Episode 9

Posted: August 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

Five Out of Five Stars

This week’s 2013 “mid-season” opener for the closing round of Breaking Bad illustrates so much of what I love about the show.

For a series that so many equate with action and suspense, here’s all the action that happened: one punch thrown. Oh, and one car accident that was really more of a dramatic fender-bender.

Every other development came via dialogue and characters’ actions and decisions.

I was especially surprised – pleasantly so – that the show’s creators found time, with only seven episodes to go until the series climax, for slow points filled with humor.

Which didn’t seem slow at all.

Take, for instance, Jesse’s manner of getting Saul’s secretary’s attention.

Or Badger’s utterly hilarious Star Trek script.

Need I mention the brilliant-as-usual cinematography? While the show has slightly overdone it from time to time (Zoomba, anyone?) this episode is beautifully shot, from the claustrophobic, paranoid opening scene to Hank’s perfectly illustrated panic attack, from Walt’s simply shot visit to Jesse’s apartment to Jesse’s nervous nocturnal urban excursion while trying to rid himself of blood money – did anyone else notice the fenced-in dog? – from the looming bathroom door to the wide shot of Hank and Walt face-to-face in the spacious garage just before the credits rolled. Breaking Bad is always a pleasure to see as well as watch.

I was glad to see the episode start with another flash-forward – but this time there’s no burned pink teddy bear floating in the pool – there’s every bit as much suspense as in those Season 2 openers, but not so much mystery.

Yes, we see Walt retrieve the storied vial of ricin, and we wonder how this couples with the M60 in the New Hampshire car, but along the way we learn that much of this season will likely be full-blown Greek tragedy. A haggard Walt sneaking into an abandoned and vandalized White home prepares us for the fact that his downfall over the next several episodes is inevitable – we trust the show, so we’ll stick around to see how it goes down, but Walt won’t be saying “I won” anytime soon. This and the flash-forward at the start of last August’s opener suggest Walt, all but crushed, will be out for one last desperate act of revenge in perhaps the last two or so episodes.

I’m sure we’ll be fascinated by Walt’s tumble from near criminal greatness and the way in which his Heisenberg identity unravels, but it’s this revenge – against Hank? against a nemesis who hasn’t yet been introduced? – that we’re really looking forward to.

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