Lily of the Valley: This Week on Breaking Bad (Episode 1 / July 15, 2012)
NOTE: Join us every MONDAY as we review the latest episode...
EPISODE 1: Live Free or Die
There's a gaping hole in the Meth distribution market. Walter White has crowned himself king, but this kingdom comes with a cost and those close to Walt are starting to realize a dark change is coming.
There are very few shows that could survive such controversial source material and still have you root for the protagonist the way we do for Walter White. Dude's making one of the dirtiest drugs on the planet, but we love him for it. He's killing people (some of whom deserve to die and some of whom don't) and we love him for it. The guy poisoned a little boy...yep, we still love him. How does this happen? Sometimes you roll the dice and the stars just align. Sometimes a writer does enough drugs, drinks enough Red Bull or hammers back enough shots to produce a brilliant epiphany. The how or why are irrelevant, because BREAKING BAD broke all the contrived molds and came out on top, just like Walter White. Hail to the king baby, hail to the king.
The first season was a little slow, mainly because the theme of cancer is nothing to celebrate. Thankfully Walt beats it and the plot began to thicken until it became molasses. The characters are what sells this story for me. Bryan Cranston gave us a 180 from MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE much like Katey Sagal did in her journey from MARRIED WITH CHILDREN to SONS OF ANARCHY. Personally I feel blessed to be around for this wondrous turn of events in TV history, because make no mistake folks that's exactly what we've been witnessing here. These actors have taken character 101 and upped the ante like nothing I've ever seen. It's like a steroid cocktail laced with Bruce Banner's Super Soldier Serum only these "Hulks" are smashing ratings season after season. Gus was a crafty villain and we needed him to level out Walt's sharp wit, but I can handle losing him because we got to keep Mike, a far more interesting character with deeper more sophisticated layers. He and the boys reluctantly team up tonight, but you can tell it's not going to end well.
I'm not so sure what Skyler and the family are bringing to the table this season, but anything's better than the Lori Grimes (THE WALKING DEAD) attitude Skyler was walking around with for far too long. Damn did I ever hate her. Walt Jr. is a superb character, I think he adds much needed humanity and boundaries to Walter's path (the newborn's also a nice touch). That said, this season's theme seems to point to Walt's ego becoming the antagonist which is a shame, but not altogether hard to imagine. I'm pumped to see where Hank fits into it all, his presence was relatively low key tonight, but he does make an appearance. And on that note, without spoiling anything, I can only say this: Magnets were always cool, but now they're epically badass.
BREAKING BAD SEASON 5's premier is intense, thought provoking and just as dark a look into the face of brewing evil as you can get. We know trouble's coming for the boys and we know they're (like Mike says) a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off and for me that's the appeal, that's the force driving us to hold our breath and not blink, THE reason of reasons to watch any show. The opening scene is also interesting (and sports a guest appearance by SUPERNTURAL's Jim Beaver) featuring a scene with what I can only assume is Walt much later in the season in a mountain of trouble. It's definitely a great question scene to keep us guessing and involved though, not that you need it at this point, as BREAKING BAD is without a doubt one of the best shows on TV. This first episode is a slow burn, but as we've come to know, it's always leading us to places we can't wait to be.
DRUG RELATED PROTIP:
Extreme heat will make your teeth "pop" like popcorn, a great way to avoid having your dead bodies identified by the police. And blowing off half their face is always fun.
Mike's reunion with the boys is volatile to say the least and although I love nearly everything he has to say, this was the best, "Well...you know how they say it's been a pleasure?...It hasn't."
It's always fun to keep tabs on how many times Jesse says "Bitch" per episode. He's off to a slow start with only 1 tonight. I have no doubt that number will grow as things progress.
I definitely have a new found love for magnets, but for my money (which sadly is given away in trailers) the best scene is Walter White calmly getting up from his chair and going behind Saul's desk to get intimately close to him and deliver the line, "It's over when I say it's over," which comes from Saul freaking out and saying he wants nothing more to do with any of them (oh, and www.bettercallsaul.com = Best website ever).
TELL US WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF THIS EPISODE BELOW!
|Extra Tidbit:||I just got back from ThrillerFest in New York where I was seducing agents with my novel. I was having drinks with one such agent and two of her clients when the writing of this column came up in conversation. Jill (who has a particular fondness for unicorns) says, "I've never watched the show, but I went to school and made out with one of the actors. He died last season, I think he got half his face blown off in an explosion."|