Just Bananas About: Week of 8/19/13

Breaking Bad certainly wants to go out with a big bang.  I watch a lot of TV and sometimes I can get a good sense of where the drama is heading but this is one I just can’t gauge.  I could never get a good gauge on this show and that’s why it’s so good.

So for those who don’t watch the show, the series is about a high school chemistry teacher, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) who after getting a Stage 4 Cancer diagnosis makes the drastic decision to get into the drug business to support his family.  HIs family is an average middle class family with a stay-at-home wife, teenaged son with cerebral palsy and a new baby on the way.  Together with his ex-student turned drug dealer, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), he decides they could cook meth and sell it.

So there begins the story of Breaking Bad, Walt starts off as this sympathetic character, but with each season Walt just pushes the envelope.  To the point where I really despised his character where he really crossed a line he couldn’t return from.  However at the very, very end of last season, there seemed to be a small light at the end of the tunnel for Walt.  He just wanted out of the whole drug game.  So I was thinking maybe he could be redeemed.

Cut to the premiere episode of the 2nd half of the final season last week.  First, Hank (Dean Norris) finally puts two and two together and realizes that his brother is Heisenberg, the kingpin mastermind behind the blue meth.  He tries to look at all the evidence that he’s put together about Heisenberg over the years, not wanting to believe his hunch.  Meanwhile, Walt is returning to a somewhat normal life.

On the other hand, Jesse is having a hard time living with all that he’s done over the years.  He goes to Saul (Bob Odenkirk) wanting to give $2.5 million of his drug money to go to Mike’s granddaughter and the other to the kid who got killed when he witnessed Walt, Jesse and another recruit, Todd, to the methylamine train heist.

Walt visits Jesse and tells him to just take the money and live a good life now that they’re out.  However, Jesse wants the money to go to Mike’s granddaughter knowing that he’s dead.  Walt refuses to acknowledge that they know he’s dead.  Though the reality is that Walt killed Mike but instead he continues to lie to Jesse about it.  At this point, I realized there is just no redeeming Walt.

What tops the cake is that Walt discovers that Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass is missing from his bathroom, the only connection between him and Gale Boetticher.  That’s because Hank took it to make a handwriting comparison.  Walt then goes to his car and discovers the tracking device under it.

I can’t believe the show went here when it did but Walt confronts Hank and Hank in turns beats the crap out of him.  The brilliant thing about the dialogue here is that Walt still manages to choose his words carefully by never actually admitting to anything.

In last night’s episode, we go a step further as Hank goes to Skyler (Anna Gunn) and tells her everything but he wants her to tell him everything she knows and promises to keep her safe.  She unwilling to give Walt up but for me, I think it’s because she terrified for her family.  I don’t even know how Walt, Jr. will react once he finds out.

Because Skyler is unwilling to tell on Walt, Hank brings in his wife, Marie (Betsy Brandt).  She begs Skyler to tell everything she knows but seeing that she won’t, she gets angry.  She can’t believe Skyler just stood by when people were being killed and her own husband was almost shot to death.  Marie tells Hank to go to work and get the other agents to help gather enough evidence to put Walt away.

When Hank goes in, he learns that Jesse’s been arrested for odd behavior.  Since Jesse was unable to give money to the two families that he wanted to give to, he gives it away any way he can.  Throwing it out his car window, giving a stack to homeless people, just leaving the bag out for anyone to take.  Hank gets his chance to interrogate Jesse and the episode ends with the two of them in the room.

I can’t believe how quickly this is all escalating.  We knew it was coming but I never thought it was this soon and that’s the beauty of a show that knows when to quit while the going is good.  They can control the writing instead of dragging things out.  While I did think the first few episodes of the first season were a big slow, it was necessary in order to for us to get a good grasp of who the characters were.

For an upstanding citizen to meth dealer, it’s a bit farfetched but makes sense when you understand Walt’s motives at the beginning of the series.  From there it was a slippery slope to drug kingpin.  I love the pacing and editing of this series as it plays with time.  We’re given clues about the picture but don’t get a sense of the whole picture until later on.  That style has been pretty consistent all throughout the series and I can’t wait to see what these last few episodes have in store for us.

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