When has Jesse versus Walt not had a presence in Breaking Bad? Sure, it hasn’t always been at the magnitude it’s at now – it feels like it’s been forever since the worst thing we saw Walt do was call Jesse an idiot – but it’s always been there. It’s been growing in severity as each season has passed, from some verbal disagreements to several physical fights, all hopefully building up to one last confrontation. “Rabid Dog” set the scene for the final showdown; it just took awhile for it to get there. The last few episodes have flown by. I find myself looking at the clock and thinking, “No way an hour has already passed. It just started!” This episode, though, was a little slower, starting with Walt’s faulty gas pump lie.
Before I get to that, the opening scene needs a little love. I’m pretty sure I gnawed off all of my fingernails as Walt moved through his gasoline-soaked house searching for Jesse and discovered he was gone. Walt’s cover-up for the gasoline smell kind of undid all of that. It wasn’t poor writing or a bad transition. It’s that Walt’s elaborate lies have become so tiresome that they’re disrupting the course of the show. The bigger the lie, the more he exaggerates this sense of earnestness, and even Walt Jr. picked up on it. I have to admit, I gasped when he asked his dad to tell the truth for once. I thought for sure this was going to be the moment he started to figure everything out. My hopes were dashed when he started talking about Walt’s cancer, which he gladly played into. Skyler seemed to know almost immediately and confronted him about it once the family settled in at its temporary hotel home.
With every new episode of Breaking Bad comes seriously heightened anxiety levels. We’ve all endured some pretty panicky moments over the course of the show, but no episode has ever come close to the tension “Confessions” created. Let’s start from the beginning.
The opening scene brought us to a diner with Todd, his uncle, and a cohort, all of whom were just returning from laying a smackdown on Declan and his subpar meth lab. Todd let Walt know what went down via a voicemail and then, after sitting down at the table, gloats about his involvement with the train heist in what felt like an attempt to convince the older, hardened criminals that he was ready to head up his own lab. We don’t hear about Todd again or the rest of the episode, so it’s unclear whether or not Walt actually heard the message.
In the next scene, Walt seems to be focusing on more important things than his cell phone. He’s trying to cover up his black eyes with concealer while also talking to Walt Jr. He’s not totally engrossed in the conversation until Jr. mentions that Marie invited him over for dinner. Walt perks up mid-makeup application and, just as his son is walking out the door, he pulls him back in. He has to think fast, so he does the one thing he knows will keep Walt Jr. in the house: he drops the “C” bomb. He was clearly not ready for the news and decides to stay home, just like Walt, the expert manipulator who chose to go after his own son, knew he would. When Hank gets home sans his nephew, Marie panics. She becomes more on-edge once she realizes Hank hasn’t revealed his secret to anyone at work. The scene cuts to the White residence, and Walt recites and records the beginning of what sounds a confession, which starts out almost identically to the one in the pilot.
You know how some teenagers think they’re invincible? They’ll maybe pass by a car wreck on the side of the road and think, “Hey, that could never happen to me” and continue to race down the highway without caution. But then it does happen and it’s scary. It’s scary and it sets them straight.
That is Walter White. He finally had his epiphany in “Buried” on Sunday night. How many times have we heard him acknowledge that he isn’t perfect?
“I screwed up.”
Those words sounded almost foreign coming from his mouth. There was no lying. There was no blaming anybody else. It was an honest statement, a statement that wasn’t totally self-serving, and from Walt, those are rare. He told Skyler that he’d turn himself in and told her to take the money. If anything, he’ll leave his family with a little bit (or a lot, really) of security regardless of the fate he suffers. It was actually sort of heartwarming. It’s one of his final statements of the episode, though, that kind of set all of that aside. His plea for Skyler to not let all of his hard work go to waste was more like the Walt we’re used to, the Walt who just last week begged Jesse to believe him because Walt needed him to.
After what had to be the longest bathroom trip in history, Breaking Bad finally returned on Sunday following an 11-month break. Like many viewers expected, Vince Gilligan and company delivered. The season five second-half premiere was tense from start to finish – it was hard to remember to breathe. But who would have expected anything else?
“Blood Money” began with a handful of twenty-somethings skateboarding in an empty pool. It became clear that they were in the backyard of the White residence once one caught air and went just beyond the lip of the pool. Sure enough, we got a view of the front of the house, now fenced in and dilapidated. Future Walt pulls up in his now-familiar Volvo and enters the abandoned home, now featuring the word “Heisenberg” spray-painted in large letters across a wall. Walt retrieves his hidden stash of ricin and leaves the house, only to be seen by his visibly shaken neighbor Carol, who promptly drops her bag of groceries once she realizes who she’s looking at. She’s terrified. Leave it to Walt to think he’d be able to slip into his condemned home unseen. His invincibility complex never ceases to amaze. The amount of time that’s passed from where “Gliding Over All” ended to where this episode began is unclear, but one thing is certain: shit went down, and it was bad.
I have a theory that nightmares are our brain’s way of saying “hey, your life could be worse,” which is why the horror genre is increasingly becoming popular in television. So what if you have crippling debt because of student loans. At least, you don’t have to kill your zombified friends and family. According to this CBC article, that’s why zombies are so popular.
There is no doubting that times are tough. When you find yourself in times of trouble, mother television comes on to make things all better. Since the dawn of primetime, TV has always been an escape from our daily lives. It’s why we never saw our favorite nuclear TV families broken apart by war. Instead of living vicariously through our favorite TV characters like we used to, we’re saying, “hey, my life could be worse”.
True Blood (HBO)
True Blood came out in the height of that whole Twilight fad that some of us don’t like mentioning being part of. I remember girls complaining that True Blood was a blatant rip off of the saga. Aside from having vampires, the protagonist happens to have telepathic abilities, just like a certain sparkly vampire. Except The Southern Vampire Mysteries that inspired the TV show came out before Stephanie Meyer dreamed up Twilight.
The difference between True Blood and any other vampire movie or TV show is that it dealt with current issues. Gay rights to be specific. This is made obvious by the “God hates Fangs” sign in the intro, which is a lovely jab at The Westboro Baptist Church. The show has continued to use vampires as an allegory for the LGBT community. You know, vampires are people too!
Despite airing in the summer, which is usually a death sentence, this show became insanely popular. So popular that HBO has been pushing out more and more TV shows ever since its 2008 debut. Since so many people took time out of their busy summer schedules of doing nothing, it showed that horror is something channels should strive toward.
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In other Anger Management news, Martin Sheen will play Charlie’s father on the show.
The Modern Family cast wants big salary increases.
The Killing has been killed. AMC cancels the drama after 2 seasons.
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog will air on the CW in October.
At the end of last month, Dish Network dropped AMC from its service. However, all is not lost for fans of AMC’s Breaking Bad. The network is making the season 5 premiere of Breaking Bad available via a live stream at www.amctv.com/breakingbad4dish. Dish customers will be able to register for access to the live stream beginning today at 3pm. The live stream will begin this Sunday at 10pm, which is the same time Breaking Bad will begin its fifth season on AMC.