Season 2, Episode 9: 4 Days Out

This episode proves to be an emotional rollercoaster for both Walt and Jesse. The two’s relationship with each other, as well as their physical and mental limits, are severely tested during the situations that arise in this episode. Here, we really see the characters at their breaking point. 

Walt comes to believe his situation is truly dire when he catches a glimpse of his x ray from his chemo and radiation therapy and sees a huge dark mass in his lung. Though the results of the test and therapy have not been revealed to him yet, Walt fears the absolute worst. To make matters even more troublesome, he is down to $16,000 after dealing with all the legal troubles from Badger’s arrest. As Saul puts it, he’s only left his family enough for “a second-hand Subaru.” Fearing he has such a short time to live and nothing substantial to leave to his family, Walt hastily plans a huge cooking expedition for him and Jesse to undertake. Saul adds in another ill-humored message with “Make hay while the sun is still shining.” 

But with Walt’s new plan to fix his predicament comes some conflicts between not only him and Skyler, but also between Jesse and Jane. Skyler, who’s been urging Walt to remain positive about his test results, suggests that the family go for a weekend outing to spend some time together and get their mind off their troubles at home. Instead of taking this precious time he has left to spend with his family, he lies and says he has to visit him mother. Although Walt is doing this so that he can get away for a few days to cook a huge amount of meth to sell and make substantial money for his family, he is blind to the fact that he is missing some of what could possibly be his last special times with them. 

 Additionally with this plan to have a marathon cooking expedition, Jesse is also forced to choose between spending time with Jane and making tons of money. Jane invites him to go to a museum exhibit with her, to which he agrees. Walt soon convinces him however that they must go out into the desert for a few days to cook non-stop and make back the money they’ve lost. Although Jesse truly wanted to spend time with Jane, he changed his mind at Walt’s constant urging. 

After Walt schemes his way into making Skyler think he is away for a few days, Jesse picks him up and they set out into the desert for their marathon cooking weekend. Soon enough, they’ve made 42 pounds of meth which will make them $672,000 each. Both cheer their fruitful work and congratulate each other…until they soon come to realize that the van’s engine is dead after Jesse left the key slightly turned in the ignition. 

Trying different ways to get the car going again, the two soon turn on each other just as quickly as they had begun congratulating each other before. After tons of fruitless efforts, the two really see their situation as desperate. Jesse moans that he should have just gone to the museum with Jane. Now, he fully regrets choosing the drugs over her. Walt tells himself he deserves this for what he’s put his family through. The two have clearly reached their breaking point, and hate themselves for putting themselves in this type of lifestyle and situation. 

 Absolutely crazed and desperate to save themselves, Jesse begins rattling off things Walt could make. He pleads with him to think of something that could save them. Suddenly Walt has an idea…he creates a makeshift battery…and it works. The two hightail it out of the desert. Jesse drops Walt off at the airport, telling Jesse that he knows he can trust him to take care of his family, to which Jesse reassures him he will. 

Overall, the episode ends on a positive note, even with all the drama that Walt and Jesse went through in the desert. At the doctors, Walt learns that his cancer is in remission. Walt is utterly shocked and his whole family congratulates him. Though this is a happy moment for them, we see Walt’s inner anguish when he is in the bathroom and punches his reflection in the metal towel dispenser. Though he’s made it out alive and with things looking good for his cancer, he has truly come to hate the person he’s become. I think we’ll see however that this will certainly not deter him from continuing his life in the drug business. Soon, I think he will even grow to enjoy the power he continues to gain as a drug lord. 

Overall, the episode ends on a positive note, even with all the drama that Walt and Jesse went through in the desert. At the doctors, Walt learns that his cancer is in remission. Walt is utterly shocked and his whole family congratulates him. Though this is a happy moment for them, we see Walt’s inner anguish when he is in the bathroom and punches his reflection in the metal towel dispenser. Though he’s made it out alive and with things looking good for his cancer, he has truly come to hate the person he’s become. I think we’ll see however that this will certainly not deter him from continuing his life in the drug business. Soon, I think he will even grow to enjoy the power he continues to gain as a drug lord.  

Overall, the episode ends on a positive note, even with all the drama that Walt and Jesse went through in the desert. At the doctors, Walt learns that his cancer is in remission. Walt is utterly shocked and his whole family congratulates him. Though this is a happy moment for them, we see Walt’s inner anguish when he is in the bathroom and punches his reflection in the metal towel dispenser. Though he’s made it out alive and with things looking good for his cancer, he has truly come to hate the person he’s become. I think we’ll see however that this will certainly not deter him from continuing his life in the drug business. Soon, I think he will even grow to enjoy the power he continues to gain as a drug lord. 

Breaking Bad News: Bryan Cranston Earns Spot on Time’s Most Influential People List & The Cast Meets to Discuss the Last Episodes with Conan O’Brien

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Bryan Cranston in his Breaking Bad role

This past week, Time Magazine named Bryan Cranston, aka Walter White, as one of the world’s 100 most influential people. Cranston’s tribute was written by none other than Jon Hamm, who plays Don Draper on AMC’s other wildly successful show Mad Men. Hamm describes his first time meeting Cranston on an AMC photo shoot years ago. At this time, both their shows had not even premiered yet, and AMC had not quite taken on the popularity and fame that it has gained now, in part because of the success of Breaking BadMad Men, and some of its other hits over the past few years.

In the tribute, Hamm describes being intensely impressed by Cranston’s performance in Breaking Bad as well as by the twists and turns in the show himself. You can immediately tell that Hamm is not only a huge fan of Cranston’s, but also of the show.

Hamm writes, “I’ve marveled at Bryan’s ability to turn Breaking Bad’s Walter White from a feckless, terrified father and husband to a ruthless, terrifying father, husband, and crime lord. The transformation is mesmerizing. The performance is fearless. Bryan is that good.”

Click here to read the full tribute: http://time100.time.com/2013/04/18/time-100/slide/bryan-cranston/

In other Breaking Bad news, Conan O’Brien acted as moderator in a panel with the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan, and some of the main stars of the show, including Cranston, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks. The conversations that arise in the panel are extremely interesting, but also avoid giving away spoilers for the final episodes which premiere this August. Watch the video below to see the panel discussion.

Season 2, Episode 8: Better Call Saul

ep-8-1Even though the events in the opening scene to this episode put Walt and Jesse in a terrible situation, I can’t help but laugh at what takes place. One second you think Badger actually has some street smarts and knows an undercover cop when he’s talking to one. He points out where the police vans are waiting disguised as trucks from flower shops. He tells the guy to get lost because he knows he’s wearing a wire. He literally points out everything about this potential stake-out that is surrounding him. And then you start to wonder yourself… is it a stake out? Or is this tall, lanky guy just actually trying to buy some meth? It all becomes clear when Badger decides to sell to him, deciding he can’t be a cop (repeat: after he points out an entire stake out that could be happening around him) then once the meth is transacted, Qualls pulls a gun on Badger and police swarm the scene from the flower shop trucks that Badger had just identified, and they arrest him.

Not only are Walt and Jesse forced to get nervously close to the DEA, and Hank, again, but they are also forced to enter into business with a seriously shady lawyer named Saul Goodman. His motto “Better Call Saul” was conveniently strewn on an advertisement on the bench that Badger was sitting on when he got arrested. It seems that every time that

Walt and Jesse get somewhere good with their business, some outside character or party brings it down, and they are left to pick up the pieces and climb back to their starting point. Although this certainly strains the relationship between Walt and Jesse, you can also see their trust in each other subtly growing. Both know that they both have the same objective, and it seems that it’s just the outliers that are bringing their business down.

Jesse’s relationship with Jane has finally picked up, and we see the two laying on his apartment floor together…since he doesn’t have a mattress (but thankfully by the end of the episode he invests in one). The two really seem to like each other. Things only get awkward when Jesse mentions doing drugs, to which Jane reveals that she’s been recovering from drug addiction for the last 18 months. This should have some interesting affects and consequences on their relationship…a drug dealer and a recovering drug addict do not quite seem like a match made in heaven, although when drugs are out of the picture in their interactions the two do seem like a cute couple.

Dealing with Saul is proving to be some very sketchy business. Although Saul saves Badger from talking to the DEA at first, he tells Walt (who speaks to Saul pretending to be Badger’s uncle) that he is going to have him “singing like a canary” to reveal to the DEA who the famed blue meth supplier is. Walt offers Saul ten thousand dollars not to do this.

episode-7-saul-goodmanLater, however, Walt and Jesse decide to set up a fake kidnapping scheme to try to scare Saul into listening to their instructions. This plan backfires when Saul recognizes Walt from his horrendous coughing fits. When the scheme completely falls apart, Walt and Jesse are forced to negotiate with Saul. He plans for an ex-con to act as Heisenberg in a set up sting by the police, so that the ex-con can go to prison and Badger can be set free.

During the sting, Badger sits on the same bench he was first arrested and sits waiting for a bald man to arrive that will act as Heisenberg, while the police wait to arrest him when he appears. Then, a bald man sits on the same bench as Badger….but it’s not the ex-con… just an unknowing bystander who may be seconds away from getting put in prison. The ex-con sits on the next bench over, and the entire scheme between Walt, Jesse, and Saul is about to go south…until Walt makes a very gutsy move.

As Walt watches in horror as their plan is about to blow up in their faces, he sees Hank is one of the police staking the scene out and drives directly in front of his car, blocking his view of the benches. Normally, Walt would NEVER show his face at such a clashing scene between his two lives. On one side he has Hank ready to arrest the guy that’s supposed to be him, and on the other he has Jesse and Badger waiting nearby. But, to spark some turn of events that might save their entire plan, Walt really makes an awesome spur of the moment decision. With his car blocking the benches, everyone gets in their right places and the scheme goes ahead as planned. Whew. Watching this whole scene go down was even stressful for me, as Walt and Jesse seem like they are in a constant cycle of frantically clawing their way out of crazy situations.

We are also still far away from hearing the end of Saul, as he confronts Walt at his school. Saying he wants to be “the Tom Hagen to Walt’s Vito Corleone,” Saul proposes that Walt let him enter into business with him and Jesse to protect their money and act as their legal contact. It’s been clear from the beginning that Saul was a shady lawyer, but now we see that he’s actually a real criminal.

Season 2, Episode 7: Negro y Azul

In this episode, we see the aftermath of Jesse’s run-in with the junkies. Since everyone thinks that Jesse killed one of the junkies, rather than his own girlfriend, people have been paying up right away and not giving Jesse or his crew of drug dealers any problems whatsoever. Even Jesse’s friends think that Jesse killed someone. The only person who knows the truth is Walt, but he has no intention of clearing up the rumors when it seems to be working so greatly to their advantage. With this, we see a hard, unfeeling business side to Walt. He will do anything he can to make both him and Jesse look like the most ruthless, violent, and powerful guys in the drug game, just so that no one will mess with them and, more importantly, so that they can control the market and raise the price of their product. While building up his rep as a bad guy, Walt fails to see what is going on with Skyler, as usual.

Skyler has just gotten a job at Beneke Fabricators, a company where she used to work. Ted Beneke, the owner and someone who clearly has an eye for Skyler, gives her the position she used to have almost on the spot. We can see that their is obviously a connection between the two. Ted seems like the kind of man that Sklyer should be with. He seems like the total package compared to her husband who is constantly acting shady and lying to her. It’s no wonder why Skyler was so happy to talk to Ted who, as we find out from Marie, had a previous flirtatious incident with Skyler when she used to work there. We will definitely be seeing some interesting interactions between these two, and possibly even an affair. Even so, after all that Walt has put Skyler through, if I had to guess I would think that she won’t go through with cheating on Walt…but it will definitely cross her mind.

Hank goes through some more traumatic incidents in this episode…exactly what he doesn’t need at this point. As he tries to play his typical rough, macho man self in his new position, he finds that no one takes him seriously because of it. These agents are a bit more advanced than he is and use their patience and smarts to get the answers they want, which is something Hank has never relied on during  his career. Hank’s job gets severely chaotic when a bomb explodes from the severed head of one of the DEA informants. Many of Hank’s fellow agents are maimed, with Hank only being able to survive because he had ran off to vomit from the sight of the head while his colleagues stood and laughed at it. Hank has been slowly but silently crumbling from all the trauma he has experienced, and I wonder what will happen now that he has been through yet another devastating experience.

Like Skyler, Jesse also comes across his own romantic encounter with none other than Jane. I’ve been waiting for these two to get together since the moment they met. You could just see right from the beginning that there was a connection between them. They both hang out on the back porch as Jesse smokes and Jane draws a tattoo. When Jesse asks why she doesn’t have any tattoos herself she replies that “it’s too much of a commitment.” Though that may be a clue in the fact that Jane doesn’t want to get serious with Jesse, she softens up  to Jesse later in the episode when he invites her to his apartment. As he squirms impatiently trying to get his satellite TV to work for them, Jane reaches out and holds his hand. Though they are both sitting on lawn chairs in Jesse’s ramshackle apartment, the scene is very cute and romantic. I can see Jane bringing out a very softer side to Jesse…something that may conflict with his drug business. It will be very interesting to see what unfolds between these two.

Season 2, Episode 6: Peekaboo

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Walt and Jesse both face some tough situations in this episode, with Walt’s concerning his personal life and past relationships while Jesse’s involving his reputation as a drug dealer. We see Jesse totally transform from start to finish in this episode. In the opening scene, Skinny Pete gives Jesse information on 2 junkies that robbed him so that Jesse can do what ever it takes to get their money and drugs back, or as Skinny Pete says, “Those two need to get got.” To save his reputation as a major player in the meth business, Jesse has to teach these two a lesson..and a violent one.. so that no one dares to mess with him or his friends again.

Outside of the junkie’s house, Jesse smokes some meth to get himself ready for what he might be about to do. For some reason, it was weird to see Jesse smoking the meth himself…in recent episodes we haven’t seen him actively doing the drug, just selling it. To see him doing it again must mean he is REALLY nervous, as he probably should be. It’s clear he has no idea what he is walking into when he enters the house, or what he is going to do. He does know that this encounter might result in him taking a person’s life if things go the wrong way…but I don’t think Jesse has got that in him.

Jesse finds that the junkies aren’t home, so he sits on the couch to wait for them. Suddenly, a little boy, who has clearly been neglected by his drug-addicted parents, sits on the couch next to Jesse and turns on the home-shopping channel, which is the only station the TV gets. He turns to Jesse and says “I’m hungry.” You can see the shock on Jesse’s face that this little boy even lives in this dirty, ramshackle house, neglected by his parents and left alone all day to take care of himself at the age of five.

Meanwhile, Walt faces a sticky situation of his own after Gretchen learns that Walt has been telling Skyler that her and her husband are paying for Walt’s medical bills. After Skyler calls to thank Gretchen for being such an angel to them, Gretchen proposes they meet that afternoon as she cannot find the words to even ask what is going on.

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After Walt sees Gretchen’s car in his driveway, to his relief she did not reveal anything to Skyler about the lie but leaves the house the second she sees Walt. Later, Walt and Gretchen meet at a restaurant where Walt ends an angry and emotionally charged conversation with a “F*** you” to Gretchen. He is enraged that Gretchen wants an explanation after her and her husband made millions of dollars off of his research.

This hardened attitude of his that he uses as a drug dealer has really crossed over into his personal life. If we had flashed back to before Walt started dealing meth, I don’t think anyone could have imagined him cursing like that at a woman. We also see this happen when he lets Walt, Jr. get a glimpse into his other persona after someone from the high school draws over one of Walt’s old “Missing” flyers and puts it on his windshield. As they drive home, Walt proposes that Walt, Jr. and him violently teach whoever put the flyer there a lesson and describes in detail what they would do. Though Walt, Jr. just laughs, never expecting his dad to ever do something like that, it makes you think how serious Walt might have been considering he just ordered to junkies to be possibly murdered by Jesse.

At the end of the episode is where we see Jesse’s character go from seemingly violent to kind and caring. After confronting the junkies who promise they have his money in an ATM and are working to open it, Jesse yells at them for not taking care of their son and letting him live in a such a horrible situation. He shouts, “Give him a bath! Put some baby powder on him!” After the woman ends up killing her boyfriend after purposely tipping the ATM on his head, completely crushing him and passes out on the couch, Jesse miraculously opens the ATM and grabs a wad of money. He calls 911 and picks up the little boy and brings him outside. He tells him not to go back inside and to have “a good rest of your life, kid.” He leaves only when he hears sirens approaching, knowing that the boy should be able to get some help now.

Though it wasn’t the most organized or nurturing way of helping the little boy, it did take some guts for Jesse to call the cops to the scene while he was still there…knowing all of the trouble he has been in lately. I think Jesse saw some of himself in the little boy. Even though Jesse’s parents seem to be relatively successful people, they never seemed to be around for him from what we have seen of them. I think Jesse has always felt abandoned by his parents just like the little boy has always been totally neglected by his own. This has shown a much softer side of Jesse that I think will continue to develop with his character, and will also probably come into a lot of conflict as Walt and him continue to gain more power in the drug business.

 

 

“This is the end, my friends…” – Breaking Bad’s Upcoming Final Season

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InsideBB_S5B_PrePrem_GreetingFromSet-560-thumb-autox165-49278VIDEO: Live from the Set of the Final 8 Episodes 

AMC posted the video above yesterday of stars Bryan Cranston (Walt), Aaron Paul (Jesse), and Dean Norris (Hank) commenting from the set of the last season of filming for Breaking Bad. The show’s final eight episodes are set to air in summer of this year. Breaking Bad’s return is highly anticipated by fans who have watched the show on AMC and also those, like me, who have watched the show online. I can’t wait for the new and final season, and it will be very interesting to see how its ratings stack up to its previous seasons.

Season 2, Episode 5: Breakage – Live Blog (Part 4 of 4)

ep-5-10Now we see Jesse’s business plan in action. It seems like everyone is buying from Jesse’s posse of friends. Jesse has showed himself as a skilled strategizer and businessman, not just the small-time drug dealer with no smarts that he’s been characterized as for most of the show. His plan for selling might even be better than Walt’s plan, because now they have more power and also less Tuco-type people to worry about.

That is until Skinny Pete gets held up by two junkies who take his meth and the money he had made…and Walt wants something done about it. But what he wants done he doesn’t know.

Junkies holding up Skinny Pete

Junkies holding up Skinny Pete

And now for the anticipated confrontation with Skyler about the cigarettes. Walt accusingly asks her if she knows anything about it to which she replies, “And then again, perhaps I don’t Walt. Perhaps I smoked them in a fugue state.” Round one goes to Skyler. When she admits to smoking three-and-a-half cigarettes, Walt says that this is so unlike her to which Skyler also comes up with a stinging response. “How would you know?” she replies. And Skyler wins. No matter what mistakes she has made, known could ever amount to the ones Walt has made. They both know this, and she uses it to her full advantage.

Is someone shooting a gun outside Hank’s house?? He wakes up and immediately grabs his gun and flashlight, confronting the situation exactly as he would a drug bust. He opens the door to the basement, nearly shooting Marie who surprises him. The caps on his home-brewed beer bottles are popping off, making a sound that exactly resembles that of a gun shot. Hank’s paranoia has clearly skyrocketed ever since his run in with Tuco. How he’s gonna handle his new promotion to an even more intense job? We will have to wait and watch.

And now someone is knocking at Jesse’s door. Jesse opens it and Walt walks in. There’s something very weird about seeing Walt in Jesse’s space, just as it was seeing Jesse in Walt’s house in the previous episode. Walt has always been very careful to keep Jesse at arms length and vice versa…their lives have become increasingly intertwined. Walt places a gun on the counter. “You asked me what I want you to do,” Walt says, “I want you to handle it.” Walt wants Jesse to confront the junkies that stole from them. Send them a message. Just like Tuco would have done. It’s the only way to keep the power and respect that they have now, which can be too easily lost if you’re not tough on those that cross you.

The episode comes full circle when Hank stands at the edge of the muddy river that we saw at the beginning and hurls Tuco’s encased grill into the water. We definitely have a lot more to see from Hank, and I’m glad his character is developing more and more. He plays a very interesting part in this show, not only as the DEA agent brother-in-law of Walt, but also as the crumbling macho man. Can’t wait to see what kind of trouble he runs into with his new promotion. Maybe with all the stress he’ll end up confinding in Walt as a “trusted” family member, which will make for some very interesting scenarios.