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.