Two-time Emmy winner Aaron Paul may have driven off into the night on AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” but he’s front and center in this year’s Drama Supporting Actor race for his role as conflicted meth dealer Jesse Pinkman.
SYNOPSIS: In Paul’s submitted episode, “Confessions,” Jesse finds himself in a police interrogation room after spending the previous night throwing millions of dollars in cash around his Albuquerque neighborhood. DEA supervisor Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) grills Jesse about the money and his alleged involvement with Walter White (Bryan Cranston). Saul (Bob Odenkirk), who representes Walt and Jesse, shows up and bails Jesse out, then takes him to meet Walt in the desert.
Jesse tells Walt that Hank knows he’s the kingpin of a meth empire and that Hank wants Jesse to confess. Walt tells Jesse to just leave town, offering to set Jesse up with a whole new identity. Jesse then breaks down, asking Walt to just be honest with him for once. He’s tired of Walt trying to manipulate him and would rather Walt just ask him for the favor of leaving town so Walt won’t have to kill him.
Back at Saul’s office, Jesse is set up with his new identity. He’s then dropped off on a street corner with instructions to wait for the car that will take him to his new life, but Jesse reaches into his pocket and discovers cigarettes and he realizes that it was Walt and not Gus Fring who poisoned Brock back in season four.
He barges back into Saul’s office, punches him, grabs his gun, and threatens him with it until Saul confesses his involvement in Walt’s plan. Jesse takes Saul’s car keys and heads to Walt’s house with gasoline cans, pouring it throughout Walt’s house.
Will voters send Jesse with another Emmy for Drama Supporting Actor? Let’s analyze the pros and cons:
Paul has two very powerful scenes that could easily seal his third Emmy. The breakdown scene in the desert where he pleads with Walt to stop toying with him lets Paul show off a range of feelings: tears, fear, frustration, and a load of empathy. Paul’s other power scene is his confrontation of Saul where we see Jesse angry, heartbroken, and just downright broken.
As mentioned above, empathy is key. Voters love to give hugs and Jesse is in desperate need of several throughout the episode, never steering us into feeling anything but bad for him.
This is a chance to give Paul a victorious farewell, which is something the Emmys often do in the supporting races; Alan Alda (“The West Wing”), Blythe Danner (“Huff”), Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”), and Cynthia Nixon (“Sex and The City”) all won for their shows’ last seasons.
Paul has already won twice for this role and no actor has ever won Drama Supporting Actor three times. History is not on his side.
Though Paul shows range, he is so intense throughout that voters may wish for a quieter, understated scene.
If voters are going to give “Breaking Bad” a farewell acting Emmy, it looks to be locked up for Anna Gunn in the Drama Supporting Actress race, and if Emmy judges on Paul’s panel sense that, they may feel that’s enough.
Paul currently sits atop our standings with even odds. Are we crazy for thinking Paul could become the first actor with three Emmys in this category? Make your predictions below.