June 2, 2011 at 8:34 am #221455
The season does not begin until July 17th, but I wanted to get this started because of the trailer that was just released promoting the 4th year of the show. It’s gonna be a doozy.
Fair warning: There is no new footage in the trailer. It’s all from the preceding seasons.June 2, 2011 at 9:45 pm #221457
I can’t wait for the premiere! I am currently rewatching season 3 and am all psyched up for season 4.
I heard a while back Vince Gilligan had planned the show to be a four season series, does this mean this is the final season? Anyone knows where the contract between Gilligan and AMC stands?June 3, 2011 at 7:24 am #221458
No, I actually watched a video recently, featuring Gilligan at a French-language Q & A. He spoke for a little over an hour, and he mentioned that he had expected the show to be a four-season series. But after breaking the fourth season stories, he and his writers realized that they have a least one more season in them.
So it actually looks like five will be the magic number. I just appreciate that they have a clear idea of what they want, and that they aren’t dragging it out any longer than they need to. I’ll post that video as soon as I can find it again.
Here it is:July 1, 2011 at 3:34 am #221459
I watched a video a few days ago and the showrunner said that right at this moment, they are considering to make Season 5 their last, however he also said that this wasn’t a definite and could change. Gilligan also said that if the show gets suddenly cancelled this season (not that AMC will ever DARE do such a thing), he has a backdoor to end the show. Anyway, season 4 looks epic. Cannot wait.July 1, 2011 at 4:20 am #221460
I’m psyched for the new season, I didn’t start watching until about a month ago. I bought the first two seasons and had the third season still on my DVR.
In regards to having the 5th season being their last, I think it’s a good idea. I mean, I don’t think there is much more to cover. If they can bang out an awesome fifth and final season, then I’m on board.July 1, 2011 at 3:09 pm #221461
I just finished season 3 and I can’t believe I have been missing out on such an amazing show this entire time. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are giving two of the best performances on television ever and the series itself is like the ultimate juggling trick (They always find away to get themselves into a huge whole but always find a way out in a way that’s true to the shows nature).
I actually like the idea of ending after a 5th season. This is definitely a show that can only last for so long and just look at The Office (which is considered to be one of the best tv series ever and only consisted of 12 episodes and a 2 part special). Many times less is more.July 18, 2011 at 1:54 pm #221462
When Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) first showed Walt (Bryan Cranston) the superlab in season 3 (during the episode “Mas”), Walt wondered aloud how the drug kingpin knew to assemble the lab equipment just so. “I had help,” replied Gus. And now, thanks to the flashback at the beginning of this season’s premiere, we know who that “help” was — it was poor old Gale (David Constabile).
Flashbacks in Breaking Bad are, for me, like little gifts. They exist for some many reasons, not least of all so that the writers can fill in blanks for us that, to be honest, we might not have known existed in the first place. Unlike shows like Lost, which hold back as many answers as humanly possible until the last moment possible, or The Event, which gave us answers so fast we couldn’t even form questions (and also, it sucked), Breaking Bad has become the premier show in terms of picking up the smallest detail or the most forgettable line of dialogue and fleshing it out into a whole entirely new subplot. We the audience are so enthralled by the journey that we don’t bother to ask the slighter questions… but the writing team answers them anyway.
In this case, I never once wondered who put the lab together for Gus. I just assumed that, like Saul (Bob Odenkirk), he knew a guy who knew a guy. But to discover that Gale was the man to assemble the superlab, it added a whole new layer to the proceedings. Like discovering that the Cousins were the ones who beheaded Tortuga, the writers inform us, without a clever wink or a wicked smile, that Gale has been in the background of this show much longer than we had previously imagined.
And yet, the flashback did so much more than this. To begin with, it gave a reason for there to a box cutter in the superlab. Can you imagine what would’ve happened if Gus had pulled the box cutter out of the drawer, and the flashback hadn’t existed? The audience would’ve cried out “Foul play!” or “too convenient!” And rightly so. But like a pro golfer, Vince Gilligan (who also wrote this week’s episode) set up his ball just so, because he knew exactly where he wanted it to go. Secondly, the flashback served to introduce Gale’s notebook, which, as the closing shot of the episode suggests, will be discovered by the Albuquerque police department soon enough. And finally, and most tragically, we discover that Gus only hired Walt on Gale’s persistence. Gale could guarantee Gus a product that was 96% pure… but Walt’s blue meth…. that’s 99% pure. “You might not think that that three percent makes a difference,” Gale says, sheepishly. “But it does.” Could it be that Gale’s greatest weakness was his lack of self-confidence? I think so. Consider this: Had Gale not insisted on working with Walt, our main character would’ve never been hired by Gus. And if he’d never been hired, Gus would’ve never had to try to kill him and replace him with Gale. And if Gus had never tried to kill him, Walt would’ve never had Gale killed…. See where this is going? The moment that Gale insists that Gus hire Walt, he has begun a chain of events that would lead to his own demise. It’s not just Greekly tragic. It’s Kafkaesque.
But enough about the flashback — let’s discuss the episode that follows. Just as we all suspected (the camera moved, folks, not Jesse’s gun), our young and sadly-hopeless Jesse Pinkman pulls the trigger on Gale, putting a bullet underneath his left eye, killing him instantly. So shaken up by the encounter, he can do nothing but sit in his car and await the consequences. Those consequences come in the form of Gus’s henchman Victor, who, after looking in on Gale’s dead body, puts a gun to Jesse’s head and tells him to drive to the laundry….
… Where our good friends Walt and Mike are, awaiting their arrival. Once they do arrive, we watch as Mike acts uncharacteristically anxious. The whole situation is a clustermug, and he knows it as well as anyone. He makes the call to the Chicken Man, informing him of the incident. When Gus finally does arrive, in suit and tie nonetheless, he moves with a calm purpose, exuding a presence that, quite frankly, we’ve never seen from him before. Without saying a word, he changes out of his business-casual and into a red hazmat suit. Walt, fearing the inevitable, pleads for the life of him and his young partner-in-crime. And still, Gus does not respond. Instead, he pulls the box cutter out of one of the side drawers, approaches Victor, and slits his throat, his arms wrapped around the dying man to prevent him from fighting the unpreventable.
Can it be expressed enough how many great character moments are in this silent death scene? As soon as Mike sees Gus attack, he draws his gun. But was he really ever planning to fire? Was it a muscle reaction, a force of habit for someone in his line of work? Or was it for show? Hard to say. But to watch as he drops his hand back to his side, and re-holsters the gun, you get the feeling that this man — who just two episodes ago seemed to expect every unexpected outcome — is just as in over his head as Walt and Jesse. Oh, and speaking of Jesse, am I the only one who saw the look he gave Gus as the kingpin held his dying soldier in his arms? It was a look of fascination, but also almost a challenge. Perhaps even Gus realizes that Jesse is the far more dangerous of the two meth cooks at this point. And Walt…. as relieved as he is that he is not the one soaking the floor with his blood, he looked about ready to vomit. The regret he verbalized over the death of Gale while pleading for his life, it makes me think that he is not as far gone as we initially thought, though its only a matter of time. Dropping the body on the floor, removing his hazmat suit, and changing back into his business suit, Gus exits the superlab with one instruction: “Get back to work.”
Gus murdering Victor is the scene that everyone who has seen the episode is going to be tempted to spoil for those who haven’t seen it yet. But the conversation between Jesse and Walt near the end, seeing Jesse capable of eating after the hard work they just put in melting down Victor’s body… he is a changed man. When he pulled that trigger, it is obvious that he not only killed Gale but destroyed a piece of who he was in the process. Hard to imagine Jesse going back to normal after this.
The rest of the episode is decent, though not nearly as intense or thrilling. We see Skyler utilize the baby as a form of negotiation. And we see Hank, bed-ridden, taken out his aggression (at least verbally) on Marie. My feeling is that, while none of that was nearly as exciting as the superlab scene, it is certainly setting up quite a bit to be addressed in the episodes to come.
This was not a tremendous premiere, but boy, am I glad to see this show on air again.July 24, 2011 at 11:18 pm #221463
As the final credits rolled for the second episode of Breaking Bad Season 4, I sat back and realized that nothing much happened. Walt bought a gun, but never actually fired it. Skyler talked to the car-wash owner, but he refused to sell it. Jesse wanted to keep the party going until the end of time but, ultimately, was left by his lonesome. And Marie took care of the immobile Hank and his (symbolic?) mineral collection. In fact, come to think of it, Mike was really the only character who really did much at all.
Let’s start where I always like to start — the beginning. Walt is buying an untraceable gun from a man named Lawson, who we soon find out was referred to him by none other than Saul Goodman. Walt is looking for the perfect gun, invisible when concealed and easily drawn. The .38 Special, Snub-Nosed, turns out to be the firearm he was looking for. Lawson worries that the gun is for something other than self defense. “It’s for defense,” Walt reassures him. “Defense.” But as he says it, one can’t help but get the feeling that he is convincing himself of that falsehood more than the other man. Lawson sells him a gun, and he in return sells him a bogus story.
Jesse attempts to keep his mind off of, well, everything. When Badger and Skinny Pete arrive, he flaunts his newest sound system before setting up lines for them to snort. At first, Skinny Pete refuses, but as every viewer tonight probably guessed, Jesse’s friends are the kind of drug addicts who will break their own sobriety promises at the slightest push in the wrong direction. Eventually, they invite friends, who bring more friends. Before long, everyone is passed out, from one end of Jesse’s living room to the other. But does that stop him? No. He intends to keep the party going as long as possible. I think that there is a reason that music is blasting in the background in all but one of the scenes that Jesse is in this episode… if all else fails, maybe the music can drown out his thoughts, and keep him from pondering the fact that he is now a murderer.
Note that I said all but one of Jesse’s scenes had music in it: the scene outside of his house with Andrea. It was touching, to see the connection that he and her son Brock had. It was also extremely well-played by writer George Mastras, to reveal that Jesse (before going into hiding between “Half Measures” and “Full Measure”) left a large wad of cash in Andrea’s mail box. Whereas, in Season 3, Andrea felt like nothing short of a poor Jane replacement, here she seems different…. Stronger? Wiser? Does the fact that she is a single mother play heavily into my perceptions? Probably so. This is certainly not the last of Andrea this season, and in fact, I can’t imagine that she and Jesse don’t have their own adventures in the near future.
Marie is at the end of her rope. Hank stays up all hours of the night, looking at minerals and nearly kicking her out when she complains (“there are four bedrooms in this house, Marie”). One moment, he is pumped and enthusiastic thanks to his personal trainer, and the next, he is asking her to stay out of whatever room he is in. I expect her to leave the house in the near future, leaving him to fend for himself and realize how much she truly did for him.
And how about the return of Heisenberg, huh? Only, this time, the transformation was short-lived. Somewhere between his car and Gus’s front door, the facade wore off and, after getting the call from Mike, Walt the coward reared his ugly head. His conversation with Mike in the bar seemed far more gutsy, to be out in the open, discussing the possibility of killing their employer. Do I think that Mike has considered what would happen if Gus was killed? Sure. But do I think that he is still, at least at this point, on Team Gus and not Team Walt? Yes I do. Whether that will change down the road is anyone’s guess.
Another terrific episode. The show’s willingness to sit in one spot for an untold amount of time is a remarkable quality about it.July 25, 2011 at 5:14 pm #221464
This will surely be in consideration for Aaron Paul’s Emmy episode next year. What a masterful bit of acting. Talk about saying everything using very few words.July 31, 2011 at 10:35 pm #221465
In the season two finale of Breaking Bad, Skyler White was a force to be reckoned with. For so long, she had looked past the signs that something was terribly wrong with her husband’s goings-on. But when push came to shove, she cracked down and did her research, unearthing every single lie that Walt had fed her for the past two seasons. In a final desperate attempt to separate herself, and her children, from the destructive criminal behavior of dear old Walt White, she packed up her bags and drove away, giving her husband forty-eight hours to pack up his belongings and move out. She was, at that point, the strongest character in the series, unafraid to finally put her foot down and put as much distance between her and the cancerous outlaw that was her spouse. But watching “Open House” tonight, one would barely recognize Skyler as the same woman.
I would even go so far as to say that, in actuality, she seems more fitted for a lifestyle of breaking bad that Walt is. Yes, Walt has the chemistry to make some terrific meth. But seeing her shoot down the theories of everyone’s favorite criminal lawyer Saul Goodman or, better yet, feeding a faux sanitation officer state laws and city ordinances over a Bluetooth earpiece, we come to realize that we are watching a master of manipulation come into her own. Not long ago, it was Walt who was the cautious one, always thinking three steps ahead and rarely caught off-guard. But now, it’s Skyler, scolding him for buying an expensive bottle of champagne when, in the eyes of the outside world, they’re broke. Whereas he would rather spend his hard-earned money on luxuries, she is far more concerned with covering up the paper trail so that such reckless expenditures don’t lead back to their home. “Do you know how much I make in a day?” Walt asks. And in a single look, she wordlessly replies, yes, but no one else can ever know. And while its obvious that Walt finds her insistence to impose new rules regarding budget annoying, as he peaks over his glass of Winston Churchill’s favorite bubbly, it is pretty easy to see that he’s growing to like the new Skyler too. I have a feeling that winning over the car wash (for seven-nine thousand less than originally offered, even) is not the biggest victory that the quickly-learning Mrs. White will experience this season.
Meanwhile, our show’s other married couple is still surrounded by rocks — yes, it’s Hank’s mineral collection, but it is also a pretty fitting illustration of a man and woman who have hit their own versions of rock bottom. Hank, who remained immobile the entire episode (save for one useful plastic claw device), is descending into his self-pitying pit of cruelty. One example: When Marie brings home the wrong type of potato chip (Fritos instead of Cheetos), he condescendingly sounds out the name of each chip brand, as though his wife were deaf and needed to be spoon-fed the information. No wonder Marie gives in to her old ways of kleptomania. Her home life is the pits, and she needs a creative outlet yesterday. As she creates false realities on the spot when speaking with realtors and home owners, we see a lighter Marie than we’ve seen since, well, last season, when Hank was riddled with bullets by the Cousins. Roleplaying is not only an escape for her, it’s a release. And if she leaves with a hand-crafted spoon or two at the end of the day, what harm does it do, right?
For me, Breaking Bad has always been a show about consequences. When one person makes a bad decision, someone, somewhere else in the world of the series, feels the brunt punishment of that decision. Except here. When Marie began stealing again, I thought for sure that there would be a larger reasoning behind it. As someone who always found her brief klepto scenes to be the only major drawback of the show’s first season, I thought that reintroducing it here would be the writers’ way of tying up loose ends and leading it towards a pay-off. But instead, Marie is caught and is not punished, thanks to a phone call made by her incapacitated husband. Maybe there will be a larger pay-off somewhere later in the season. But right now, it feels like a missed opportunity.
It does, however, puts Hank in the debt of the friend who got Marie off the hook. And this friend, as it just so happens, was one of the investigators assigned to the murder of the late sweet Gale Bitteker. Having made a copy of Gale’s notebook, he leaves it with Hank who, because he is bed-ridden and technically not DEA at the moment, would have no reason to report to anyone else his findings. The friend tells Hank that the notes are riddled with formulas and equations. Want to bet that Hank asks his brother-in-law Walt to help him decode the pages? That’ll be a sight to see, watching Heisenberg read of his own meth formula from a third-person perspective.
And poor Jesse. He wants so badly to keep his mind off of what has happened over the last few weeks that, in the last episode, he invited friends over for a party that lasted way too long. And when they got tired, and he couldn’t handle the silence, we now learn that he has invited some colorful strangers into his abode… a graffiti artist, a man who self-mutilates, a couple of tweakers, and four men who are perfectly content hosting their own private violent moshpit right next to Jesse’s coffee table. He can’t be alone with his thoughts. It’s becoming clear that, when that happens, he might just fall into a hole some deep that he may never return.
As a side note, I just want to say that, while this was one of the least exciting episodes of Breaking Bad I’ve ever seen, I feel like Betsy Brandt and Aaron Paul, in particular, are stepping up their game for what is to come. Marie and Jesse are only moments away from snapping. And when that happens, God help anyone that gets in their way.August 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm #221466
It’s actually amazing how both Skyler and Walter really do not care at all about Marie and Hank. Not the slightest bit.
I’m a little bit affraid about both Junior and baby girl who may be in trouble soon because of their parents’ actions.August 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm #221467
I really like this season so far (it definitely has the potential to be the best season yet) and “Thirty-Eight Snub” was the best hour of television of the tv year so far. However, I find it weird that they chose to have a film director (David Slade) direct an episode where not much happened (they only important plot in this week’s episode was Skyler and Walt getting the car wash unless Marie’s Kleptomania becomes important to the main plot). You could say that nothing happened in “The Fly”, which Rian Johnson directed, but that was an acting showcase.August 10, 2011 at 8:20 am #221468
I love this show! Every week I sit and uncomfortably watch and pay attention to every detail, and every nuance that each actor gives. I’m not sure any other series commands that much attention from it’s viewers (‘Mad Men’ does too, but that’s been off the air for too long to remember).
For me, “Bullet Points” was the strongest of the season thus far. And taking into account what Spenser said up there ^^, I think all of Skyler’s meticulous planning and rehearsing and the way she’s taken charge is going to come back to bite everyone in the ass. Can’t wait for that.September 19, 2011 at 11:13 pm #221469
Well, I’ve just started school back up, so I haven’t had a chance to visit the site in a while. Apparently, in my absence, it was announced that the old boards are closing, and that these will become the only boards for Gold Derby. That’s both exciting and terrifying. I hope enough people switch over to this one to keep things moving along.
Enough about that, though. I wanted to bump this thread up real quick because it is certainly the best dramatic series on television. This last stretch of episodes has been one big game of “Top This” for the writing staff. I can’t wait to see where they take things next.September 21, 2011 at 9:35 pm #221470
Emmy #4 for Cranston! Such a raw and devastating performance and kudos for RJ Mitte for keeping up in those scenes, b/c I nearly bawled after those scenes.
As for the action part of the episode, talk about GAMECHANGING!
This show has set the bar for all of the dramas this TV season.