Alright, due to the whole “just got married” thing, my reviews are a bit late this week, so I apologize in advance. I’m going to kick things off with the (half) season premiere of Breaking Bad, and I’ll get to Dexter maybe tomorrow.
I was skeptical about the decision to cut the season in half, but I think by doing so, we’re about to witness the most tense eight episode stretch of television in the history of the medium, especially if last night’s episode was any indicator.
We’re about to see the downfall of the protagonist of the series, Walter White, who has slowly evolved into the principle antagonist over time. His lust for power has killed nearly everyone who has ever stood in his way, and now if more people are going to die on the show, we’re only really down to friends and family.
And they will die. But who?
Well, no one after this first episode at least. I got extremely worried for a second when Hank had an apparent heart attack on the way back from the BBQ at WW’s, but I should have known Breaking Bad wouldn’t pull a trick that dirty. It would have been a terrible twist to have Hank learn his secret then immediately croak.
Many wondered what form these last few episodes would take. Would Hank keep his knowledge a secret? Would Walter suspect that he was on to him? Both questions were suprisingly answered by the end of the night. Walt discovered Hank’s tracker on his car and confronted him about it, and Hank lost it and punched Walt in the face, which was probably the most gratifying face-punch in TV history. Now they know that both of them know, and the question becomes, what happens now?
Walt tries to logic it out with Hank. His cancer is back, and these accusations would destroy both of their families. What’s the point? Hank, meanwhile, has been trying to catch Heisenberg for years, and even if Walt is dying, he’s still an immediate threat to him and Marie and Skyler and the kids. Walt ends the talk with a thinly veiled threat, and Hank has to wonder what the man in front of him is truly capable of.
I’m glad they moved things along this quickly, as unlike Dexter, this last stretch of episodes seems to actually know it’s the final season of a show. I think it was a bit of a stretch for Walt to realize Leaves of Grass was gone, then immediately connect that to Hank and find the tracker, but oh well, I suppose it needed to happen.
Walt’s problems aren’t just with Hank, however. As mentioned before, his cancer is back, something he’s keeping secret from his family, though I’m not sure how long he can keep that up. He’s never been about physical intimidation, but having cancer will throw anyone off their game, even if their weapon of choice is their mind.
Then there’s Lydia, who is none too happy with the way the international meth business is being run now that Walt has retired. Quality has taken a huge nosedive, and she implies that very important people are not pleased with that fact. No amount of hard stares from Skyler is going to fix this problem or make her go away for good.
Then there’s Jesse, who is now so constantly baked out of his mind I almost thought he started up with heroin again. He has the $5M Walt owed him, but wants to give it away to the family of the kid Todd killed, and to Mike’s granddaughter, as he believes Mike is dead. Walt stops by and tries to convince him otherwise, but saying “I need you to believe this” over and over is hardly the best sales technique. Jesse knows Mike is dead, and that Walt killed him and should be feared. After realizing the impossibility of giving the money to those two parties, he resorts to literally flinging it out his car windows in a bad neighborhood. I wonder if the police will show up and take prints off the money bundles?
While last season was Skyler vs. Walt, I think these last few episodes will have Jesse wake up from his coma and turn against Walt once and for all. I think this could mean he ends up teaming with a guy he’s long sparred with, Hank, and the two of them could work to bring down Walt together.
Finally, in conclusion, we should talk about the beginning of the episode, which is really the end, the ghost of things to come. I thought it was weird that after seeing a hairy Walt at a diner at the beginning of last season, we never went to that timeline again, but we’re back and we’ve learned a lot more.
As Walt visits his abandoned house, it becomes clear that the game is up. Heisenberg is scrawled on the walls and his neighbor almost dies of fright when she sees him. In the future, maybe six months to a year later, Walt has indeed been discovered by the general public, not just Hank, and is on the run. Now the question remains as to what exactly he has planned with that military grade machine gun and the ever-present vial of ricin. Who is even still alive at this point? We have seven more episodes to figure all this out.