Breaking Bad: Holy Sh*t – what an amazing half of a half of a season!

new-breaking-bad-photos-offer-hints-at-the-final-eight-episodesI am a true Breaking Bad addict as persistent readers of this blog will attest to. These last four episodes of this final season have been unexpected but truly brilliant. The acting in particular of Aaron Paul as Jesse and – as always – of Bryan Cranston as Walter White have been stunning. There is so much going on here and I don’t want to create any spoilers for those that may be a bit behind in their own breaking bad odyssey, but I wanted to talk through a few aspects of these first four episodes and make predictions for the last four.

The flash-forwards to 52-year old Walt (S05E01 and S05E09) have caused loads of debate on the net and it does remain very enigmatic – has he faked his death? escaped from prison? Where are the kids and Skyler – and Hank, Marie, Jesse, etc? It turned out to be a semi-spoiler for this week’s episode (the house was not burnt to the ground). So, the question really is whether we will see these scenes again in context, or if they are filling in blanks that will be left later, or are they just teasers like the pink bear of season 2? I think that we will see shards of them later. I’d further predict that this will be the tailend of E15 (appropriately called Granite State) and the final episode (Felina).

The battle between Hank and Walt is epic and heart-breaking. Epic in that the four and a half seasons have all been building for this – and yet no one saw the DVD confession coming in E03) and heart-breaking in that it destroys the family and especially the relationship between Skyler and Marie. I listened to the Insider podcasts from Kelly Dixon and Vince Gilligan where both Anna Gunn and Betsy Brandt were guests and these actresses were literally crying when they talked about how hard it was to film the scenes of their relationship deteriorating and exploding. There is so much emotion here and the acting and filming is – as always – perfectly done. As for predictions, I can’t really say where this is going to go but Vince did insinuate in an interview that Gus’ Chilean connections would be explained and return…yet there are only four episodes – less than four hours! – to bring this in…Obviously now, the appearance of Todd and his uncles in E02 and E03 will come back to the present timeline, but how? Will the careless bragging of Todd in the café become tangible evidence? Or the hit that Walt orders going to backfire? and what of the methylamine? Too many unknowns…

As for Jesse. Oh Jesse, why didn’t you get in that van! That being said, he is getting smarter and smarter (albeit very paranoid) and the showdown will come in either To’hajilee next week or most likely in Ozymandias the week after that. I suppose that Walt will need to return to the Indian Reservation to get his cash for some reason and that he will melt down in the following episode, but how they will write this is a complete mystery. That being said, the fact that Michelle MacLaren is the Director with George Mastras as the writer for the next one leads me to think that there will be LOADS of action. Recall that all the major shootouts have been Michelle’s and the awesome train robbery in S05E05 was written by George – this one will be explosive and blood will certainly be drawn this time.

It must be said that the cinematography in Breaking Bad is truly spectacular. Besides the montages and crazy camera angles, I love how they play with transparency (Walt looking at the GPS coordinates before smashing the GPS in E10), angles (the Shining-like angle of Walt opening his bedroom door in E12), and the photographic quality itself (the shot of Jesse in front of the tombstones in E11). A typically great shot in E12 was the first meeting of Jesse and Marie filmed down the long hallway at Hank and Marie’s house. The distance between them was physical but also psychological (different life choices) and yet, there was Marie offering to make him coffee and him – Jesse Pinkman! – drinking coffee from a DEA mug…completely amazing especially for those of us familiar with the show.

Another heart-breaking aspect is of course the core drama of the abusive relationship of Walt with Jesse for which Jesse is (finally) fighting back. I thought that he might get a bullet in this episode (Old Yeller getting put down as suggested by Saul), but it seems that Jesse may survive until at least E06 and perhaps beyond? The hug in S05E11 was simply amazing – so full of emotion and hypocrisy and yet a strange father-like love too. It seems though that at the end of S05E12, things there are at a point beyond repair. Vince did say that Walt would do something in these episodes that would definitively turn us against him. I’d say that S05E13 will be where that happens…or not…

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About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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