Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Breaking Bad: Kafkaesque - Respecting The Strategy

I will be interested what the reaction will be when this season of spectacular television ends. Right now, the consensus view seems to be its an occasionally mesmerizing but slightly inconsistent year, with lots of viewers particularly objecting to the opening four episodes focusing on dark family drama as opposed to the gangster super-arc. I understand this objection I guess, and one could make the argument that this season has been a little tonally inconsistent. But the reason I don't care is that its also been so fucking good.

- Always subverting expectation in character and plot, and providing us with several of the best character arcs TV has ever known. Just look at what season 3 has done with both Hank and Skylar, turning both from relatively inconsequential characters of necessity, and its all done with such elegance and skill. I love this show.

- This week began with a fairly mind-blowing cold-open, which did two unique things awesomely. It began as a commercial for Pollos Chicken and then sublimely morphed into a God's eye view of the Meth assembly line, going from Walt and Jesse's lab to the Pollos Chicken delivery trucks. A great idea wonderfully executed.

- Kafkaesque seems to be in many ways a set things in motion episode, and yet still managed to be one of the strongest hours of the year, which speaks well for the final four. The show seems to run in cycles of four episodes, with the first 4 dealing with Skylar and Walt, he second four dealing in the spellbinding tension of the Hank storyline, and the final five I would imagine, will deal with the erosion of the Walt and Gus partnership, no doubt largely thanks to Jesse. Who true to form, may have begun the inevitable fucking shit up train in motion this week.

- Not content with the measly 1.5 million he gets whilst fat cat Gus takes in 96 a year, he gives Walt some shit, complaining that he doesn't appreciate things being so messed up ' fairness-wise'.

- " Let me get this straight. You're a millionaire, and you're complaining?"

- Apparently he is, and sets to restarting his own side-operation, by skimming of the top of Gus' batch. I'm sure that will end well. Digging his strategy of spreading the word via his NA support group though, even after his particularly soulful and moving story about his woodshop box.

- One of the best scenes of exposition in history happened here, and while these scenes are usually a chore to watch, their use of it here, having Walt lay out Gus plan executed in the last episode for the benefit of the slower members of the audience did double duty as a great Walter moment, showcasing the awesome intellect that some viewers may have forgot he possessed, and earning him more respect from Gus. Cranston owned that shit.

- Another great skylar moment this week, in which she volunteered Walt to pay for Hank's treatment, and then span a fairly awesome yarn about how Walt had won his millions gambling, rather then meth-dealing. It's kind of ridiculous but Anna Gunn is the fourth actor on this show deserving of an emmy nomination, behind Norris, Paul and Cranston. Breaking Bad is the best acted show on television. Full stop. Screw you Mad Men fans.

- The Table leg. Awesome

- Another strong, confident episode which showed in immense understanding of character whilst still being engaging and exciting. Bring on the Rian Johnson episode.

Rating: 8/10

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