Monday, 3 May 2010

Breaking Bad: One Minute - The Best Episode Of Television in 2010, No Exceptions

OMFG that was good. Like, I'm watching one of the best episodes of television ever good. Fuck. I've had a whole day to dwell on it, and I still don't really know how to say what I want to say and still do this justice. You know you're watching a great show when the best episode of the season has been the one you've just watched for three weeks in a row, and One Minute may have been close to Breaking Bad's most sublime hour in its existence. Fuck Yeah.

- I'll try to cover it relatively linearly, but fuck was the last sequence fantastic. Tense, thrilling and gloriously cinematic. Few films have done that kind of thing better.

- But more to that later, The cold open returned to being awesome, after last week's relatively bland one. It worked mostly on the back of the fearsome awesomeness of Mark Margolis, a.k.a Tio. The Darren Aronofsky regular has brought a real ferociousness to Tio, even before he got to say any lines. This bit felt like a reward for him being such a good sport. Anyways it was dark and generally terrific.

- That was a fierce pounding Hank gave Jesse. Usually when characters beat each other up like that on TV it feels iffy, but that shit was raw.

- I think Aaron Paul had this episode down for his Emmy submission episode, and he gets two speeches, perhaps amplified by his disfigured face, in which he both demonstrated a darker incarnation of his character whilst keeping him recognizably Jesse. Perhaps the dialogue was a bit too on point, but Paul sold it and no doubt secured his second consecutive emmy nomination. I did like that Walt finally relented and gave Jesse his due. Its been a long time coming for these guys.

- To be honest though, I've been more impressed with Dean Norris this season. Hank has come on leaps and bounds in season three, and he's gone from a fairly disposable character to someone who is as much part of this show as its two leads. I'd say Anna Gunn established herself in the same way in the early part of season three, but she's been on the back-burner of late, as the show has plunged head-first back into gangster territory in the last couple of weeks. And boy has it been good.

- Anyway, this week was largely Hank-centric in which his initial rager against Jesse, landed him in the shit with his job and in many ways what he's been building up to ever since he shot Tuco. He's not the impenetrable tough guy he thought he was, and both his fear and vulnerability means he can never shut down an be the cold logical hunter/bad guy. That somewhat ironically, Walt has become.

- But the show did something really interesting with him this week. Stubbornness is a feature of maybe every character on Breaking Bad, people always make their decisions selfishly and do things their way. But for the first time, someone put their own pride aside and did the right thing. Hank didn't lie his way out of his situation, he took responsibility for what he did and accepted the consequences. I don't think anyone has ever done that on this show, and it was a strong moment, and solidified the fact that Hank is now the most likable character on the show.

- Of course, TV muscle memory tells me that this happens when somebody is about to die, and given last week's revelation that the cousins are after him, I really thought that he was about to bite it, because as strong as his character has become, the show doesn't need him to continue and thus his dying felt like a real possibility. It wasn't a ' Jack in peril' moment on Lost. It felt like it was going to happen.

- and so when we reached the final sequence, surely one of the best in TV history, the tension was unbearable, as the cousins approached Hank in his SUV. Whereas other shows may do violence or gore, BB does tension like no other show, and knows exactly how to approach this kind of thing. It was the little touches. The passers by. The clock in Hank's car. And then shit went the fuck down.

- I won't spoil it in too much detail, in case you've yet to see it, but the scene worked so perfectly because you literally thought it could go either way, and when what happened, happened, it blew your fucking mind. Man was that a great episode of TV. As was last week. And the week before, and what makes this all the more amazing is that this is mid-season, the achillies heel of television where nothing ever happens. Not on this show.

- I don't think I've ever given anything 10/10 in this blog, as I think its a rating that should only be given to something that is as flawless as it is possible for it to be, but I think that happened here. Watching this was like watching the Buffy episode 'passion' or The Wire episode 'Final Grades'. You know that it really doesn't get much better then this.

Rating: 10/10

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