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Other TV 6 - 12 June

Posted by The TV Critic on 7 June 2010 | 2 Comments


Breaking Bad - 312 - Half Measures

Another strong episode for this enduring show.

After years of watching TV you look for shows that can restore you to that childlike state when you believed you were seeing something really shocking happening. When you understand all the formulas and tricks of TV shows those moments become rarer and rarer.

This episode managed to provide two. You know Walt is going to survive until the end of Breaking Bad, but you can just about imagine Jesse's life coming to an end sooner. That's why I sat bolt upright when Tucco shoved his face into the gravel (202). Here he stands up to Gus Frings, something no one has ever done on the show. Jesse of all people shoved morality in Gus' face. Then of course in the final scene Jesse looks set to die and end his miserable life by taking on the two drug dealers. In both cases I didn't exactly think he would die. But I genuinely didn't know what would happen for a few seconds. Those moments are precious.

Walt's murders leave him and Jesse in quite a mess. Jesse pretty much has a death wish at this point. He has more money than he needs yet felt the need to sell drugs on the side for a thrill, now he wants to kill people for honour and morality. Honour and morality? This is a man who tried to get people in rehab to buy drugs from him. No, Jesse isn't morally shaken up. He wants to die. He wants this miserable existence to be over. He keeps looking for a way out. A way to feel something different. A way not to just be an employee doing a job.

As for Walt, I don't know. He killed two men to protect Jesse. He can justify it because they had just killed a child. But he has just crossed his employer. He is now going to have a hell of a time covering up his part in something which may forever have destroyed Gus' faith in him. I don't know where it's going but I can't wait to find out.

Elsewhere I like the way Skyler's motivation was written. Thinking of her own situation first (as humans do) she was not happy with the idea of looking a fool. She would rather be a criminal at this point than be pitied or lied to. Of course I loved the speech which Mike gave about his time as a cop. Those monologues are so effective and every time I hear one I think of Quentin Tarrantino. He popularized those scenes and he was right to do so. 

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  • Thanks for posting, yeah great stuff. I should clarify about the show's humour. I have no problem with it. I'm glad it's there and occasionally I do laugh. It's just that more often than not I don't laugh because I am gripped by the more serious tone of things. But I wouldn't put the humour in "The Bad" at all. It just doesn't get me.

    Actually the joke that made me laugh so hard on Breaking Bad came in episode 209 when Jesse and Walt go out into the desert for 4 days to cook.

    Jesse leaves the engine on and the battery goes flat. They get increasingly desperate about being stranded and Walt then figures out a way to recharge the battery.

    He is excited to have figured out what to do and goes into full teacher mode holding a copper wire and asks Jesse what metal will conduct the electricity for them.

    Jesse is excited too, has no clue but smilingly says "wire?" Walt is utterly deflated by his failure as a Chemistry teacher and I cracked up.

    So yeah I wouldn't lose the comedy even if I don't always laugh.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 20/03/2011 2:40pm (8 years ago)

  • Great episode of BB. Two more scenes to add to my "never going to forget" list (Mike's speech and the final minute). I like that I have no idea what may happen next, and yet the writers still chip in with some of the side stories (Hank and Walt Jr.)
    A side note, I laughed at Skyler checking Wikipedia for money laundering, I know you haven't been a huge fan of the show's humor but it's these one or two moments per episode that elevates Breaking Bad for mere drama.

    Posted by Ben F. , 20/03/2011 12:04am (8 years ago)

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