Other TV 6 - 12 June
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.