Sunday, July 28, 2013

Breaking Bad Season Five (TV 2012)

There's some disagreement whether to call the final eight upcoming episodes of Breaking Bad Season Five Part II or Season Six. The current hiatus has been long enough to go ahead and call it Season Six, but it really doesn't matter at this point. What I want to do is focus on the first eight episodes after Season Four.


The first scene from S5:E1 is something of a shock to the system. I won't tell you any more about it, but it's something you'll have to keep in your pocket for
awhile. (I actually had to watch it again after I'd watched all eight episodes.) But make sure you remember it.

What follows has been talked about with equal parts admiration and disappointment. Season Four ended with an explosion (literally) of fireworks that had devastating effects for the entire cast. Gus is dead, but his legacy and influence remain strong in many ways, some of which are explored here for the first time with the character of Lydia, a woman who knows how to get things done, but is potentially deadly to Walt, Jesse, and possibly others.

Skyler is close to a breakdown, wanting everything in her life to be normal, which is never going to happen now; she's in too deep. Yet she still wants to protect her children.

Things have also changed for Jesse. We see some enormous developments in his character that may be surprising, but then again, maybe not. If you've previously thought of Jesse mainly as a punk/thug/loser, think again. This may be Jesse's best season.

And finally we have Walter White, whose descent into darkness ranks up there with some of the greatest dark characters in all of TV, film,and yes, even literature. The writers and producers of Breaking Bad know that the descent into evil doesn't happen all at once; it creeps up incrementally. Walter's goals have gradually changed. He still wants protection for himself and his family, but he also wants more. Much more.

On the surface, you could say that a lot of what happens during Season Five is internal, which accounts for some fans' disappointment. But make no mistake, there's plenty of mayhem going on during these eight episodes, including some impressive showdowns and displays of power. Yet the real power of Season Five comes from the way the characters develop and how their relationships become more intertwined (if not tangled). The potential for repercussions and consequences is ramped up to an almost unbearable level and we won't begin to find out how it's all going to play out until August 11 when the show resumes on AMC.

The creative team for Breaking Bad is very smart. They knew that they couldn't top the pyrotechnics of Season Four, so they didn't even try. Instead, they allowed the inner turmoil of the characters to rise until the lid is about to blow off. That pressure's got to be released somehow, but again, we won't know how until August 11.

I've been trying to figure out what's going to happen in the next eight episodes and how it's all going to end. I'm thinking about writing my guesses down on paper and sealing it until the end of the show. Or maybe I'll just try not to think about the show until August 11.

Yeah. Wish me luck with that.

Regardless of how it plays out, Breaking Bad is outstanding television. I hope to write further in another post on why I think the show is so good and its significance, place in television history, etc. But for now, I'm simply enjoying it.

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