Monday, May 3, 2010
"Breaking Bad" recap: O...M...F...G!!!!!!!
OH HOLY HELL!! Man, was that one of the most stimulating episodes of TV you've seen all year or what? It was good right from the beginning, with the flashback of a younger Tio and the cousins (then children) illustrating the cruel-hearted environment these two grew up in. Then we moved into that explosive sequence that had a seething Hank pulling up to Jesse's house and beating him senseless. From there, we got piercing explorations of Hank's PTSD (and how it led to him beating Jesse), of Jesse's rage toward Walt, and of the strangely co-dependent relationship between Walt and Jesse.
It all led up to those transcendent final moments in the parking lot with Hank and the cousins. The whole sequence played like an excellent short horror film, did it not? That creepy phone call warning Hank about his impending doom; Hank's subsequent anxiety, as he frantically looked for his would-be killers; than that brutal confrontation, in which Hank managed to somehow be the victor, thanks to some skull-shredding bullets.
I swear, those last few minutes had me crawled up in a corner of my couch with my hands over my eyes.
It was amazing. Kudos to the entire cast, especially Dean Norris (Hank) and Aaron Paul (Jesse).
Norris was so amazing in every sequence. That honest, clear-eyed conversation with Marie (props to Betsy Brandt here as well) provided such an unvarnished glimpse into swaggering Hank's wounded psyche, it was kind of hard to watch.
And, after witnessing the emotional brutality of the White marriage, it's nice to be reminded that Hank and Marie are true partners. She supports him, even saying he did the right thing by seeking "justice" against Jesse. Hank, however, honestly admits that he doesn't think he's cut out to be a cop anymore.
Indeed, Hank's survival of the parking lot assault is 75 percent luck (the warning, the uncanny placement of the "black death" bullet right near Hank's wounded body) but Hank is also incredibly quick-thinking and resourceful when he needs to be. Now that Hank has survived professional embarrassment and the loss of his job, he's not going to give up his life so quickly and uses every weapon at his disposal (the SUV, the dropped gun, the dropped bullet, the lethal "muscle memory" Marie coached him to use as a defense for beating Jesse) to stop the cousins.
And, in "Breaking Bad's" black comic style, we see the cousin die just as he's about to bring the axe down on Hank. Of course, the big shiny axe falls to the ground, piercing it.
But the episode was great even before that, with the broken Jesse viciously swearing revenge on Hank, then angrily deriding Walt as the person who's destroyed his entire life (true, but Jesse is forgetting that, before Walt, he didn't have much in his life to destroy).
Paul was so great in these scenes, his rage flying out of his dented face like spittle. But, of course, Walt and Jesse just can't let go of each other, so Jesse ultimately abandons his dangerous plan to get a new RV, and opts to join Walt in Gus's lab.
So what happens next? Will Hank stay retired? Or will he get dragged back in to police work following his heroic actions? Will Walt and Jesse be able to work together again, with all that animosity simmering beneath the surface? Does Tio have any more baddies to send after Hank? I mean, who could possibly be left? And who warned Hank? It had to be Gus, right?
Thoughts? By the way, I might make these recaps a regular thing heading into the finale. Thoughts?