What begins in a Denny’s ends in a hug of faux forgiveness. It’s season 5 of Breaking Bad.
Breaking Bad returned this week and tied up more loose-ends than a summer camp attendee who is really good at braiding lanyards. Then it proceeded to open up more loose-ends than that one dick kid who undoes everyone else’s lanyards.
We open on a banal and disappointing breakfast that has just been served to a haired (did you know hair can grow back? Woah! Huge twist in the first two minutes!), and bespectacled Walter White. Walt has seemingly returned to mediocrity, embodying a depressingly non-threatening self again as he sadly celebrates his 52nd birthday alone. He is once again the kind of person people would point out on the street for being markedly lame.
But by the end of the scene Walt is in possession of a really big gun. Like, really big. This isn’t the kind of gun you buy to just shoot one dude and call it a day, this is the kind of gun you buy to put a bunch of bullets all over everything.
And it turns out that was a flash forward. The arcing narrative is still only moments past Walt’s iconicly badass “I won,” from the end of the previous season.
Walt is literally cleaning up his mess, throwing away bomb making supplies and other microterrorism paraphernalia scattered around his kitchen.
He has one awesome moment that is easy to identify with; he is about to take a sip of whiskey when he realizes he forgot to do something important — throw away the plant he used to poison a child. Everyone has felt that; the feeling when you realize you forgot do something important, like turn in an assignment in college, or pay a bill. Clearly most people aren’t responsible enough to be criminal overlords. The face Walt makes is universal though, the “I thought I was done, but oh shit, that thing is really important, I should do that!” face.
More questions are answered and asked: Mike is in the game, Ted is alive, Saul is hilarious, Skyler is hesitant, Walt is Heisenberg, Hank is on the trail, Jesse is loyal, magnets are awesome.
This was an episode of simply setting up the drama knocked down last season. The coolest villain the show has seen so far was destroyed last season, so this episode had to create new tension to last the show through its final season.
The “setting up” was supplemented by a few awesome set-pieces, like the destruction of evidence through the innovative use of magnets (Jesse’s idea).
The magnet plan goes mostly awesome, but midly awry, like when you demagnetize your college ID card because you put BuckyBalls in your pocket.
Where is all this going? Is there still a Walter White, or has Heisenberg taken over completely? If both minds live in one body, the Walt mind made no appearance in this episode. Heisenberg did nothing overtly evil, but showed the destructive cockiness that makes Heisenberg so dangerous.
With no “big bad” left, will this season be a five-way conflict between Walt-Jesse-Heisenberg-DEA-Madrigal Electromotive? I guess I’ll have to keep watching this awesome show that I enjoy watching to find out. What a difficult life to live.