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Breaking Bad: The Journey Journal

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:32 pm
by Flack
This thread will capture my real time journey through the Breaking Bad series, from the first episode to the last/latest. If you are watching the series and I get ahead of you, there assuredly will be spoilers.

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:36 pm
by Flack
S01E01 - Pilot

Well, here we go. This episode, I think, sets up the series. We've got Walt, a chemistry teacher with terminal lung cancer, and Jesse ("Captain Cook"), a drug dealer. Seems like Walt has hit his breaking point and has little to lose in life, or what's left of it. He's got a nice wife and a handicapped kid and wants to spend the rest of his days cooking meth. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh, SHIT, look at that RV. Well, THAT went wrong!

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:00 pm
by pinback
That's a pretty good recap of the pilot episode, Mr. Flack! I feel like I just watched it again, for what would be the fourth time!

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:15 pm
by Flack
S01E02 - "Cat's in the Bag…"

I suppose drug dealers, even nice ones, have to do some unpleasant things -- like, in this case, dispose of bodies. I can see a dichotomy forming already; Walt is book smart, while Jesse is street smart. Skyler, Walt's wife, is apparently no dumb cookie either.

One "down", and one to go. Literally.

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:11 pm
by pinback
Krazy-8, we hardly knew ye!

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:32 pm
by Flack
S01E03 - "…And the Bag's in the River"

Well, there was a river alright. A RIVER OF BLOOD! After hearing multiple times from multiple people that Walt isn't "cut out for this kind of work," after he, uh, you know ... Crazy 8s ... well, maybe Walt *is* cut out for this kind of work.

This show has great tension. Scenes are longer than they need to be, just to inflict tension on viewers. It's great.

Looks like Jesse is the worst kind of drug dealer, one that not only talks, but shits where he works. No bueno.

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:36 pm
by pinback
You're almost halfway through Season 1 already!

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:46 pm
by Flack
Last one for the day.

S01E04 - "Cancer Man"

In this episode, we begin exploring Jesse and Walter's families. We meet Jesse's parents and piccolo-playing brother. The show has mentioned that marijuana is a gateway drug in multiple episodes now, and here we see a bit of Jesse's backbone when he (a) takes the heat for his brother's joint, and (b) destroys it instead of giving it back.

In Walt's world we see his family come together for him. Walt Jr, as was I, was confused as to why Walt has given up fighting the cancer without a second opinion. Bad cancer is bad, I guess. Skyler, who seemed on the verge of kicking Walt out in episode 3, has done a 180 and is channeling her energy in curing Walter with doctors and money.

Turning point: Walter finds out how expensive cancer treatment will be right before Jesse delivers him $4k for his share of the meth. One can only assume the business will be relaunched, hopefully in a somewhat smarter manner. Will they still be able to cook in the RV, now that Walt's brother-in-law is on the case?

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:43 pm
by pinback
I forget!

But can you believe you're only three episodes from the end of season 1!?

And 42 episodes from the end of season 4??

And 45 episodes from being caught up completely!??!?

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:43 pm
by pinback
pinback wrote:I forget!

But can you believe you're only three episodes from the end of season 1!?

And 42 episodes from the end of season 4??

And 45 episodes from being caught up completely!??!?
SPOILER: They're all pretty much great.

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:01 pm
by Flack
Okay, one more.

S01E05 - "Gray Matter"

After watching episode 4 I was unclear as to why Walt was uninterested in treatment. That was cleared up in episode 5 (while Walt had "the speaking pillow"). Here's a guy who doesn't get to make any decisions in his life, and now he's choosing how he wants to go out. I can't imagine with a kid on the way I would make the same choice; then again, until you're in that position, who can say what any of us would do.

We learned a little more about Walt's character; that is, he has some. When he sniffs a handout for his cancer treatment, he walks away. This 50 year old guy has been beat down by the system. He's watched his old colleagues go on to make fortunes while he pursued teaching at a high school (we're not sure why, yet) and has to have significant financial issues (his son as cerebral palsy, his wife doesn't work, and he teaches high school), and yet he's still unwilling to take a 90k handout. So ... good for him (?)

In this episode Jesse makes a weak attempt to go straight by applying for a job, but it's a small town and within 5 minutes he has already run into someone willing to cook with him.

And as these two characters are once again drawn to one another, they see what we see -- they need each other. Jesse needs Walt's cooking skills. Walt needs Jesse's ability to make cash.

I thought episode 5 was going to be about the two of them cooking. Looks like that's where 6 will pick up.

Oh, and we met the Badger.

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:55 pm
by pinback
Who doesn't love Badger?

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:20 pm
by Flack
pinback wrote:Krazy-8, we hardly knew ye!
Took a picture for you tonight.


Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:00 pm
by Flack
S01E06 - "Crazy Handful of Nothin'"
S01E07 - "A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal"

In S01E06, Walt begins chemo. He also teams back up with Jesse and begins cooking again. And even though Walt's smart, he doesn't have any criminal sensibility. He's dancing way too close with his DEA brother-in-law. He left evidence at a murder scene (the gas mask) and he stole most of his cooking materials from his own school. He made the same mistake Jesse made earlier -- don't shit where you work.

Jesse once again showed his terrible street smarts (why did Walt team up with this kid again?) by starting shit with Tuco, a Mexican ice dealer with a penchant for body blows, body blows!

In the end of the episode, Walt again shows his bad-assness by visiting Tuco and getting back pair's money plus some eerily reminiscent of Princess Boushh waltzing into Jabba's Palace armed only with a voice changer and a thermal detonater.

S01E07 - "A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal"

There's a long side story in this one about Marie shoplifting a tiara for Skyler and Walt's unborn daughter Holly, with Skyler trying to return it and almost getting arrested. Hank and Walt had a long talk about what's legal and illegal in the eyes of the law. We know Marie isn't clean, and it wouldn't surprise me if Hank isn't either. Time will tell, I guess.

Walt realizes that having Jesse sell an ounce a night and smoke more than that isn't going to cut it. Hank comes up with a new meth recipe using his almost McGuyver-life chemistry skills. The two of them manage to break into a chemical plant to steal ingredients for the next cook, which Jesse bungles by having an open house the same day the two of them decide to cook in his basement (which can't be good).

So let's see: Walt makes the deal good with Tuco, gets the new meth recipe and the ingredients, and makes killer ice while Jesse messes up the cook site, lets the RV break down, gets his ass kicked by Tuco, and smokes a lot of the profits. I hope Jesse contributes more to the business in season two.


One thing I heard, and I don't know if I read too much into it or not, but Hank said that Emilio was a snitch. We also know that Jesse told Emilio Walt's name. The question is, did Emilio have time to pass that information on to the police before he visited the RV? Or did the police's chances of finding Walt get flushed, just like Emilio?

This concludes Breaking Bad, Season One.

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:29 pm
by pinback
Woohoo! You're making great progress! As is Walt!

FUN FAX: Originally Jesse was gonna be offed at the end of Season 1, but Vince and everyone agreed he was too good a character and actor to let go.

That's how the story goes, anyhoo.

Onto Season 2, which I remember being the weakest of the seasons, except when I'm watching it, in which case it's so totally awesome I can't remember why I thought that. Then when I'm done watching it, it goes back to the bottom of the pile.

I'm sorry, Season 2! You don't deserve that kind of treatment!

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:34 am
by Flack
S02E01 - "Seven Thirty-Seven"

We open with a shot of a kid's teddy bear, half burned, floating in a pool. This doesn't bode well.

In the season two opener, Walt learns what Jesse already suggested; OG meth distributors may not be the most stable people to do business with. After beating his right hand man to death, Tuco splits, leaving his left hand man there to die as well.

In Season two we see our protagonists have changed. Walt is more violent and aggressive. Jesse seems in over his head. His knowledge of the meth underworld seems to be there more for our exposition than Walt's business.

What appeared to be the start of a business relationship between the boys and Tuco has unraveled quickly and violently. I was thinking Tuco might be part of a larger story arc, but it doesn't look that way.

We also delved deeper into Skyler's relationship with her sister, who continues to deny shoplifting the tiara. Either she's more mental than she's letting on, or ... I got this weird feeling that Hank may have stolen it, given it to his wife, and that she doesn't know where it came from. In real life if this were the case it would have already come out, but it's TV drama so we'll see where this goes. The bigger picture appears to be that Hank and his wife are not the perfect people they appeared to be.

(I need to watch this episode again. How did Tuco leave the junkyard and not realize that Gomez was still there? And why was it titled "Seven Thirty-Seven"?)

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:49 am
by Flack
Shoot, on that last comment I meant Gonzo, not Gomez.


S02E02 - "Grilled"

Well, Tuco's nuts. His eventual plan is to kidnap Jesse and Walt, take them to Mexico, and set up a meth cooking compound. Doesn't appear that our boys have much to say about the plan, and it doesn't appear that Jesse is very essential to Tuco's plan.

After doing a bit of police leg work, Hank figures out Jesse might have a Lo-Jack unit on his car. I know it's just TV, but that's pretty unbelievable -- what meth dealer puts a tracking device on his car that, if stolen, requires police assistance to track down? Not many, I'm thinking. Anyway, Hank uses Lo-Jack to track down Tuco's hidey hole in the desert and ends up shooting shooting Tuco, shortly after Jesse shot Tuco.

Loose end: Walt and Jesse have now left behind a witness. I'm not sure if a guy who communicates by ringing a bell can communicate with a police sketch artist, but ...

This episode shows police work. Detectives are not super intelligent or omniscient, but they are persistent and logical. Bit by bit, they are piecing the case together. The gas mask led to Walt's school. Walt's a chemistry teacher. Hank mentioned that whoever is involved in these crimes is a heck of a chemist. Eventually he is going to put two and two together. Whether or not he goes after Walt or protects him remains to be seen, but, if this show is honest, Hank is going to put together the pieces of this puzzle.

As I was watching this episode I was thinking that Walt will not be able to keep up this double life forever. The two cell phones, the time away from his family, the double life, the physical injuries ... it doesn't seem like he can keep this up forever, especially with his physical condition. One or the other, I suspect, will have to give.

Somewhere in Hell, Tuco, Gonzo, Krazy 8 and Emilio are smoking a giant bowl of meth together.

Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:57 pm
by Flack
S02E03 - "Bit by a Dead Bee"

Where do these show titles come from?

While walking through the desert, Walt came up with a questionable plan. He would fake two days of amnesia, while Jesse would go back to a known location and await arrest, claiming his car was stolen.

For the most part, Walt's plan worked. Jesse found his way into the police station and back out. Not enough to press charges, although you have to think he's not completely off Hank's radar yet. Hank now has two similar batches of meth, a bunch of dead dealers with only Jesse tying them together.

I was right about the bell-ringing loose end. He came in, but apparently refused to testify against Jesse. Is the criminal code against ratting someone out really that strong, after watching Jesse and Walt attempt to poison his caregiver? Possible, I guess, but...

At the end of this episode for the first time we see Skyler begin distrusting Walt. So far, Walt has been able to explain away his absences as a desire to be alone and take nature walks, but with the discovery of a second cell phone, Skyler's lack of a kiss goodnight tells us all is not well in the White household.

You know, Walt assumed nobody found the box full of money and a gun in his house. It's possible somebody saw it.

As Walt stares at the painting of the man in a rowboat rowing away at his family who are standing on the shore waving at him, we see the same thing going on. Not only is Walt rowing away toward death, but the Walt his family knows is also rowing away.

There was a point in season one where I thought, you know, if Walt were to just uproot and walk away, he could return to his normal life. (And even now, there's nothing a bullet in Jesse and maybe the Badger wouldn't solve.)

Hank commented again that there's something tying all of these crimes together. You have to think it's not long before he puts his slimy finger on it.

Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:43 pm
by Flack
S02E04 - "Down"

Episode begins with yet another ominous flash-forward (I got used to those in Lost) of what appears to be the contents of Walt's house floating in his pool. Shot begins with that same burned teddy bear and ends on Walt's glasses.

This episode was gut-wrenching. As a married man, the tension between Walt and Skyler is literally eating away at my stomach. I don't even know if Walt can right what he's done at this point. And Jesse ... it's a little tougher to be too sympathetic to a habitual drug user (trust me, I'm related to a few) but, God, if Jesse's not at rock bottom, I don't know what is. Homeless, broke, without family ... hey, at least he got the RV back!

Skyler is not acting like a woman with a "hunch" -- she's got something, some evidence. Just not sure what it is yet. The box of money? Something else?

In this episode Walt learned his son is going by a different name and that one of his friends has been teaching him how to drive. Walt already knows that he won't be there forever for his son, but the sad reality this episode is that he's not there for him now, either.

Very emotional episode.

Posted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:05 am
by Flack
S02E05 - "Breakage"

Lots of plot movement in this one.

Walt and Jesse are now distributors in the drug trade, having pretty much killed everybody else in the ABQ meth scene, apparently. Walt and Jesse's relationship is based more on need than like at this point, and for the first time, Walt needs Jesse. To make the "mad stacks" the two of them desperately need at this point, the plan is for Walt to cook as much meth as possible, give it to Jesse, and then have Jesse's three dumbest friends peddle it on the streets. This cannot possibly end well.

Skyler and her sister Marie seem to have buried the hatchet. I don't know if this klepto storyline is going to come back or not but right now I don't see how it ties in to things, other than it showed that at least for a while Skyler had nobody she could really trust.

For the first time we see the stress getting to Hank. At work he's always laughing, always being braggadocios. In an elevator alone however we see him having a panic attack. In his garage, we see him losing focus and cutting his hand. In the middle of the night, we see him almost opening fire on some beer bottles. At the end of the episode, we see Hank tossing his latest souvenir (Tuco's "grill") into the river.

Hank received a promotion, putting him on some tri-state task force. He seems genuinely happy about it so I don't think it's some token promotion to get him out of the office and off the streets for some rest. I guess my biggest question about this is, will we be following storylines in El Paso away from the action, or does this just mean less Hank in the future? Less Hank almost surely means more Marie hanging around with Skyler, which I guess is good for Skyler because nobody else talks to her.

Walt busted Skyler for flushing a pack of cigarettes down the toilet. Skyler sure is hit or miss. She tracked down Jesse's house from his phone number, but she doesn't know that you can't flush a pack of cigarettes without clogging a toilet? A pregnant woman smoking shoes me she is stressed to the max.

This episode ends with Walt handing Jesse a gun and telling him to deal with the "breakage," the amount of meth he lost when Skinny Pete got robbed. Walt doesn't want word getting out that their boys are easy to rob. How far Walt has fallen ...