"Breaking Bad" leaves audience in anticipation

Ben Kaufman


WARNING: SPOILER ALERT. If you are not up to date on Breaking Bad, you should stop reading this piece now.

Just when you think that Breaking Bad was reaching points of no return and complete ridiculousness, Vince Gilligan takes your mind and plays with it just a little bit more.

It’s hard to say if is the most exciting episode of Breaking Bad this season, considering that every episode since its return a few weeks ago has kept me on edge more so than any other TV show. However, this episode brought along a new twist that I was not expecting. Before I get to the most important part of the episode (the ending), I want to touch on a few things that led us to that part.

First of all, Dean Norris as Hank has been outdoing himself this return. Hank started out beginning of the series as the classic jock character. He was the guy who was overly confident in everything he did. He was succeeding in his job at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and he had a solid group of friends and a strong family bond. He had all the right to be cocky, and therefore one of the more annoying characters on the show. Especially when the viewer’s focus is meant to be on their sympathy for Walt, then Hank looks particularly worse in the beginning of the show because he comes off as an unlikeable guy. Now, however, Hank has been on his game. As much as I want to root for Walt as the protagonist of the story, the moral and ethical part of me wants Hank to succeed.

Now on to Jesse. He has been on an emotional roller coaster for this entire season. He essentially has nothing at this point. He lost Jane; he has no contact with his parents. He has Andrea and Brock to a certain extent. He has them in the sense that it is clear he still has some connection to them, but on screen that is very rare. But now, Jesse has been using any intelligence he can think of to try to outsmart Walt. Again, even though we are meant to root for Walt as the protagonist of the story, Jesse is a more appealing character. The fact that he has teamed up with Hank helps with our moral compass in that Jesse is prepared to do the right thing despite Walt’s approval.

Hank and Jesse had a great plan to get Walt too. Not surprising that they had such a smart plan, but still worth acknowledging on the writers part for their ability to create this story line. The part where Huell was shown the picture of Jesse was an incredible addition and well done on every part. It was a simple idea that brought together Walt’s biggest failure.

Walt fell into the trap. As unexpected as it is that Walt fell for it, Hank and Jesse’s plan was very well thought out and it makes sense that Walt would fall for it. It is unfortunate to see a character we loved so much in the beginning fall to such a level. His main redeeming quality of the episode was when he tried to call off Todd’s uncle from coming to kill Jesse. That was the Walt we once knew and loved. The Walt that we understood in the beginning of the series for getting into the cooking business in the first place.

Bryan Cranston, as usual, is phenomenal in this entire episode. Especially at the end, when you can truly see how torn Walt is between his personal safety and victory as opposed to that of his family. You can see how difficult that decision was for Walt to hang up the phone on Todd’s cousin. For the audience, this seemed like a redeeming quality for Walt. It reminds us that at his very core, Walt is a good human being. He wants what is best for his family, and did not want to destroy the family that he had already caused so much harm to.

After some minor banter between Walt, Jesse, Hank, and Agent Gomez, guess who comes to join the party? Todd, his uncle, and the entire gang of hitmen come as Walt had originally intended. At this point, Jesse and Walt are in their respective cars, and there is nothing that Walt can do because he is handcuffed in a car from which he cannot escape.

Naturally, the shooting begins. After a solid two minutes of just hearing gunfire, we are left to wonder about what will come next. Who is dead and who is alive? I think it’s obvious that Agent Gomez is dead. He didn’t serve much substance as a character, and it was be an easy cop out for the writers if he was killed off. Considering Gilligan and the rest of the writers really don’t like when people have a happy ending, it would be logical that Hank also ends up dead from the shooting. Also, in the event that Hank does die, the amount of drama to pursue from that is going to be ridiculous. How will Marie react? Will she try to console in Skyler, or flea away?

Assuming that, all that is left is Walt and Jesse. Walt is obviously alive, as we know from the moments they show us in the future. But is Jesse dead? On a personal level, I really hope not, because Jesse is one of my favorite characters. On a level that will create a lot of story and drama for the show, it is hard to tell what will come of Jesse’s character.

All I have to say is that Vince Gilligan continues to win at creating one of the best shows on TV, and I am excited to see what happens next week.

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