Thoughts on the Breaking Bad “Mid-season Finale” or whatever it’s called

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Wow, that picture is a lot bigger than I thought it would be. Hmm.. I should shrink that down. Gotta get into the setting stuff on wordpress.. hmm.. i’ll do it later. Maybe.. Probably not..

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. DON’T READ THIS if you haven’t seen the 8th episode of Breaking Bad‘s fifth season, “Gliding Over All” (which is from a Walt Whitman poem, btw).

First off, I was satisfied by this episode and this half season thing. Yes, it felt a little rushed. I think that was bound to happen since we’re all used to those 13 episode seasons (which are still pretty short, right?). The episodes felt bigger. No filler. The alternative would’ve been 8 slow and boring buildup episodes this year to prepare for the final batch next summer. Yes, it felt like a lot of big things happened but I think it’s okay. That’s how I feel.

I watched the episode with 2 fellow Breaking Bad fan friends and we made a list of predictions beforehand (I tried to find some blue Pop Rocks candy at Target but no dice). Everyone I’ve talked to this last week predicted that the BIG cliffhanger would be Hank finding out that Walt was Heisenberg. Honestly, I LOVED how they did that. Hank finding out while sitting on the crapper seemed like the perfect way to get to a moment the series has been building to since the pilot. I loved the flashback cut to that great scene from season 4 in the Schrader’s bedroom. I loved the scene right before when everyone is having their “happy” ending. Probably everyone in the audience was thinking somehow something awful was going to happen. Holly was going to fall in the pool or what not. That’s what I thought. This is not a show where happiness lasts for very long or is presented without some underlying irony.

The episode left some lingering questions:

Is Walt really out?

What is Hank going to do?

What’s going to happen with Jesse?

Is the cancer back?

How in the world is Walt going to make it to Denny’s with his hair and all?

And what’s he gonna do with that giant gun?

We got 2 excellent montage scenes. The prison one was gruesome but well made. The final cooking/making money/succeeding one was funny just in how long it was. That song (“Crystal Blue Persuasion” by Tommy James and the Shondells [thanks, internet]) seemed to end and start back up at least 3 times.

The scene when Skyler showed Walt the huge stack of money was effective. Good visual. It seems like Mike’s death, that, whatever happened at his doctor’s visit and losing Jesse was finally pushing Walt towards some much needed soul searching. That’s why I bought him deciding to get out of the business so quick. I know some had issues with the immediacy of it.

I liked how this half built to what would seem like Walt’s happiest ending. He has the money, his family is all together and happy, he’s out of the business..

But if you watch this show you know that it’s all about the consequences of bad decisions. And what Hank’s putting together in the bathroom is going to upend everything.

Cannot wait.

————-

If you’re reading this and this is your first time to be caught up and the thought of having to wait for next summer is making you nauseous, here are some recommendations to sooth the entertainment laceration:

– Read Alan Sepinwall’s reviews.

– Listen to the Breaking Bad Insider Podcast where editor Kelly Dixon breaks down each episode with Vince Gilligan. These have been going on since season 2 and they’re all in iTunes and easy to find.

– Watch old, amazing episodes on Netflix or buy them in disc form.

– Get on twitter and tweet nonstop about Breaking Bad. It feels awesome.

And now back to average television..

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