Breaking Bad is now running it’s fourth season. In fact season is almost coming to an end. People who haven’t seen this series don’t know how much are they missing in quality television. This series has everything you could ask for – amazing writing, taught direction, beautiful cinematography and above all awesome performance by the cast. Last week’s episode took this series to new heights and I thought I need to write my two cents here.
Before I delve into my review of this particular episode (Season 4, Episode 11) here is a little background.
For people who are not following this series here is a quick Hollywood style high concept – A chemistry genius realizing that he is terminally ill with cancer must generate enough money for his family by using his chemistry skills to cook pure crystal meth.
Sounds simple. Well, it ain’t. There are competitors – real drug dealers, cartels, DEA, family and worst of all a Junkie cooking partner.
Bryan Cranston plays Walter white, the high school chemistry teacher terminally ill with cancer. A very methodical man who gets into cooking crystal meth with a highly disorganized junkie called Jesse played by Aaron Paul. It’s a classic freudian conflict with two archetypes having opposing character traits – anal retentive and anal expulsive.
“What we have here is failure to co-ordinate.”
If you go little deep in the philosophy of Breaking Bad then you’ll realize that the whole story is in a way a re-telling of faustian bargain. For some reason when this episode ended I thought about Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray. It’s rare that you see such a clearly defined character arc in a dramatic TV series. Walter White in that sense is really Dorian Gray – person who made a deal with the Devil (in this case drug dealers) for eternal youth (money in this case). His character has undergone such a dramatic shift from a wimp to a control freak.
This episode highlights one inevitability of life that good luck doesn’t last forever.
The episode has an amazing cinematography. In my review of No country for old men I mentioned harsh terrain of texas as a a character in itself. Similar technique is utilized by show creators by giving a character to deserted country of New Mexico.
The episode has a very haunting ending. Show creators used editing, cinematography, sound effect, performance to accentuate this ending. A very clever (some may say cliched) framing device along with smart sound editing. If you have started watching this series then hustle up to season four. If not then I have one thing to say – Netflix It now (sorry, Qwikster it now)!!.