Breaking Bad Links By Season By Episode

Breaking Bad Season 1 Episode PhotosAll Photos Credit: AMC

The Breaking Bad project is now finished. If you are just starting to watch it now or if you want to go back and read the recaps for certain episodes, this is the place to come.

Watch Breaking Bad on Netflix and then come back here to see what the best weekly reviewers said at the time. Impress your friends with your insight. Become a regular visitor to these TV critics. Suggest other critics that I have missed. And enjoy.

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Breaking Bad Felina

Credit: AMC

I have to admit that I don’t know where to begin on “Felina”. This is the third time I have started this post and I hope it is the last.

Endings are complicated. They can mean too much to people who use their feelings about an ending as a referendum on everything that came before. Sometimes that’s reasonable. (For example, the ending of The Usual Suspects makes that entire film pointless.) For a TV series, especially one that runs for multiple seasons, feelings about the ending should not elevate or diminish everything. Nothing that happened in “Felina” would have meant that Breaking Bad is not a great series nor, in my opinion, would it have made it better than The Wire. But was “Felina” any good?

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Breaking Bad Granite State

Credit: AMC

Based on personal experience, I know that there is no way to convince members of Team Walt that Walter White is a terrible person. They tell you that he’s brilliant and that everything he did was for his family. Their confirmation bias won’t allow them to hear when you give examples showing that he didn’t do it for his family but for his own ego. “Granite State” should be the last word in this debate, but it won’t be because no one on Team Walt will ever be convinced. This means that I will have to take comfort in the solace of being right, which isn’t very satisfying.

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Breaking Bad Ozymandias

Credit: AMC

It begins with a reminder of how this all started, of the first visit of Walt and Jesse to To’hajiilee. It’s not a reminder we need. We know why Walt began cooking meth. We remember what he was trying to accomplish. We don’t need the reminder, but Walt does. When Walt started out, he wasn’t in the meth business or the empire business; he was just trying to make enough to take care of his family after he was gone. Walt needs to be reminded because if he’d remembered then he wouldn’t be back in To’hajiilee trying to protect his money. If he’d remembered, Walt would be an average nobody, an ordinary schnook, working at the car wash.

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Breaking Bad To’hajiilee

Credit: AMC

The irony is that Walt doesn’t need the money, not really. In “To’hajiilee”, Jesse uses a Heisenbergian ruse to lure Walt to the location where he buried his money, only for Walt to realize when he arrives that he’s been tricked. I had speculated last week that Walt’s hubris would be his downfall and I know that some critics figured out that Jesse would go after Walt’s money, but I feel I deserve partial credit. The money is the tangible evidence of Walt’s hubris. He doesn’t need the money or, more to the point, his family doesn’t need the money. They have the car wash. They are better off than they were when Walt first got his diagnosis. All Walt is protecting now is his pride.

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Breaking Bad Rabid Dog

Credit: AMC

In the season four episode “Problem Dog”, Jesse describes his killing of Gale Boetticher to his twelve-step group as the killing of a “problem dog”. Jesse’s reason for using a euphemism is understandable in that context: Jesse didn’t want to admit that he had killed a person, not to the group and maybe not to himself. In “Rabid Dog”, Walt gets annoyed with Saul when Saul uses the analogy of a rabid dog to discuss what should be done about Jesse. Walt behaves as if he is uncomfortable with such dissembling, but in last week’s episode we saw Walt refuse to admit why he wanted Jesse to leave town. Sometimes it’s easier to face things if we call them something else.

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Breaking Bad Confessions

Credit: AMC

One big advantage that Walter White has had in going from Mr. White to Heisenberg is that most people see him as Mr. White, the former wonder boy now high school chemistry teacher. The Mr. White guise caused some of Walt’s enemies to underestimate him and allowed some to not even consider the possibility that he was Heisenberg. Then, when Walt felt like he needed to, he could transform into Heisenberg and leverage that identity. (But even as Heisenberg, Walt still looked like the former wonder boy who was now trying too hard to look cool in a pork pie hat and out of fashion facial hair.)

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Breaking Bad Buried

Credit: AMC

Even though the Breaking Bad episodes we are now watching are technically the second part of season five, that is for accounting and contract purposes and means little to us. When Breaking Bad came back last week with “Blood Money”, it functioned as a season premier, resolving the cliffhanger from the previous season and setting the stage for the conflict for the current season. “Blood Money” was so good, especially in the final scene between Walt and Hank, that it can be added to the still growing list of classic Breaking Bad episodes. “Buried”, by virtue of having to prepare us for what is to come, is not an instant classic like “Blood Money”, but the good thing about Breaking Bad is that even its lesser episodes are still excellent.

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Breaking Bad Blood Money

Credit: AMC

It is the nature of TV series to delay characters realizing certain things because the writers are never certain when a series is going to end. It may take forever for the man to realize that the woman likes him or a long time for a detective to figure out that the killer is right under her nose. When Deb sees Dexter killing someone at the end of season six, she only believes Dexter’s explanation until the end of the season seven premier. Dexter, of course, is nowhere near the show that Breaking Bad is but at least the show respected the character of Deb enough not to drag things out unrealistically (other than six seasons).

Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad, reached an agreement with AMC to end the show on his terms. In “Blood Money”, it only takes Hank until the end of the episode to begin taking steps to catch Walt and it only takes Walt the same amount of time to figure out that Hank is on to him. When Hank pushes the button on the garage door opener, it is confirmation that nothing is going to be wasted in these final episodes.

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Catch Up on Breaking Bad Season Five

All Photos Credit: AMC

You know how this works by now. Here are the links to the best reviews for each episode of Season Five. I’ve already done Season One, Season Two, Season Three and Season FourContinue reading “Catch Up on Breaking Bad Season Five”