Monday, July 23, 2012

A King Has His Reign...and Then He Dies?

Insanely good episode of BREAKING BAD last night.

The mirror scens of Walt, the emotional tyrant, subduing Jesse and Skylar under the guise of family and partnership are absolutely chilling. In one scene we see Walt gently massaging a sobbing Jesse's shoulder as he manipulates him into accepting the position of surrogate son and friend. In another scene we see Walt softly caressing Skylar's arm, kissing her neck, and waxing familial while she stares off in quiet horror. Two terrific scenes highlighting Walt's own sense of godlike power and the ever deepening moral midden he has buried himself in. The striking difference between the two scenes is that Skylar is privy to Walt's despotism will Jesse is still being duped. Does this set us up for an unexpected ultimate showdown between Skylar and Walt? At this point, anything is possible, including the potential for numerous red herrings. But I do think that there is something telling about the look on Skylar's face as she receives those kisses. It does not look like a face that will remain submissive for much longer.

As great as those two scenes are for continuing the issues related to the show's three main characters, this episode really belongs to my personal favorite character: Mike Ehrmantraut. He received a lot of great scenes and ingenious moments last night. In fact, every scene he was in last night was great, funny, exciting, and riveting. My favorite has to be his final scene with new girl Lydia as she pleads with him to be shot in the face or to not be "disposed" of. What other show would be so raw and uncompromising in its dissection of the moment between life and death? BREAKING BAD continues to be a show, in a lot of ways, about consequences, effects, results–so, of course, how Lydia's daughter finds her body is of grave importance and needs to be discussed so bluntly. Sooo good.

Can I also mention how enigmatic, strange, gritty, and ultimately badass that opening scene is? The show makes a habit out of scenes with characteristics just like this, and I can't say I'm ever disappointed.

In his recap, my new buddy Matt Zoller Seitz mentions how the episode is a masterclass in revelatory direction. I couldn't agree more. Like so many episodes of BREAKING BAD, it is shot with meticulous efficiency and harrowing creativity. My favorite shot has to be, as MZS describes it, "the slow pull-back revealing the murdered Chow on the couch, his bloodied head positioned center-frame." My only thought was, "God, that is such a great shot."

Anyway, like John and Chris before me, I don't think I can talk much more about the episode without diverting into pure Chris Farley type adulation. So, I will just say: It. Was. Awesome.

Can't wait for next Sunday.

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