Just when I think it wasn’t possible, Breaking Bad just continues to top itself. I really should stop being surprised at this point in time. Not only have the seasons gotten exponentially better with time (which is quite a statement since the pilot is one of the most intriguing introductions to a series ever) but individual episodes have obliterated the previous one. “Dead Freight” is no exception. In fact, it might even be the example.
My all time favorite episode of Breaking Bad is “The Fly” and it will probably stay that way due to sentimental purposes and last week’s episode “Fifty One” was my second favorite. Well, it had a nice but short run because “Dead Freight” is sitting pretty in that second slot.
The cold opening is beautifully shot with a kid motorcrossing through the desert and stumbling upon a tarantula. He examines it, picks it up and places in a jar. He places the jar into his jean jacket, gets back on his bike and drives. Random? Yeah, for the most part. Breaking Bad has a history of having cold openings that are seemingly random but I should really learn that nothing is ever random or unnecessary in a Breaking Bad episode. It is purely calculated.
The scene with Walt and Hank in Hank’s office is exactly why I just cannot stand Walt at this point in the game. He is cruel, heartless and has no shame. He consoles his “feelings” about his deteriorating marriage with Hank and is even capable of conjuring up some tears while saying, “She thinks I’m a bad father.” Nice touch, Mr. White. That scene also solidifies my love for Hank. He is truly the moral compass of the show. He is good through and through. He always does the right thing and he is such a terrific guy and a true hero. The scene later with him and baby Holly is also particularly touching.
I don’t want to go through this episode scene by scene (although I would LOVE to because it is perfect) but I did want to discuss a few points.
- Lydia. Oh Lydia. She is such a hot mess of a character and I love it. There is something entirely fascinating about her and I can’t quite put my finger on it. She’s spastic and anxious and just all over the damn place. I don’t completely trust her and I tend to be drawn to characters I don’t trust. She has been oddly honest about her actions and motives thus far but it’s that weird mix of being an accessory to our merry men of meth makers and her constant worry of being killed. Essentially, it makes me think she’s in it for herself and that’s all she cares about.
- Jesse Pinkman strikes again! After the genius magnets idea (and adding another one-word catchphrase to his name), Jesse Pinkman is proving he’s more than just that kid with the contacts. He is becoming the brains as well as the peacemaker of the group. His plan to rob the train without killing innocent people was brilliant. He’s coming into his own and I hope his newfound smarts will allow him to wise up when it comes to Walt. Also, the shot of Walt and Mike arguing and slow pushing into Jesse as he’s coming up with his idea was the best shot of the entire episode. UGH AARON PAUL WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?
- The Heist. THAT HEIST. I was not breathing throughout the whole thing. It was flawlessly shot and I’ve never been so stressed out during a tv show. It was the perfect blend of tension and action. Breaking Bad has such a beautiful formula of setting up (but not spoon feeding) the scenario for the audience and ending it with a satisfying pay off. It leaves no stone unturned and it does so with flair and style.
- The ending. The gang pulled it off, they got their methylamine and they did without being seen…except by that kid in the cold opening. The moment Todd (who did not even hesitate) killed that little boy; my jaw fell open. Not only that but I instantly started bawling. Like I wasn’t even aware I could produce tears that quickly. The combination of how quick it happened mixed with Jesse’s reaction, it was just the end for me. I started cursing into the air about how much I hate what this show does to me. It puts me through so much emotional trauma and pain. I love every second of it.
- Jesse James. Jesse James is starting to become a patter in this season and I can’t help but feel like it’s some form of foreshadowing. After all, there is no such thing as coincidence in the world of Breaking Bad (or in Gotham – teehee Dark Knight Rises jokes). Mike’s job this season has been putting Walt and his ego in check. “Just because you shot Jesse James doesn’t make you Jesse James.” Since Jesse (Pinkman, not James) is the one who brings him up this time around, could it be predicting the downfall of Walter White? Is Jesse going to be the one to finally stop Heisenberg? Personally, I hope so. I think Jesse deserves to put a bullet in Walt after all the crap he’s done to him.
It seriously boggles my mind how this show is able to craft not one genius episode but continue to top it week after week. Each episode is just a bullet point in the long, long document explaining why Breaking Bad is not only the best show on tv at the moment but why it could be the best tv show ever. I look forward to next week’s episode to knock “Dead Freight” out of my top two.