Who would have ever guessed that silly dad from Malcolm in the Middle would become such a bad-ass?!?! Bryan Cranston plays Walter White, the main protagonist on my favorite television show, Breaking Bad. With great acclaim from Variety Magazine stating it has a "jarring feel of a Tarantino film" and Rolling Stone claiming it's a "Southwestern noir the Coen brothers would make if they did TV," how could you not want to watch this show! After waiting through a suspenseful cliffhanger, my anxious little mind was finally appeased by the Season 4 Premiere on AMC. So for those of you who haven't watched the show, or have never even heard of it (as I know plenty of people who haven't), here's a quick recap:
Walter White is a high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with lung cancer. Too proud to ask for help, Walt uses his talented knowledge of chemistry to pay for his rising medical costs: Cooking Crystal Meth. Unsure how to deal his product on the streets, Walt teams up with one of his prior high school dropout students, Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul). As Walt and Jesse start pushing the product, Walt's recipe is the most purest (and bluest) meth on the streets. After associating himself with a sleazy lawyer (Saul Goodman played by Bob Odenkirk), his wife leaving him because of his "new career" (Skyler played by Anna Gunn), and his brother-in-law Hank (a DEA agent) getting paralyzed because of his misdeeds, Walt continues down a dark and twisted path.
Walt ends up teaming with the crime lord Gus (a man masqueraded as community businessman), who provides him the proper resources and facilities to carry out the drug operations. Walt slowly teaches his recipe to Gale, a lab assistant assigned to him by Gus. However with all of Walt's knowledge transferred to Gale, Gus plans to kill Walt and Jesse. In a desperate measure to save himself from getting shot in the head, Walt calls Jesse to assassinate Gale so no other living person knows his cooking secrets. So what was this big cliffhanger? We were left with a gun pointing at Walt and a nervous Jesse firing a gun at Gale...
After the ending of the Season 3 Finale, my emotions were running wild and was left on the edge of my seat of wondering the fates of my favorite protagonists. Thankfully, the Season 4 Premiere has finally aired and lived up to all my expectations! Walt's plan worked, where Jesse was able to cap the lab assistant, buying them a little more time. However they must plan and act quickly if they want to stay alive. We discovered the true capability of Gus' darkside where he silently killed one of his own lackeys with a razor blade to instill fear into Walt's and Jesse's minds. We also discover Walt is corrupting the people he loves. Skyler illegally lied to a locksmith so she could gain access into Walt's house. He's creating a monster in Jesse, where Jesse has easily justified his murderous deed. And as for paralyzed Hank, he's a pathetic man losing the motivation to live, wasting his time buying rocks on the Internet rather than putting his willpower into rehabilitation.
Breaking Bad is a highly character driven show with quirky and dark situations. Walt has morphed from the innocent school teacher into the ultimate gangster. He may have put his cancer into remission, but he is slowly losing his family and friends. In my opinion, the scene in which Walt is at the point of no return was when he murdered two drug dealers by shooting them to the ground after running them over with his car. Walt use to be a man of moral judgment, maybe even a mentor to Jesse. But instead, he commanded Jesse to murder, a crime Jesse wasn't willing or ready to commit.
However, even though Walt is becoming a master criminal, he's still a likable character. Since he was forced into something he wasn't willing to do, I believe the audience can identify with his emotions and actions. Walt didn't deserve cancer and desires to leave the criminal business that has ironically saved his life (at least for now). But as Michael Corleone once said, "When I thought I was out, they pulled me back in!"
This season, we are in for a wild and crazy ride as Walt and Jesse try to survive their hostile environment. And even if they get rid of Gus, will they have to bury themselves even further into the criminal underworld so they can stay alive?
Once more, I have to reiterate, if you haven't seen this show, watch it now! All the previous seasons are on Blu-Ray and DVD. I promise, if you watch this show, you won't be disappointed!
So on Death List Five, as an ongoing series, Breaking Bad ranks #5.