TV Review: Breaking Bad—”Dead Freight”

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There’s something about seeing children being put into harm’s way that just gets to people. Breaking Bad has mined that well quite frequently, especially as a way to highlight the brutality of the drug trade and the slipping moral compass of main character Walter White. We saw a child kill a man in cold blood in Season 2, and that very same child murdered in cold blood in Season 3. And last season, we saw Walt poison a poor innocent child to get Jesse back on his side. Yes, Breaking Bad isn’t a show that’s a stranger to putting children in harm’s way. But in “Dead Fright,” this might have been taken farther than it ever has before.

From the moment that kid popped up on screen during the cold open, I knew something horrible was going to happen to him. And when he showed his mug once again at the end of the episode, I KNEW he was a goner. But that still didn’t make the moment less shocking, or poignant. And following one of the most tense and exciting scenes in Breaking Bad history, it was a perfect capper to the episode.

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And my god, was that train scene amazing. It was Breaking Bad at its best; ambitious, chaotic, and beautifully shot as always. Hell, Breaking Bad makes for a better Western than Hell on Wheels EVER did! And well the train scene was a standout in this episode, it was a great one overall. Even though I hate Lydia with a passion, the scene with The Three Methakteers (Mike, Walt, and Jesse) debating about what to do with her was pitch perfect, a great example of the stellar acting and writing this show can deliver. And the scene with Walt breaking down in front of Hank, and then Walt being revealed as a bullshiter? So great.

Last week, I worried that Breaking Bad was taking too long a time to get back to the main plot, after a more character centric break over the last couple episodes. But that episode wipes that idea completely away. The murder of the child seems to be the jumpstart this show needed. We only have three episodes until Breaking Bad is gone for another year, but I’m excited to see what will happen in the meantime. Season 5 of Breaking Bad has finally hit its stride. Sadly, we won’t have much longer to revel in it before the show is gone. Ah well; I’ll take anything I can take at this point.

Score: 9.5 out of 10

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Loose Ends:

-The only thing that brought this episode down from perfection was the lame scene with Skylar. Yes Sky, we get it; you don’t think Walt’s safe for your children. Then again, it only hammers down the idea of children being put in harm’s way that was pretty much the theme of this episode. Man, if Skylar finds out about the boy’s death…Walt can kiss his family goodbye.

-Then again, that scene did give us this very funny exchange: “Burying bodies?” “No, robbing a train.”

-Curious to see how Jesse will react to the boy’s death as well. You know Jesse; for some reason, dead children is one of his buttons.

-Mike Badass Line of the Week: “There’s two types of heist; the ones that you get away with, and the ones that leave witnesses.”

-Nice to see the return of Bill Burr as the distraction during the train heist this week. He’s always fun here. Sadly his boss, Saul Goodman, has been pretty absent of late.

-Loved that Jesse once again figured out the plan for the big heist. When the camera zoomed in on his face, half of me was hoping he would yell out “Magnets!” Imagine THAT heist.

-Literally minutes before the end scene, I was thinking “Boy, is this Todd fella nice and helpful!”  And then THAT happened.  Curious to learn more about this so far cryptic Matt Damon look alike.

—Matthew