TV Review: Breaking Bad—”Live Free or Die”

But hell, I’m going to do it anyways. Because showering my love upon all of you guys is my mission in life (oddly enough, I’ve said that a dozen times in my life…but I don’t want to talk about my weekends). Breaking Bad kicked off its penultimate episode tonight and, sure enough, it was just as fantastic as everyone assumed it would be. At this point, that’s really not a surprise.

BreakingBad Walt

The episode began with a tantalizing flash forward, showcasing Walt eating breakfast at a Denny’s in the near future (two years, to be precise). Walt has a fake ID claiming that he’s from New Hampshire (whose state motto, Live Free or Die, gave this episode its title), which of course leads us to believe that something horrifying must of happened to force Walt out of ABQ (possibly with the help of the man Saul suggested to Walt back in Season 4). After rearranging his bacon to form the number 52 (a callback to the Pilot, where Skylar did the same thing for his 50th birthday), Walt meets up with Lawson, the arms dealer who sold him the .38 in “Thirty-Eight Snub.” This time around, Lawson selling him a bigger product; an M60 with enough ammo to take down a whole bunch of people. Before we see anymore, the flash forward cuts out. With luck, we’ll return to this timeline in the near future, ala the Teddy Bear and the Pool in Season 2.

After the cold open, things pick up right where they left off last season; after killing Gus, Walter returns to his home, intent on celebrating his victory with a drink. Unfortunately, Walter realizes he still has a couple loose ends to tie up, most notably the cameras in the lab issue which, if you remember, were connecting to Gus’ computer. Walter realizes this too late, however, for the APD have already seized the laptop and processed it into an evidence locker.

BreakingBad Mike
And thus, Mike gets back into the fold. It’s so great to see Jonathan Banks back after his absence in the last third of Season 4. During the time, it was hard to miss him amidst the chaos and pure insanity going on, but now, I’m starting to remember how awesome he is on the show. The scene where he reunites with Walt and Jessie was fantastic, frantic, beautifully acted, and wonderfully shot. Basically, it’s all the things I’ve grown to love about Breaking Bad.

From then on, the episode didn’t let up, as the three man team of Walt, Jessie, and Mike tried to figure out a way to dispose of the potentially incriminating evidence on Gus’ computer. I love how it was Jesse’s idea for once that turned out to be the smartest; maybe a thing or two has rubbed off Walt and on to Jesse after all. The setup of that was pretty hillarious as well, with Jessie repeatedly saying “What about a magnet?” about a dozen times in the background as Mike and Walt argued amongst themselves. They really do view Jessie as a child sometimes, don’t they?

BreakingBad WaltJesseMike
I loved most of the scenes involving magnets in this episode, mostly because I kept thinking of how cool it would be to actually be on set when they filmed them. Seeing Junkyard Joe again was delightful, since its been a couple of seasons since his last appearance. And well I’ve heard some complaints about the overall plot feeling like a heist movie, I’m perfectly fine with that; I love seeing Jessie and Walt trying to work their way out of a corner, and that’s mostly what was going on here. Everything we love about Breaking Bad is on display during “Live Free or Die.” What a terrific way to get us back into the swing of things, well also conditioning us to what will be new in Season 5. Walt seems more nefarious than ever here, from threatening Saul to confidently “forgiving” Skylar in the last scene of the episode. But if the cold open is any indication…the road ahead for Walter White is a bleak one. And I for one can’t wait to witness his descent.

Score: 9 out of 10

BreakingBad Season5

Loose Ends:

-Skylar seems to have an interesting role this season, in that she’s actually afraid of her husband instead of chastising him at every turn. Also of interest is how easily she turned herself around when she realized Ted was afraid of her. She can be just as cold as her husband, if it comes down to it.

-Speaking of Ted…poor guy. Well he just should of paid his taxes, you can’t help but pity him as he stares at Skylar in fear well (probably) brain damaged and paralyzed for life.

-Me, at the beginning of the episode: “Why does Walt look like the dad from Malcolm in the Middle? I’M SO CONFUSED.”

-Probably the most lines Walter Jr. has had in four seasons. Thanks, Exposition Kid!

-Speaking of Walter Jr, bet he would have been ashamed to see his father not even NIBBLE on his breakfast. Screw the murder and the meth, that’s the moment Walt broke bad in Walt Jr’s mind.

-Mike feeding the chickens was hilarious. Spinoff, please!

-Love how the color pellet goes a yellow-ey orange when they go to Mexico. Such an awesome effect used well.

-“Keys, scumbag, it’s the universal symbol for keys.”

-“Well you know how they say it’s been a pleasure? It hasn’t.”

-“I want you thinking one thought; Hogan’s Heroes.” Even at the worst of time, Saul never changes.

-“What about that stuff you young guys stick on the end of your pricks?”

-“Yeah bitch! MAGNETS!”