Monday, April 19, 2010

Review - Breaking Bad Season 3 Episode 5 Mas

As we approach the halfway point of the season, "Mas" took a huge turn, dramatically altering the status quo and setting the course for the rest of the season. There were no heart-pounding moments, no real sense of excitement, but instead, many slow, wonderful character moments, molded carefully over the entire episode, gently moving everyone in their own directions.

Season 1 was focused almost solely on Walt and Bryan Cranston carried the show. Going into Season 2 and now Season 3, the other characters have been integral to the show's success as they become compelling characters themselves. Season 2 greatly enhanced Jesse's character, making him the good guy (comparably) who loses it all.

Hank and Skyler were always on the outside edges, tangentially relating to Walt and his drug trade, but their own struggles this season have popped out to become key to the past few episodes. Hank continues to question his manliness, especially after Gomez is sent to El Paso instead. To compensate, Hank dives into his work, showing that he is doing important work which requires him to stay behind. While his investigation may prove fruitful and he is on the right track, his primary motive--avoiding El Paso--clouds his ability to think clearly. Marie can't get to him and the logical part of his brain can't either. Every thought is overridden by a sense of inferiority like he can no longer be useful.

Skyler, on the other hand, acknowledges that there is a problem between how she feels and how she must act, a point that Hank has not yet reached. She enjoys being with Ted and the feeling of belonging he provides her that she can receive nowhere else. At the same time, she knows the relationship isn't going anywhere. She loves the nice things he can provide, but what about Walt's cash in a duffel bag she finds? Her frantic therapy session with her divorce attorney was a little too on the nose, but it did its job, illustrating all the contradictions and fears she has. Back at home, several problems are seemingly resolved with signed divorce papers lying there.

Breaking Bad is such a terrific show that I haven't even said anything about Walt and Jesse yet. The supporting characters alone would be enough to carry their own shows. In combination with the arguably better stories of Walt and Jesse, Breaking Bad is mindblowingly good.

Gus finally tips his hand, showing just how cunning he can be. He knows Walt to his core and exploits that to his every advantage, first bringing Walt to a state of the art meth facility, playing to his chemistry pride and then driving the final nail in the coffin, playing Walt's desire for that normal family, where he is the man, which he can never have. At the end of the episode, Walt is back cooking meth with Saul Goodman in tow.

There is a flashback in the beginning of the episode of Combo, Skinny Pete, and Jesse at a strip club, spending Walt's RV money. The RV wasn't obtained legally, but was actually stolen. We later learn through Hank's investigation that Combo stole the RV from his mother. It was a rather easy way for Hank to find the RV and then find the picture of Jesse and seemed too convenient. The flashback also displays Jesse in a different setting when he was outgoing, social, and not in the downtrodden state he currently finds himself. The compound his problems, Gus was using him all along to get to Walt, and once Walt is back to cooking he has no use for anyone, including Saul. With his back up against the wall, Jesse decides to fight back, choosing to make the Heisenberg formula himself.

I seriously loved this episode, and the Cousins weren't even in it. Now that Walt is back to being useful to Gus, will the cartel break ties with Gus and go after him?

Score: 9.7/10
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