Sunday, May 2, 2010

Review - Breaking Bad Season 3 Episode 7 One Minute

Could there have been any other way to jam as much tension into 5 minutes as "One Minute" did at the end of the episode? I'm completely speechless right now. Breaking Bad once again succeeded in blowing my mind and there is literally no way to put into words how nerve-wracking the scene was. The final shot--Hank lying on the ground, bloody, and one of the Cousins, head blown open--is a stunning sight and the perfect ending for the episode.

The episode begins with the Cousins as children, playing as Tio makes a call, discussing the "Chicken Man," presumably Gus. Clearly, Tio doesn't think much about Gus and tells to guy on the line to do whatever. That was a while back, so we don't exactly know if Gus is still in the same position, although the Cousins seem to be respectful of him. I would suspect that Tio becoming incapacitated is part of it. Part of what creates the tension is the lack of the Cousins in the episode and almost all the episodes they've been in. We don't really follow them around. They show up, do their thing, and disappear. All we know is that they've brutal and unafraid of killing.

They appear briefly, right before the opening credits, with a picture of Hank, their next target. They don't appear again until halfway into the episode, looking to buy a bulletproof vest and testing the product worn by the arms dealer, a pretty funny guy who rambles on and on until the crazies shoot him.

After leaving the office and being informed that Jesse most likely will not be pursuing charges, Hank gets a call about an attack in two minutes. The Cousins pop out and start shooting while Hank backs his SUV, pinning one to another car. The other manages to shoot him, but Hank has already gotten out. The Cousins who was pinned to the car seems to be fine, but is still hurt. The other guys on, tracking Hank and shooting any poor bystander nearby. Hank shoots him several times, but doesn't know about the bulletproof best. Luckily, Hank isn't killed in return and is shot twice andn

So Hank was killed, but should he have been? It was certainly very convenient from him to live. He was on the ground with bulletholes, the Cousin could have shot him on the spot and even could have chopped him up with the axe. By the grace of God, the Cousin decides not to kill him on the spot, drops the hollow-point, and seemingly lets Hank use the gun while he takes his time with the axe. I thought Hank was a goner. Somehow the scene seemed like a one-time scene, unable to be replicated because it had an easy outcome. And, following the course Hank has taken this season, it would be fitting. He's been broken in every way possible and a quick death would only add to the tragedy of his character. It'll be interesting to see where the writers take his character next. Keeping him alive would mean he is destined for more and not a death from cheap thrills.

Another big question is the identity of the caller. Since Gus was described in the beginning of the episode as a "big fry cook" by Tio, he would be an excellent candidate for the caller, showing he's not afraid to go against the cartel and undermine their actions. Letting Hank have a fighting chance would open up several possibilities, but what are the benefits? If Hank succeeds in defeating the Cousins, sure the Cartel will be out of Gus's way, but wouldn't the DEA start investigating the cartel which inevitably would lead to Gus? I can't quite wrap my head around Gus's motivations. But if it isn't him, who else would have the knowledge and motivation to warn Hank?

Amazingly, I'm pretty far into the review and I have discussed any character other than Hank yet. In many ways, Hank's situation parallels that of Walt's. When he finally gets to the much overdo talk with Marie, he says how a long chain of events, starting with Tuco and ending with El Paso, left him where he is now, in a fragile mental state, unsure of himself or how to proceed. He, too, has broken, not necessarily bad, but broken nonetheless. Walt's own path was also littered with events leading up to his current state as Heisenberg, as devious, manipulative drug manufacturer, arrogant beyond belief and very competent in what he does.

When Jesse tells Walter about his terrible life, he specifically blames it on Heisenberg, not Walt. In many ways, Walt's once furtive alter-ego, Heisenberg, has overwhelmed him, hiding Walter White, average high school teacher, in the dark. But when does Walter White come out? I thought Walter White was out when he was making the PB&J sandwich, but right when Skyler came in, Heisenberg came out, scheming all the way, looking for an opening to leap through.

Part of me thought Hank's beating of Jesse was the big thing of the episode. In light of what happened in the parking lot, it hardly seems worth mentioning anymore. Walt kicks out Gale and invites Jesse to join him for half the cut ($1.5 million), and Hank's OPR problems are out of the way. Jesse in the hospital and the investigation into Hank are now minuscule compared to Hank getting shot.

I think I've said this before, but Breaking Bad is, hands down, the best show on television. There is no other show that can generate the amount of tension with the consistency or frequency.

Score: 10/10
Related Posts with Thumbnails