Friday, June 24, 2011

Review - Breaking Bad Season 2 Episode 1 Seven Thirty-Seven

Perhaps the most memorable part of the second season of Breaking Bad is the opening scene and its later follow-ups. The season begins, quite ominously, in black and white--a hose dripping, wind chime moving, sirens blaring. We have no clue what's going on, but the writers are obviously telling us this is important, even if don't know why. Soon, something more ominous enters the screen, an eyeball floating in a swimming pool, before seeing where it came from--a pink teddy bear that is slowly revealed to be charred on one half. With that, the second season of Breaking Bad begins with a clear message: there will be scary shit going down. As always, there is incredible directing and imagery, using only a minute to convey a very powerful feeling.

"Seven Thirty-Seven" takes no time reintroducing the immediate concerns for Walt and Jesse, first replaying the last scene from the first season and then adding further content, more of Tuco being crazy and his henchman actually dying. The whole time, Walt and Jesse are shocked, staring at this dead guy and Tuco, realizing how fucking insane everything is. But money is money, and Walt needs about $700,000 for his family after his death, only 10 weeks worth of meth.

The rest of the drug plot for the episode doesn't advance too much until the end. Jesse believes that Tuco wants them killed and Walt soon follows. This is confirmed when Hank, in a too-big-to-believe coincidence, sends Walt a photo of some dead bodies--Tuco's dead henchman and Gonzo, the fat henchman. Their is lots of fear going around, but also resolve. Walt concludes that the only course of action is to strike back and hopefully kill Tuco. Before that can happen, though, Jesse pulls up in front of Walt's house--with Tuco in the backseat holding a gun.

The writers have done a good job incorporating the other characters sicne the middle of the first season, and it really shows in "Seven Thirty-Seven." Skylar is a major character in the episode, and all the weight is on her. She has to deal with Walt's increasingly erratic behavior, Walt Jr.'s behavior, Marie's overall bitchiness, and Hank's denial about the extent Marie's problems. By the end of the episode, she's just at her wits end, exhausted by all these things swirling around her.

The first, shortened season of Breaking Bad was a highly successful season of television that was funny (in a dark way, of course), harrowing, and deeply sad. Now with a full 13-episode season ahead, Breaking Bad continues to tap into these elements with great result.

Score: 9.3/10
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