Sunday, August 11, 2013

My Five Favorite Moments from the Fifth Season of Breaking Bad

Given that tonight marks the beginning of the end for Breaking Bad, I figured that it was an apt time to note my favorite moments from the first half of the final season. 

It’s happening now for a couple reasons.  Firstly, I’m a huge procrastinator and this is the last possible moment for it to still be relevant.  But I’m also getting it done because I’m making a genuine effort to try to lock down some positive habits, and more writing is one of them. 

Before I go any further, I’d like to reiterate that these are my favorite moments from last year’s episodes of Breaking Bad.  This isn’t the “coolest moments” or the “most talked about moments.”  Yeah, the montages in the final episode were dope and it was cool when Walter started spouting Destiny’s Child lyrics, but those weren’t my favorite moments. 

Mike vs Hank & Gomez

My first of my favorite moments also happens to come chronologically first.  It’s the scene with Mike getting interrogated by Hank and Gomez.  It’s a great scene because there’s such a great back and forth in terms of momentum.  At first Mike is giving it to them and then bam, with the introduction of the account in the granddaughter’s name, the power shifts from Mike to Hank.  Mike walks out of the room a free man, but also a defeated man. 
Cocky Mike
Angry Mike
Disgusted Mike

Jesse and The Whites Break Bad Bread

Breaking Bad has always had such delightfully awkward family meals.  Jay1 and I used to joke that the show could be alternately titled “Awkward Meals with The Whites.”  So when you introduce Jesse into an already contentious Walter/Skyler dynamic things are bound to be awesome.  The scene doesn’t disappoint; it revels in the awkwardness.  Jesse tries to make the best of things and hilarity ensues. 
Jesse tries small talk.
Did he tell you that I.F.T.?
You can really tasted the hydrogen to oxygen ratio.
Green beans from Albertsons.

"All I Can Do Is Wait."

These eight episodes are full of Walter White as his creepiest.  Thankfully the producers opted to leave the creepiest handjob on the cutting room floor.  But this confrontation between Walt and Skyler is so powerful for a couple of reasons.  Firstly it shows off just how far Walt has come in terms of playing chess.  He spouts off various scenarios and picks each one apart.  But the reason I love the scene is because of Skyler’s brutal honestly.  “All I can do is wait.”  What a haunting phrase. 

"All I Can Do Is Wait."
"I just realized..."

With these episodes it was made abundantly clear; Walt is the bad guy.  Yeah he’s done horrible things before, but he (and we as an audience) could rationalize them away as the actions of a man with his back against the wall.  And what’s more is that Walt actually believed the hype.  Which is what made Mike’s demise all the more tragic; it wasn’t a carefully thought out move, it was very much a crime of passion.  (Yes, Walt did take the gun out of the bag in advance, but the actual pulling of the trigger was itself triggered by anger.)  It also showed that Walt was capable of remorse, pointless remorse. 

Mike in shock
I've made a huge mistake.
Mike just wants some peace.

My favorite moment of the season was dealing with the aftermath of the train heist.  It plays out without dialogue and is haunting.  As a show Breaking Bad has never shied away from showing repercussions of actions and having this repercussion play out over the cold open was just perfectly done.  The meticulous dismantling of the dirt bike foreshadowing the horrific work that lay ahead for them.  It was effective and it was powerful.   
Dismantle the dirt bike...
Dispose of evidence
Oh, one more thing...
I don't know what these final eight episodes hold in store for us.  I've sort of consciously not thought about things.  I kind of just want to go along for the ride and experience things as they come.  But I do know that I'm genuinely going to miss Breaking Bad when it signs off in two months.  It'll be a very sad day.  

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