WARNING: Spoilers. Spoilers! SPOILERS!!!! Oh, and MAGNETS!!!!! How do they work???
I started having “Breaking Bad” withdrawals as the credits rolled after the Season 5 premiere Sunday night. If I ruled the world, Hollywood Theater in Portland would have aired all eight episodes of Season 5′s first half until the sun rose Monday morning. My eyes would have glued to the screen at some point. Eventually I would have fallen asleep for the rest of the day – no work, just sleep. If only I ruled the world. I am not Walter White though.
The Season 5 premiere finds Walt (Bryan Cranston) emboldened after claiming victory over nemesis Gus Fring in the Season 4 finale. He is Heisenberg minus the black Pork pie hat. I am sure he’ll don the hat soon enough. Or a full head of hair, as foreshadowed in the premiere’s opening scene.
This episode showed multiple characters covering their tracks – Walt, Jesse, and Mike using magnets to destroy Gus’s computer, Skyler visiting Ted in the hospital, and Hank seeking video surveillance info on Gus’s superlab. These chess moves don’t settle any scores. If anything they open up more cans of worms.
Here are my thoughts on “Breaking Bad” Season 5, Episode 1:
A. Walt might have forgiven Skyler (Anna Gunn) at episode’s end for sleeping with Ted and giving the dirty businessman $622,000 of his money, but that does not mean he has forgiven Ted. It’s almost a given at this point something bad will happen to Ted – I mean, something worse than last season’s act of God. Perhaps, an act of Heisenberg will occur. Ted’s promise not to talk means nothing. His word is no good, as viewers learned last year. Walt will eventually do away with him. That is, unless Skyler does first.
B. What a difference the murder of your rival can make, eh? Walt feared his own demise for much of last season, but Sunday night he was more brazen than ever – co-signing Jesse’s magnets idea over Mike’s doubts, flippantly telling Mike the plan worked without any proof, and threatening Saul to retain his services. The ego has landed! He no longer fears Mike because he no longer fears Gus. He always viewed Mike as a lesser figure anyway. He just never had the balls to live out his belief.
C. Henchman Mike (Jonathan Banks) proved especially valuable in his return from Mexico. Now, that the evidence is destroyed, what reason does Mike have to remain in town? How will Walt manipulate him into staying in town? At what point, does Mike’s kinship with Jesse (Aaron Paul) lead Jesse to side with him against Walt? One has to think it’s only a matter of time before Walt does something egotistical to push Jesse away. There’s also the simmering hatred between Mike and Walt too. That might be enough to spark fires.
D. Are Skyler’s tears for Ted in his hospital room an act or does she still have feelings for him? Her purpose for visiting him is one of damage control, to find out whether he will implicate her in his accident. She knows how to get herself into a mess. Unlike Walt, she has almost no clue how to get out of the mess – aside from throwing money at the problem. That will likely change as she continues to break bad in the final episodes.
E. Pinkman scores! It’s nice to see Jesse flex his intellectual muscle in this episode, with his suggestion that magnets be used to destroy Gus’s laptop in evidence. Walt, of course, does not give him his due. When you’re Jesse Pinkman not having Walt berate you is as good as a compliment at this point.
F. Not sure if “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan is a Juggalo but Jesse Pinkman’s repetitive suggestions to use magnets to destroy Fring’s laptop called to mind Insane Clown Posse’s track “Miracles”, in which one of the clowns asks how magnets work. If you’ve never seen it, you probably should treat yourself to a four-minute laughfest.
G. Hank is back on the scent. Although the scent is going somewhere he did not anticipate. What happens with the routing number written on the inside of Gus’s picture frame is speculation at this point. I liked how show creator Vince Gilligan showed the picture frame directly after the cracked laptop, the point being as soon as Walt ties up one loose end a new one goes untied.
H. Walt is broke. He’ll have to start cooking again soon. Jesse lives for this, so he will join him. There is too much money to be made with Gus and the cartel leadership gone. Nothing is certain though, and they have quite the police tail on them.
I. Walt was 50 when this series started. The opening sequence of Season 5 shows him eating alone at a Denny’s on his 52nd birthday. This will, no doubt, be the most discussed scene. A) It means he still has time yet to live B) it implies he has no more family and C) why is Walt storing guns and ammo for the Zombie Apocalypse? Oh, and the way he casually tips the waitress $100. Does that mean he has made a lot of money in the interim?
J. What were the odds Walt would be in more breakfast scenes than Walter Jr. in the season’s first episode? Kid can eat.
K. Who’s the worse parent of a newborn: Walter White or Kenny Powers of HBO’s “Eastbound and Down”?
L. Last but not least, I’m sending a shout-out to Hollywood Theater for screening “Breaking Bad.”