Inspired by Metalsucks’ weekly follow-up and discussion of Game of Thrones, we at Heavy Blog will be dedicating our Monday mornings for the next eight weeks to what is easily one of the best shows on television, Breaking Bad. Before you read any further, it should go without saying that there will be spoilers, so if you’re not caught up on the action, skip over this like the plague.

Few television shows get me as excited as much as AMC’s Breaking Bad. I was admittedly late to the party, hopping on the Breaking Bad bandwagon last year and marathoning the first three seasons on Netflix in a very intense week before season four rolled around. You know how you can just tell the exact moment when you’ve stumbled upon a new obsession? It was during the show’s pilot, when the novelty of Bryan Cranston — whom I had grown up knowing as Hal from Malcolm in the Middle — starring as a chemistry teacher turned meth cook was still new and bizarre to me. The way they presented the pilot hooked me instantly from the opening moments as our anti-hero Walter White frantically makes his escape with former student Jesse Pinkman in their mobile meth lab was absolutely enthralling; I had never seen anything like this before. There’s a reason many people are calling this one of the best TV dramas in history.

Even though I’ve been a Breaking Bad fan for a year or so now, it feels like I’ve been involved in this story for the four and a half years since the season one premiere. A hell of a lot has changed since then, and as we roll into the show’s penultimate season, our Mr. Chips is looking more and more like Scarface by the day. Following the mindblowing season 4 finale wherein Walt takes down drug kingpin Gus Fring and plays Jesse like a pawn while nearly putting an innocent child on his deathbed, he’s starting to get cocky. We’ve seen him go from a timid pushover who barely knew his way around a drug deal to becoming a cold-blooded evil mastermind; he really is the danger. What we’re seeing as season five rolls around is a fulfillment of the show’s promise to make us hate the man we could once identify with. As if things weren’t bad enough, things are about to get very ugly in the next eight weeks. Luckily, they’re easing us into it in a way that drops much of the suspense and bloodshed in favor of a hilariously amusing heist of sorts.

As the episode opens, all kinds of things are happening that blow my mind. Most importantly, Walt’s eating breakfast at a diner and Walter Jr. isn’t around to have any, which is pretty much bullshit and the biggest plot-twist of the entire series. Secondly, Walt has a full head of hair and a kickass beard, which puts the opening at some point in the future. He stammers about while awkwardly talking to the waitress who calls him by a fake name, he makes some mysterious exchange with a man in the bathroom (wat), leaves a $100 tip, and goes out to his vehicle, which is loaded up with some killer weaponry. A title card and a commercial break later, we’re back to the present, moments after season 4’s explosive finale. Well, shit; it’s season three’s foreboding intros all over again!

With Gus and his cronies out of the way (super badass Mike excluded of course), one would think that this would be the perfect opportunity for Walt and Jesse to cut their losses and get the hell out of the game, but ignoring all the promos AMC are running which depicts the duo getting back into business, there’s one caveat.

The underground lab at the laundry was wired up with cameras, which means there’s evidence of Walt, Jesse, and Mike’s involvement in the operation on Gus’ laptop, and they need to get it. Meanwhile, Walt’s DEA agent brother-in-law Hank stumbles upon this same conclusion while doing a sweep of the lab’s burned remains and comes across a camera (above). Naturally, the DEA ends up getting the laptop, and things are looking pretty much fucked.

That is, until Jesse has an idea that is so idiotic that it actually turns out to be pretty much one of the greatest moments in Breaking Bad history.

The gang goes to the junkyard and gets set up with an old moving van and one of those crane magnets so they can break Gus’ laptop that is locked away as evidence at the police agency. The theory at work here is that the high powered magnet used to lift and move vehicles should be able to wipe the hard drive clean (or at the very least damage it physically) from a sizable distance before anyone has a chance to see the evidence. This is a hare-brained scheme that is worthy of a prod or two from the Mythbusters team and surely wouldn’t work, right?

Well as it turns out, it works and they get away by the skin of their teeth, naturally. Imagine that! Cranston has said that the season premiere was definitely going to take a sillier approach before things got their darkest, and it sets a nice tone for the future of the show. So far, it’s looking pretty unpredictable.

While they seemed to get away with it this time, this sets up a very important theme for the season to come: Walt vs Hank & The DEA. It’s been touched on and built up for the entirety of this series, and with season four’s antagonist dead and gone, we can all look forward to seeing Walt and Hank finally play this game of cat and mouse in a big way. On top of that, Cranston has said in interviews that [SPOILERS] there will be a death among the main cast this season [/SPOILERS], so I can’t wait to see how this battle plays out in the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, I’ve got to rely on next-day downloads this season from iTunes because DISH and AMC can’t play nice. Shit. What’s worse is knowing that that asshole Ted isn’t dead, though I can take solace in knowing that dude is ten kinds of fucked up. Does that make me a bad person?

– JR


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