'Breaking Bad' Premiere Does Not Tread Lightly on The Blueberries
I don't know why I'm even trying to do this right now. I mean, I do know (secret: it's my job), but how in the ever-loving fuck is one supposed to appropriately and aptly respond to the beginning of the end of AMC's Breaking Bad? Because I can't. I know I'll fail, because words can do no justice to the actions on screen. At least we all have fun doing it though, right? The speculating, the theorizing, the pontificating: all of this about a television show? As a lover of television and everyone, there's nothing that makes my heart soar higher. Who knew a meth cook would make us all so happy?
But still, America's favorite international drug kingpin is coming to an end, and nearer still are we to the answers we've craved for five seasons, thanks to Sunday night's premiere of the series' final eight episodes. And with neck-breaking speed and I-keep-forgetting-to-breathe pacing, the twists and turns flipped everything we expected on its head. Of course I'm talking about the main event, The Confrontation we thought we'd have to wait far longer to see: Hank meets Heisenberg. Getting Walt and Hank in the same room following their respective toilet discoveries, each one knowing the other's secrets, in the premiere? Unbelievable, unexpected, and undoubtedly wonderful. It upped the ante times a billion. But tonight, I feel like Badger, because while everyone wants to talk about the obvious, all I want to do is talk about frozen blueberries in space.
The metaphorical fruit of my mind is all focused on Jesse. Because Jesse Pinkman's reaction to and handling of his money — blood money — was so endearingly stupid and human, it made me want to walk into my television screen, hug him to my chest like the small child he sort of is, and pat his head, telling him everything would be OK (even though we all know that's prooooobably a lie. But hey, parents lie to little kids all the time). I know he's everyone's favorite atypical moral compass, but tonight Pinkman was in particularly human form. Because as wonderful as it is to root for Walt's fall from grace, it's even more heartening (for a covert softie such as myself), to see one rise from the ashes, in his own, truly Jesse-esque way. Jesse and Walt are two sides of the same bad coin, but while Walt is breaking in, Jesse's trying to break out. And it's nice to see him try to make a decision that doesn't come from a place of visceral emotions (even though it totally was). Survivalists are sweet in their own mixed up way!
But let's get back to Jesse's dollar parade. Taking a page from the LA car chase playbook, Jesse took his blood money, thwarted yet again at every turn by Walt, and throws it paperboy-style out of his car window and into the waiting metaphorical arms of a downtrodden neighborhood. From house to house he goes, a veritable money fairy, blessing the streets, sidewalks, gutters, and yards with wads and wads of cash. But surely this will come back to haunt him, right? It was, as we saw, not the best neighborhood, so no one's going to question free money,will they? The bigger problem for him is probably the homeless man: because let's face the harsh light of 2013: most people will question how a homeless man came into any sort of money that's bigger than a tenner.
What made the whole thing wonderful was how Jesse the whole thing was, and how utterly human he is compared to how inhumane Walt has become. Sure, he's been left to rot on the brink of mental and emotional and actual destruction, but Walt's influence has been a good one, in a way, for Jesse. It showed him how bad "bad" really can be, and it's a complete 180 degrees away from Walt. Walt who still has that ricin lying around, just in case, and is still a survivalist to the end, as evidenced by the flash-forwards.
And while the cancer is back, it doesn't seem to have hindered Walt's ability to unnerve. First the next-door neighbor, and then to Hank when he uttered the creepily calm "tread lightly" remark at the end of The Confrontation. Which, while feeling slightly rushed, still managed to encapsulate the complexities of a competition dance routine. The duo tiptoed around each other with stunning display of awkward soft shoe to the point that I found myself thinking it's amazing that these two are in the professions that they are. Nice try, but your poker faces were total shit. Not that any of us minded, as I'm sure I wasn't the only one with their shit-eating grin on, lapping up each painfully uncomfortable and nerve-wracking moment. And while I'm shocked Vince Gilligan's gone and given us The Confrontation so quick, it set the stage for what's undoubtedly going to be the most high-stress, anxiety-inducing, and bitch!-laden finale season of television our small screens have ever seen.
Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC