Monday, February 11, 2008

What I'm Watching: Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad: Season 1, Episode 3 “…and the Bag’s in the River” (B)

The third installment of this new series embellishes its strong qualities while still being held back a bit by its lagging elements. This episode definitely has its moments, especially the extended scene during which Walter bonds with his hostage and for a minute almost makes us forget that the guy is a vicious drug dealer. Bryan Cranston really goes for broke in his fierce but apologetic execution of the unavoidable murder. The episode’s ending is another compelling argument for AMC’s continued endeavors in television. The simple declaration of “I need to tell you something” ends just at the right moment and leaves a lasting impact despite its brevity. The show as a whole is excessively dark, in the sort of sense that it seems like there may be no light at the end of the tunnel. This show is not (yet) good enough that it should be so much gloom and doom. A lame attempt at alleviating the serious nature of the show is played out with Hank trying to scare Walter Jr. straight while it merely serves to reintroduce the character. This format has been done before, where the protagonist is pursued by his unknowing and unsuspecting friends, in shows like “Dexter”, and I think this could be a strong direction for the show to take, though it should be hesitant not to simply infuse cheap jokes to lighten its dark tone, but rather work on melding the two into a balanced and impressive show.

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