TV Discussion: Breaking Bad Season 4: Episode 1: Box Cutter


****WARNING****

THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ALL THE PREVIOUS SEASONS OF BREAKING BAD, IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THEM, I RECOMMEND YOU GO NO FURTHER AND IMMEDIATELY CHECK OUT THE FIRST 3 SEASONS.

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It’s begun.  One of the best shows on TV is back, with America’s favorite new drug dealers Jesse (Aaron Paul) and Walt (Bryan Cranston) still up to no good.  In classic Breaking Bad fashion, last season ended with a giant cliffhanger, the question on everyone’s mind was:  Did Jesse really have the balls to shoot Gale?  We are quickly answered after we see what led to Gus pursuing Walt and Jesse in the first place:  Gale.

Honest and upfront, Gail tells Gus straight away that there is no way he could possibly compete with Walt’s blue 99% pure crystal methamphetamine.   Of course, from what we know, this just adds to the long list of horrible things Walt has done to ultimately achieve  his spot in the world, reflecting heavily on Jesse’s complicity to Walt’s actions.

Of course they killed Krazy 8 and his partner during the first season, and in seasons since have, in one way or another, led to the demise of Jane (Krysten Ritter), Tuco, Pamela’s brother TomasCombo, and an entire flight of people.  At the end of last season, to save Jesse from himself, Walt destroyed the two dealers that shot Combo down and killed Tomas, in the street, in cold blood.  Oh, and did I mention they’re the reason Hank is crippled and had to kill Tuco’s cousins?  Not sure if I covered that as well.

While Walt has so far fancied himself a bad ass with no fear, this was one of the first real revelations that Walt is no longer acting on survival instincts, rather, he is ready to take down or destroy anyone in his path.   At the same time, Gus made it apparent that he is not in a mood to be fucked with when he garroted Victor‘s throat, savagely watching Walt and Jesse’s faces as he did so.

We’ve never gotten a proper introduction to Gus as a man, up to this point we’ve only gotten slices of who he is.  Admittedly, this is evidence of a big slice of his life, but at the same time, it leaves the feeling that there’s much more to know about Gus.  Actor Giancarlo Esposito has played the character of Gus to absolute perfection, being an integral character, but keeping to the outside.  Even while slashing Victor’s throat, Gus never says a word until he leaves, staring coldly at Walt the entire time.

Despite his “Well, what are you waiting for?  Get back to work.”, his actions were an obvious declaration in the Walt vs Gus cold war that begun when Jesse killed Gale.  With the pain in the ass that was Victor gone, it’s Walt’s perfect time to strike.  Being the man he is, Walt can never take any of this laying down, and he knows that a contract to cook for Gus won’t save his life forever.

Walt has to have a long term game plan, but the question remains:  What is it?  I see the war between Walt and Gus eventually boiling down to who will kill the other, and take over as the boss north of the border, only to face the cartel once they’ve gotten rid of the other.  Since Walt is a long term thinker, he has to have an eventual plan for that as well.

But wait, we all saw the final shot of the episode, will Gale’s research bring them all down?  Or is it just another fun red herring?  Vince Gilligan loves his little mentions and moments, but he almost always has a plan for all of them, even if those plans don’t come to fruition until late in the season.

Meanwhile, Skylar (Anna Gunn) is evolving into a criminal in her own right, taking measures to protect Walt, and in turn, herself and her family.  The more time passes, the less she trusts Saul, therefore giving her greater interest in Walt’s business dealings.  Especially with Hank’s medical bills looming over her head.  She will have to take a more active participation in Walt’s business, if only to protect herself.  The sale of the car wash still looms, and from some set pics I saw last week, I’m pretty sure it will play a bigger role in the show this year than it has in the past.  Will the sale go through?

What do you think?  Will it end in all out war between Walt and Gus?  What role will the cartel play in matters?  Will Hank’s disposition ever get any better?  Where will Skylar, and more importantly, Jesse, play into things?  Only season 4 will tell…

 

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