Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad Granite State

There was no way writer/director Peter Gould’s “Granite State” could top last week’s whirlwind. The writers may have known that, which is why yesterday’s installment was low-key by design — it’s the calm before the storm. Instead of the slowly churning and building dread the show offers at its best, the events of the episode were sped through — too quickly — to set up the circumstances for next week’s series finale (sob). (Kudos, by the way, to the Breaking Bad cast and crew for its Best Drama and Best Supporting Actress (Anna Gunn) Emmy wins. They’re long overdue — and still not enough.) Freedom dueled with greed in “Granite State,” and the latter won every freaking time. Todd, Lydia, and Walt were all given choices this episode, and their more craven selves prevailed at every turn.

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Breaking Bad Writers Room

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Rocky 2 Run

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Francis Ford Coppola Wine

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Breaking Bad Ozymandias

“Ozymandias” has got to be some kind of epic meta-dare. Vince Gilligan evokes Percy Shelly’s famous poem, in which the titular “king of kings” commands future generations, “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” In Shelly’s telling, though, Ozymandias was an accomplished fool. By his haughty, fearsome decree, “Nothing beside remains. Round the decay/Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare/The lone and level sands stretch far away.” In creating and crafting such an astounding episode of television (not to mention series), though, Gilligan has thrown down the gauntlet to TV critics, historians, audiences, and his peers: Breaking Bad is TV’s version of the Sistine Chapel. “Ozymandias” will likely be the scene in which God reaches out to Adam. Forget this at your own peril.   (Between “Ozymandias” and Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” Gilligan sure is rewarding all his viewers with English degrees.)

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Space Jam

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Saul Goodman

It’s finally here. The news all us Breaking Bad fans have been dreading (anticipating? confused by?) for months: The Saul Goodman spin-off is happening. The news comes by way of Deadline, who’ve providing the first real details on the series. As of now it’s titled Better Call Saul, it’ll air on AMC (worth mentioning as Netflix was interested in grabbing up the series for themselves), it’ll have hour-long episodes and will serve as a prequel to the events of Breaking Bad. The series is also being described as “far less dark than the original series,” to the surprise of absolutely no one. Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan is the one who’s been championing this spin-off since the start, but here’s the big question- will he actually be working on the show? If so, color me impressed and excited for every new episode of Better Call Saul. If not, I’m already wincing in advance. Saul Goodman is a terrific character, but it may be the case that he’s one of those characters who’s so terrific because you only see him briefly in each episode. A little Saul may go a long way.

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Breaking Bad Tohajiilee

So Hank’s definitely dead, right? Because it’s rare that a dogged pursuer of justice in a morally anarchistic universe calls his wife and tells her he’s solved the biggest case of his career, using boastful but foreboding language like, “Hey baby, I got him. Dead to rights” and “It may be awhile before I get home” and still gets to live. Don’t forget: Hank was this close to early retirement, too, since the shame of Heisenberg being his brother-in-law would’ve ended his DEA career. Though every meth cook and drug mogul fears the police, rare is the one who meets his end in a prison cell. Breaking Bad is not a show where law and order prevails. But Hank’s brains don’t yet look like the ones in his kitchen trash can, so let’s not mourn him. “To’hajiilee” wasn’t really about him anyway, but about the exquisite chess game Walt and Jesse played against each other. Their square-off begins as soon as the title sequence wisps off the screen, with Hank convincing Gomie to trust Timmy Dipshit’s plan. Thus begins another episode where Jesse is underestimated — which made Walt calling Jesse “stupid” while falling right into his plan wildly satisfying and may be the one thing that helps the unarmed Jesse survive the battle of the bullets.

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The end is nigh, and speculation is high. Will Walt ride off into the blue sunset, or fall off his horse? If it’s the latter, how many will he drag down with him? Will we ever get to see Badger’s Star Trek episode? With so many pressing questions, we turn to Breaking Bad expert Joanna Robinson to parse the crackpot theories and provide so many guesses about the final episode that we’re sure to accidentally stumble upon the right answer. Plus, FSR Associate Editor Rob Hunter joins us for our Fantasy Fall Movie Box Office and Prestige-Off draft, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. You should follow Rob (@fakerobhunter), Joanna (@quityourjrob), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more fun stuff on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #32 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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Breaking Bad Rabid Dog

“Rabid Dog” is a transitional episode, and not a particularly elegant one at that. Like Walt’s old Pontiac Aztek, it’s simply a vehicle that’ll transport us to where we need to go, style and good taste be damned. Thus we have Walt and Jesse plotting each other’s demise (Walt’s being more violent, of course), Skyler urging Walt to take “full measures” (in another sacrifice of character over story), and Jesse and Hank’s inevitable team-up to bring down Walt. The theme of transitions was telegraphed by the episode’s two hallway scenes. The first occurs at the beginning of the episode, when Walt, with his pocket pistol in hand, crouches along the main corridor of his gasoline-soaked house. The buzzy, clangy, twitchy soundtrack makes clear its homage to another empty, dread-filled, imminently bloody hallway — that of The Shining trailer. The second takes place at Hank and Marie’s house, when Jesse, after passing out cold, wakes up to find Marie down the hall. Worlds collide. She asks him if he wants any coffee. A new world is born from the wreckage of the old.

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Breaking Bad Confessions

For most of “Confessions,” Walt is the eye of Hurricane Heisenberg. While everyone else around him reels and whirls and wobbles, Walt observes quietly and manipulates gently. He plots while others plotz. Now a master of concealment and Plan Bs — so close to finally becoming Gus Fring — he dons his best father-knows-best voice and cardigan to reassure Junior, threaten Hank, and pacify Jesse. At least temporarily. Only Junior is clueless enough to still fall for Walt’s act, now almost campy in its wholesomeness. After Walt serenely suggests to his teenaged son that he’s on death’s door again, he and Skyler meet with Hank and Marie to instruct the in-laws that they’re not to use his children as pawns — a demand he makes while using his son as emotional ammunition: “This investigation, Hank. Do you realize what this will do to him?” When Hank challenges him to “step up, be a man, and admit what you’ve done,” Walt placidly responds, “There’s nothing to confess” before handing him his “confession” tape.

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breaking-bad-season-6-episode-2

Families that stick together are the best at beating the courts. That’s such a truism of mobster movies and TV shows that even Arrested Development drove storylines with it. Of course, the personal, legal, and moral antagonism between Walt and Hank immediately dispels any hope for a “we are family” scenario between the Whites and the Schraders. “Buried,” then, finds Walt and Skyler reuniting in desperation, and Skyler and Marie shirking their loyalties to each other — and rooting for their respective brother-in-laws’ failure. The episode begins with a teaser that could have come out of any episode of The X-Files. An ordinary man finds something extraordinary: bricks of cash strewn all over his street. He follows the money trail and makes an even stranger discovery: a dead-eyed young man, Jesse, spinning on a merry-go-round, thoroughly innocent and guilty at the same time. (Of course, if this were an episode of The X-Files, Jesse would start shooting lightning bolts out of his eyes or something.)

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Breaking Bad Pilot

An open thread where you can share what you’ve recently watched, offer suggestions on movies and TV shows we should check out (or warnings about stuff to avoid), and discover queue-filling goodies from other FSR readers.

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Grandmasters

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rejectrecap081713

This week saw the return of our favorite anti-hero, and I’m not talking about any characters from Kick-Ass 2. Yes, Breaking Bad was the talk of the week, and while that superhero movie sequel was discussed a bunch, it was unfortunately for mostly negative reasons. Maybe that’s why we couldn’t stop thinking about bigger superhero movies, namely of the Avengers franchise. Last Sunday, we got the hint from Vin Diesel that he’s voicing Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. A few days later, Simon Pegg messed with fans and movie bloggers by fake hinting that he’s playing the lead in Ant-Man. The former isn’t confirmed and the latter I don’t think is totally ruled out yet, but this trend of teasing us isn’t going too well. In the past seven days, FSR has brought you a look back at the hits and flops of the summer, a glimpse at the program for this year’s Fantastic Fest and new considerations of the work of Sam Peckinpah, David Gordon Green, John Frankenheimer and Katherine Heigl (one of these things is not like the other). We learned some interesting news about upcoming Pixar films and a fascinating fact about a classic Kubrick movie. And we gave most of the new releases grades in the C-range (at least we like Ain’t Them Bodies Saints). As always, the Reject Recap is here to get you caught up on all these goodies and more. Start your weekend right after the jump.

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FoodFight

The morning’s most fascinating articles from around the movie website-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Badger Breaking Bad

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George Mastras

Breaking Bad is the talk of the town right now (and you can check out our very own town-talk right here), so that means that anyone and everyone involved in the show is looking to get a nice big meth-fueled career boost. George Mastras is just one of those folks. You might not remember his name, but Mastras has been writing episodes of Breaking Bad since the series’ inception, and currently has an Emmy nomination for last year’s ‘Dead Freight’ (wherein a train is robbed and drained of its precious cargo).

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Heisenberg

By now, you’ve seen the season premiere for the second half of the fifth season of Breaking Bad (and if you haven’t, good luck parsing what I just wrote and also, why haven’t you?) and gasped along with the rest of the Twittersphere at large (has there ever been a show so adored by the social media masses as Breaking Bad?). Having gone nearly a year without Walt, Jesse, and the rest of the blue-hued crew (by “crew” we mean meth, baby, and lots of it), anticipation for the final episodes in Vince Gilligan’s opus reached a fever pitch, well, probably long before the latest episode actually aired. And was it worth it? Man, was it worth it. With only eight episodes in the show’s final half-season, acceleration is the name of the game. After all, both of the fifth season’s premieres have opened with a flash forward that give us small but incredibly effective and intriguing glimpses into Walt’s world after some sort of earth-shattering event. A spiritual twin to the first episode of the season (that would be wonderful “Live Free or Die”), last night’s premiere (“Blood Money,” because that’s what it all is at this point) echoed and followed the events that began the season at large. Walter, seemingly post-birthday breakfast, returns to his abandoned and dilapidated home (which is also a new haven for pool-skating ruffians, damn kids) to retrieve his last pack of that deadly ricin. All of that is jaw-dropping enough – the broken-down […]

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Blood Money

Walter White is a cockroach. Breaking Bad‘s second-half fifth season premiere, “Blood Money,” is a perfect summary of the retired drug kingpin’s unbeatable survival skills: sociopathy, cunning, emotional manipulation, meticulousness, and violence – or at least the threat thereof. Even with the return of his cancer, the apparent front-page news of his crimes, and the likely target on his back (it’s probable that one of the ten thugs he had stabbed in prison have vengeful family members), Walt is seen alive and free in the future, covering his tracks by recovering a vial of ricin, while his house, the symbol of everything he had worked and sweated and killed for, sits rotting and condemned, picked at by teenage vultures. This was a flash-forward much more compelling than that of the fifth season premiere’s birthday breakfast, mostly because it suggests Walter’s imminent notoriety. The legend of Heisenberg will extend beyond the narco-corridos, which means the truth will come out: Walt will leave behind a trail of poisoned lives, including those of his somewhat guilty wife, his college-bound son and baby daughter, his inept-looking DEA brother-in-law, and his former accomplice. It’s a vision similar to the chilling end of The Shield, where survival becomes its own form of prison.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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