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TV Review: BREAKING BAD Season 2 - Walter White. Drug Trade Kingpin

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Breaking Bad is a show which I wish was better televised in the UK, not only does it get rubbish scheduling, but not many people in the UK have even heard of the show which is a real shame considering how brilliant it is. I really wish I got into Breaking Bad earlier, but I suppose that would have spoilt the enjoyment of watching it back on DVD and not having to wait a week for a new episode. Season 2 picks up exactly where Season 1 left off, just as Walt (Bryan Cranston) has secured a reputation as somewhat of a hard nosed drug dealer he is forced into a situation where his life is threatened once again as psycho drug dealer Tuco (Raymond Cruz) has them in a scrap yard delivering the latest batch of quality crystal meth. It’s not long before Tuco shows his true colours beating one of his enforcers to death and tells Walt and Jesse (Aaron Paul) “Your Done”, a message which Jesse interprets as they will be next on Tuco’s list as witnesses to murder, but are they not more valuable to him as cooks of the best street meth ever?

Season 2 has the same monochrome opening every episode, a burnt teddy bear with one eye, whilst the other is being washed away down Walt’s pool filter, it’s a brilliant flash forward opener that acts as an episode almost on it’s own as the flash forward story moves on every episode eventually climaxing with two dead bodies in a car outside of Walters house, but is it all what we think? Is Tuco responsible, not likely as Walt quickly discovers during this season that his transformation from mild-mannered family man into drug trade kingpin is one where people getting hurt is inevitable, and its either him or Tuco, Walt quickly discovers that his wish in season 1 of no one else getting hurt is not going to happen should he continue to cook crystal meth, so he devises a plan to get rid of Tuco by killing him with ricin, but not before some hilarious moments of Walt and Jesse being held hostage by Tuco in the desert with his father who can’t talk.

This season really does see the rise of Walter White, or should I say Heisenberg, Walt’s alter ego and name on the street. Very quickly after dispatching Tuco Walt gets back into selling Crystal Meth, problem is it’s not going out in big enough quantities, he need to move more product and make money quicker. Walter instructs Jesse to get some foot soldiers who can do their dealing, one of them goes and sells drugs to an undercover cop, gets arrested and they try to roll him for info on Heisenberg. Cue new characters in corrupt solicitor Saul Bresnan, a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy, he gets Walt’s foot solider the best deal at the station before going into business with Walt and Jesse in an attempt to sell the seven pounds of Meth they have left to get rid of.

With the action in this season moving so quickly in the first few episodes you are at times thinking, slow down, you can’t keep this up. But hey, the hype this show receives is well worthy because they can keep it up, maybe not with action all the time but the drama moments and character development are all dealt with really well, Walter is facing a real moral dilemma as he is struggling to be the man his family want him to be, knowing that he must turn into something else in order to protect them, this doesn’t go well for his relationship with Skyler (Anna Gunn) who does eventually leave him before the season 2 conclusion. Yet, Breaking Bad still manages to make you laugh at everyday situations regarding family life, the “industrial hazards” and “risks” of being a drug dealer and the realities of the drug trade which Walt and Jesse are learning as they go, yeah Jesse has been involved in drugs but nothing to this scale. I also liked the sense of responsibility that Walt now feels for Jesse having spoke to Jane’s father in the bar, it was also great to see Aaron Paul hold his own on screen alongside Bryan Cranston, considering that Jesse’s character was originally going to be killed off at the end of the first season they made a great choice keeping him in my opinion.

The corrupt solicitor also makes a great character here, Saul acts almost as a business consultant to Walt and Jesse training them in what’s required and making sure that any mess made (usually by Jesse) is thoroughly cleaned up before police arrive on scene. It’s a relationship which I’m sure will build in season 3 but I’m sure that it won’t take Walter White long to figure that he is the guy paying the solicitor and not the other way round, he should be doing what Walt says and as his rise to the top of the drug trade continues that’s a story arch which I’m pretty sure we will see. Another brilliant acusition to the series is the arrival of drug trade kingpin Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) who is Walt's new outlet to a nation wide network of drug dealers, it would seem that eventually Walt wants to model himself on Gus, the most feard drug trade boss who to everyone else in his life is just a resturant owner and all round nice guy.

This is another brilliant season of Breaking Bad, in fact I would go as far as to say that it’s better than season 1, that’s probably helped by the fact that the third episode of this season should have actually been the season 1 finale, however this show premiered during the Hollywood writers strike, hence production of the show halted. Anyway it’s done now, and no harm has been done Breaking Bad is well and truly cemented as one of the best shows on TV right now.
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