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August 4, 2015

Breaking Bad: A No Rough Stuff Type Deal (season finale)

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 10th 2008 8:42AM
Breaking Bad: A No Rough Stuff Type Deal
Well, I have to say that while this finale did establish a certain status quo, albeit a highly precarious one, it was by no means a satisfying series ender. Thus, I fully expect that AMC will renew this amazing show for a second season post haste. Did you here me, AMC? Whatever you need to do to secure these actors and get this ball rolling. And maybe give us at least 13 episodes next time, eh?

It's an interesting parallel developing between Walter White's skirting with the law; okay let's call it escalating all-out belligerent assault on the law; and his sister-in-law Betsy Brandt's kleptomania. When a baby shower gift from turns out to be stolen, leading to Skyler's near arrest when she goes to return it, it sets up a conversation between Skyler and Walt whereby he can feel out how she would take it if she found out he was perhaps on the other side of the law as well. It may not go as he was hoping.

I hate to tell you, though, Walt. It's not apples to apples comparing shoplifting to murder, arson, desecration of a body, property destruction and production of methamphetamine, just to name the biggies. That said, though, Skyler hasn't turned her sister in as of yet so it's not yet clear how strong her moral compass is.

Also telling was the unexpected amore in the school meeting regarding the missing lab equipment (let's add withholding evidence and hindering a police investigation) leading to the madcap car sex between Skyler and Walt. When she asked him why that was so amazing, his terse response: "Because it was illegal." Walt's becoming an adrenaline junkie, and his trigger is illegal activity. He's been buttoned down and powerless too long, and the tastes he's getting of real power out there on the "streets," as it were are going straight to his head.

The irony of the whole thing is that the guy who's been dealing in drug trafficking for years and years, Jesse Pinkman, is by far the reluctant partner in all of this. He'd just as soon pack it all up and move to Oregon, as he suggested at one point tonight, than deal with the obvious risks of getting into bed with Tuco. Remember that Tuco is the guy that nearly put Jesse into a permanent coma. And, as we learned tonight, that particular outburst of violent insanity isn't uncommon with Tuco. Nor is the target of his psychopathic rage always so obvious.

Nevertheless, through Walt's maneuverings last episode that's exactly who they find themselves intricately tied to. The money's looking real good, but the dangers may just outweigh the potential benefits. Not only from Tuco himself, should anything go not to his liking and set off his incredibly dangerous temper, but from Hank and his DEA hounds tracking the stolen lab equipment and trying to find this new meth producer in town. It's an extremely dangerous game they're playing, and we don't even know if it's enough to handle Walt's bills as his answer to how much he needed was simply "more."

One sequence within the show set itself up to be much more sinister and dangerous than it turned out to be, which was a bit of a disappointment. Jesse selling his house due to the "incident" earlier made perfect sense. And when the boys were forced to cook in his basement at the same time that an Open House was scheduled upstairs, I was certain that something serious was going to come out of it. Ultimately, other than some surprise comic relief in the whole situation, it just seemed to be resolved far too easily for my taste. Almost like the whole segment was either an afterthought to lighten the episode, or something more serious that they ultimately changed at the last minute, perhaps due to this episode having to be the season finale.

As a season finale, the episode was paced brilliantly. With the end sequence, wherein Tuco nearly beats to death his own henchmen simply for presuming to speak for him, Walt and Jesse saw that this business arrangement has even more risks than Walt seemed able to believe. Leaving us with that lingering image and afterthought was the perfect tone to set for the hiatus between seasons (you are renewing it, right AMC?). We still have the burgeoning situation with Betsy's shoplifting and how Skyler plans to respond to it, as well as the underlying situations with Gray Matter to get to next season. Not to mention that whole lung cancer thing Walt is dealing with.

The more risks that Walt takes on in his illegal gambit just brings to question more and more why he refuses financial assistance, either directly or through taking a job, from his former friend and partner Elliott. What happened between Walt, Elliott and Elliott's wife Gretchen that would so harden him against them that while he'd still attend a birthday party for Walt, he'd never accept a job or an offer to cover medical expenses from them?

Breaking Bad has proven to be a refreshing and amazing show. And while I do have every confidence that AMC will do the right thing and renew it, just in case they don't I'm going to prepare to send them tons and tons of meth to change their minds, if necessary. It worked for Jericho, right? Who's with me? ... Hello?

Which dangling plot are you most interested in?
What happened between Walt and Elliott/Gretchen54 (14.2%)
The DEA's investigation into the new meth producer118 (31.1%)
Betsy's kleptomania7 (1.8%)
Walt's burgeoning addiction to illegal activity200 (52.8%)

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Sorry Swag,
But the music during the credits of the finale was Gnarls Barkley's "Who's Gonna Save My Soul", not It's Fujiya & Miyagi's "Uh" (that song was on Episode 5)


I hope you had fun playing... better luck next time.

March 27 2008 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marc Williams

I was turned onto theis series by a good friend, so i need to catch any reruns or DVD release. Does anyone know if it's being syndicated or released on DVD, iTunes, etc...

March 12 2008 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Marc Williams's comment

AMC seems to only have clips, but it is available at Amazon Unbox ($1.89 per episode)


Better yet, AMC seems to be replaying the whole season. (They've already done the first 2 episodes again). Check your listings - it looks like they are playing each episode twice back to back on Sunday nights.

(Sorry the late reply - just got around to reading this post after finally watching it on my PVR.

March 26 2008 at 12:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Can't believe you wrote an entire write up for this episode and didn't mention the comically hilarious robbery! As my friend said, clumsiest robbery ever... and they got away with it!

March 11 2008 at 6:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to RPore's comment

You're absolutely right and I can't believe I forgot to mention it as well. It was madcap brilliance at it's best and kept the comedy part of this very dark comedy in the forefront. Sorry about that!

March 11 2008 at 11:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They had to cut production short because of the writer's strike, so this wasn't originally scheduled to be the season finale. With it's relative success and critical acclaim, it should be back for another season.

March 11 2008 at 1:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This actually wasn't suppose to be the intended season finale. It was the last episode completed before the writer's strike. I'm surprised no one figured this out, it was obvious that that wasn't the intended season finale.

March 10 2008 at 5:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Max's comment
Chris Shifty

Max is right about the Writer's Strike. The original season order was for nine episodes and only seven were completed. I read that in a few reviews of the show. Hopefully with such a short production order and the Writer's Strike finished the second season will appear after Mad Men finish their run in the fall.

March 10 2008 at 6:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Argh...another reason to be upset about the writers' strike. I started out liking this show and ended up LOVING it. Too bad the missing two episodes aren't going to be made, this is one helluva fun show. It makes me laugh, cringe, stare in disbelief, worry, cheer and a lot of other reactions that most shows can't even begin to touch. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are both fantastic and perfect for their respective roles. Tuco is one of the craziest characters ever on TV.

March 11 2008 at 9:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i like tuco! that guy is insane... but you have to admit that he respects walt because of his actions last week.

please renew this series AMC!

March 10 2008 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Remember that Tuco is the guy that nearly put Jesse into a permanent coma."

if it were a permanent coma Jesse wouldn't have said anything at all :)

March 10 2008 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to GameJerk's comment

Oh it says "nearly". Duh.

Me fail english? Thats unpossible!

March 10 2008 at 4:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

what the crap? That was the finale?

They didn't tie up anything or leave me with a decent cliffhanger. Arghh. It better be renewed right quick!

March 10 2008 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


somebody admit it... who voted for "Betsy's kleptomania"... no one really cares about that plot line do they? I guess its the same type of people who watch the unit to find out how the wives are doing.

March 10 2008 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

the decorative masks, the bungling of the robbery, tieing up the guard and having to carry a barrel of chemicals out of there; this episode seemed much different in tone from the first few episodes with the bathtub and the dish, almost like they were trying to make it more comedic in afterthought. I like this show because it's dark as hell, way darker than Dexter. Please don't go changing that up on me.

March 10 2008 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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