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December 22, 2014

'Breaking Bad' - 'No Mas' Recap (Season Premiere)

by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 22nd 2010 12:09AM
breaking_bad_amc_season_3_premiere(S03E01) The return of 'Breaking Bad' is a reason to celebrate. No, it's not that Walter White is the kind of character you cheer for and enjoy watching. Rather, it's that the ongoing story of Walt, the very act of his breaking bad, is the most compelling television currently on the air.

There are elements of 'Breaking Bad' that are simply unmatched on any other drama series. This return picks up precisely where the last season ended, albeit a few days later, but the tone, the time and the emotional dynamite is firmly intact. Be prepared for the ride of your life in the weeks ahead.

The biggest thing to happen in Walt's life is that Skyler has figured it all out. Well, not all. She didn't realize that meth was Walt's product, and that he was using his chemistry genius to hurt a lot of people while making a lot of money fast. His fine line of rationalization was that he just made the drugs, he wasn't a drug dealer.

But like trimming the crust from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Walt can try to cut away the bad stuff in his choice. The center -- the heart -- gets smaller and smaller. Can you see the metaphor? I knew you could.

Walt tried to purge himself of the past, but even he couldn't burn the money. Again, a flash of realization and he threw the grill into the pool to save the cash. He threw himself in the pool, too, but there's no cleansing for Walt. He's charred inside, and Bryan Cranston's performance gives it all to us. His looks, the subtle changes of emotion, and the filling the silences with so much tension are amazing.

Walter seems to be the master of self-deception. He's the king of the rationalization. His speech to the high school kids was a perfect example. They were devastated over the plane crash, a catastrophe of epic proportions. But how does Walt address them? He tells them, "Look on the bright side." Then he proceeds to find the bright side of a plane crash, comparing it to an even worse disaster years before. Cold comfort.

Walt tried to explain his retirement to Gus, but like the Devil, getting a $3 million offer was tantalizing. Even as Walter is saying, "I'm not a criminal ... no offense," he's in complete denial. Walter has killed. He's done heinous things. And when faced with a possible $3 million for three months work, he's tempted. After a flash, Walt remembered that money wasn't the answer; Walt didn't need money, he needed his family.

Skyler's not talking to him, so the prospect of a reconciliation would seem a dream for Walter. Their one conversation in the motel didn't indicate a softening on her side at all.

At rehab, Jesse seemed at peace with the flowers and all, but in group, he challenged the leader to justify his expertise. What he got in response was the kind of story that Jesse wished he'd never heard. Gilligan never lets us forget that drug use is filled with collateral damage.

Walter Jr. is part of that damage. For his parents not to deal with him honestly is not surprising; they don't want to deal with each other honestly. But it's so wrong. Nothing good is going to come from Sky and Walter keeping Flynn in the dark.

The image of the crawling men remains etched in my memory. Where is Vince Gilligan taking us now? Last year, it was hazmat suits and floating teddy bears. This year, two bald badass dudes with silver-toed boots. Who are they? What do they want? Where are they going? Why are they joining in with the crawlers? Why stop at the shrine where a drawing of Walt is vaguely reminiscent. This mystery is as intriguing as anything going in Walt and Jesse's lives, and you know eventually, it will all reveal itself in some connective way.

Other points of interest

-- Jane's last name was Margolis. Do you think John De Lancie got paid for all the footage of his face?

-- "You'd be amazed what partners hide from each other."

-- No Saul in this episode, but he's obviously a big part of the operation, even if Walter thinks he's going to retire. Saul's holding Jesse's share. It was also Saul's matchbook that Walt used to set the money on fire.

-- Didn't it seem strange that there was no reference to Walter's health issues? Even if Sky is determined to leave him, does she have no interest in whether his cancer remains in remission? That, to me, was just cold.

-- "You run from things or you face them." What Jesse learned in rehab. That, and he's the bad guy. Walt doesn't get it.

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010111

the alter scene reminded me of this real-life case :

http://www.nytimes.com/1989/04/13/us/drugs-death-and-the-occult-meet-in-grisly-inquiry-at-mexico-border.html

basically mexican drug dealers believing the occult and human sacrifice could protect their operations.

based on that case... when they went to the farm and saw the young girl i was like 'uh oh...'

March 26 2010 at 3:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Danielle

Think maybe these two bald guys are related to Tuco and is getting revenge? They were creepy looking esp since they didn't talk the entire time and then when they joined the other crawlers...some type of ritual or something?

I can just see Walt Jr wanting to live w/ his dad soon.

Skylar living w/ her sister and BIL and didn't mentioned why she was there? Skylar is such a b!tch.

Def thought Walter's windshield was from the plane crash.

We havent seen the last of Gus. Walt turning him down just went way too easy.

March 24 2010 at 9:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tilyou

There was also whosis -- the guy that Walter choked -- who liked the edges of his sandwich cut off. Walter fed him a sandwich with the edges cut off just after the plate holding the sandwich broke when Walter feel.

The implication is Walter feels also near death, maybe near suicide. Another implication is Walter is now the guy he killed -- becoming the bad guy, as Jesse would explain it to him.

March 22 2010 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CR

Thanks for the sandwich explanation. It seemed such an odd random scene, but now it makes perfect sense!

March 22 2010 at 12:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ColinInLA

I've found no more compelling hour of television than Breaking Bad. It's beautifully done. . and it's great to have it back.

March 22 2010 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Aaron

Yea and I think the kinds busted Walts windshield.
But my favorite part was Skyler just laying it all out, wives always know.
I felt Walt was off his manipulation game this ep, the kids called BS Skyler figured out everything Jessie stopped him from consoling him, Walt couldn't even convince himself he isn't a criminal.

March 22 2010 at 1:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Aaron's comment
Bambi

No--- I think the falling bodies from the plane crash broke the windshield! Remember the two body bags at the end of season 2's opening???

March 22 2010 at 3:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Aaron

Ahh I think your right! I just wanted something to come of that awkward speech. loll

March 22 2010 at 7:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Crow

That should be *dudes*. Man I wish there was an edit mode on the comments. Anyways looking forward to seeing Saul in next weeks show.

March 22 2010 at 12:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Crow

Those bald dues are part of the Mexican drug cartel and they left a totem of Heisenberg at the alter of Death. Somehow I don't think Walt is going to refuse the offer from Gus.

March 22 2010 at 12:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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