Breaking Bad Season 5

The highly anticipated fifth and final Season of this great drama got started several weeks ago, and already there are big changes from the previous fantastic seasons. We have previously discussed this show at length, and I won’t try to link to all those discussions, but suffice it to say that this season is living up to the high standards set by the foregoing episodes.

This season begins pretty much exactly where season four left off, which means that Walt is now in undisputed control of the meth production and distribution in his corner of the world. We all know, however, that nature (and drug dealers) abhor a vacuum, so it’s obvious that Walt has to move fast if he wants to consolidate his hold on the business. Walt seems to have found new confidence after prevailing in his epic battle with the previous kingpin Gustavo Fring (played with exquisite perfection by the incomparable Giancarlo Esposito, whom it is really sad to see leave the show) and with his new confidence comes a new ruthlessness. He appears determined to continue to build his empire, at whatever cost to himself or his family.

We have previously discussed the downward spiral of Walt from a mild mannered, if intense and unfulfilled, high school chemistry teacher to potentially the meth lord of the southwest, and this season continues that progression. We have also discussed the issue of whether Walt is still a sympathetic or relatable character, or at what point he loses that quality where viewers can sympathize or relate to him. It seems to me that Walt probably crossed that line some time ago, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care what happens to him or don’t at least want to see what it is he will do next.

In the latest episode, we find out more about Walt’s past in a company called Grey Matter that Walt started with his friends Gretchen and Elliot after college. Walt finally tells the story of selling his share of the company for $5,000 back when the company was still very young. The company is now worth over two billion dollars. That story seems to drive Walt more than any other thing, and seems to fuel a resolve in him never to make the same mistake again. He will not lose out on the potential of great success ever again. That kind of resolve can be a very good thing, I suppose, but in this case it seems to be driving Walt down a road that may have very dire consequences indeed.

Are you watching this season? What are your thoughts on it so far? Have most of your questions from last season been answered? What are your predictions about where this season is headed?

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19 thoughts on “Breaking Bad Season 5

  1. I love this season. It is making me cringe more than others for some reason but. . . I can’t bare to not watch. Skyler’s decline, Jesse’s new found strength and humanity. . . the morality of family over right and wrong. Super super good. Jesse at the dinner table trying to make small talk with Walt and Skyler was fantastic. Soooooooo tense. But still very fun. This is one of those rare shows that is sucking me right in. I can’t wait to see where it goes.

  2. I’m enjoying the season too. I like the fact that it has been mostly low-key, with words and looks telling the story more than the action — which made last week’s show-ending murder of a boy all the more stunning. At this point, I’m most interested in seeing what happens to Jesse, the only major character left with a conscience.

  3. Most of the time while watching this season I have this low-level but constant feeling of dread, like something awful is waiting to happen. I really have no idea how they’ll end the show, but I’m sure that at least one of the main characters will end up dead.

    I really liked the previous week’s episode, “Dead Freight.” Great train robbery, and the ending scene was like a sucker punch to the gut. For the most part they’re keeping the details at least close to the realm of possibility and reality.

    Jesse is really turning out to be the conscience of the show, which I would never have seen coming during the first few seasons. I liked how he asked Walt if owning a meth empire was really something to be proud of.

    Really looking forward to seeing it through the end. Bummed that we have to wait until next summer. Only two left this season I believe.

  4. The feeling of dread is right on. Something about the way Skyler is behaving this season is really giving me the creeps. That woman is sinking into depression or headed for a psychotic break, I don’t know which.

    I know this season is good because I always start watching and then look up five minutes later and the episode is over. It sucks you in that much, where you don’t even notice the passage of time.

  5. I’m a huge fan of Breaking Bad. I’m seriously considering going as Walter White for Halloween. Although, I think this season isn’t as good as last season, which was incredible I feel like they’re building up to an amazing finish.

    Personally, now that Walter is a total monster it’s harder to love the show. I hope they bring back some of his humanity before it ends. Last season, I was genuinely worried about Walt and Jessie night and day. Now, I’m not so concerned. And while I love Mike, I think he was better as a supporting part of the cast, the role of Gus Fring is a tough one to fill. I guess Walt’s the bad guy now. Also Skyler has been so passive this season that it’s been less dramatic. I liked her better as a co-conspirator, I think.

    In any case, great show. The last two episodes in particular have been incredible.

  6. Also Skyler has been so passive this season that it’s been less dramatic.

    But you had to love her passive-aggressiveness during dinner last week with Walt and Jesse.

  7. I’ve been watching seasons 2 and 3 again, and it’s just sad how much Jesse has been manipulated by Walt all along. After he suffered Hank’s beatdown, he was ready to go back to being a small-time meth-maker, while threatening Walt with outing him if he didn’t like it. He was ready to walk away from Walt completely, but Walt suckered him back in with the promise of equal partnership, $1.5 million and the admission (a lie, no doubt) that Jesse’s meth was just as good as his. I used to think that Walt had some level of fondness for Jesse, but now I’m doubting that completely; after all, Walt’s very first threat to Jesse was that he’d either work with Walt, helping on the business side of things, or Walt would turn him in.

    If Jesse were ever to become a threat to Walt in some way, I think he’d find some way to use the ricin on him without batting an eye. That is, if he hasn’t already used it on Skyler, first.

  8. The dinner scene was brilliant and there is no question that Anna Gunn is a master at acting out passive-aggressiveness. Patiently waiting until your husband’s cancer would have to be the epitome of passive-aggressive behavior. But that brings up a part of the plot that I find a bit hard to believe,and it’s that Hank and Marie would take in the kids for an indefinite period of time without wanting to know more. I love all my siblings, but I wouldn’t take in two kids no questions asked. Plus, Walt Jr.’s been demanding answers for seasons now and it’s getting old. Walt Jr. is old enough and smart enough to start looking for his own answers. I think he might do just that thing and get drawn into the line of fire.

  9. But that brings up a part of the plot that I find a bit hard to believe,and it’s that Hank and Marie would take in the kids for an indefinite period of time without wanting to know more.

    I was assuming that they still thought it had to do with her affair with Beneke.

  10. Absolutely, you’re right. I just think that realistically if you were like Hank, a dogged, relentless cop, you’d keep asking questions. If you were Marie, a concerned sister, you’d keep asking questions. If you were Walt Jr. you’d keep demanding answers. People have affairs constantly and that doesn’t necessarily mean their kids are in physical danger, or should be kicked out of their home. Most psychologists would probably suggest as much consistency as possible should be maintained in a child’s life if a home is breaking up. It’s interesting too because Walt Jr. is old enough to understand and be told. The baby is too young to comprehend.

    I don’t mean to overly critique the show. I think it’s the best show on TV right now, and probably in the top five of the last ten or twenty years, but this plot move seems to be toeing the credibility line, for me personally. However, I have the utmost respect for these writers and in the next episode it might blow up in everyone’s face in a realistic way. Who knows?

  11. I really think Skyler’s actions this season are pretty irrational. She knew what was going on before and she was apparently ok being a part of it, and now that Walt prevailed in his conflict with his former boss, now she gets afraid and has scruples that prevent her from being involved and having the kids in the house? Seriously? She’s probably safer now than she has ever been, in some respects. I don’t really understand why everything was fine before and now it’s so horrible. It doesn’t make sense to me.

  12. At the beginning, when Skyler was just getting involved with the money laundering, it was all nice and clean; she didn’t know any of the details with regard to what Walt was actually doing. Once she found out that part of Walt’s job description apparently involves setting bombs to go off in old folks’ homes and blowing people up in order that their family might be safe, everything changed.

  13. Yeah, I get that part, but he actually went out of his way to tell her he was a badass. Remember: “I’m the one who knocks!!!” She seemed to accept that at the time, even though that wasn’t even really the case at that point, and she continued to be a part of Walt’s business. Now, he has proved he can actually win out against other criminals and protect himself and his interests. In other words, he has proved he actually is a badass. He can protect his family. And all the people who would want to harm his family are pretty much dead. And now she chooses to get all scared and creeped out? That’s stupid, in my view.

  14. All I can say is that Skyler believes she has blood on her hands now, too. Between Ted and Fring, she now sees what a messy business it is, and that there are no guarantees of anything. Walt’s entire history on the show is one of (and he says it himself when he first meets Saul) “one step forward and two steps backward”. Every time Walt thinks he’s making progress in the business, something unexpected occurs. Originally, it was just going to be he and Jesse, out cooking in the desert, no more complicated than that. Except it immediately got complicated: they killed one guy outright, and had to flip a coin to see who was going to kill the survivor. Finally, Walt gets the job done, but then there’s the question of disposing of the bodies. Walt’s got it all figured out, except for the fact that Jesse can’t follow simple instructions, and they end up with a disolved body dropping through the second story bathroom’s floor. And on and on it goes, with Walter figuring there’s no screw up, nothing unexpected that can happen that he can’t fix. Everything he’s ever done has been pretty much a forced action as a result of the prior screw up. Sometimes there’s a screw up and he doesn’t even KNOW there’s a screw up (i.e., Fring’s picture frame).

    Walt’s hubris makes him think there will never be a screw up so bad that he can’t recover from it. Skyler knows better. We’ve never seen Walt tell her about Tuco. She didn’t know about Tomas, or the two guys who killed Tomas, or about Walt killing the guys that Jesse had intended to kill. She doesn’t know about Jane, or Jane’s dad, or how he tied in to the plane crash. She didn’t know that the cousins were after Walt; for all she knew, they were sent to get Hank and only Hank. Walt didn’t kill Gale, and he didn’t tell Skyler he did, bravado notwithstanding. She doesn’t know about Brock’s poisoning. She MAY know about the 2 other bodies found at the laundromat (surely, Hank has talked about it with Marie), and if she does, I would expect she suspects that Walt had his hand in that, too.

    But his “I am the one who knocks” was definitely the start of her freak out, and then when she saw Walt lose it in the crawl space, she started to get a real feeling as to what she had gotten herself into. Walt’s “I won. We’re safe. It’s over.” (and one reviewer stated “That’s three lies in six words”) was when she finally knew Walt was a killer (of only three; imagine the sucker punch when she finds out that the body count gets upped by the two others at the laundromat).

    Skyler only got involved in the money laundering scheme so that she could pay for Hank’s rehabilitation. She wasn’t really into it for Walt’s sake. Like Walt (in the beginning, at least), I think she believed that there would be an end point that would be reached when they had earned enough money for the family to make it when Walter was gone, and then she and Walt would be able to call it quits. But now she sees that Walt isn’t planning an exit strategy, and even if he was, she has no desire to be there for him when he finally reaches it.

    When you really think about it, Skyler knows practically nothing about what Walt has been through. We viewers have all gotten comfortable with what Walt has done over the course of 4 seasons, Skyler knows about Fring (and she at least knows that there were 2 others involved in that explosion), and she, herself, is a victim of the unexpected event as well: Ted wasn’t supposed to run, trip, hit his head and end up in really bad shape in the hospital. She doesn’t have Walt’s “magic”, as she puts it, and she’s never going to be comfortable sleeping next to the guy who killed five people (that she knows of) who apparently has no problem getting to sleep at night. He probably whistles in his sleep these days.

    If you think Skyler has flipped out for no good reason, just imagine what she would do if she knew everything.

  15. My only issue was, why now? I think you’re right that it’s because of the body count that she knows about. But she and the kids are actually safer now than they were before, it seems to me, and I don’t understand why she doesn’t see that as well. I understand that it’s clear now that Walt has blood on his hands. He did before, but fewer people knew it. Now Skyler knows it and thinks she has blood on her hands too, because of Ted.

    But her reaction is still hard to explain, because it seems like she would be more likely to think that because her hands are already dirty, she’s in whether she likes it or not, and better make the best of it.

    Three lies in six words? How so? He did win his battle with Gus, They are safer than they were before, and the war is over, at least until some new players arrive to try to move in on the territory.

    I guess I’m more sympathetic to Walt than most, but it seems to me that Walt has been fighting like crazy for four seasons now just o try to make this business work and never seems to get very far because of bad luck and bad decisions, mostly by others. Most of the killing he has done has been at least arguably in self defense or defense of his family or partners. And whether you agree with him or not, he really seems to believe that he is in this business to provide for his family. He does intend to protect them and has done pretty well so far. I guess I think he deserves a little loyalty and gratitude from Skyler, who is, after all, involved in this business already by her own choice.

  16. Great episode. SPOILER BELOW.

    R.I.P. Mike. You taught me that half measures don’t solve problems. I hope you found some moment of peace looking across that river. I feel like you already died when you realized you wouldn’t see your granddaughter ever again, but you went out on your own terms. I feel like you could have shot Walt if you wanted to, but you didn’t. Good for you. Because of you, I’m going to pack my own “Go Bag,” just in case.

  17. But she and the kids are actually safer now than they were before, it seems to me, and I don’t understand why she doesn’t see that as well.

    It’s because she knows that despite all of Walter’s proclamation of (finally!) having everything under control, he really doesn’t. He can’t possibly have everything under control when he so clearly demonstrates that he doesn’t have himself under control. Case in point: after buying the expensive champaigne, Skyler obtains a promise from Walter not to do things that put their cover story in jeopardy. Almost immediately, he goes out and buys Walter, Jr., a new car that doesn’t comport with the cover story. He just can’t be trusted not to do ego-driven, stupid things.

    Every time Walter talks about having things under control, I’m reminded of the line from “Jurassic Park”, when Hammond says that next time, they’ll have things under control, and Dr. Sattler cuts him off and tells him that he’ll never have such control. Even Jesse has finally come to see what a load of BS Walter’s claims of control are.

    Basically, after X number of years of marriage, Skyler knows about Walt’s ego. She knows, just as surely as night follows day, that Walt’s ego gets the best of him from time to time, and now, “time to time” means just about every single day. Even she understands that you can’t make these kinds of mistakes on a regular basis and still expect to get away with running a meth empire.

  18. Skyler isn’t afraid of the goblins outside. She is ONLY afraid of Walt. Safer than ever, but she thinks he may snap (which he has). Why not sell the methylamine they stole? The purse is more than Walt has ended up with after a year in the business he wants to dominate. A 10% chance at $300,000,000 is hardly worth more than a 95% chance at $15,000,000. This is the reason we can’t sympathize with Walt anymore. Jesse is right. Saul Goodman is right. Mike was right. Walt is wrong.

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