This show confuses me. It really does. On one hand you have some genuinely inspired dark humor and pathetic moments but on the other you can be stuck watching a gruelingly slow show with a plot that at times is a bit formulaic.
Bryan Cranston is great at his role. He straddles the line of caring about his family and finally feeling alive by saying ‘fuck it’ well. The side characters in the show are where the weaknesses lie. His drug dealer buddy Jesse starts out as just a foil for trouble and the back and forth banter between them is agonizing. Yelling at each other only stays interesting for so long. The wife suffers from the same problems. She’s sick of the lies and the constant berating wears thin. There are definitely some interesting moments between these characters but the status quo gets tired.
The second season is a low point of the series. With the writers seemingly not knowing exactly where to take things but having twice as many episodes, it is a recipe for disaster. Indeed, the finale lynchpin that is teased the entire season starting with the opening of the season premier is a complete letdown of a climax. The randomness and unimportance of the event completely tricks the audience and is simply lazy writing.
However, seasons 3 and 4 grow Breaking Bad into a must-watch series. Walt and his wife come to terms with their relationship in a couple different ways, Jesse (mostly) gets his shit together, and an interesting business arrangement propels the cast through a gripping 26 episode story arc that will leave you on the edge of your seat. It might be painful to sit through season 2 but what follows makes it easily worth it.
The final season is split up into 2 mini-seasons, ending next year, and I haven’t seen any of it yet. This is a series that lingers in your thoughts when you’re not watching and I find myself anxious that I can’t see the Breaking Bad finale for a while longer. Like the famous blue meth that is the subject of the show, I have to admit the hooks are in me and I’m now going through withdrawal.
But I’ll get my fix soon. I just hope the last 16 episodes can fly as close to the sun as the best moments before them.