In my very last review for Breaking Bad, I had complained how it felt like the five episodes that I had watched dragged major plots and story arcs out for way too long and they failed to capture the magic of the show’s first two seasons. I had also mentioned how in the last half of the season the show managed to find its voice again and go back to crafting the kind of plots and stories that made me love this show in the first place. Well, my menory was not mistaken and as I finished watching this four episode stretch, I was reminded of everything that made Breaking Bad great and what set it apart from the other crime dramas currently on television.

The first episode of the stretch is one that I consider to be a classic of the series as it is Breaking Bad doing what Breaking Bad does best which is putting Walt and Jesse in a situation that seems insurmountable but having them discover a way to come out on top. Due to his investigation into the elusive Heisenberg (Walt), Hank has discovered the RV that Jesse and Walt used to cook their meth. Due to Jesse’s stupidity, Walt and Jesse become trapped in the RV with Hank literally outside waiting for a search warrant, and they must find a way to escape. I put that episode up with the one where Jesse and Walt are trapped in the desert for four days and the one where Tuco kidnaps them.

Other major plots that come to a head during this stretch include Hank’s bout with post-traumatic stress disorder that he’s been suffering from ever since he iced Tuco in a fire-fight and how his PTSD affects his job performance and focus. The mysterious cousins of Tuco that we’ve been seeing the entire season also finally have their story wrapped up in quite an explosive and classic fashion where Hank proves that despite being sort of a dick, he is a no-holds-barred bad-ass. Walt and Jesse finally get back into the cooking game as well, and the second that you see Walt in the awesome lab that Gus has provided him, it almost makes it easier to forget that Walt spent 5 episodes not doing anything of real importance or value. The first two seasons saw Walt and Jesse as really small time crooks just trying to get by. Now, they are part of an international drug operation and the big scale drug picture is a really interesting sight to behold.

In the second episode of this stretch, Aaron Paul (who plays Jesse) gives his greatest performance of the entire series. He has just had the royal shit beat out of him by Hank and he’s in the hospital discussing his future plans with the attorney Saul and Walt’s there as well. Basically, he gives a monologue that is so intense and angry and vitriolic that Jesse, who is normally about as frightening as a teenage girl, just scares the piss out of you. Having seen his performances before this, I would have never thought he was capable of that kind of rage and passion but I’ll be damned if he just didn’t nail that scene. I’m pretty sure this was the episode that he won the Emmy for (for those not in the know, you’re generally nominated for a single episode of the season you’re nominated for). The actor that plays Hank deserves some mention to for the skillful way he plays up Hank’s PTSD yet still makes you know why Hank is one of those guys you love to hate.

I’ll be posting my last review for this season at some point either tonight or tomorrow. I only have four episodes left. I know exactly what kind of bang the season ends on, and I really can’t wait for the next season to start up. I apologize that TV has started to take up such a significant amount of space on this blog but since I’m at home for the summer instead of in Morgantown, my resources are limited and I have to take what I can get.

 Score in Progress: A-