Sunday, August 26, 2012

'Breaking Bad' Review - 5.07 Say My Name

        In the penultimate episode of AMC's Breaking Bad, Walt assumes a new level of superiority in the business venture while Mike is left to deal with the consequences of his actions.

        This has been the first time I have been able to watch Breaking Bad live on TV this summer. Because of that, this has also been the first time I could write an extensive review on the series but the episode kind of left me with not a whole lot to say.
        Tonight's episode was the penultimate hour of season 5A. Much like other series' penultimate episodes, the hour mostly focused on setting all the pieces up for the finale. That fact means, while the episode was fine (really what episode of Breaking Bad isn't?), it didn't necessarily surprise or shock me the way the show's best episodes did (Crawl Space, Face Off, Dead Freight, etc.)
        By no means was this episode bad. But comparatively speaking, it doesn't quite measure up to past episodes of this particular series. Breaking Bad is still wonderful so a B or B- episode here would still be equal to an A+ episode of many other shows. This series has just set a very high quality standard and this episode was just not up to par.
        The biggest twist, which will probably define this episode, is the fact that Walt kills Mike. This season has been Jonathan Banks best on the show as his role was beefed up with him becoming a third partner. His character's season arc was interestingly shaped as they coupled his wanting out of the business with the DEA's increased investigation into his ventures. It was definitely played to be a tragic arc and a character death is typical of a tragic arc. But I was a bit underwhelmed by how it played out in this particular episode. It felt as if there wasn't enough significant buildup - it was just the lawyer flipped on Mike and Walt had to get rid of him. Plot shortcuts for during less episodes this year.
        This series is so wonderfully written and acted and typically doesn't suffer from plot tropes that plague other series. However, it felt as if the writers were forced to have characters act against type to move the plot forward the way they needed it to for a satisfying conclusion for its eight episode summer run this year.
        I'm not terribly excited going in to next week's finale (unlike last year). The show has set up some interesting dynamics and I'm anticipating some wonderfully jawbreaking twists (because what finale episode doesn't have those) but I am not enthused to see it right now.

So what did everyone think of the episode? Excited for next week's finale? Share your thoughts in the comments.