Television Review: Breaking Bad, Series 4

 

television-reviews-jpegBreaking Bad Series 4

Amazon Synopsis: The phenomenon continues as Breaking Bad hits a stunning new high with its most suspenseful season yet! In his multiple Emmy® Award-winning role, Bryan Cranston stars as Walter White, a one-time mild-mannered chemistry teacher whose transformation into a deadly criminal kicks into overdrive in the explosive fourth season.

As his young accomplice, Jesse (Aaron Paul in his Emmy® Award-winning role), turns increasingly distant and hostile, Walt must deal with his estranged wife (Anna Gunn), his relentless DEA Agent brother-in-law (Dean Norris), and the ruthless kingpin manipulating the entire operation (Giancarlo Esposito) – culminating in a bombshell season finale that will leave you speechless. Executive produced by Vince Gilligan and Mark Johnson.

Programme: Breaking Bad, Series 4

Company: High Bridge Productions 

Date: 2011

Series 1 | Series 2 | Series 3

By the end of series 3, I realised I was watching Breaking Bad for the sake of it: I wasn’t hooked. I don’t like the main character and with a breakdown of dynamics and relationships, it wasn’t clear what was holding it together. However, I am determined to see it through to the end and so I progressed with series 4.

The decline of Jesse and Walt’s relationship is why I grew bored in the previous series: it’s their dynamic that makes it compelling viewing. While, for the majority of the series, the two of them were at odds, this series also showed how deep their relationship had progressed. Jesse hates Walt; he doesn’t try and disguise it. But he is still loyal and will protect Walt, regardless of the risk to himself.

While Walt does share Jesse’s loyalty, you never get the sense that he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep his friend safe. But Walt handles a situation differently: he always appears to come out on top and you’re never sure of his true intentions.

As Jesse and Walt fight and bicker their way through the series, there is some major character development taking place. Skylar’s progression continues as she proves she is as ruthless as her husband when it comes to protecting her family, and will do whatever it takes to whomever if it means they avoid detection from the authorities. She’s becoming a bad-ass character in her own right!

Other characters go through their own stories. After his attack, Hank is despondent and unresponsive to any attempt to help him. But when the “blue meth” case is brought to his attention again, the Hank we’ve known for the past three series is back with a vengeance.

Walt Jnr also steps up this series. While Walt breaks down on Jesse in series 3, it is his son’s turn to witness his father’s weakness in this series. And, despite only being a teenager dealing with his parent’s failing marriage, he offers his father the advice he needs to pull himself together. Walt’s little boy is growing up!

Despite the ever-present danger, I didn’t feel this series had the same tension as previous ones. The long dramatic shots built tension in series 1. Now, however, they slow the pace and make an episode feel dragged out. Walt and Jesse are in permanent danger. But it is from the same source, who is, in his own way, sophisticated. It’s not the heart-racing danger of before.

There is also the case of the finale. It sees Jesse and Walt reunited again – just as they should be. But there is also an epic twist as we see how far Walt will go. The only trouble is, as soon as one piece of information was revealed, I called it and guessed what was really going on. When the big reveal is predictable, something is missing.

Only one series to go. It will be interesting to see how it finishes.

Amazon

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