Breaking Bad is the ultimate marathon show. I watched the majority of the series on Netflix over the course of a few weeks, and it’s impossible for me to imagine having had to wait a week to find out what happened to Walt and Jesse after they were kidnapped by Tuco, how the duo’s relationship would fare after Walt let Jesse’s girlfriend die right in front of him, or drug lord Gus Fring’s reaction to Jesse’s killing of rival chemist Gale Boetticher. So when season four ended with the explosive (sorry, I can’t resist) death of Gus, along with the major hint that it was Walt who poisoned Brock, the young son of Jesse’s new girlfriend Andrea, I yelled at my computer screen loud enough for my roommate to come into my room to make sure I wasn’t dying.
Needless to say, season five was much anticipated – last Sunday’s season premiere was the most watched episode yet with 3 millions viewers.
In a similar style as season two—flashing forward into what’s probably the future—Walt (Bryan Cranston) is sitting at a Denny’s on his 52nd birthday. He’s sporting a full head of hair, a new beard and a new identity, Mr. Lambert from New Hampshire, which creates many new questions that fans will be quick to theorize answers to. In the Denny’s bathroom, Walt buys a car from another man, the trunk of which is filled with ammunition and a machine gun. Thus begins season five of what’s commonly referred to as one of the best dramas in TV history.
The main plot of the first episode, “Live Free or Die,” revolves around the police locking Gus’ laptop into evidence before Walt and Jesse (Aaron Paul) realize that footage of them cooking meth is on the laptop’s hard drive. Enlisting the help of an angry and reluctant Mike (Jonathan Banks)—whose fate was still unknown at the end of season four—Jesse and Walt begin formulating a plan to use a gigantic car magnet to wipe the laptop’s memory and destroy it from outside the evidence room. Like most of the duo’s plans, it doesn’t exactly go off without a hitch, but it does seem to do the job. While cleaning up the evidence room, however, the police notice a piece of paper hidden behind a picture frame belonging to Gus. It has a routing number on it and a mention of the Cayman Islands, something that’s bound to return prominently in future episodes. The episode also includes short scenes featuring Walt’s brother-in-law Hank (Dean Norris), the DEA agent who is growing increasingly suspicious of Gus’ meth empire and who else might have been in cahoots with the drug kingpin.
The season five premiere might have been lacking in the fast-paced action scenes that the show has become known for, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t any surprises. Ted Beneke (Christopher Cousins), after being presumably dead near the end of season four after tripping and crashing into his breakfast bar, is suddenly awake and coherent; after several message board rumors, it’s confirmed that acting on orders from Walt, sleazy lawyer Saul (Bob Odenkirk) had Huell nab the notorious ricin cigarette from Jesse when he was frisking him. Early into the episode, Walt is also seen loading evidence of the bomb he built to kill Gus along with the Lily of the Valley flower—which was used to poison Brock—into his car.
There are so many Emmy-worthy aspects of Breaking Bad, from the brilliant acting to the gorgeous cinematography, that it’s hard to pick one thing that makes the show stand out; it’s more of a collaborative effort where everything just clicks exactly how it should. However, being a writing major at Emerson, one of my favorite parts of the show is how ridiculously awesome the writing is, and tonight’s episode was no exception. There were some great lines to kick off season five: Jesse’s “Yeah, bitch! Magnets!” gave us a small glimpse of the “Yeah, Mr. White! Yeah, science!” version of himself from earlier seasons. Walt was behind a handful of harrowing lines himself as well, all of which were evidence that he’s become a reincarnated version of Gus. Another one of his lines, “We’re done when I say we’re done,” sums up how the remaining episodes of Breaking Bad’s final seasons—split into eight episodes each—will go. Things will get darker, more intriguing, more intense, and more violent than they already are. We’re definitely in for an unpredictable sendoff, and if show runner Vince Gilligan and company has anything to say about it, we won’t be done until they say we’re done.
Breaking Bad airs Sundays on AMC at 10:00pm.