Newest Review: ... is now a drug dealer) Jessie Pinkman (Aaron Paul), and the series basically follows their journey. Breaking Bad is set in Albuquerque, ... more
Breaking Bad Season 1
Breaking Bad - Season 1 (DVD)
Member Name: LisaN88
Breaking Bad - Season 1 (DVD)
Advantages: Great casting, fantastic idea for a storyline.
Disadvantages: Series wasn't long enough!
This programme (so far spanning two full seasons with a third just beginning in America) focuses upon high school Chemistry teacher working part time in a car wash, named Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) who suffers from a mid-life crisis when he discovers that he has severe lung cancer which is sadly terminal. When the prospect of mounting hospital bills brings to light his financial problems and the dysfunctional relationships he shares with his pregnant wife, Skyler (played by Anna Gunn) and his son whom suffers from Cerebral Palsy (played by RJ Mitte) he decides to take matters into his own hands in order to make money.
Season One begins with a desert scene and an RV driving much too fast along the dirt road. The RV pitches off the road and lands in a ditch where it is unable to be driven out from. A man in just his underwear steps out of the driver side of the RV and stands on the dirt road, leaving his unconscious companion in the passenger seat. He climbs into the back of the RV and puts on a shirt whilst holding his breath and then picks up a video camera, telling it that he is called Walter White, married to Skyler White with a son Walter Junior. In the distance you can hear sirens getting closer to the spot where Walter is standing with a gun drawn and pointed in the direction of the noise.
Walt enlists the help of an old student by the name of Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul), a seasoned drug dealer, to help him cook and sell methamphetamine on the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico in order to stockpile some money for his family's future when he is gone. Walt steals the supplies for the scheme from the school Chemistry lab to take them to the mobile meth lab that both himself and Jesse have created in an RV sitting on Jesse's driveway. So as not to get caught they drive the RV out into the desert and begin the cooking process there. You are introduced to Hank, Walt's brother-in-law who works for the Drug Enforcement Agency whom is hunting all drug dealers to get methamphetamine off the streets for good.
The product that Walt and Jesse create is described as "glass grade" meth, which is the clearest and most potent version of meth which is also the best for selling. Jesse makes contact with a dealer, known as Crazy 8, he knows that could sell the meth for a good price, so brings him and another individual known as Emilio to Walt to test the product and see how their operation works. This all goes horribly wrong when the two men pull guns on Walt and Jesse and threaten to kill them after remembering Walt was at a bust with Hank that nearly got him locked away in prison.
After offering to show them the cooking process, Walt creates toxic gas in the RV by throwing a chemical onto some liquid on a burner and runs out, leaving the two men choking and dying inside the RV in the desert with Jesse unconscious on the floor. Walt puts a mask on himself and Jesse and then proceeds to drive the RV away from the site with the two men in the back as there is a fire spreading from where he created the explosion and it has set alight some of the dry foliage in the desert.
The images then come full circle to what was shown at the beginning of the episode, with Walt stood holding his gun waiting for the sirens, which he believes is the police, when actually it is just the Fire Department come to put the fire out. It ends with Jesse getting out of the RV and asking Walt what happened with Walt's reply that they "need to clean this up" before you see Walter return home to his wife who questions his strange behaviour.
In episodes two and three Walt and Jesse are forced to hold Crazy 8 hostage in Jesse's house after it is seen that he survived the events in the desert. Emilio is disposed of by Jesse in a bathtub with some acid, with some quite disastrous consequences. Walt is then left to deal with Crazy 8 although prior to his death, there are some touching scenes in which Walt and Crazy 8 discuss the reasons behind his sudden turn to crime. However, Walt discovers that Crazy 8 has held on to part of a plate that broke in the cellar and has to strangle him with the bike lock around his neck and the pipe, in a case of kill or be killed.
Walt finally reveals to his family that his strange behaviour has been because of the fact that he has terminal lung cancer and that he doesn't want to go through treatment, while the audience know this isn't true. With the pure methamphetamine on the streets, Hank is on the case with the rest of the DEA in order to find out the people behind it, whilst it is unknown to him that the culprit is his brother-in-law Walt.
Jesse is meanwhile visiting his mother, father and brother who disowned him when he fell into the drug dealing business without much success. Since the problems with Crazy 8 and Emilio, Walt and Jesse have decided that it is too dangerous to be cooking meth, so refrain for a while until they have come to terms with having to murder and hide the bodies. Skyler is devastated by Walt's decision to not have chemotherapy so gathers her family together to try and persuade him to change his mind, which he does when he realises how much his family want him around.
The chemotherapy begins to take its toll on Walt and it leaves him very weak and vomiting a lot, whilst he is still trying to teach at the high school. He begins cooking meth again in order to pay for his hospital bills, as he knows that the family cannot afford to do so otherwise. So that they can make a large amount of money, Jesse is introduced to a high end drug dealer by the name of Tuco, who has a tendency to snort meth off of the back of a hunting knife and is very unreliable in his behaviour, as well as extremely violent. Jesse ends up in hospital with serious injuries after Tuco beats him the point of unconsciousness and nearly death. In retaliation to this, Walt lives up to his drug dealer persona and accepts it as part of himself when he goes to visit Tuco to give him pay back for beating Jesse half to death.
In my opinion, this is a fantastic series and I look forward to seeing Season 2 and Season 3 when they are available. It is innovative and creative and gives an insight into just how a change in circumstances can alter a person's perception of what they are capable of doing. I especially think that Bryan Cranston is perfect in the role of Walt, he plays the character with conviction and is apt at being two characters in one, that of the loving and devoted family man and the other of the gun-toting drug dealer capable of murder. I will definitely be buying these series to watch several times over.
Summary: Brilliant series...top marks.
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