Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 1 Review: Live Free or Die

Breaking Bad, best TV show ever? Time to take you through the final season for what promises to be an incredible journey.

The return of Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman is (Aaron Paul) , frankly , a godsend after the way the series was left at the end of Season 4. Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), the massive drug lord that has been a constant shadow over Walt and Jesse’s life is now dead and buried, it is made clear that Walt poisoned Brock with one of his flowers and the drugs lab that has been their base of operations for so long is now burnt to the ground. Vince Gilligan and co had a large amount to fit in such a short space of time to keep fans happy but, by god did he manage it.

The main crux of the episode is the essential clean up of Gus’ operations as Walt, Jesse, and a begrudging Mike (Jonathan Banks) , realise that the security cameras that have bene watching their every move could destroy them  if they are found ,with all the contents of the tapes now on Fring’s laptop which is in police custody. Being a popular TV show,  rather than getting the hell out of Dodge, they decide to break into a police station to try and get the laptop back to save their skins. Being Breaking Bad however, they use a combination of an industrial sized magnet, a massive lorry and hundreds of batteries, allowing the show to stay true to its roots; Walt, despite the amount of crazy stuff he has done and gotten into, still has the humble beginnings of a chemistry teacher. Despite the scheme essentially being harebrained, it works so well and never  do you feel that that the director is taking liberties at all.

The flagging areas of the episode tend to surround Skylar (Anna Gunn)  as she finds out that poor Ted Beneke (Christopher Cousins) isn’t as dead as last season made out , and how she realises that she is actually scared of what Walt has become. Although fair, the amount of money she would have been exposed whilst she was money laundering , would at least make her think that her husband is a reasonably big fish. Other than inklings, Skylar has no idea what Walter has turned into, and the viewer doesn’t see any abnormality in the way Walt treats the rest of his family, making her reaction slightly unfounded.

This aside, this episode blows wide open what we will get to look forward to in the future. The episode starts with a flashforward with Walt, now with a full head of hair, hanging out in a diner on his birthday with a fake ID. The little to no information that you get on Walt’s new position is mouth watering and it is all topped off when we find a massive M60 in the back of his boot; whats it for? is it for defence or offence? Can this show actually get any better?

Although the title of the episode seems like a very poor rip off of a Die Hard film, it hits all the right buttons and wraps up enough of Season 4 without drowning in it. The direction that the characters have gone over the past 4 seasons look to still surprise and thrill us with Walt’s very own words being perhaps the best indication of this; squaring up to Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) in his office, he backs him into the corner and states ‘we are done when I say I’m done’. Welcome back Mr White.

Author: Adam Leith

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