In this first of a three-part chat, TV Geek Army cohorts Eric (self-described “revered leader”) and Mike Proper discuss the return of Breaking Bad to AMC as well as “Box Cutter,” the fourth season premiere.
Mike: Well, after nearly three and a half years (or so it seemed), Breaking Bad finally returned for its much anticipated fourth season. Eric, you've had a few days to digest the very suspenseful premiere, "Box Cutter". Was it worth the wait?
Eric: In short, yes, absolutely.
I read something recently that discussed how Breaking Bad has evolved from a relatively simple and straight forward show to something far more three-dimensional and complex. I think that evolution has progressed organically with each season. And, really, after a phenomenal third season -- one of the best that has ever aired on television, I've argued -- "Box Cutter" continued in that tradition beautifully with a tense and anxiety-fraught episode.
How do you think that "Box Cutter" played versus the high bar that Season Three set?
Mike: Well, first of all, I'm glad they continued right where we left off last season with Jesse shooting Gale. The writers could have easily jumped forward weeks or months into the future and it could have worked, but the events between "Half Measures," "Full Measure" and "Box Cutter" were all so-calculated and precise that I would have felt a little cheated. But I was kind of surprised that Jesse would be captured (for lack of a better term) by Victor so quickly after the shooting. I expected more of an extended timeframe showing Jesse in hiding. But by the end of the episode, I was happy with their decision to throw him right into Gus' ballpark.
Let me ask you this: what were some of your predictions going into the season and how have they changed?
Eric: I didn't make any specific predictions. With a show like Breaking Bad I think that would be dangerous!
Overall I've felt that Walt, a man who has survived cancer (for the time being), is himself a cancer who is infecting those around him with a case of the "breaking bads," for lack of a better term. So we see Jesse's full and complete loss of innocence (and I'm glad that he did in fact shoot Gale just from the standpoint that the camera movement at the end of "Full Measure" gave Vince Gilligan and crew an out that I'm pleased to see they didn't take), and particularly we see Skyler delving into territory she's never been in before, conning the lock smith better than Walt ever could.
And we also see the fallout with Hank, holed up and miserably recovering. So I think through the end of the series we're going to see the ripple effect from Walt's break.