Expect the Unexpected

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Breaking Bad: Hello, Carol

Hank confronts Walt in the season opener Blood Money in Breaking Bad.

Hank confronts Walt in Breaking Bad’s season opener Blood Money.

Game on! Vince Gilligan and his accomplished writing staff started things off with a bang in Breaking Bad’s season opener, Blood Money.

Warning, spoilers ahead.

“Hello, Carol.”

Breaking Bad’s writers have a knack for inserting a brilliant scene in an episode that sums up plot backgrounds and character motivations. (For example, the swimming pool flashback that explains Gus’s humble beginnings as a drug dealer and why he hates Hector Salamanca).

That’s what they did here too. In the opening scene set in the future, we see that things did not go well for Walt in the past couple years. He’s been revealed. Police have impounded the White family home which has now become a vacant, graffiti-worn shambles. Kids are riding their skateboards in the family’s drained pool. Gazing at his now sad and weathered reflection, Walt sees the name HEISENBERG written in big bold spray-painted letters on what’s left of the living room wall.

He’s come back to pick up the vial of ricin he had hidden in the house. For what purpose we do not know. But as he leaves, his neighbor spies him while taking a bag of groceries out of her car. Caught in the act, Walt quietly says, “Hello, Carol.” But we can tell by the horrified way she drops the bag to the ground and the look in her eyes, that she’s in shock, like she’s just seen a ghost.

What Walter White was, and what he's become.

The evolution of Walter White.

So how did Walt get from Point A to Point Z? Don’t know — yet. We’ll just have to hang on and enjoy the bumpy and delightful ride.

In this episode, the writers wasted no time getting to the confrontation between Hank and Walt. After the show aired, Vince Gilligan said he had so many things he wanted to accomplish in the final eight episodes that he didn’t want to waste time with this plot. THANK YOU!

During a chat in Hank’s garage, Walt realizes he’s been found out. Without actually admitting he’s Heisenberg, he tries to soft peddle Hank and guilt him into dropping the case.  “I am a dying man who runs a car wash.”

When that doesn’t work, Walt turns to not-so veiled threats — “Tread lightly.”

Give Dean Norris (Hank) an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor, he earned it tonight.

It was fun watching Badger and Skinny Pete talk about Star Trek.  It was the kind of chat Sheldon and Leonard from the Big Bang Theory would have if they were high on crystal meth. It made me realize that deep down, Trekkers are all the same.

And that made me realize something else. Breaking Bad appeals to teens and hipsters into the Jesse, Badger, Skinny Pete lifestyle. It also appeals to college kids, Gen X’ers, Millennials, men, women, and middle-aged bookish, nerdy women like me. The show has huge mass appeal, joining so many different people from so many backgrounds together. I don’t want to overuse the word brilliant, but that’s what this show is. TV brilliance. Like a comet, this is a rare and amazing television spectacle. Don’t take this experience for granted.

Another thing I loved about this episode was Lydia’s appearance at the car wash. When she comes in to talk to Walt, he tries to hurry her out with quick, pleasant chitchat, repeating to her to help herself to the “free coffee.” This was soooo reminiscent of the restaurant scene where Walt had to confront Gus at the restaurant and tell him that Hank wanted him to put a tracking device on his car. Walt was scared and Gus was overly polite and superficial. Lydia looked scared too.

Breaking Bad is breaking good… or well… Ready for next week!

Talking Bad: OMG, TRAINWRECK!!!!  Following Breaking Bad (an hour later to be exact so AMC could run a new series which I won’t mention by name because why bother) AMC had a half hour follow-up show called Talking Bad, hosted by Chris Hardwick and featuring Julie Bowen and Vince “The Man” Gilligan. Talking Bad is a very appropriate title because that’s what Julie Bowen did, she talked bad…er badly… She kept talking and talking and trying to be cute and funny, throwing the word Morocco around whenever possible and preciously wasting minute after minute when we could have been listening to Vince Gilligan explain more about the season opener. This show should be called EMBARRASSINGLY BAD. Thank goodness Julie Bowen isn’t returning to it next week. Instead, the special guest will be Bill Hader from SNL. He has GOT to be better than Miss Julie.

Related: Breaking Bad is back!

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