Jun 26, 2013

Breaking Half: "Grilled"

Are you tired of long, tedious accounts of Breaking Bad episode recaps? Then look no further than Breaking Half: a weekly column that takes the good and bad from each week's episode of Breaking Bad and dilutes it down to the core necessities. Each Monday, Breaking Half will attempt to take a few key moments from the episode and boil it down to one juicy paragraph.

Season 2, Episode 2

"We tried to poison you because you are a  
degenerate piece of filth who deserves to die."
-Walter (Bryan Cranston)

With Walter (Bryan Cranston) officially missing, Skyler (Anna Gunn) starts to spread awareness in hopes that he is safe. Also, there is speculation that Walter has a second phone and possibly a second lover, which causes a search into that to take place. Meanwhile, Hank (Dean Norris) is onto Tuco (Raymond Cruz) based on fingerprints taken from the scene of his assistant's death. However, Tuco has Walter and Jesse (Aaron Paul) in some deserted hideout waiting for his brothers to arrive. He is paranoid that either is a spy and refuses to let them go. Meanwhile, Jesse and Walter try to figure out how to get him to snort the ricin to kill himself. It isn't until the mute housemate and relative Tio (Mark Margolis) tells Tuco about the situation and causes him to suspect them even more. Hank attempts to find Jesse to see if he has leads on where Walter is. However, his mother (Tess Harper) has no leads except that he probably is still driving his cherished car. Hank finds them in the car in the middle of the desert after Jesse and Walter supposedly killed Tuco and are hiding in some terrain. Tuco, wounded, has a shootout with Hank and ends up dead. Walter and Jesse take this opportunity to flee.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Left to right: Mark Margolis, Raymond Cruz, Bryan Cranston
and Aaron Paul
MVP: Tuco (Raymond Cruz)
This is the end of Breaking Bad's first real villain of the show. While his cousins are on the horizon and we get introduced to the great Tio in this episode, it is impossible to think about how differently the tone would have been if Tuco didn't introduce us to this world. His insane, bag snorting ways are so intimidating and his consistent screaming makes him come off as a lunatic. Still, as this episode shows, he has great screen presence and even on a story that is practically four people in a room together for 30 minutes, he never has a boring moment. Even his insistence that Tio is stealing from him doesn't hurt the notion that someone could die at any moment. Thus begins the dark, dangerous narrative that is the remainder of the show. However, it is intriguing to note that this is the first mention of a super meth lab, which becomes more prominent in later seasons.

(Standing) Dean Norris, (Floor) Cruz
Best scene: How much of a bad-ass is Tuco? After getting shot up by Walter and Jesse, he still manages to pick himself up out of a grave and walk over to Jesse's car. From there, Hank shows up and just begins shooting. This is the first true shootout that the show has, and it is amazing considering that the show plays close to the chest. With Walter and Jesse on the veranda, there are so many ways that it could go wrong, but with Tuco's death, it almost creates the perfect distraction. Also, with the hydraulics of Jesse's car adding a nuanced soundtrack, it creates a nauseating effect that makes the scene even more hauntingly enjoyable and tense.

Come back tomorrow when we cover "Bit By a Dead Bee"

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