Jun 24, 2013

Breaking Half: "A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal"

Left to right: Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul
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 1, Episode 7
"A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal"

"Yeah, Mr. White. Yeah science."
-Jesse (Aaron Paul)

After the arrest of Hugo, the staff at J.P. Wynn High School have a meeting to clarify that he hasn't been stealing equipment and that he was just popped on possession. Taking a recently injured Jesse (Aaron Paul) to a junkyard, Walter (Bryan Cranston) talks his way through a new business plan with new partner Tuco (Raymond Cruz) after he failed to meet the demand: four pounds of meth by the following week. Jesse can't obtain enough goods to meet that demand, so Walter goes about making a new formula that involves Jesse getting more goods. Meanwhile, Walter also attends Skyler's (Anna Gunn) baby shower, where Marie (Betsy Brandt) gets her a sparkly baby tiara that she doesn't want. Upon returning it, she is held by the store's security for speculation of theft. Skyler runs into Marie, but she doesn't admit to actually stealing it. After collecting supplies, Jesse and Walter find that they need some methylamine from a high security plant, which results in their first big heist. When the RV fails to start up to cook in the desert, Walter and Jesse decide to cook meth in the basement of his house. The downside is that it is part of an open house and despite calling the Realtor (Beth Bailey), she scheduled anyways, making the situation very awkward. However, they get the job done by the skin of their teeth and sell to Tuco a bag of blue meth. Hopped up on the product, Tuco beats up his assistant Gonzo (Cesar Garcia), who tries to interfere in the deal. As they drive away, Walter and Jesse stare guffawed at what just happened.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Left to right: Raymond Cruz and Cranston
MVP: Walter (Bryan Cranston)
Let's face it, this is the start of the Breaking Bad we have come to expect and love. After a whole season of establishment, the show quickly has found its niche of mixing comedy with darkness and cutting close corners. Even the heist scene at the methylamine plant recalls just how they used science for evil. Of course, this all wouldn't have been possible with Walter, who still has a sharp brain in tight corners. The very idea that he could solve all of their problems by making more seemed unreasonable at the beginning, but as long as you suspend disbelief well enough, the heist makes perfect sense. He even is starting to get cocky around Hank by insinuating his criminal behavior. In fact, this may be the first full-on Heisenberg episode of the series. Also, the worst of Walter seems present in Tuco in which he assaults his assistant for interfering and not letting him make the decisions. In a way, this is a predecessor to the latter Walter, though hinted at throughout the first season, as he has stated many times that he wants to make his own decisions.

Left to right: Cranston and Paul
Best scene: With very little doubt, the danger element is officially installed as Jesse and Walter decide to take on a heist. It is sloppy, but effective. Everything about it reflects the naivety of Walter's lack of criminality and his skill at science. Still, it is an entertaining scene to watch and an early predecessor to the great train robbery of "Dead Freight."  

Come back tomorrow when we begin season 2 with the episode "Seven-Thirty-Seven"

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