Thursday, June 14, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Breaking Bad, season 2 (2009) ****

TV-MA, 13 47-min. episodes
Creator: Vince Gilligan
Directors: Bryan Cranston, Charles Haid, Terry McDonough, John Dahl, Johan Renck, Peter Medak, Félix Enríquez Alcalá, Michelle McLaren, Phil Abraham, Adam Bernstein, Colin Bucksey
Writers: J. Roberts, George Mastras, Peter Gould, Sam Catlin, Moira Walley-Beckett, Vince Gilligan, John Shiban
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Raymond Cruz, Steven Michael Quezada, Tess Harper, Mark Margolis, Matt Jones, David House, Tom Kiesche, Krysten Ritter, Michael Shamus Wiles, Dale Dickey, David Ury, Charles Baker, Rodney Rush, Jessica Hecht, Danny Trejo, Christopher Cousins, J.D. Garfield, Bob Odenkirk, DJ Qualls, Jimmy Daniels, John de Lancie, Carmen Serano, Giancarlo Esposito, Sam McMurray, Jonathan Banks

Season two of the AMC innovative television series “Breaking Bad” just makes me want more. The filmmakers have settled into the task they set out for themselves of making a terminal cancer chemistry teacher turned crystal meth manufacturer into a hero. We’re given a few more peeks into the darkness behind Walter at several points in this season. Cranston is still in peak form as he transfers his side business from mere manufacturing to being a failure at distribution. When he growls at a rival producer “Stay out of my territory,” you believe he might eventually have the cajones to be a kingpin someday; but he’s not there yet. He still hasn’t mastered his web of lies, and they are beginning to become a burden.

Meanwhile his poor hapless partner, Pinkman, played admirably by Aaron Paul, continues his lot of bad luck. While his luck does seem to change in love, with poor Jesse you know it’s only a matter of time before it all turns horribly bad. How bad it turns just goes to show how great this show is at keeping the stakes so much higher than the characters are prepared for.

A new stylistic element is introduced in this second season. While most of the shows begin with obscure images from that episode’s conclusion, a few of this season’s episodes began with a black and white intro of even more eclectic than normal images which ended up being from the closing moments of the season finale. While the images are ultimately misleading, it adds a participation element for the audience as we can’t help but try to figure out what those images mean about the character’s fates.

Season three here I come.

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