Du Hast Mich Gefragt Und Ich Hab Nichts Gesagt: Breaking Bad – “Madrigal”

“You are a time bomb. Tick, tick, ticking. And I have no intention of being around for the boom.”

If nothing else, let it be known for certain here: there has never been a show as good at cold opens as Breaking Bad. As usual, we’re dropped here with no context or grounding, just slapped in the face with a situation both bizarre and mundane. In this case, it’s watching a despondent German businessman slowly shovel what will be his final meal into his mouth. It’s supposed to be a taste demonstration — the giddy scientists offering him the food are definitely proud of their work on the melange of dipping sauces they present him — but Herr Schuler can only stuff tater tots into his mouth without feeling. It’s the look of man who is actually counting the number of minutes he has to live in his mind, and every breath and every step makes that number smaller. And a few moments later, when his secretary informs him that the police have arrived to speak with him, his face barely registers anything. He walks to the bathroom — slowly, but not trudging; a walk with purpose — hooks himself up to an emergency defibrillator, and electrocutes himself to death. Continue reading

Fuckin’ Magnets, How Do They Work?: Breaking Bad – “Live Free or Die”

“Free is always good.”

There are few things Breaking Bad loves more than a wildly out-of-context flashforward. The second season was filled with them, obviously, as half the year’s episodes began with portents of the coming disaster and its mascot, the Pink Teddy Bear of Death. If suspense is built on the conceit that the audience knows more than the characters, this is one of Breaking Bad‘s favorite tricks. Continue reading