House Logo
Explore categories +

Betsy Brandt (#110 of 7)

Breaking Bad Recap Season 5, Episode 11, "Confessions"

Comments Comments (...)

Breaking Bad Recap: Season 5, Episode 11, “Confessions”

AMC

Breaking Bad Recap: Season 5, Episode 11, “Confessions”

“Confessions” returns to the theme of the dangerous fragility of crushed American masculinity, which has always been Breaking Bad’s grandest concern. Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Hank (Dean Norris) are both struggling working-class men who’ve recently experienced unexpected surges of great power with Walt’s advent of the “Heisenberg” master criminal, but the latest episode in the series appears to pave the way for a circular narrative structure that will return the men to their stifling humble origins while potentially destroying everything and everyone else in their wake.

For Walt, of course, his cancer’s return began this humbling, which culminated last week with the image of Skylar (Anna Gunn) cradling Walt like a child in their bathroom after he collapsed. Well, maybe. Walt appears to be growing confident again, particularly when his titular “confession” is revealed to be a brazen threat to frame Hank. Viewers can be forgiven for initially falling for Walt’s deception, as his steadying weariness over the course of this season, while always exploited for its maximum capacity to manipulate others, has also often appeared to be legitimate. Walt’s original suggestion to Skylar that he turn himself into the authorities, which he voiced while sprawled out on that bathroom floor, appeared to carry real notes of exhaustion that weren’t just physical, but mental, spiritual, and emotional. The Heisenberg monster appeared to be running out of guises to assume.

Film Society of Lincoln Center, AMC Present “Breaking Bad Cast Favorites” and Viewing Marathon

Comments Comments (...)

Film Society of Lincoln Center, AMC Present “<em>Breaking Bad</em> Cast Favorites” and Viewing Marathon
Film Society of Lincoln Center, AMC Present “<em>Breaking Bad</em> Cast Favorites” and Viewing Marathon

With Breaking Bad on the march toward its final episodes (the second half of season five premieres August 11), the Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC) and AMC are marking the occasion on August 1 and 2 with “The Perfect Batch: Breaking Bad Cast Favorites,” a viewing event to be co-presented by the society and the TV network, and feature guest appearances from actors Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Dean Norris, and Bob Odenkirk, as well as series creator and executive producer Vince Gilligan. Each participant is set to engage in a Q&A and share his or her favorite episodes from the series. On August 1, the Q&A moderator will be New York Magazine TV critic, RogerEbert.com editor-in-chief, and The House Next Door founder Matt Zoller Seitz. On August 2, Emily Nussbaum, TV critic for The New Yorker, will take up moderating duties. All conversations will reportedly be live-streamed at filmlinc.com, before finding a home at amctv.com. Tickets for the event go on sale at filmlinc.com at noon today, and are priced at $15 per conversation.

Breaking Bad Recap Season 2, Episode 13, "ABQ"

Comments Comments (...)

Breaking Bad Recap: Season 2, Episode 13, “ABQ”

AMC

Breaking Bad Recap: Season 2, Episode 13, “ABQ”

Chain reactions are the miniature explosions that drive most of the hard sciences, particularly chemistry, where you usually know the links and bonds that are going to be formed between elements but there will occasionally be something unexpected that pops up as a byproduct. We’re all linked at a rather primal level, the same elements making up all of us, as well as all of the other living things we share the planet with. Chain reactions, though, are the stuff of good drama, too—this affects this, while this affects this, and the two results are added together into one, big result. Good drama is a lot of things, but one of the things it is is chemistry, a collection of chain reactions that add up to things we’ve seen before but occasionally come together in unexpected ways. But one of the elements used in drama is the element of coincidence. Indeed, it’s hard to have a traditional narrative structure without some level of coincidence (even the idea that these people would necessarily come together to make the cast of our story involves coincidence on some level), but coincidence is the easiest thing to abuse in the dramatist’s toolbox.

Breaking Bad Recap Season 2, Episode 12, "Phoenix"

Comments Comments (...)

Breaking Bad Recap: Season 2, Episode 12, “Phoenix”

AMC

Breaking Bad Recap: Season 2, Episode 12, “Phoenix”

What does it mean anymore to be a father? We still roughly know what it means to be a mother. Indeed, we rather know it in our bones. Giving birth, nurturing, caretaking, we get all that. But, increasingly, the notion of fatherhood feels almost taken for granted, as something we’ve constructed up around the male parent to give him something to do. You teach the kids to drive. You make sure they stay on the straight and narrow. You provide for them somehow, guide them in a way to help them realize their dreams, maybe even some of your own dreams. Those pundits who bleat about how the role of the father is disappearing in modern culture aren’t right, not exactly, but what they say sometimes, critically, feels right, as though dear old Dad and the patriarchy he drags along with him is powerless in the face of modernization, even as we know that the smiling benevolence of Father Knows Best was, at best, not always true and, at worst, a complete myth. We respond to deeper urges, then, know, somehow, that to be a father is to hold your baby for the first time and say to yourself, “All right. It’s not all about me now. Let’s see how that changes things.”

Breaking Bad Recap Season 2, Episode 8, "Better Call Saul"

Comments Comments (...)

Breaking Bad Recap: Season 2, Episode 8, “Better Call Saul”

AMC

Breaking Bad Recap: Season 2, Episode 8, “Better Call Saul”

“Better Call Saul” is the kind of episode that made me get interested in television in the first place. It’s not perfect, by any means, but it would be nauseatingly hilarious in one shot and then cut to another that would load on the unbearable tension. In so many ways, it’s a minor encapsulation of so many of the show’s major themes (from the idea that you can’t be just a little bit of a criminal to the thought that resisting temptation is so very, very hard), but it’s also a surprisingly fast-paced episode of the notoriously slow-moving series. The episode even manages to make famed comedian Bob Odenkirk seem like a part of its universe with a character who is both the sort of joke-y character he plays well and a necessary piece of the puzzle of Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) burgeoning criminal empire. Season two has been building to this. Hell, the SHOW has been building to this. We’re at a precipice, and the RV is pointed downhill. We just passed the point of no return.

Breaking Bad Recap Season 2, Episode 7, "Negro y Azul"

Comments Comments (...)

Breaking Bad Recap: Season 2, Episode 7, “Negro y Azul”

AMC

Breaking Bad Recap: Season 2, Episode 7, “Negro y Azul”

Early in Sunday’s episode of Breaking Bad, “Negro y Azul,” there’s a shot of Walter White (Bryan Cranston) extending a bond from nitrogen to oxygen on a whiteboard, creating a connection where one didn’t exist before. Walt’s trying to explain chemistry to a student who’d really rather just get a better grade so he doesn’t have to go to summer school, trying to tell him how bonds are what makes “matter ... matter,” a lovely unintended pun that says so much about this episode and Breaking Bad in general. Though the student is just trying to put one over on Walt (“Don’t bullshit a bullshitter,” the teacher says with just a hint of menace), the notion of bonds forming between elements or between people unites everything in a rather quiet episode of the show. It even concludes with a beautiful shot of one person reaching out a hand to another, tentatively forming that new connection, just not at an atomic level.

Breaking Bad Recap Season 2, Episode 5, "Breakage"

Comments Comments (...)

Breaking Bad Recap: Season 2, Episode 5, “Breakage”

AMC

Breaking Bad Recap: Season 2, Episode 5, “Breakage”

Direction doesn’t get noticed a lot in the realm of TV criticism, since most shows stick to an established template for their look and the true driving force behind most shows comes from a showrunner or executive producer whose creative vision always prevails. This is not to take away from the wonderful writers on Breaking Bad or anything like that, but one of the reasons the series succeeds so much is the way its directors have carved out a distinctive look for the show that’s like nothing else on TV. The series has been making good use of independent film directors (The Last Seduction and Red Rock West’s John Dahl—who’s directed episodes of Battlestar Galactica and True Blood as well—last week and Johan Renck, director of Downloading Nancy and numerous music videos, this week), but that also has to do with how the series chooses to shoot its desert locations.