Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Third Time's The Charm

Looking back on Breaking Bad's third season, there's no question it kept up its high quality. But sometimes I wonder if the cracks are starting to show. While I'm pretty sure creator Vince Gilligan has a good idea of the general destination of the show, I get the impression they're still making it up as they go along. They paint the characters into corners and then figure how to get them out. This works as long as they're smart, but it can also lead in directions where the characters aren't true, just so the plot can stay tense. For instance, Jesse acting like such a jerk. He seemed to be moving toward a new maturity after Jane died, off drugs and facing life. But then when Saul offers him, in essence, ownership of a business where he can launder his money, he rejects it and suddenly wants to go street. Jesse does a lot of stupid things, but why would he find a legal source for his money while he cooks to be so offensive.

And then there's Walt, who's always a fatherly feeling toward Jesse, but Jesse acted like such a jerk, and they were on the outs for a while, that it's hard to understand why Walt eventually returned to supporting Jesse even after he didn't seem to need him.

Look at Gus. He's the smartest player around. We saw his ruthless side (which we always knew existed) this season. But from the start, we understood he played it safe. He didn't even meet with Walt when Jesse was around. Suddenly, he's willing to show himself to broker a truce between Jesse and some low-level dealers. Why would he take such a chance, no matter how much he respected Walt. Speaking of which, one episode, he goes out of his way to help Walt, and the next thing you know he's ready to kill Walt. I realize Walt had gone nuts, but losing a few minor operators is the cost of doing business.

I have no doubt the show will continue to surprise. But I hope they're not painting themselves into a corner with their characters.


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