Saturday, 16 May 2015

Breaking Bad Rewatch | Pilot


Since I'm so close to the finish line, it's time to start the rewatch of all rewatches. (Of which I said I would do at the birth of this blog, but alas I ended up being me and kept procrastinating.)

I also have a confession to make with Breaking Bad. I wasn't a huge fan when I started the show. The reason I started it in the first place was that of Vince Gilligan creating it, due to me being a fan of his work in The X-Files. So for the first couple of seasons, it was a 'meh' reaction. But mid-way through Season Three, something clicked between my brain and the show and I've been hooked since. I can see what all the hype is about now. And watching it back from the beginning with newly formed fangirl eyes, the show is completely different for me now.

I'm not going to bother with the details, I think it's safe to say that Breaking Bad has become ingrained on society's subconscious. We all know the score. Walter White/Heisenberg, Jesse Pinkman, Saul Goodman...their names are going to be the epitome of this decade. Much like Mulder and Scully were the epitome of the 90s. Their names, characters, and shows have encapsulated generations. 

The second watch of anything always opens your eyes to new things, especially in terms of foreshadowing which this episode is famed for. Namely being the scene in which Walt is introducing his class to the world of chemistry, describing it as "growth, decay, then transformation". Which, in turn, describes the entirety of the show off the bat without you even realizing it. Without Walt even realizing it, for that matter. And that's one of the main draws of this show, the writing. Gilligan and his team put so much effort into creating the best show that they can, a show that it seems they would want to watch themselves. Whether that's putting the time and effort to sit down and go through colour wheels for each season for every character to convey emotion, filming and writing exposition in an interesting and beautiful way, littering Easter eggs and markers of foreshadowing throughout the scenes or just plain old good dialog, the show - even by its pilot - can already be deemed a masterpiece. You just have to look further than the surface, which is something I didn't do the first time around. 

 (via brbagifs)
  
The show opens with crisp, clear camera work of the New Mexico desert in medias res, leaving us with an iconic opening shot for a show that would become one of the greatest shows on television. The use of a long flashback after this to get back to this point immediately makes us wonder what on earth Walt could have done to end up pantless in the middle of the desert. You're immediately intrigued. For a Pilot episode, the exposition and setting up of the story is done in such an unnoticeable way it doesn't bore you with insignificant details. It throws you right into the action and then builds it right back up again to that point. At points, the flashback seems slow, which lends to the mundane life that Walt leads before he is diagnosed with cancer. Everything comes back to sharp focus with the fast pull back zoom of Walt with and the gun - an extremely effective way to tie it all back to where we started and to match the pace of the cold open.

Being in the midst of Season Five, you forget how naive and scared Walt was at the beginning of the show. He has completely no idea what he's doing, whether that's the sudden change in career path or his family life - with Skyler seeming much more responsible than Walt is through her trying to keep ahead of their finances. He cares deeply about his family though, as when believes he's going to get caught he films an apology and confession to them stating that he only had them in his heart, which becomes completely screwed later on. Extremely screwed. 

Whether it's the combination of his 50th birthday and his cancer diagnosis that has culminated in this somewhat exaggerated mid-life crisis or his expertise in chemistry - Walt seems a bit too intrigued by the meth business when on the siege with the DEA and his brother-in-law, Hank. This is after he learns of his cancer, and he finds that there seems to be a lot of money involved in that business. At this point, he wants to build a future for his children and Skyler for after he's gone which is a thoughtful and caring gesture. But by this gesture and sudden idea, Walt becomes the anti-hero. He may have the best intentions, and you root for him because of this. But he's doing something that you shouldn't be rooting for. More so than characters on other shows like Hank Moody on Californication, who you could say is also going through a mid-life crisis, spurred on by the love of his life leaving him resulting in him drowning his sorrows and doing questionable things but with good intentions. In both cases, Hank and Walt have a catalyst that results in them doing things that they shouldn't be doing. In Walt's case, it's the newly introduced death sentence of his cancer that he now has hung over his head. And we already get to see the basis of the true anti-hero in Walt - Heisenberg - through Walt losing it against the kids that are making fun of Walt Jr., which both us and Skyler don't know what to make of. 

(via brbagifs)

Walt has his business premonition on the DEA siege - and this is where he also meets his future business partner, Jesse Pinkman. Jesse runs away from the scene after falling out of a window, where Walt recognizes him as a former student of his Chemistry class. He finds out that Jesse is part of the meth business by his number plate (Captain Cook). Walt decides to initiate their partnership with the simple premise that 1) Jesse lost his partner during the siege and 2) Jesse knows the business and Walt knows the chemistry. A match made in heaven in the meth world. They come to a deal to work together otherwise Walt will turn Jesse in, which already marks a drastic shift in Walt's character as he's already starting to threaten people, through constituting a good decision of turning a meth dealer in to the DEA to an extremely bad and dangerous decision to join the meth business along with him.

Walt is in way over his head, as is shown when the flashback comes back to reality in which Jesse's connections manage to nearly get them both murdered (a running trend throughout the show) - and the inconvenient meth lab on wheels that harness that of a Winnebago in the middle of the desert. Although, with Walt's chemistry they manage to produce the purest meth that they possibly can, accompanied with a signature blue colour. And with that, the rest is history.


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