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Breaking Bad Season 2 BETTER

The second season of the American television drama series Breaking Bad premiered on March 8, 2009 and concluded on May 31, 2009. It consisted of 13 episodes, each running approximately 47 minutes in length. AMC broadcast the second season on Sundays at 10:00 pm in the United States. The complete second season was released on Region 1 DVD and Region A Blu-ray on March 16, 2010.[1]

Breaking Bad Season 2


The second season received numerous awards and nominations, including five Primetime Emmy Award nominations with two wins. Bryan Cranston won his second consecutive award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and Lynne Willingham won her second consecutive award for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series for "ABQ". The series received its first nomination for Outstanding Drama Series, Aaron Paul received his first nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, and Michael Slovis was nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for a One Hour Series for "ABQ".[27]

With little resolution to many of the big plot points this season and a two-arc narrative that only gets better over time, Breaking Bad steps it up a gear and delivers another really impressive season. The characters are incredibly well written, the story beats all tie in nicely together and the slick editing, keeping up those puzzle box elements to keep you guessing what happens next, work really well to make for a wholly satisfying second season. Breaking Bad certainly leaves the door wide open for its third season too and paves the way for extra tension to make its way into the main narrative.

Editor's note: Last year, contributor Dave Bunting began editing a series of video essays that arrange images from seasons of "Breaking Bad" in ways that highlight the show's motifs, colors and textures. Bunting published most of his video essays on the series at Press Play, and is finishing the series as a coproduction between that site and Watch his take on Season 1 and read an essay by Nick Schager here. You can also view the video and an accompanying essay by Max Winter at Press Play. You can find his video essay and the transcript of an interview with series cinematographer Michael Slovis about Season 2 here or at Press Play, with an accompanying essay by Arielle Bernstein. Bunting also published videos about Season 3, Season 4, and the first half of Season 5 at Press Play. Bunting's concluding video, about the second half of Season 5, is below, with an essay by Scott Eric Kaufman. You can also watch this video and read a companion essay by Arielle Bernstein at Press Play.

The fifth season of "Breaking Bad" is an exercise in aggressive nostalgia. "Ozymandias," lauded by many as one of the strongest hours in television history ten minutes in, is especially committed to reminding the audience how different the world these characters inhabit is.

This is not to say that a slight shift in the palette or scheduling defines the aesthetic of the final season of one of television's most visually stunning programs, but it is indicative of the general ethos adopted by the talented people who directed these episodes: the day is late for Walter White, and to quote the man who thinks him incomparably evil, the night is long and full of terrors.

The first season of Breaking Bad was something to behold. It was dark, moody, moving, and brimming with delicious black humor. Over the course of just seven episodes it established itself as one of the premiere programs on cable. Still, it was imperfect with a tone that too often swung from pithy to way-too-broad and back, and some questionable acting choices from bit players.

The first major improvement of season two is the new character dynamic between Anna Gunn's Skyler and Betsy Brandt's Marie. Season one featured an overlong and tiresome subplot about Marie's kleptomania. Season two brushes this off and refocuses the attention where it should be; Skyler. Not only is Gunn the better actress, she also has a much better part. After all, which makes for more compelling television, a spoiled, self-absorbed klepto, or a pregnant housewife with a teenage son with CP and a husband who is quickly dying of lung cancer, even though he never smoked a day in his life?

But the real stand of season two is Jesse (Aaron Paul) Walter's meth addicted co-conspirator. After narrowly avoiding his originally scripted death at the end of season one, Jesse finds himself in dire straits as his drug problems, not to mention girl problems continue to mount. Meanwhile, a strange and almost sweet relationship between Walter and Jesse builds as their characters grow from loathing one another toward forming an almost paternal bond.

And of course there is Crantston's Walter. What a character. There is something in the way Cranston furrows his brow and twitches his jaw as he flicks his eyes back and forth while Walter is thinking. You can see him putting the pieces together. If season one was about Walter's introduction to the underworld, season two is about his baptism by fire. After nearly dying at the hands of a psychotic meth lord Walter begins to change. The nebbishness of season one melts away and turns into something fierce. Several times during this season Walter slides dangerously close to the edge of becoming an out and out villain before stepping back, sometimes a minute too late. Compare the cool, detached demeanor Walter uses to discuss the practicalities of gang wars with Jesse to the frantic, whining confusion of the series premiere and one can scarcely believe they are the same character. And yet, if one watches every episode, the transition makes perfect sense. The acting and the writing are monumental.

And at almost every turn the plot is just as rock solid as the character work. Throughout season two the audience is treated to flash-forward elements, depicting a horrible accident at the home of one of the main protagonists. As the season progresses we begin to see more and more of the aftermath until we finally reach the season finale where every little piece ties together.

During the first third of the season there is a subplot centered on the use of a bell that is positively Hitchockian. Later, there is a suite of episodes dedicated to the complications of the meth trade and Walter's slow but steady realization that he shouldn't fear Tuco, he needs to become Tuco.

During the last third of the season there a massive, and bizarre twist of fate during the last third of the season that is foreshadowed both within the narrative of the episodes and in the extra-narrative space of the episode titles. You wouldn't know it from the outside, but Breaking Bad is a mythology show too.

Unfortunately, this season also includes its fair share of missed opportunities. While things really crackle during the episodes dealing with Walter and Jesse's new distribution platform things grind to a halt on the domestic front as episode after episode repeats the same character beats for Walter and Skyler's relationship. He's lying to her, she knows it, neither one will budge. Quickly, her love for her dying husband shrivels and turns to resentment as evidence of something seriously wrong builds. At first, it is gut wrenching to hear Gunn list off Skyler's dilemmas, after a full season of playing the suffering housewife it's finally time to draw blood, but rather quickly this no bullshit attitude becomes tiresome. Eventually, the whole thing begins to resemble Jean-Luc Godard's Contempt, played in extreme slow motion.

Most problematic is the inclusion of Bob Odenkirk's sleazy lawyer, Saul Goodman. Saul is a good character. He adds some much needed levity to the proceedings and also a tie into the real underworld. But at the same time, Saul is also too often used as a get out of jail free card, one time even literally. Several times during this season the characters find themselves in an impossible situation that they should not escape from, only to have it wrapped up neatly by a Deus ex Machina courtesy of Saul.

Additionally, there is a collection of behind the scenes features focusing on special effects, props, sets, one character's adventures while trapped in a car's trunk, a tour of the methabago set, a look at the crew, and a discussion of what season three holds for the characters. Again, this is light stuff. Instead of making one 15-minute making-of, the DVD folks chose to stretch it out over this behind these behind the scenes features, the Inside Breaking Bad shorts, and Gilligan's set photo collection.

In many ways, Breaking Bad is the perfect binge-watch. Walter White's descent into villainy made for a fascinating character study and was packed with so many game-changing twists. But when it comes to ranking all 5 seasons, what was the critics' verdict?

Though disagreement may rage among viewers, almost everyone -- including critics -- can agree that Breaking Bad's first season was its weakest. The entire series would not have been possible without the foundation that Season 1 established, but Walter White and Jesse Pinkman were still just starting out as partners in crime.

While it wasn't the best Breaking Bad season, the engaging characterizations, stylized cinematography and unique setup were all there as fans followed Walter's journey into the world of crime. But at almost half the length of subsequent seasons, Breaking Bad just hadn't gained the spinoff-worthy status it would go on to earn.

Skyler's pregnancy and growing suspicion of Walt provided a rising tension paralleled by the introduction of Jesse's girlfriend Jane Margolis, with the private lives of both Walt and Jesse conflicting with their mutual endeavor. This season also introduced Saul Goodman -- and without him there would be no Better Call Saul. By the end of the season, all of the burgeoning drama quite literally exploded when two airplanes collided -- underlining the show's message of karmic retribution.

The Rotten Tomatoes score for Breaking Bad's third season rests at 100 percent, while the Metacritic score remains more reserved at 89 percent. Both numbers make it clear the middle season of the series set its hook thoroughly into any viewer. When Walt and Jesse's business relationship with Gustavo Fring deepened thanks to TNT's crime series The Closer, Breaking Bad changed from a relatable tale of a desperate family man into a far more grandiose drama... and it was impossible to look away. 041b061a72


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