Tuesday, 2 January 2018
Breaking Bad, Season 4 (2011)
This is a review of season 4 of a show, so it's going to be somewhat spoilerific about the earlier seasons. If you want to watch the show - and overall, I think it is worth seeing - and you want to do so unspoiled, you should probably bail now.
Walter White is raking in the cash as a top tier crystal meth 'cook', but his arrogance and anger has put him at serious odds with the ruthless criminals for whom he works. The only thing that's saving him is that no-one else can make the product like he can: a protection White will go to extreme lengths to maintain. After all, his life is on the line.
It feels to me the Walter White we see now is a much more authentic character than we saw in the first couple of seasons. "Ordinary man driven to extreme measures to provide for his family" feels more and more like it was a not very convincing act and the ruthless narcissist he's become is the real Walter. He's still physically weak of course - he is after all a 50 year old cancer survivor with a sedentary job - and he still makes plenty of mistakes because his arrogance gives him big blind spots. But I'm very glad that the awkward physical humour and "fish out of water" spots from early seasons are in the past. The show feels more focused in this season than it has before now, and I found myself thoroughly engaged even though I continue to think Walter is a terrible person. It helps, I think, that the show is no longer trying to make Walter a sympathetic character. There were times last season where they were trying to build up a sense of jeopardy about his safety and my reaction was "damn it, stop taunting me with the possibility he'll get what he deserves". The absence of that irritating niggle allowed me to simply enjoy the bastardy displayed by all and sundry. Which is as it should be in a show like this, I think.