I’ve grown tired of reviewing Breaking Bad because doing so brings in no traffic and ultimately proves to be a waste of my time. With that in mind, I vowed I would only review Sunday’s season finale if I found the episode to be so engaging, my overwhelming sense of self-importance wouldn’t allow me to keep my opinions to myself.
Oh, well. It’s not as if I have anything better to do
Last week’s episode ended with Jesse attempting to take vengeance on two associates of his boss Gus who were responsible for the death of one of his friends as well as the little brother of his girlfriend. Knowing the disastrous implications this would have on him, Walter intervened, killing both dealers and instructing Jesse to run. The finale began with Jesse in hiding and Walt attempting to clean up the mess.
The finale, entitled “Full Measure,” was electrifying from the get-go. The entire episode was cloaked in doom, as there wasn’t a shred of doubt something big was going to go down. The anticipation of when and how said development would play out made this, in my opinion, the best and most thrilling episode of the season.
I really liked that the primary storyline of Walt and Jesse’s riff with Gus and his associates took up the entire episode. This isn’t to suggest I’m not interested in secondary storylines, as I’m very eager to see Hank walk again. That said, I can definitely hold off on that until Season Four. It’s the finale, people want major developments in major storylines to tie them over, which is exactly what was given to them.
One thing I’ve loved most about this show is the exemplary work done by the entire cast. It’s natural to praise the great performances given every week by Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul as Walt and Jesse, but it’s impossible to ignore the fantastic work of everyone around them.
Giancarlo Esposito was brilliant and just flat-out creepy this season as Gus, who somehow manages to be all-encompassingly evil without bringing even a microcosm of his malevolent ways to the surface. Due praise must also be given to Johnathan Banks as Mike, Gus’ right-hand man, who never allows his very real conscious get in the way of business. I thought Banks stole this episode, giving his already exciting character new depth. Both actors hit just the right notes in their respective performances, which helped make for a more expansive viewing experience.
Then there was the ending. While it was frustrating as hell from the “oh my god, do we seriously have to wait nine freaking months to see where this goes!?” perspective, it was a great way to wrap things up. “Measure” did everything a great piece of suspense television is supposed to do; it entertained, kept us on alert throughout, fucked with our perspective (my opinion of Walt changed so quickly towards the end I nearly got whiplash) and ended with a (marginal pun intended) bang, leaving us aching for future developments.
The first two seasons of Breaking Bad were both excellent, but possessed finales which were merely good. I guess it’s only fitting that the electrifying closer I wanted came as my interest began to dip slightly. While I certainly enjoyed the third season, it meandered a bit at times, and I simply didn’t find it as engaging as the seasons which preceded it.
Part of me felt like this season had to conclude in fantastic fashion, and luckily it did. Never has the show ended on such an intense note and only the hardest-to-please fan could have been unmoved by what transpired. Whatever fears I had about the show regressing were, momentarily at least, put to rest, and while it may not maintain the level of near-perfection it held for its first two seasons, it still has a ways to go before it’s anything less than really damn good.