Breaking Bad – “One Minute” – Review

breaking bad one minuteLots of game-changing shit in tonight’s undeniably awesome episode, but decidedly not in the way many of us had been expecting: Hank lives, and fucking brilliantly so.  And you better believe they wanted you to think otherwise, dear reader, giving Hank some of those painful dramatic irony I’ve-got-my-shit-together-now-and-it’s-all-gonna-be-okay scenes before the damn near fatal last “One Minute” of the title.  But for all the action and season-arc-moving-forward shit in “One Minute,” it also featured some of the most revealing character moments of the season as well.

While I thought Hank would just sort of implode after last week’s show, instead he immediately goes from the hospital to Jesse’s place and soundly beats the living piss out of him.  It’s a nasty scene, and Hank’s rock bottom moment after a string of nearly as bad moves from the man ever since El Paso.  But the event changes him, makes him realize that he’s not been himself lately.  He takes full responsibility for his actions and even talks to Marie about what he’s going through.  Yeah, it looks for a while like he’s gonna lose his job, but he seems genuinely with it, like he’s finally figured his shit out.  Of course until the results of the final shootout were in I was figuring that the writers were just trying to make his inevitable death all the more brutal and pathetic, but I was wrong and now it looks like there may be some hope for the guy, a chance that the show’s moral center keeps his shit in alignment.

Jesse also went through some emotional shit after getting the, well, physical shit knocked out of him.  First he promises Walt that a) Hank is on his permanent shit list and that b) he’s going to get a new RV and start cooking again despite Hank’s most likely unflagging interest in him, and if Hank catches him Jesse says he’ll strike a deal with them in exchange for giving up “Heisenberg.”  When Walt comes to Jesse with the cure-all of making him an equal partner in his deal with Gus, Jesse just gets fucking pissed, tells Walt that he’s got nothing and that everything in his life went to shit when he and Walt teamed up.  It’s a powerful moment and all his charges are completely legit, but Walt manages to save Jesse from being stupid with a some fatherly acceptance, telling Jesse that his meth was just as good as Walt’s own.  It appears the hint of such a relationship, one where Walt acts vaguely paternal but looks upon Jesse as an equal from now on, was just what Jesse needed.

But does Walt really get any internal shit satisfied this episode?  I’d argue strongly on the side of no.  He’s getting blackmailed by Jesse and who knows what Skyler might pull if Walt can’t talk Jesse out of testifying against Hank, so he rolls with the punches like never before.  He gets Gale – the greatest lab assistant in the history of science – fired and gives Jesse Gale’s job, though apparently Gus makes Jesse’s fee come out of Walt’s end completely.  Walt giving Jesse a genuine equal partnership is pretty noble, and many of the sentiments said in his confrontation with Jesse seem quite genuine, but I still think it’s just crafty self preservation.  Does he truly care for Jesse in any real sort of way?  I honestly don’t know anymore.

As far as general awesomeness in “One Minute,” you had the opening flashback with the cousins learning about the importance of family in a delightfully perverse way from a much younger Don Salamanca, a scene that gives some hints as to Gus’ background (“Chicken Man,” “Generalissimo,” and “dirty South American” being the key phrases in the one-sided phone conversation).  The scene begs the question: Does that scene play as a bit of an elegy for the storyline of the cousins or will we see more of them?  What there’s no question about (I’m a fucking segue savant, I know) is the greatness of the arms dealer character, a fast-talking slickster motherfucker who insists on polluting ears with his hilarious discussion of what type of girls like to get pissed on.  But the highlight of the episode was obviously the final shootout, an expertly choreographed piece of suspense filled with some great ideas and perfect pay-offs for both “the bullet” and “the ax.”  With the RV scene last episode and the parking lot scene in this one, the show’s been busting out some fantastic episode climaxes lately.  Speaking of climaxes (I’ll be here all week, folks!), how about the money shot on the camera when the one brother takes one to to the face?  One of the better uses of their “camera lens is physically part of the universe of the show” perspectives in a while.

Lots of questions for next week, chief amongst them being “Who the fuck called Hank?”  Saul got his cell number from Walt last week, but who stands to gain from Hank being left alive?  Also, Hank’s going to have that question and a few others to puzzle over once he’s recovered, issues like “Why did Jesse drop the charges?” and his one from early in the episode, “Where’d you get my fucking cell phone number?”  Plus, seeing how Jesse’s obviously going to have a lot of eyes on him (hell, Hank might even suspect that Jesse set up the hit once he connects the cousins to Tuco), how the fuck is he going to get to work every day?  But the question we’re all no doubt asking is, with Jesse working for Gus now, will we ever see Badger again?

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Nerd of Noir

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6 comments for “Breaking Bad – “One Minute” – Review

  1. May 3, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Another aweseome review. For the first time, though, I felt the series stretched credulity for the sake of moving the plot along. In the real world, Walter would have had qualms about going to see Jesse in the hospital, thinking that Hank, obsessed to find Jesse’s partner, would assume that said partner might show up there. Relentless Hank wouldn’t let this opportunity slip away. Even if Hank didn’t stake out Jesse’s room himself, he could have paid a nurse or an orderly for info on Jesse’s visitors. Also, the hollow point bullet rolling within Hank’s reach was a little like a million other shoot-out scenes. Did enjoy the arms dealer who seemed to be channeling Steve Buscemi.

  2. May 3, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I did initially think that the hospital visits were going to pay off, but I guess I got over it. I think Hank was too destroyed by how bad he fucked up to set anything up with another agent or a nurse, but Walt couldn’t know that, and he’s usually pretty sharp.

    The bullet part of the shootout was a little forced, but they set it up well enough that I liked it, same goes for the guy going to get the ax out of the car. What I loved most about the scene was all the stuff with the car – smashing the guy into another car, Hank’s car later grazing a different car. Plus the bald-headed fake out Hank experiences when looking for the cousins (this show is nothing if not devoted to the shorn scalp) was a sly nod to how many bald dudes are on the show.

    Yeah, I hope the arms dealer comes back. I’d like to hear more of his thoughts on human sexuality.

  3. May 3, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    You’re right that Hank may have just given up on Heisenberg after he’s pounded in Jesse’s face and reached rock bottom, but showing Walter at least looking around the hospital corridor would have made sense. Possible plot turn, Hank totally backs away from chasing Heisenberg.

    The crashing cars and confusing bald men in the climax was brilliant.

    I find I’m tiring of the opening flash backs or flash forwards. Felt the same during the Sopranos when they overdid the surrealistic dream sequences.

    Still it’s the best show on television and I’m really enjoying your incisive commnents.

  4. John
    May 3, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    The flashbacks on this show are integral to story and character development. I certainly hope they keep it up. My only critique of last night’s episode was the bullet falling out right beside Hank. That was just a bit too contrived for me. All in all a fantastic episode.

  5. Abigail
    May 3, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Wow! What a fantastic episode!! I understand the comments that the final black bullet scene find may have been forced but I think it was an act of wonderful planning, from the moment the arms dealer told him to keep it on the house i thought.. Hmmm thats coming back later, nothing in this show is just waste. Jesse and Hank where both brilliant this episode, they owned it.

  6. Fake Empire
    April 6, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Overall I really enjoyed the episode. But there was one thing I really did not like and I’m very surprised that nobody ever mentioned it before:
    How stupid is the cousin that tried to shoot Walt from the behind? I mean, he’s a professional killer and gets run over by a car instead of just stepping aside and continue shooting? Sure, he may have been obsessed with the thought of killing Hank, but still he is a professional. Even I wouldn’t have done this stupid mistake and I have no killing people experience at all.

    This tempered my overall very good reception of the show.
    Or did I just miss something?

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