After watching the methodical and laborious techniques used to create Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse’s (Aaron Paul) ‘special’ blue crystal meth for two whole, addictive seasons, we should all be experts in the production of the illegal substance by now. But that was never the show’s intent and, after what the partners have been through, who’d want to run a drug ring anyway?
Rejoining Walter White and co. after the plane crash that overshadowed Season Two’s prologues, things aren’t looking great for Walt. His cancer may be in remission and baby Holly born, but wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) has filed for divorce after the revelation of the infamous second cell phone. Though it may be incredibly hard to sympathise with Skyler, Gunn makes her so fun to hate that your opinion on her may change in the final few episodes when her scheming becomes integral to the story.
With Walter Jr. (RJ Mitte) trapped in the middle of his domicile’s stalemate, Season Three flips the White-Pinkman dynamic on its head and makes way for individual struggles with even Hank (Dean Norris) and Marie (Betsy Brandt) finding a wedge driven between them as Hank’s pride stands in the way of opening up about the horrors of El Paso.
Things aren’t particularly peachy for Jesse, either, still in rehab and feeling entirely responsible for Jane’s (Krysten Ritter) death and the plane crash that her air control father helped cause. Incredibly guarded – especially when the hilarious, yet inappropriate Saul Goodman’s (Bob Odenkirk) around – and listening to Jane’s voicemail over and over, Pinkman’s heartbreaking state finally lets Aaron Paul let rip and provide his most desperate and striking scenes to date.
Though Walt and Jesse are still very much seen as partners to those who work around them, Season Three doesn’t see them share any proper screen time until Episode Ten (‘The Fly’ – the best of a stellar bunch), instead focusing on domestic problems and the ongoing hunt for Heisenberg by both DEA and numerous other vigilantes. This episode serves to show just how much their escapades are missed, bouncing off one another with ease and proving how well teamed Cranston and Paul are. It is also testament to how brilliantly scripted Breaking Bad is, with the duo’s poisonous relationship disregarded in favour of some incredibly tender moments.
Although it may feel there’s less action this time around, there is plenty of tension that builds throughout the thirteen episodes as we witness the fallout from Tuco’s death. While tactics get dirtier, there is a new threat in the form of two very large, very silent and very tattooed Mexican brothers, while the incredibly polite yet deadly Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) gets far more deserved time in the spotlight. With so many supporting roles (Mike, Victor, Gale, etc – even Wendy gets her own brilliant montage), Breaking Bad could easily feel packed to the brim with underdeveloped characters, but every episode is so well written and compelling that you’ll wish everyone had their own spinoff.
A programme that requires you to religiously follow every twist and turn (and why wouldn’t you want to?), director Vince Gilligan rewards loyal viewers with treats that relate back to much earlier episodes, proving himself incredibly capable of clever and attentive direction. While you’ll revel in the stillness of the sporadic long, compelling takes, Breaking Bad has in no way lost its zing, quirk or remarkably realistic craziness. With an ominous cloud of danger present from start to finish, the delectable yet sparse violence is always worth waiting for on the way to another heart stopping crescendo of a climax.
Commentary on Five Episodes with Vince Gilligan, Bryan Cranston, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte and more!
Inside Breaking Bad: A unique behind-the-scenes view of each episode.
Mini Video Podcasts with the Cast and Crew on Every Episode.
Deleted Scenes and Unused Footage.
Four Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes.