Flashback | Breaking Bad, Season 1, Episodes 1
As many of you know Breaking Bad ended it’s highly successful six year, five season, run on AMC this past year. It has been a highly regarded show by fans and critics alike right from the start, and it was thanks to Netflix streaming that the show became the rating juggernaut it became in the fifth season. As a way to celebrate the show, we here at GeekedOutNation would like to do a weekly segment on our site where we go through every episode of the show, 1-3 episodes at a time, culminating in the 21 weeks it will take to go through them all. We invite you to comment on the page and would like this to be less of a review and more a conversational piece.
EPISODE 1: “PILOT”
Things start off with mid-chase with our anti-hero speeding along in an old RV wearing nothing but his underwear. Right off the bat it seems like they decided to mess with time a little. Something that the show did so well is let the audience know that this show is all about the journey and not the endgame. They weren’t scared to show what the end of an episode will be, because they were confidant enough to know that the journey to get there was just as interesting. It should be noted that this episode’s action sequences act as a book-end to the episode as it starts mid action and then, aside from a short epilogue, ends on action.
Walter, being a chemistry teacher, is shown giving a lecture to one of his classes. A key thing he says in this episode is “It is growth, then decay, then transformation.” What makes what he says so important is that in a way he is talking about his self as he slowly turns into Heisenberg. A hint of things to come. Onto the topic of Heisenberg, from the get go Walt is showing signs of this ‘alter-ego’ in the first episode. FIrst, he lies about his cancer diagnosis to his family. Second, he blackmails Jesse into cooking with him. Third, when he defends his son in the clothing store, he gives the famous stare/glance as he storms in.
Walt’s family life is hanging in the balance by a thread from the start. He truly loves his wife and son, but there is something missing in his life. It is his dissatisfaction with life that causes him to want to go on the ride-along with Hank, and obviously one of the reasons he decides to cook meth. His son as always been a character on the side that is just on the verge of knowing who is father really is, and doesn’t change. Skyler is the caring wife who looks like she is about to have a breakdown. Hank is the goofball DEA agent who doesn’t take anything seriously. Marie is the stuck-up sister-in-law that goes through a character change later on in the series, but is highly unlikeable now.
Jesse is a far different character than he is at the end. He is a scumbag that reluctantly agrees to cook with this old man so he doesn’t go to jail. They are polar opposites, Walter is very meticulous, while Jesse is erratic. Jesse gets he and Walt in the position they are in with Krazy-8 because he doesn’t think things through. Some can say too, that Jesse goes through growth, decay, and transformation in the series, and I would agree with them. Walt also has a fatherly quality in regards to Jesse as he protects him from the poison and lets the others die.
Walt’s cancer diagnosis, which is the catalyst for all of this mayhem, gets addressed in a way that is really realistic. When the doctor tells Walt about what he has, look at Walt’s reaction. He is focused on something as tiny as a mustard smudge. A lot of people may think that this is his OCD he exhibits from time to time, but this is something that most people who get diagnosed with cancer go through. It is their brains way of deciphering the news without causing a breakdown. From that moment on the diagnosis doesn’t drag him down, it revitalizes him in a way he hasn’t acted since before his son was born. He quits his secondary job not because of his treatment by his boss, but because he knows this is his moment. In a twisted way he begins to enjoy life and take risks.
Here is a running tally of the # of deaths this episode and who did them, plus a running count of overall deaths:
One dead, one in critical condition – Killed by Walter
Total Deaths for the Series: 1
Overall, this is a lot for a pilot to address, but it does so brilliantly. I would like to stress that we do welcome comments on all of our articles and would love to open the floor to you readers as to your thoughts and analysis on Breaking Bad.