Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Well, we finished a marathon catch-up viewing of the fourth season of Breaking Bad last night. Oddly, it didn’t end on a cliffhanger, as the previous season did. Although there are obviously a lot of places for the story to go after the end of season four, the last episode was so much more like a resolution of everything that came before that it almost felt as though the series was done.

(I’ll just put in here that I was totally wrong about season three’s cliffhanger. I was absolutely confident that what appeared to have happened, couldn’t have happened, but My Darling B nailed that one. Either she understands plot mechanisms a lot better than I do, which would not be a stretch, or she’s got a good head for manufacturing and dealing meth. I’m hoping it’s not the ‘or’ option.)

For a series I didn’t like much at first, season four had me sitting on pins and needles by the end. I asked the rest of the O-folk what they thought was so compelling about the show. It certainly wasn’t that the characters were lovable or even likable. Not counting the baby girl, I can think of only three or four people who aren’t morally corrupt in some way. And Walter — I know this is a ‘no shit Sherlock’ thing to say, but for a guy who started out as kind of a milquetoast loser, his transformation to a manipulative, amoral monster has been truly fascinating to watch, like a slo-mo video of a bullet smashing its way through a stack of bone china.

B loves to watch the characters change as the story develops. Not that she thinks they’re likable, just that watching each of them reveal one layer of their personality after another makes a good story.

I think that what brings me back to the TV screen* time and time again is the plotting and writing. Every episode answered questions from the previous episodes, even while it posed more questions to pique our interest. Shows like Lost pretend to do this, but Breaking Bad delivers in spades. If this were a novel, I’d be re-reading it every couple years for the sheer pleasure of watching the story unfold, and probably catching some new facet of the plot I hadn’t noticed before.

It’s been a good marathon but, after staying up until eleven o’clock last night to finish up the marathon, we might need to take a little breather before heading on to season five.

*What’s a better word for a screen that does not display television programming received by broadcast or cable transmission but on which we nonetheless watch a recording of a television show? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

breaking bad | 11:51 am CDT
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