Breaking Bad: Welcome To a New Season of Walt's World

The season four opener Is a solid yet grisly ride

By , Columnist

Bryan Cranston as Walter White

Breaking Bad is not an easy show to watch. It is occasionally gory and almost always rife with death and despair; its protagonist, former chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston), still doesn’t seem completely comfortable with his lot, even after three years in the drug trade.
Way back in season one, when he was diagnosed with cancer, Walt took to cooking meth to supplement his teaching income, and found he had a particular talent for it. He and his young partner Jesse (Aaron Paul), who actually introduced Walt to the joys of the drug trade, have been involved with drug cartels, and fallen in with some of the sketchiest individuals you’d never want to meet. The worst offender may just be the murderous meth distributor and fast food chicken restaurant owner, Gustavo Fring.

Despite the fact his wife left him and he is one troubled guy, Walter is not an easy character to root for. As series creator, Vince Gilligan, recently told Newsweek, “We’ve watched him go from Mr. Chips to Scarface.” Gilligan’s not overly concerned if viewers like the character. “The secret is to make sure Walt’s always fascinating, even if people find it tougher and tougher to sympathize with him.” In this respect, Gilligan more than meets his goal.

The third season ended with Jesse attempting to save Walt’s skin by heading off to kill Gale, the guy Gus chose to replace Walt as his meth cook. Near the end of the episode, Walter is held in the meth lab by Gus and his cronies, while Jesse enters Gale’s apartment and raises the pistol toward his unsuspecting mark. As the screen goes black, a shot rings out, leaving a legion of fans to wonder what actually took place.

The fourth season opener, "Box Cutter", will show in graphic detail what happened in Gale’s apartment, as well as how Walter will fare in his bid to save his own life. Be warned: there is one scene so gruesome you may want to curtail eating before settling in for the evening’s entertainment. You’ll thank me later.

Long-time viewers will be more than pleased with the season opener, but if you’ve never experienced Breaking Bad, now is the time to catch up. The acting is exemplary (note Cranston’s multiple Emmy wins), and its strange, creepy vibe (Gilligan was an X-Files writer/producer), and unique plot make it unlike any other show on TV. Just watch out for the gore.

Season four of Breaking Bad premieres Sunday, July 17 at 10PM ET on AMC.

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Mindy Peterman is a freelance writer whose focus is on television, movies and pop culture. She has written over one hundred articles for the award winning website and has conducted interviews with producer Peter Asher, psychic-medium John Edward, Greg Grunberg and Bob Guiney from Band…

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