jesss

/Film will be recapping and discussing each episode of the third season of Breaking Bad. A spoiler warning applies after the jump for the recaps and for the comments section. For previous recaps, click here. Note: I skipped over episodes “Fly” and “Abiquiu” due to traveling (one leg of which sent me to Puerto Rico for the return of Kenny Powers).

This week, we discuss the shocking semi-finale “Half Measures” and the season’s flaws with the culture writer, white rapper, and L.A. personality known as Sven Barth. A discerning barbarian of boob tube and skateboard culture, Barth’s creative endeavors span the single “Baby I’m Black” and the cooking series The Shredding Chef on Fuel TV.

Hunter Stephenson: Okay Sven. I think we both agree Breaking Bad is superior to most TV series currently going. But I want to ask you: is the third season where the show went from being a great series to a good if uneven one? When the Cousins exited—empty characters hyped as a death rattle but comparable to a violent psych-out—I was hopeful the season would upswing. Instead, we got Rian Johnson‘s episode “Fly,” which was the best ep of the season but it also inadvertently juxtaposed how little time and writing was spent in other eps, before and after, on rewarding character development. The writers focused so intently this season on viewers’ anticipation of bad shit happening and murderous voodoo tension that Walt and Jesse often registered more like pawns of doom than people. “Fly” explored and deepened their individual personalities and psyches, and reexamined their flesh and blood bond. Nevermind that it was executed, due to sheer genius or budget restraints, in a one-room setting. Am I being too critical, or do you agree?

Sven Barth: I’ll start by saying Breaking Bad is, without a doubt, one of the best cable shows of the past few years. But to me, this season continues to have several problems not present in one and two. I was still excited to watch each episode but Jesse in particular became closer and closer to a mall-type caricature as the season marched on. And yeah, “Fly” was excellent. It hearkened back to the season two episode, “4 Days Out” about the RV battery. “Fly” exemplified why I got addicted to this show from day one, back when I was tuning in because I was invested in the characters foremost, sudden thrills second. Walt’s and Jesse’s day-to-day was more tangible, convincing. Now that they’re certified bad guys, that’s missing.

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