S04E03: When the fourth season of Breaking Bad began two short weeks ago, I had only two reservations—which I primarily kept to myself, lest I get accosted by an insurgence of diehard fans who adhere to the show as if it were the bible. It turns out, these zealots are right to do so, because both my qualms are now primarily assuaged.
The problems I had were in the development of each Lambert sister. Let’s begin with Skyler (whose name I have been spelling incorrectly all this time). As soon as Season 4 opened, Skyler showed a sensitivity towards Walt. She was concerned for his well-being and was anxious to the point of taking action to find him when she realized that he was missing. After the mountain of hostility she had been climbing since Season 1, I felt that this was sort of a cop-out on the writers’ parts. One of the primary sources of tension in a show whose lifeblood is tension itself is sacrificed to further a new storyline in which Skyler is involved in Walt’s trade. I can’t put my finger on it, but for some reason, in last night’s episode, I stopped being so bothered by this.
“We were discussing a particular business strategy, and it got heated, and out of control, and he hit me. Once. And I didn’t retaliate because he’s a much older man. And that’s it.” -Walt
Finally, we have Jesse. Jesse only had a few minutes onscreen, and it was mostly an expansion on last week’s idea: Jesse wishes to escape his mind. His all-day rager went sour, and now resembles a post-apocalyptic dystopian slum. People scrounge for loose change and twitch in corners, while the homeowner does everything to encourage this. I’ll say it again, Aaron Paul: you’re wowing me.
All in all, this was a lot “faster” and “fuller” an episode than weeks past. Although I’m still not totally comfortable with the new (or old) Skyler and Walt, I’m not entirely losing faith. They did satisfy me with Marie; they are amazing me with Jesse; they do amuse me with Saul. Walt Jr.? Bring him back, guys. He’s more necessary than he’s being treated. Though, like I said, we shouldn’t doubt Breaking Bad. I’m certain we’ll see him again, and I’m certain it’ll more than make up for the hiatus.