Bit By a Dead Bee
Negro y Azul
Better Caul Saul
A Days Out
Building off the success of its first season, Breaking Bad returns with more emphasis on growing Walt’s drug trade across an extended 13 episode series. Vince Gilligan makes the most of this extra time infront of the camera too, combining more personal character-driven stories for Walt and Jesse while keeping an impending threat and sense of tension over large portions of its story thanks to some teasing scenes of what’s to come at the start of every episode.
The story this time around picks up where we left off as Tuco leaves Jesse and Walt in the car scrapyard wondering just who they’ve made a deal with and what this means for their future. From here, the series essentially splits into two separate arcs across the season. The first sees the situation with Tuco escalate, culminating in a shoot-out that changes the fate of our characters forever. The second deals with the aftermath of what happens as Walt and Jesse see their faith in the project wavering under very different circumstances. All of this builds up to a dramatic climax where’s secrets are revealed and the door is left wide open for the future seasons to come.
While the story escalates and builds layers of tension and intrigue over time, what’s particularly impressive about this second season is just how much emphasis has been put into growing and evolving our central group of characters. Alongside Walt and Jesse’s personal narratives interwoven around the drug trade, a lot of the supporting characters are given the chance to shine too. There’s an entire episode dedicated to Hank as he suffers from PTSD after an incident early on in the season while Skyler gets her own arc as she heads back to work and wrestles with temptation and Walt’s ever-growing lies.
New faces join the cast this year as well and every single one of them slot into their roles nicely. Jesse’s friends, who played a minor role last year, are given more screen-time and their own stories while the charismatic and enigmatic Saul injects just the right amount of madness and comedy to keep things sinking into soapy melodrama. That’s good too because both Walt and Jesse are given significant time to reflect on what’s happened and given deeper, personal arcs as well.
Jesse finds himself romantically involved with his next door neighbour Jane and their story is foreshadowed early on by an episode revolving around Jesse visiting a junkie’s house. The way this becomes more important toward the end of the season as Jesse slips down a dark path really helps to anchor some of these individual stories together and stops any filler seeping into the season. There’s another episode that almost exclusively takes place in the desert with just Walt and Jesse which is as close to a filler as this season gets. Only, this also comes back around during the final act of the season and it’s another example of everything tying together nicely leaving no stone unturned.
Breaking Bad uses the same stylistic techniques as its first season too, using lots of teasing images from the episodes ahead during the opening prologue including a hydraulic car surrounded by shattered glass and a recurring image of a pink teddy bear floating in a swimming pool. This final point is important as it’s something that thematically ties in with the season finale where you understand its meaning in the central narrative. The stark contrast of this pink teddy bear against a black and white backdrop is very reminisce of that scene from Schindler’s List involving the girl in a red dress and it’s this juxtaposition of innocence and grim, bleak reality that makes this so powerful.
With little resolution to many of the big plot points this season and a two-arc narrative that only gets better over time, Breaking Bad steps it up a gear and delivers another really impressive season. The characters are incredibly well written, the story beats all tie in nicely together and the slick editing, keeping up those puzzle box elements to keep you guessing what happens next, work really well to make for a wholly satisfying second season. Breaking Bad certainly leaves the door wide open for its third season too and paves the way for extra tension to make its way into the main narrative.
Published: 29 May 2020 at 9.42 am on TheReviewGeek.com
Verdict - 9/10