This is the kind of thing I'd usually just post on G+. I'm posting it here and linking to it there to keep from dropping any spoilers on G+. These are my thoughts on the most recent episode of Breaking Bad, for the two or three people who'll give a shit. So don't read this if you don't want to read any spoilers. K? K.
I more or less agree with Nehring's take as posted in some comments on G+. A lot of the episode was slow and a couple of scenes dragged on too long. But Dean Norris was fan-fucking-tastic. And I thought that the episode opened and closed with particularly strong scenes.
That cold open was one of my for or five favorite cold opens in series history. When the camera pulled back and we saw the house it was like a bucket of cold water for me. It's inevitable that Walt is going to ruin everything, of course. It always has been. About the time of the episode called Crawl Space in season four, I realized, shit, none of the Whites are getting out of this alive. I think this episode's cold open reaffirms that.
Dean Norris was great in this episode. I've seen it twice now, and Norris just blows me away. His mixture of apprehension, panic, disgust, and unbridled anger were just dead-on. I wasn't sure what to expect after the cliffhanger ending of the last episode last year, but the writers nailed it, I think, and Norris pulled it off perfectly. I had no trouble believing that everything he did was exactly what a man would do after having had his world turned upside down over the past year, year and a half.
I love Badger and Skinny Pete, but the scene with then talking Star Trek was too long and poorly done. It made them annoying. They need to be funny, not annoying. The episode a couple of seasons ago where they debate video game zombies does it right, but this episode had some sluggish and tiresome Badger and Skinny Pete time.
I hope this slow unhinging of Jesse is going to lead to something explosive.
That closing scene in the garage. Wow. Damn. Holy shit. I loved it. When that garage door started coming down I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up. And the punch? Most satisfying punch I've ever seen thrown on TV. I think Hank's confrontation of Walt, and Walt's readiness to wiggle out, were exactly right. Fine, top-notch acting from Norris and Cranston. That scene is the kind of thing that makes this show so special.
All in all, I think this season (half season?) opened much more strongly than the previous one, and I can't wait for the next episode.