Breaking Good – Breaking Bad News – Monday 07/25/11 Edition

You didn’t miss our instant takes last night, did you?  If you did, here’s a link to mine, and here’s a link to Jim’s.  On to the other recaps!

Alan Sepinwall’s take over at HitFix.  Get used to seeing Sepinwall, because he’s my personal favorite TV critic.  Oh, he also had a video interview with Bryan Cranston, and did a podcast that talked about Breaking Bad (fast forward to the 27:15 mark).  There, I think I got all the Sepinwall out of my system!

I’ve decided to keep my eye on Melissa Maerz over at EW after she delivered the goods on episode 401, and sure enough, she pulls off the encore for 402.  Alan and I went with chess metaphores to describe the episode, Melissa here goes straight for the series Western roots.  I gotta warn you, there is some spoilerish informed speculation going on in the second half of this recap. Consider yourself warned.

I liked this take by James Poniewozik with Time.  Nobody else, to my knowledge, has acknowledged the “no plan, plan” that Walt seems to be  following with a singular mind.  “Unless I’ve misread it, I think I see Walt’s plan. On the other hand, what’s the plan? If we assume it’s Gus or Walt, and that he intends that it be Gus—what comes after that? Does he run? Does he become Gus? Is even Heisenberg up to that?”  Good question.   I mean, really, Walt.  What were you going to do?  Bump Gus off in the middle of the superlab?  Right there in the stronghold of the Chicken Empire?

One final one courtesy Chris Simmons from the WSJ.  This follows a theme of frustration, which I think is right on.  I think some of the episode’s frustration bled into me, because I felt like it was a really tough episode to write about.  So you got, chess, wild west, and frustration.  Pick your preferred unifying theme.

Now let’s move on to general interviews and show news…  Kate Hasty with HitFix has a video interview with Bryan Cranston, largely about him being involved in the remake of the Arnold Schwartzenegger “classic”, Total Recall.  WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED OF THIS?!  And of course, the Austrian Oak isn’t Total Recall’s only claim to fame, it started off as a Philip Dick novel.  “[The novel] holds up for me, the futuristic ideas. So then I wanted to see how close this script would be to it,” he said. “And I think Philip Dick would go yes, yes, go go go. We just expanded on it. We inhaled into the breath of it… [the 1990 version] was kitschy and kind of fun. This one has humor as well.”

This is a pretty entertaining Q&A with Aaron Paul over at AMC.   On his old wardrobe:  “Oh man! I miss Jesse’s old style. It was so funny to go into the trailer and put on those ginormous pants. It felt like I was fully putting on costume for a character.”

I liked this; a critic (Emily Nussbaum with New York Magazine) binge watching Breaking Bad to prep herself for the new season, having never seen it before.  It mirrors the experience I had with the show, catching up with it on its lengthy offseason.  Seeing the experience through her eyes allowed me to notice things I take for granted on the show; namely, the cinematography.  When they aren’t being inventive (hello, Roombacam!) they’re content to be merely masterful (Walt’s aborted midnight version of High Noon at OK Coral).

A great interview with Dean “Hank Schrader” Norris by Murtz Jaffer with Toro Magazine.  Dean’s a Hoosier!?  He went to Harvard!? I read that he took mild offense at the surprise the interviewer took at him being a Harvard man, which I found very amusing.  Check this out:  “I think that’s definitely clear. Vince Gilligan has told me that in fact. The one remaining big overall story arc is that Hank finds out, and what happens when he does. They said that they like to write themselves into a corner and then figure it out and I think that they’re doing that with Hank…”  That takes a lot of confidence to write yourself in the corner and trust that your actors, writers, and everyone else working on the show is going to be able to bail you out when you need it.  Keeps us the viewer guessing, too.

As on most Mondays, there is lots more.   And if you still can’t get enough, be sure to follow our Twitter account @BreakGood, as Jim posts stuff for you all day, every day.  Email us your thoughts about the show, any links or news we might have missed, or any original takes you want to get out of your system. Tonight, we cast, and we’ll post either late tonight or early tomorrow morning.  See you then!