To be clear, my frustration with Breaking Bad is not with the show but with the podcasts about it. First, the folks (Sepinwall, the people at Grantland) seem entirely too obsessed with the pacing of this season. They argue that the format of eight episodes now and eight later raise challenges about how we are going to get to the end of the first set of eight with episodes that do not advance the plot or raise the tension.
Give me a freaking break. The folks behind the show have long ago earned our trust. Pretty sure they have a plan for the season, as evidenced by the teaser before the first episode a few weeks ago. This is just like Mad Men where folks wonder about where things are going too early and then marvel at the season. Just breathe.
Second is below the break since we now get spoiler-y:
People are also complaining that Skyler broke down a bit quickly--why the turn from accepting Walt's career and facilitating it? The answer really has to do not with the wounding of her ex-lover, Ted, but his reaction--his utter fear of her. That, and the realization that Walt is not just The One Who Knocks but is the One Who Blows Up Retirement Homes. The One Who Gloats. Plus it appeared in the previous episode that Walt was going to have his way with his wife whether she wanted to or not. This is not the man she thought she married and the one she lived with for twenty plus years. So, it makes heaps of sense that she would freak out, especially since she cannot talk to anyone but perhaps Saul. Saul? Sure, he would be a comfort.
The Grantland folks complained about the visits to the multiple possible new sites for cooking. Hey, that was funny and educational. It also showed that Mike and Walt and Jesse can work together if, well, there weren't any problems over the spoils. Plus the result was very interesting and needed some alternative considerations before choosing exterminator tented houses.
In sum, this season is quite terrific. I see the value of some of the queries raised by Sepinwall and Feinberg, but pacing is not one of them. I usually have only mild disagreements with the Grantland folks, but this was the first time I was tempted to fast-forward.
Enjoy the demise of our broken protagonist. I know I will. With our without his little friend.