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TV Review: Breaking Bad: Box Cutter
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Breaking Bad
Season 4, Episode 1 – Box Cutter
Directed by: Adam Bernstein
Written by: Vince Gilligan
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Giancarlo Esposito, Jonathan Banks, David Costabile and Jeremiah Bitsui
Air date: July 17, 2011

Arguably the best show on television, AMC’s Breaking Bad recently returned for its Season 4 premiere and kicked things off with a bang. We’ve got your spoiler-free review here of the season opener after the break.

Well? Get back to work.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you start a season.

I’m always interested to see how Breaking Bad will reinvent itself as it returns each season, but this season looks to be the most interesting experiment yet. Picking up mere seconds after last year’s finale, we find out the cruel fate of Gale (David Costabile), just minutes after finding out what really did him in. However, Gale was marked for death the second Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) discovered there was a superior product on the market. The best Gale could produce was a 96% pure sample, compared to Walter’s purity of 99%. Whatever the future held for Gale before his death didn’t matter, it seems it would have been short regardless.

We’ve known for quite some time that Gus wasn’t the nicest man in the world, but the events in the superlab place this man firmly in the dark. Walter (Bryan Cranston) is nothing compared to this man. As Jesse (Aaron Paul) correctly states, everyone is on the same page now. Gus can’t kill the pair, but he’ll do his best to make sure they wish they were.

While Walter and Jesse continue to backslide in their power struggle against Gus, Skylar (Anna Gunn) continues to gain control by breaking bad on her own. After moving Walter’s car to firmly show she’s in charge. Skylar then uses baby Holly to help her get into Walter’s apartment. However, the only thing that greets her is the eye from the teddy bear, an ever constant reminder to Walt and us about the consequences of his past sins.

Needless to say, “Box Cutter” sets an outstanding precedent of what’s to come. The episode moved at an incredible pace and sets up the stakes and tone for what looks to be an explosive fourth season.

Glad to have you back to work, Walter.

Quick Thoughts:

– It’s a little unsettling to see just how worried Saul (Bob Odenkirk) is after finding out where Mike’s (Jonathan Banks) true allegiance is, though I doubt it’ll be long before he returns to his normal ways.
– Marie (Betsy Brandt) says, “They seem to be getting bigger instead of smaller.” I have a feeling they’ll just continue to get bigger as the season progress.
– Interesting to see that Hank’s (Dean Norris) mineral/rock obsession isn’t going anywhere soon.
– Another observation about Hank, interesting to see that he and Walt have more or less changed places. Walt embraced his disease and has since been placed in a position of power, where as Hank
– “Are you sure it will do the job?” “Trust us.”
– On a more technical note, I loved the way the superlab was lit.

And now, let’s discuss SPOILERS for Box Cutter.

– I never, ever expected the events in the superlab to go down the way the occurred. I think Mike’s reaction captured it perfectly; no one knows what just happened and it places the overall season in a much darker context. Gus isn’t messing around and will do what needs to be done.
– Gus’ routine was so powerful and tense. Easily one of the tenser moments of the series.
– Victor’s (Jeremiah Bitsui) was certainly one of the more brutal ones on the show, yeah?

What did you think of “Box Cutter?”

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