Breaking Bad, over the course of its five seasons, has often been given the praise as “the best television show in history.” Quite frankly, that is actually a sentiment I can wholeheartedly support. From this first episode aptly named “Pilot,” we can tell right away the show, which premiered on AMC, won’t hold back on its gruesome imagery. I also like the realistic tone of the story. Many shows or movies will intentionally give their product an over-the-top tone, but this show gave me a realistic vibe. I enjoyed this episode very much. It really packs a lot into the first episode, but its important that the story is set up correctly. The showrunner, Vince Gilligan, created an episode that is dark and intense, but also features some humor. I mean, I laughed when I saw a naked middle-aged man running around in a desert. I also liked how this episode was told via flashback method. We figure out in the five minutes that hardcore stuff went down. I won’t forget the opening where our main character, Walter White films himself in the desert wearing only his underwear saying that he loves his family as he thinks he is about to die.
So let’s delve right into the storyline for our pilot episode. Walter White (Bryan Cranston) leads a normal life as a high-school chemistry teacher in New Mexico. His income is poor, so he also works at a car wash to gather more money. He lives with his pregnant wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn) and his teenaged son Walter Jr (R.J Mitte) who suffers from cerebral palsy. One day, his life becomes complicated when he is diagnosed with terminal stage-three lung cancer after collapsing at his car-wash job. For the time being, Walt decides to keep this information away from his family. His brother-in-law, Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) is a DEA Agent and he offers Walt the chance to tag along for a meth lab bust. During the bust, Walt notices former student, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) fleeing the scene. Walt tracks down Jesse and blackmails him into starting up a meth lab, in order to gather money to support Walt’s family after he is gone. Jesse and Walt attempt to sell their product to two dealers, Emilio and Krazy-8 (Maximino Arciniega). They make it clear that they want to kill Walt and Jesse, so Walt takes drastic action to protect their lives.
So we are introduced to a variety of characters, many of them enjoyable. The acting is excellent and is one of the top strengths of the show. The main thing that stands out is the performance of Bryan Cranston. Cranston is very delightful as Walter White. He shows good chemistry with Aaron Paul, who also delivers a good performance. However, Jesse does come across as a whiny character who uses profanity more than he should. The supporting cast does a fine job as well. I liked Dean Norris’s character Hank. Hank is a man whose sarcasm I value. I love the dry humor he brings to the show. The jury is still out for Anna Gunn. Her performances are usually hit-or-miss.
Overall, this is a really fun beginning to an incredible series. Over time, you see a man change into a monster. I guess that it was terminal cancer can do to a human being. Greed is also a big theme of the show. Walter White gets the feeling that you can never have enough. Well this pilot was a success and I liked the high-pace, the action, and the incredible acting.
My Grade: A-