Breaking Bad (season 2)

release year: 2009
genre: drama
viewing setting: home DVD, 3/24-30/13

synopsis: Average guy Walt, dying of cancer and possessed of great chemistry knowledge, continues his often-bumbling efforts to make and sell drugs to get the money to provide for his family after he's gone.

impressions: Still powerful, and with many plot twists, but it had some problems. Rather than write an essay about those, I'll just sum them up as follows: there were a lot of stupid actions and decisions, almost every single episode. Many were the times when a character could have avoided a lot of bad things happening by just saying (or not saying) a couple of words, or waiting five seconds before doing something, or just thinking and being level-headed. But no. Instead, there was a pattern of consistent bad decisions, and I guess that's kind of the point: this show is about AVERAGE people in crazy circumstances. They don't have the benefit of military training, experience dealing with bad people, and so forth - and thus they make lots of mistakes and people suffer. Walt in particular has two key problems: 1) he tells lies, then has to tell more lies to support the first ones, and it's very fragile...and 2) he puts far too much trust in someone with a serious addiction problem, someone who is unreliable.

acting: Bryan Cranston is Walt, the regular guy who's suddenly faced with some tough problems and decisions. Anna Gunn is Walt's pregnant wife Skyler, who becomes a total b*tch for most of this season. RJ Mitte is their handicapped son, who's finding his own way despite his family's issues. Aaron Paul is Walt's former student and now partner in crime, who fundamentally means well but suffers from addiction. Betsy Brandt is Skyler's self-absorbed sister. Dean Norris is her husband, a DEA agent who's inadvertently closing in on his brother-in-law Walt. Bob Odenkirk is a sleazy lawyer who actually turns out to be quite helpful. Krysten Ritter is the cute Goth-type chick who unfortunately chooses to get into a relationship with Jesse.

final word: Contunued powerful exploration of how an average person might act in a bad situation, with not all of the results being beneficial.

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