Breaking Bad (season 3)

release year: 2010
genre: drama
viewing setting: home DVD, 3/30/14 to 4/2/14

synopsis: Average guy Walt, dying of cancer and possessed of great chemistry knowledge, continues to descend into the crime world as he seeks money to provide for his family after he's gone.

impressions: I have mixed feelings about this show. It keeps me engaged and I want to watch more, but at the same time, almost every episode features one or more characters doing one or more stupid things that result in bad things happening. A few examples: after all the heartache and loss to get a big pile of money, an upset Walt just puts it in his grill and sets it on fire...lack of direct communication with one's spouse...driving around with a broken windshield and then getting confrontational with a police officer...breaking into a house for no apparent reason...smoking around your infant son...blowing a half-million dollars of hard-earned money on a house you don't need...generally being ungrateful...the list goes on and on and on. The problem with Walt kind of crystallized for me in this third season: he's entered a new and more dangerous life, but often tries to apply the rules of his old normal life to the new life; that isn't going to work, and never will. They're two different things.

acting: Bryan Cranston is Walt, the regular guy who's slowly changing into a nasty person. Anna Gunn is Walt's wife Skyler, who's often self-centered, ungrateful, and manipulative but without the intelligence to achieve much through those actions. RJ Mitte is their handicapped son, who's in the dark about most of what's going on. Aaron Paul is Walt's former student and now partner in crime, who fundamentally means well but suffers from addiction and a bevy of poor choices. 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. Giancarlo Esposito is the calculating criminal mastermind who Walt must deal with. Jonathan Banks is his cool, jack-of-all-trades number-one henchman and problem solver.

final word: Contunued powerful exploration of how an average person might act, over time, in a bad situation, trying to fix the mistakes but often making things worse.

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