Breaking Bad: Season 4, Epidsode 1 – “Box Cutter” Review

After the roller coaster ride that was the end of Season 3 tonight’s much-anticipated premiere has been a long time coming. And it was worth the wait. In Sunday night’s episode we put to rest all the questions left by the finale, or at least the big one – Did Jessie really kill Gale? The answer – Yes. Of course he did. There was a lot of speculation about if Jessie really killed Gale or if it was a ruse. Well, Gale’s dead. Like – super dead. Pinkman put a bullet through his eye socket and that was that. It was the only way that he could save Walt, and it worked. At least for now.

 This was one of the best premieres I’ve seen in quite a while. Here is a perfect example of the writers taking established characters, and evolving them to a whole other level. For example – Gus. This is about as much as you can get out of a character with so little dialogue. The example he makes is a loud one, and it goes a long way. This, despite his statuesque demeanor, is the most human emotion Gus has shown to date. His frustration is truly personified with one quick swipe of the box cutter.

But Gus isn’t the only character who evolved tonight…

Jessie Pinkman seems now a changed man, and seemingly forever intertwined with Hank. As Jessie learns to cope and adapt, Hank regresses. The once weak junkie is learning to accept his fate, while the once impervious DEA Superman must come to terms with the effects of getting shot 4 times. Jessie’s murder of Gale, while resulting in Walt’s survival, has filled him with contempt for the man who made it necessary. You can see it on his face at the lab when confronted with Gus. Hank however is now reduced to a bed-pan and a reliance on his wife. This is something new to him, his power is gone. This leads the audience to garner a new-found respect for Marie, who early in the show was portrayed as a childish brat, she has now grown up very quickly.

Skyler on the other hand, rather than getting stronger like her little sister, seems to be weakening, and moving towards the dark side. For as much shit as she gives Walt all the time, she’s not complaining about the money that’s paying for Hank’s therapy, and now she’s even conning poor lock smiths into breaking the law for her. Shame.

As for Walt, he seems only slightly more scattered than Mike. Gus’ reaction clearly caught Mike and Walt more off guard than they did Jessie. And it’s a move that may save them later. This unexpected execution could very well drive a wedge between Gus and Mike.

Anywho – Walter seemed rattled, but it’s clear from his speech to Gus that he’s getting harder. A man can only be pushed so far…

Alright, let’s talk about Gale Boetticher. He was a good man, and a good chemist. And I  cared about him. He didn’t deserve what happened to him, he didn’t deserve it at all. But I’d shoot him again tomorrow. And the next day, and the day after that. When you make it Gale vs Me, or Gale vs Jessie, Gale loses. Simple as that. 

This has set up what should prove to be an excellent 4th season of a show that has done nothing but get better as it’s gone. I loved the disposal of the body, which called back to troubles they had season 1, and feed into the advice Walt was given by both Gus and Mike in season 3 – “Never make the same mistake twice.” Between Gale’s notebook, Walt’s new found spine (Saul’s lack one), and what we can expect from Jessie, I have to say – I don’t have to be disappointed Sunday  All and all, a very good episode. I give it a 4.5/5 Bears.

2 thoughts on “Breaking Bad: Season 4, Epidsode 1 – “Box Cutter” Review”

    1. Story wise – Yes. Obviously Jessie and Walt are partners, very good. What the writers have now made clear though, is that since Hank beat up Jessie, they too are tied. Not in a straight out mode, but in plot themes. As Hank gets weaker, Jessie gets stronger.

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