Breaking Bad: 503 “Hazard Pay” Review

Opening with Mike making sure his former associates don’t rat on him like the ones on the outside did, Episode 3 of this Breaking Bad‘s final season is a very precautionary one. Most of the episode is spent preparing the new lab and making sure every safety measure is taken to ensure that no one will get caught. After realizing that the only way to do things right is to not stay in one place, the guys agree to have a mobile lab that works when Vamonos Pest, a local business, agrees to work as a front for Jesse and Walt’s cooking.

Meanwhile, the relationship between Mike, Walt, and Jesse, especially the last two, grows stronger as the season progresses. In fact, this is the best work we’ve seen them do together, and it’s nice to see them not constantly fighting all the time. It gives the show a much more laid back feel that really hasn’t been present since…well, ever. With that being said, when things are good on Breaking Bad, they don’t stay that way, so I see a shit-storm approaching the horizon quite soon.

At its best, the show has a way of using its larger-than-life and sometime cartoonish characters to illustrate subtleties about meth. This episode had one of those moments. During a scene in a guitar shop, we see Skinny Pete (Charles Baker), one of my favorite minor characters, playing “Solfeggio” beautifully on an electric keyboard. It’s a sequence that could be written off as nothing, but thinking deeper, one could say that at one point Pete was a brilliant pianist who lost it all once he started using meth.

This episode also has one of the best, if not the best, cooking montage of the series. It’s beautifully shot and the music that moves it along is perfect in literally every way. It’s the second high point in the entire episode besides one thing. It’s something that Breaking Bad fans have been waiting for now for almost five years.

After Skyler lights up a stress cigarette in her office, her sister, Marie, who’s visiting her at work, goes off on a tangent about how she shouldn’t smoke in front of Walt or the baby or in her office or at all, blah, blah. Then, Skyler just responds with a barrage of “Shut up!” that the people at home have been waiting to hear since 2008. Bravo.

Episode 3 of this season is just proof that Breaking Bad can be, at one moment, raw and emotional and, at the next, stylish and cool. Without a drop of blood or a gunshot in sight, this episode is my favorite of the season so far. It’s a fantastic set-up to what’s coming up next and it’s really more of a peek into the life of the personal aspects of everyone’s lives, but it never loses sight of the plot at hand.

5/5 Bears

One thought on “Breaking Bad: 503 “Hazard Pay” Review”

  1. Fantastic show and fantastic review. Agree with everything, can’t way to see how Walt, Skyler and Mike end up after these first eight episodes


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