Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Second Season of Breaking Bad: A Refresher

Cable shows have long periods of off air time and it’s difficult to jump back into the story. Enter The Refresher. So here is a run-through of the second season of Breaking Bad to keep you up to date and ready for the third season.

Tuco murders one of his men in front of Walt and Jesse. They fear he might kill them both so there are no witnesses. This looks to be the case when Hank [Hank is Walt’s brother-in-law and a DEA agent] informs Walt that Tuco’s man (the only other witness) is found dead and seemingly murdered by Tuco, who abducts them both soon after. Leaving off from the previous episode, Walt and Jesse are abducted by Tuco and taken to his father’s Theo, but escape death once Jesse shoots Tuco and DEA brother in law Hank shows up to finish him off in a shootout while Jesse and Walt watch unseen and escape. To explain away their absence and connection to Tuco, Walter is found naked in a grocery store pretending to be in a fugue state while Jesse pays a hooker to tell the DEA he was held up in a motel during the “Tuco debacle”.

Walt tries to reconnect with his family but his wife has grown suspicious that he is lying about having a secret second phone. Jesse, now without money, has no home, no friends willing to lend him money or let him crash with them, and no RV now that the impound demands payment. He steals the RV, drives it to Walt’s house to ask for money, they fight, and Walt gives him the money.

Jesse gets himself an apartment managed by a young woman who is into drawing, wearing black and named Jane and gathers his inept friends to form his group of drug dealers to take over for the now very dead Tuco and his place as the city’s main drug dealer. Everything goes well until a meth-head couple steals a stash from one the dealers Jesse has under his employ and Walt tells Jesse to “take care of them”. Meanwhile, Hank deals with his anxiety over the shootout with Tuco while keeping up his facade of awesomeness.

Gretchen meets with Skyler and finds that Walt has been saying that she has been paying for his medical care. Walt yells at her, but she still keeps his secret. Jesse goes to the thieving meth-heads, gun in hand to get his stolen stash back. He ends up taking care of their neglected kid while they try to open a stolen ATM machine. In the end, the girlfriend kills the boyfriend by crushing his head with the ATM machine and Jesse calls the cops and leaves with the kid on the front steps.

Walt and Jesse become the top drug dealers in town when Jesse gains a reputation after being rumoured to have crushed somebody’s head with an ATM machine. Hank doesn’t do well in his new position in El Paso fighting the drug cartel when his team blown up by a turtle/severed-head bomb.

One of Jesse’s underlings, Badger, is arrested for selling drugs, so Walt and Jesse hire a shady lawyer, Saul, to protect Badger, their interests, and ultimately keep Badger from naming them, or from revealing that the drug lord everyone knows as Heisenberg is really Walt.

After seeing an x-ray of his tumour that looks extremely bad, Walt decides he needs to cook enough meth to provide for his family before he dies and takes Jesse out to a desert in the middle of nowhere in their mobile-meth-mystery-machine for a four day meth cooking adventure. They make millions of dollars worth of meth and all goes well until they strand themselves in a dire situation after killing the RV battery and destroying their generator, and since Walt’s cover story was that he was visiting his mother, no one knows where they are. They survive by pulling a MacGyver to charge the battery, but when Walt returns to the doctor, he finds that he is in remission and going to survive.

Walter has a remission party with all his friends and family but is bitter about everything, and then goes crazy over house repair and scares some drug dealers. Jesse furthers his relationship with Jane.

Saul introduces Walt to a new buyer, the owner of a local fried chicken franchise. But he is reluctant to go into business with an addict like Jesse. Once Jesse’s friend is shot down by rival dealers, he copes by using some powerful drugs. Although he doesn’t want recovering addict Jane to join, she still does, but not before telling her all about his business and Walt. But when Walter is offered 1.2 million dollars for his entire drug supply, he has to go to the very sedated Jesse for the drug stash, missing his child’s birth in the process, yet ensuring her wellbeing.

Now that Walt has his money, he cannot spend it without raising suspicion, but Walt Jr. has created a website for donations to help Walt, which offers a perfect manner for him to launder money he has made through it. The problem is Jesse wants his cut but Walt won’t give it to him unless he goes to rehab. Meanwhile, Jane’s father finds out she’s using again. Jesse and Jane blackmail Walt into handing over Jesse’s cut, and even though he knows he’ll kill himself with it, he gives them the money. But he changes his mind and goes to Jesse’s place while he’s passed out from heroin along with Jane, and Walt watches as Jane chokes to death on her own vomit, which he allows to happen to save Jesse.

In the finale, Jesse awakes to find Jane dead, just as her father soon after. Jesse becomes self-destructive and hunkers down in a meth house, Walt finds him and talks him into going to rehab. Walt prepares for his surgery that will hopefully cure his cancer, but under the anaesthetic he reveals to Skyler that he did have a secret phone. Cut to months later, Walt is told that he is completely cured and able to take care of himself, which is good news to Skyler who decides to leave, now that he can take care of himself and knows of his deception. Jane’s father, who has become seriously aggrieved from his daughters passing, turns out to be a flight control operator. Grief stricken, he allows two planes to collide. The season ends with Walt watching as the debris from the planes crash all around him. Making it clear that in Walt’s quest to ensure his family’s financial security he has adversely affected the lives of so many people. Unintentional as it may have been, Walt contributed to the deaths of every person on those planes because of the choice he made not to save Jesse’s girlfriend while she was chocking on her own vomit and thereby distracting her father the flight control operator who guided two planes into one another. Good job Walt.

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