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'Breaking Bad': First of final 'Bad' episodes gives viewers hope for grand finale

'Breaking Bad' began airing the second half of its final season on Aug. 11. Will the end of 'Breaking Bad' satisfy fans?

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These glimpses into what lies ahead are clearly all part of a meticulously calculated two-pronged storyline that effectively doubles the stakes of these final eight episodes. But more poignantly, this dark machine gun and ricin-filled future of the man called Heisenberg affords him (or anyone else, potentially) zero opportunity to enjoy the blood-soaked fruits of his wicked labors.

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To that end, it has been almost a year since Breaking Bad was even on the air. When we last saw Walter in ‘Gliding Over All,’ the sounds of Tommy James and the Shondells’ airy and eerily appropriate ‘Crystal Blue Persuasion’ were still being filtered through our brains as a means to better comprehend the dual montages that saw Walter orchestrate a horrifically brilliant mass-shiving – one that was only slightly less formal and detailed than his amassing a pile of cash so large it begged the question: “How much is enough?” This, in turn, inspired Walt to hang up the pork-pie hat, pack away any thoughts of superlabs or deceitfully fogged houses and hand over five million dollars to Jesse, the student-cum-meth-lab-sous-chef he’d discarded faster than his own morality.

This has effectively moved the baseline of the final episodes away from the idea of empire building (and all the activities involved in such lofty and illegal endeavors), and pointed it directly toward the notion of consequence for all involved. Make no mistake, everyone is in line for a comeuppance: Hank for his inability to see what was right in front of him the entire time; Skyler for her shaky participation; Walt Jr. for demanding he be called Flynn; and, of course, Walt for, well, pretty much everything. That leaves Aaron Paul’s increasingly remorseful Jesse Pinkman once more in the position of being Breaking Bad‘s unlikely moral center, as demonstrated by his random pre-dawn distribution of greenbacks like some altruistic version of a paperboy.

But ‘Blood Money’ doesn’t just imply the stakes of the season will be high; it delivers on them in an excruciatingly tense confrontation between brothers-in-law that rapidly escalates from a punch being thrown to cancers being acknowledged to, finally, the issuing of a thinly veiled threat that strikes fear while pointing out the shortcomings of a particular investigator.

“If you don’t know who I am, then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly.” It would seem Breaking Bad has no intention of taking Walt’s advice, if the show’s writers plan to cap off critical, longed-for moments like this in such spectacular fashion.

Kevin Yeoman blogs at Screen Rant.

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