Breaking Bad/Falling Skies/Alphas

It’s kind of funny that this week’s Breaking Bad episode photos are mostly of people sitting on a couch or a bed or in a chair staring blankly, which is pretty much what everyone is doing on Breaking Bad lately, and pretty much what everyone watching Breaking Bad is doing while they watch everyone on Breaking Bad do that.

This week’s show wasn’t as much of a new episode as a part two of last week’s episode: Skyler continues to try to buy the car wash for money laundering purposes, Jesse continues to bury his thoughts with an unending drug party, Walt scuttles around demonstrating that he’s wrong about everything, Hank mopes in bed, and Marie deals with Hank.

Still, I guess we can go into some detail as the plot inches forward.

Skyler comes up with a non-violent plan to buy the car wash from the reluctant owner. With the help of Saul, she hires an actor to pretend the car wash is contaminating the groundwater, a fake problem which will fake-cost $200,000 to fix, thus giving the owner a reason to sell to Skyler. Walt doesn’t think Skyler’s plan will work, but it does, thus continuing Walt’s two-episode arc demonstrating that he really doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing.

On the other hand, there’s a lot that Skyler doesn’t know as well. Seeing bruises on Walt’s face, she worries that he might be in trouble, which is adorable since Hitman Mike’s beating is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the horrific violence and danger Walt has been embroiled in.

Skyler also scolds Walt for buying some expensive champagne, because they’re supposed to be hiding their money, which is a little weird because she’s about to spend $800,000 on a car wash. I don’t know why a huge public cash deal for a car wash is okay while spending a little money on bubbly is a big no-no.

Jesse tries to reach out to Walt, inviting him hang out one evening, a small cry for help that Walt ignores. Jesse drives go-carts in a manic way, demonstrating that his mental state is fragile, something we already know from the last episode. He returns home, where his party has turned into an orgy of violence and vandalism and, well, an orgy. When things quiet down too much for his liking, he just starts throwing wads of money at the assorted scumbags in his house, I guess because he has no idea what else to do with it. We’ve got it, Breaking Bad: Jesse is an unhappy mess. Can we move on?

Meanwhile, Marie, at the end of her rope with the abusive and depressed Hank, attends open houses for expensive homes, inventing stories about who she is while stealing things until she gets caught and arrested. Hank has a cop buddy bail her out, and this buddy, out of pity, throws Hank a bone by asking him to examine Gale’s lab notes found at the scene of his murder. So, while still bed-ridden and scarfing Cheetos, we’re led to believe Hank may be on the verge of breaking out of his funk, doing some police work, and pick up Walt’s meth trail once again.

Not a bad episode, not a great episode, just a slow series of events that most shows would probably cram into a single episode, and the reiteration of information that we already know. This is the show treading water, but Breaking Bad still treads water better than most shows do anything else.

Case in point: on to Falling Skies! This episode had plenty of requisite annoyances: more personal discussions set to tender piano music, more annoying children, more general stupidity from the characters, more Pope being a filthy bore, but it added something new to the mix that made me sort of forgive it a little.

The survivors are planning an assault on the main alien structure, so Gruff Army Guy, Professor History, and Dreamy Teen go to take a closer look. They run into a woman living comfortably downtown in the shadow of the alien base. She says she was captured by the aliens but they let her go. So, here’s an idea: let’s trust her completely, because it’s not like we’ve ever encountered anyone else who made an evil deal with the aliens before, except for that guy last week who tried to kill us and turn over all our children to them.

Gruff Army Guy visits his former home because he feels responsible for the death of his family, and decides he’s so sad that he wants to stop fighting aliens, until a minute later when he decides he does want to fight aliens. Yay, I guess. Surprising nobody except the people on the show, the lady living downtown is working with the aliens, and the aliens send out a single Mech robot to kill Professor History, which is a great alien plan despite the fact that they’ve sent out a single Mech robot to kill Professor History like twenty times now and it always fails.

On the plus side, we get a look at a brand new alien! Which I have to admit is cool and interesting and makes me want to keep watching the show. We have the Mechs, who are pretty ineffective as sentries because they’re so easily heard and spotted and bamboozled and exploded. We have the Skitters, who we’ve suspected for some time aren’t really running the show, and now we have proof: while dissecting a dead Skitter, Doctor Lady and Religious Girl discover a harness inside it, implying the Skitters are slaves just like the Earth kids are, and that harnesses may actually turn other living creatures into Skitters, which is bad news for Professor History’s son and the other kid.

And now, the new alien. I don’t think they have a name on the show yet, but I’ll go ahead and call them Stalkers: they’re tall, skinny, and gray, and appear to be higher up on the chain of command. One of the Stalkers peers through the peephole of the lady’s apartment, which is pretty creepy. Moments later, the survivors give the traitor lady false information, then walk out of the apartment without even checking the peephole again even though a WEIRD SCARY ALIEN STALKER BOSS WAS JUST OUT THERE TRYING TO LOOK IN WITH HIS SCARY ALIEN FACE. Jesus, these people are dumb. But hey, new alien! That’s all it takes to make me happy. I’m a sucker.

Meanwhile, back at the school that the survivors are perpetually hanging around in, Pope is ugly and gross and saying angry things that are supposed to be funny, and has teamed up with Professor History’s youngest and most annoying son, and together they figure out that the best way to defeat Mechs is to shoot them with bullets made of Mech metal. Everyone at the school is excited about this and they cheer and make a lot of noise outdoors, because why not: it’s not like aliens have invaded the planet or anything, so there’s no reason to keep quiet and hidden during the daytime.

We’ve got a two-hour (sigh) season finale next week. I’m not sure what I’m hoping for: a good episode that will make this somewhat crappy season worth watching, or a terrible episode that will mean I don’t have to bother watching when it returns.

Finally, I sat down to watch the second episode of Alphas, but fell asleep in the middle. And then I forgot to record the third episode, and apparently the fourth episode aired and it didn’t seem worth recording that one since I’d missed the third and fell asleep during the second. So endeth my extensive, detailed recaps of Alphas. If anyone else is watching and it starts getting good, let me know.


  1. Hi Chris,
    Good to see you back on the internet again. Are you still temping or are you employed on a permanent basis somewhere?

    Good to see Nondrick back too!

    Best wishes

    O B

  2. Do you feel like each episode can seem slow moving, but by the end of the season, you feel as though much has happened? Have I said this already?

    Anyway, you have to give kudos to the Odenkirk scene where they discussed how to procure the car wash.

    And now in the more recent episodes, events are occurring! Happy? Pappy?

  3. I haven’t watched these shows, but they seem like examples of series with good concepts, but bad writing in general. Lots of movies and shows are exactly like that. They’re so focused on the “Ooh look, aliens!” and the “Holy shit, apocalypse!” that they forget to put characters in. So they end up with a bunch of generic, seemingly dumb, filler characters.

    Then the characters are so dumb, that any attempt to advance the story just look like sad attempts to hold onto the viewers.

    I’ve also seen shows where an actor will seem completely bored and uninspired, because of the lame material they have to work with. Actors that may do well on one show, but not so well on another.