Breaking Bad: “Dead Freight”
In celebration of AMC's Hell on Wheels' new season Breaking Bad takes part in a little train robbing in this speical episode.
August 13, 2012 7:24 pmTerry Yates
The cold opening begins with a boy riding around the desert on a dirt bike. He seems to be a magical being as he changes shapes to a larger, perhaps female stunt rider, back to boy sized, then back to slightly larger rider, then back to a boy. Our wizard desert rider scoops up a tarantula, then rides towards the sound of an approaching train.
For an episode so close to the end of a truncated "mini-season" it's pretty straightforward narratively speaking. It dutifully maintains all the arcs set in motion so far, and keeps the general momentum of the season going. There's no new ground broke here tonight, and it makes me wonder if this half-season is actually going to have a finale of sorts or if it's going to build up to some sort of cliffhanger to tie in to next years season.
Realizing that this episode of Breaking Bad was going to mostly deal with a train heist made me a tad nervous at its execution. Of course, it was unwarranted, and by now I should trust the writers, but you never know. Breaking Bad has enough episodes under its belt that it's pretty much a given that most, if not all, the main characters aren't going to die any time soon. So the whole idea of a high pressure train heist kind of loses its impact as it approaches something akin to Burn Notice. Somehow Breaking Bad pulls off this heist and it's impactful and dramatic. So many apologizes for my doubting!
Lydia looks to be in a heap of trouble over the barrel of methylamine with the tracking device on it. Mike's desire to rid the partners of their Lydia problem is at its nadir, but luckily for her Walt planted a bug in Hank's office during a recent visit. After clearing her name, Lydia lets the partners in on a freight train carrying an "ocean" of methylamine, only if Walt promises her safety.
I'm not sure if I'm the only one, but I've absolutely loved the addition of Laura Fraser as Lydia this season. Her manic, anxious presence adds an air of tension and vulnerability to the partnership and also the season as a whole. Keeping this season out of the Dexter/Burn Notice trope-fest that riddles those shows from time to time narratively. At a certain point with the latter you come to realize that the special guest star is going to bite it and we all know for a certain fact that no one in the Michael Westen crew is ever going to come to harm. With the addition of Lydia, you can't help but see a giant, ticking time bomb and it then becomes a matter of when not if with the character.
Back at the White home, an expressionless Skyler attempts to get Walt Jr, now going by his former parent hating moniker "Flynn", to leave the house and return to the Scharder's. Walt somehow convinces "Flynn" to leave. Then Skyler attempts a deal of sorts with Walt: she'll continue laundering the money but only if the kids stay out of the house. It's clear to us that Walt has to be playing along, Skyler has to keep laundering the money, she's an accessory to all this. At some point Walt has to come some sort of conclusion about Skyler's involvement, and if her black void facade dramatics are worth the hassle.
Mere words cannot describe the train heist scene, and to do so would do it no justice. Needless to say, it's some of the better large scene work in the series. Walt's hubris almost gets the better of him in the scene, and it's nice to see the writer's continue to put that affect front and center as the season continues. Our wizard dirt bike rider young boy reappears at the scene of the train heist only to be shot by Landry, much to the chagrin of Jesse.
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING
out of 10