Breaking Bad

Season 1 Episode 5

Gray Matter

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Feb 24, 2008 on AMC

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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out of 10
431 votes
  • Talking, talking, and even more talking - yet it's actually quite a great episode!

    While being without a doubt the most dialog-focused episode of the season, "Gray Matter" was the one that got me hooked again as I first watched this fantastic series. The premise is the same as it was in "Cancer Man" with Walt and Jesse still going separate ways. The one now gets confronted by his family due to his aversion to cancer treatment plus his continuing strange behavior; the other once again tries to succeed in life on his own after both his parents and Walt have left him alone.

    The pre-credits scene brings a huge novelty for Breaking Bad as we see Jesse suiting up for a job interview that didn't we expect it? doesn't work the way he wanted it too. I always love to listen to this dude talking and so I quite enjoyed this introduction, however, it also brought us Matt Jones' Badger, a junkie similarly as unsuccessful with life as Jesse. I really don't like his character and I'm not at all able to take him seriously since he's just too moronic. Now that wouldn't be too bad if "Gray Matter" were the only episode he's starring in, but unfortunately, he returns for eleven additional episodes in the future. Through that, you can reason that I didn't enjoy the scenes with him on screen that much, although Aaron Paul partially compensated for that with great acting. The real assets of this episode were all the conversation scenes between Walt and Skyler plus sometimes Walt Hank, and Marie. In one outstanding scene of almost 15 minutes, the latter of this list stage an intervention for Walt. Each and every one of them gets the talking pillow (applause to whoever came up with that idea!) and with the number of minutes increasing, you'll find yourself more and more admiring the screenwriting and acting work the cast of Breaking Bad has done with this scene.

    "Gray Matter" had other touching, amusing, or simply entertaining moments too, which made it a generally really good episode for me. It's just that because of the emphasis laying on the conversations, it's not that thrilling anymore if you re-watch it and, as I've already said, Badger ruins it a bit for my taste.

  • Walter has a weird sense of honour.

    Despite featuring brilliant performances from everyone involved, this episode was weak. Walter White prefers to cook meth and ruin people's lives rather than take the money from willing friends who even think that Walter has long back earned that money. Weird sense of honour if you ask me. And I don't get the hate against Skyler. That woman is awesome as far as I'm concerned.
  • Just started watching BREAKING it get any better?

    Ok so I heard I MUST watch this. I Loved WEEDS, (except from seas. 6 on) LOVED Dexter but even then I had to watch 4 to 5 episodes to get sucked in. We watched 4 Episodes of Season 1 BREAKING BAD and not into it yet. Getting a little better, not much. can't get into the characters, think they are dull, and Walter's side kick is stupid and annoying, Walter is dull, cant stand his wife... I want to like this so far I else feel like I do then they loved it ? Curious. Will give Season 1 a go then see if it sucked me in. "The weirdness of "Weeds" sucked me in after episode far not this???? opinions.. email magawags @ yahoo Thanks!!!!!!!!
  • "Wanna cook"

    This was definitely the weakest episode of the season but it did have its good moments The episode was mostly about Walter's decision for treatment and after a long talk he has decided to go ahead with chemotherapy We are also shown how much Jesse is struggling without Walter because of his failure to get a job and failure to cook the perfect crystal Jesse even tries to get a new partner but things get out of hand However the end has put things into place for a good end to the season with the reunion of Walter and Jesse.
  • "Breaking Bad" is stuck in a rut. It should be much further along by this episode.

    "Breaking Bad" is having a hard time catching my attention. I constantly drift off when the writers start letting the characters perform banal, boring and whiney behaviors that do not push the story forward or promote the characters. This show is just not growing legs and walking over the cable system. All the actors do their character by the numbers and nothing new is added to the stable. Every once in a while, Walt seems to break ranks and take the show in a new direction but the next scene or episode shows a no-brain learning curve and no follow through. When will this show catch fire? Next season? They are running out of episodes and the shows have already been written.
  • This episode feels lazy and smacks of a forced plot. Some spoilers are within.

    I've been a big fan of this series so far. I think it's highly intelligent and I feel that it's been brave, in that the show's been delving into areas not normally faced in most television. Certainly, "The Wire" and "Weeds" both deal with drugs, but the focus of "The Wire" is really on how Baltimore itself functions, and "Weeds" is a bit too silly for me. This episode, however, just felt forced. I get Walter's desire to not get Chemotherapy. I'm OK with that. I'm even alright with his eventual decision to go in for the treatment. However, his refusal to accept help of any kind is not explained, especially once he turns around and decides to accept treatment.

    The thing is, if he'd taken the job at Gray Matter, then he would have been able to make damn fine money that he could put away for his family. Even if he didn't go forward with the therapy. And he could have simply said to Gretchen in the last scene, "Any money that you would have spent on me... give it to my wife when I'm gone." Frankly, the problem is exacerbated by his going back to Pinkman after he gets his first treatment. The treatment is going to cost him probably over one hundred thousand dollars, and all that money is coming straight out of what he makes cooking meth.

    I understand that Gilligan has a reason in the plot for why Walter can't accept help, but the reason feels more driven by how Gilligan wants the story to go (ie, he wants Walter in the Winnebago) than by Walter himself. If Gillian and his team want me to accept this and go with them, they have to sell it to me, and unfortunately, it doesn't feel like they've done the job.
  • Walt gets a cancer intervention and Jesse gets back into cooking with an old friend.

    It's inevitable that a show must slow down a bit before kicking into high gear again; after a trio of episodes to begin the show, the previous episode and this one both slow down for a moment to present us different scenarios for both Walt and Jesse. What happens when Walt and Jesse decide to try stepping away from cooking? I feel as if the second Walt approached Jesse about cooking, he stepped over a line that would become nearly impossible to ignore. He's in this game for better or worse.

    For me, this episode had more cliche moments and more scenes that felt pointless than the rest of the season. Here, we have the introduction of some people from Walt's past, when he was a scientist as a career.. they're introduced to us, I believe, to explain a bit of Walt's past, but I never actually found myself needing to know anything about his past. I feel like we know enough about the man to explain who he is, and if anything, his new career as meth-producer sort of defines him now; before he started cooking, he was one man. Now he's another, something he can't ignore.

    The intervention was probably the best part of the episode. It allowed each and every character a moment to not only speak freely about their feelings but it also gave the supporting cast a perfect chance to prove their worth, and while I think that Walt and Jesse are the main focus and the only focus needed in the first season, at least this episode proved that Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, R.J Mitte and everyone else could pull their own weight.

    As for the Jesse/Badger plot, it was interesting at best, but for the most part, I couldn't really understand the purpose. Sure, we see Jesse can't cook without Walt, at least not cook stuff that matters, but the whole "Badger shooting a crossbow at Jesse's truck" thing seemed ridiculous and a little corny.

    Definitely more of a filler episode for the show (is there even such thing as a filler episode for Breaking Bad? Maybe just a "great" episode instead of amazing...) However, the next two episodes are superb.
  • 105

    Not a bad episode of Breaking Bad, just at this point, what we really need is something like the first three episodes of this show, intense drama, dark humor, intriguing character interactions. All that were seeing here is development and that can't hold a show together.

    This episode did have some terrific acting though and I'm impressed with Anna Gunn's acting lately and the intervention was definitely a dramatic scene, and what I've been looking for in this show for a while. So in ways, this episode was satisfying but it's nothing compared to the first couple episodes of this show.

    I hoped to see more Jesse & Walt interactions in this episode but I was sadly disappointed when they didn't even share a scene together, oh well. The end looked promising though, finally this show will get back on track to what this show was in the first place. Two estranged people cooking meth in an RV.

    A slow burning episode with some development, but nothing really that special comparing to other episodes.
  • A Background Check...

    I was fairly impressed by this episode solely based on the fact that they finally got into Walt's past a little. Elliot seems like a jerk and Walt had a history with that woman Gretchen. All in all very eye-opening and especially how he turned down their offer to pay for his cancer treatment even though that would reduce the level of meth that he would ever have to cook. It's almost like he wants to be on the edge, which is what's so great about this and the past episode they are about going back to everyday boring life for Walt and Jesse but Walt has had his eyes open to the drug bizz and wants to go back while Jesse wants to change, such opposites all the time, really good chemistry (hah! I made a pun) Oh and on another note this episode also introduces me to my favorite comic relief character Badger, he is such a moron, but more or less enjoy.
  • Best episode yet

    I thought this was the first episode that really started to build on the main characters of the show. The wife character is really doing an amazing job of being difficult and exhausted and terrified, and Walt continues to do a really fine job acting thru all the conflicts he is dealing with.

    One of the larger problems this show has had it being way too drawn out and inconsistent with the balance of suspense, but the more I watch the show the more it is coming together for me.

    The intervention scene was great. Walt Jr. continues to be amazing on this show.

    Glad to have found another good show thanks to AMC
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