Breaking Bad

Season 2 Episode 12

Phoenix

12
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 24, 2009 on AMC
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (11)

9.2
out of 10
Average
388 votes
  • The last scene saved the episode

    7.0
    the rest was just boring.

    The story with the girlfriend nevrer really got me. One day they they have casual sex on the floor, the next they're madly in love and Jesse lets her handle the whole money situation. That did not convince me.

    The last scene was pretty intense, I liked it. It kinda solved this silly situation with one very good moment.
  • Momentarily Outstanding, But Not Perfect as a Whole

    8.5
    Season two's penultimate episode doesn't feel as if we were coming to an intense season finale, but nevertheless includes scenes of great importance. Firstly, Walt's and Skyler's second kid Holly is finally born. After the tumultuous ending of "Mandala", "Phoenix" takes it a bit calmer and includes some lovely scenes between Walt and his daughter. The fact that Skyler's boss Ted was present at the birth and her actual husband Walt wasn't, is an interesting idea already and the 'introduction shot' of Ted was made very well too.



    Yet the bigger aspect of this episode is a new problem that Walt faces: through his incredible deal in "Mandala", he made him and his family rich, but can't tell them because the deal's methods were a bit disgraceful, to say the least. The growing suspicion of his family about Walt so decisively objecting to any form of subsidies is another really well-made part of "Phoenix". In one rememberable scene, he shows the tremendous money stash to his infantile daughter, which makes her fall asleep. Walt's new lawyer Saul also gets a word into that dilemma and comes up with an ingenious solution again in his "I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy" technique.



    However, the plot part that you will surely not forget about "Phoenix" is neither of those two but what happens to Jesse and Jane in this episode. I'm not spoiling it for you, but it's indubitably the most intense moment up to that point on Breaking Bad. Bryan Cranston, who is also involved in this unforgettable scene, does a phenomenal acting job in that particular scene, it is crystal clear (no pun intended) why this man has won three Emmys for this role. What happened previous to that excellent closing scene is not nearly as good, but I at least appreciate the writer's idea of how to let this story come to an end. It's just that the screenplay gives the involved actors some cheesy lines and admittedly, Aaron Paul and Krysten Ritter don't seem to have had their best of days whilst shooting this episode. Anyway, there's still the aforementioned stand-out scene and before that, a great conversation between two characters you wouldn't have expected to meet up for a talk.



    I consider "Phoenix" to be one of season two's best episodes, yet it still isn't perfect and a tad unentertaining at times.
  • Damn..

    9.5
    The end was really sad..
  • Greatest TV show ever?

    10
    (small spoilers ahead, vague references to season 5)



    A fantastic episode.



    For me, Walt's actions stopped being justifiable ever since he didn't accept they Grey Matter money. He decided to put his family's life in danger, and ruin the lives of others by cooking meth, instead of losing face and accepting the money. Did he do this for his family? Absolutely not. He did it for himself. You can't fully hate Walt even though you really should that early on, because I still empathise with him, even though I rationally know I shouldn't.



    In this episode, we think we see how Walt is still fundamentally a good person, despite the horrible things he has done. He clearly deeply cares about Jesse; this is where their dynamic gets really interesting. But there's a real sense of cognitive dissonance; I still liked Walt at this point, but at the same time he's being a terrible father for his son (the alcohol, the website), and he is clearly putting his pride before his family. When I watched this for the first time, I was trying to figure out what exactly to make of Walt.



    Then BOOM. He does that. Absolutely shocking. A fantastic plot development. At this point, we have every reason to hate Walt. He has pretty much murdered Jane after all. And yet, SOMEHOW, I still didn't hate Walt at this point. His actions were understandable in their own fucked up way. That is the genius of Breaking Bad and Vince Gilligan. We, as an audience, are so used to rooting for the protagonist that we don't know what to think when he's clearly becoming the antagonist. In retrospect, I was performing mental gymnastics to still like Walt at all now. And Vince Gilligan is a genius for making me do so.



    But now that we're at season 5, I have no idea how anyone can still be managing to abandon all forms of rationality and perform the mental escapology required to still root for Walt, and in turn hate the clear victims of the show, namely Skyler. Breaking Bad fantastically transformed 'Mr Chipps into Scarface', and managed to keep us supporting Walt for longer than we know we should. This episode is a fantastic example of that. But, as of the end of season 5, the transformation is complete. I have no idea how anyone can still root for him.



    Anyway, sorry for going off track a little. I just love this show and think that this is such an important point in the development of Walt's character.
  • Walter White sinks even lower. (spoilers)

    9.5
    So he cries afterward, does that make it any less evil? In a way it makes it worse. He knows better. He knows how bad the thing is that he does. But he does not let that hold him back. Because ultimately, Walter White is the kind of guy that can inadvertently trigger a young woman's death by asphyxiation - then see it as an opportunity and just stand by and watch her die. It's his fault she choked because she was on her side but he flipped her on her back. He clearly knows all about the dangers of this as shown in the earlier baby scene where he and his sister in law discussed propping the Whites' baby on her side to make sure she wouldn't choke if she spit up in her sleep. This latest deed of Walter was chilling. So cold. And at the end of the day, I doubt it will make Walter any less proud of his 'success'. As the scene in Saul's office revealed, Walt feels he 'earned' that money and he resents that he can't crow to the world about it. Later, he shows the hidden cash to his newborn baby and cooed "see what your daddy did for you"? He might as well now show her Jane's lifeless vomit plastered face. That's what your Daddy did for you. Actually - no. That's what he did for Walter. That's who it's all for now. And the evil Walter gets stronger and the good Walt fades further into oblivion.
  • Penultimate episode.

    7.5
    People will criticize what Walter did, but would you save somebody who is going to cost you $480,000 and will probably just die anyway, and kill Jesse as well do to their heroin addiction?

    Walter has learned a lot about himself over the past few episodes and we know that he is in this drug business for the long haul and that means he may get his hands a little bit dirty.

    I just hope this does not ruin the Jesse and Walt relationship as that is one of my favorite parts of the show. Their chemistry is among the best on cable.
  • Wow, this ep was average, until the wicked ending, CONTAINS SPOILERS.

    10
    I cant believe he just let Jane die, I mean I am sure he could have saved her, he even let out a tear if you saw, he wasnt happy with what had happened.

    This leaves a very exciting future to the show. Now Jesse is either going to be really really (really) angry at Walt if he finds out that Walt was there.

    The other thing is Walt can leave and make sure Jesse doesnt find out.

    Now, Jesse is going to be all depressed when he finds out Jane dies once he "wakes up". Hes either going to understand how bad drugs are, unlikely for him in my opinion, or turn into druggie (well more so than he is now). But after Janes Fathers speech in the other ep, Walt should be able to help Jesse through.

    I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the next ep.

    CANNOT WAIT! This is why Breaking Bad is such a good show.
  • phoenix

    10
    Wow, a perfect episode of Breaking Bad, I'm guessing the season finale will be just as good, hell, I'm surprised this wasn't the finale, considering this cliffhanger could hold me over for a few months before it returned.

    I'm just astonished at how good this show is. This has been a superb season, and with this episode, it shows. Walt & Jesse have been partners since season one, when Walter finally gets the 1.2 million after last week's cliffhanger, we get to see Walt actually care for Jesse. Something we also saw in "4 Days Out" but it was heavily portrayed here.

    From Walt trying to get Jesse clean to him considering him as family, it was just absolutely fantastic. Lets just hope this bond between them doesn't die out, considering their interactions are one of the best things about this show like someone else said on here.

    Walt gets the money but keeps it from Jesse until he gets clean. He can't spend the money without coming up with something, like where he got it. Things get worse when his Walt Jr. creates a website asking for charity. He seeks help from Saul, meanwhile Skyler gives birth successfully.

    Jane is completely crazy, and I'm glad she contributed to the story line arc like she did here, it's good she just wasn't any other one of Jesse's hook ups, she actually developed. Jesse & Jane's heroin addiction spirals out of control as Jane threatens Walt for the money. They end up getting it, but at what price?

    The final scene was one of the most intense scenes I have seen in a while, and it just makes me wonder how great the finale will be. Walt turning Jane over, she pukes, and chokes, and Walt just lets her die. What a cliffhanger, wow. Amazing perfect episode, that owned up to it's last cliffhanger, and it was just amazing. Can't wait for the finale.
  • Flight of the Phoenix!

    10
    As Walt made the deal on time and has missed his daughter's birth he withholds Jesse's cut from him altogether because he was on drugs when he needed his help. Walt agrees to give Jesse his money only after Jesse enters a program to handle his problems. And Jane's dad discovers her relationship with Jesse and her relapse into narcotics he freaks and says that she has one day until she has to go to rehab or else the police will become involved. Walt, having previously learned that there is an expensive operation that can remove most of the cancer out of his lungs can be done with his new found remission, Walter Jr./Flynn creates a webpage to raise money for his father's operation and Walt feels that charity is unneeded. Walt confronts Saul about getting his vast amount of money into his operation without suspicion Saul says that there is a cyber hacker that can make it look like the money Walt is putting into his own pockets is being downloaded from around the country. Jane thinks that Jesse deserves his cut of the drug money and threatens to expose Walt's secret to the world if he doesn't hand over Jesse's cut immediately. After Walt does so Jane and Jesse get their money happily they cook and celebrate with a round of heroine. Walt meets Donald, unaware of his identity in a bar and the two discuss wayward offspring and Walt decides to help Jesse. As he reenters the duplex from the whole he made the last time he walks in just as Jane is overdosing on drugs and Jesse remains fine. Walt then exits the building, leaving Jane to die for Jesse's better good. This is the reason I watch this show, the moral questions, the excitement, the inner conflict, and above all the characters, Bryan Cranston please win another Emmy, you've earned it in my book :)
  • The very reason I watch this series. Drama and tragedy all bunched into one hour-long episode.

    9.0
    This may very well be the best episode of Season Two. Need I say more?

    What really caught me attention in this episode was how Jane's affection toward Jesse was clouding his judgement and contact with Walt. Aside from that, it was also affecting Jane as well, her connection with her father was also being cut off.

    The other thing that also caught my attention was that Jesse practically had no say whatsoever in this episode; he could not stand up for himself and tell Jane what he felt would be right or wrong. This had both a positive and negative feeling in my mind, the fact that Jesse (who is one of my favorite characters) had no voice whatsoever in this episode and was completely being repressed by Jane and her troublesome ways wasn't interesting for me because I wanted him to speak up and say something, however, at the same time, it kept me wondering, "What will happen? Will Walt break in and stop the trouble that Jesse has gotten himself into? Or will another new character come in and help him?" In spite of all that, tragedy struck in the end, and I couldn't help but tear up a little. I am not sure if we are allowed spoilers in our review, so I'll just keep this short and sweet. For any Breaking Bad fans that missed this awesome episode, definitely record it for a later time viewing. It is a definite favorite for all fans.
  • Another great installment leading up to the Season 2 Finale next week.

    8.5
    You know, at times, I often wonder if there will ever be an episode of this show that isn't great. This episode just follows the trend with huge developments in the White household and also with Jesse and Walt's relationship.

    The episode starts out with Walt closing a huge deal worth 1.2 million dollars, but, in doing so, he missed the birth of his daughter. Walt is infuriated with Jesse over Jesse's new addiction to heroin and due to the fact that had Jesse been sober on the day when the 1.2 million deal went down, Walt would have been there for his daughter's birth. This being the case, despite Jesse's presence on the phone and in person, Walt refuses to give Jesse half of the money until Jesse gets clean. Jesse remains addicted to heroin, as does his relapsed girlfriend Jane, who, by the end of the episode, blackmails Walt to give Jesse his half of the money. Walt does show up with Jesse's money, but (major spoiler alert) after he delivers it and returns to help Jesse with his new addiction to heroin, finds him in bed with Jane and eventually watches Jane die from choking on her own vomit. All in all, a very pivotal episode. I'm kind of split on my opinion of Jane's death. My biggest qualm with her was that I've always loved the Walt-Jesse relationship and she has definitely made a dent in that with her presence in the show. This was a great episode to lead us into next week's Season 2 Finale - it was revealing, pivotal and, again, another great installment in this brilliant series.
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