Most of the time, when I comment that an episode of a series or a film felt way longer than it really is, I do not mean it as a compliment. However, in the case of Breaking Bad's "Problem Dog", this serves as a tremendous asset as the series has just got great again and this episode gives you tons of scenes to relish.
Commencing with a wonderful scene of Jesse aggressively playing first-person shooters intercut with visions of dead Gale, "Problem Dog" gives you the first hint that this will be Aaron Paul's episode. Paul, who has been in the background of either Bryan Cranston or Giancarlo Esposito for most of the series, gets various opportunities to shine this time around and got to a new apex in terms of acting quality. With that, I don't necessarily mean his admittedly impressive monologue while visiting (not attending) his former twelve-step program, but more the paramountly portrayed inner fluctuation as he stands between Gus and Walt.
Cue Walt, who uses his screen time to burn a brand-new car most people would have to work all their life to pay for and then charges his lawyer Saul with disguising that this happened, for which he receives a bill most people would have to work a whole year to pay for. While Bryan Cranston did well in the scenes he was in, he was far from being this episode's center due to Giancarlo Esposito and Dean Norris showing off their prowess as well. The latter of these two is currently becoming essential to the plot again and created a great cliffhanger with his revelations just the way he did two episodes before "Problem Dog".
There'd be so much more to list on why this episode is one of Breaking Bad's best thus far, but frankly, I'd enjoy it much more to watch it again than writing an overly long review about it.
Hooray for the show actually acknowledging its past! We saw Hank go talk to his old buddies and give his ideas about the drug situation in the Southwest US. It seems like Breaking Bad became a different show from Season 3 onward, so it is good to see them go back to their roots to give the supporting castmember a purpose for still being there.
A decent performance by Aaron Paul for his role tonight, same for Bryan Cranston, but both have done better on this show. This is not quite Emmy-worthy, to be more clear.
I thought today's episode was good, on par with the past few weeks though. I want a little bit more, but this was a solid 43 minutes.
Last week I said I wanted to see more plot progression, which everyone took to mean that I thought the show is lacking action or moving too slowly. I re-itterate that my complaints weren't about action, they were entirely about plot progression. Walt's split personality was just about the only thing progressing (main story wise), which was completely different to the previous seasons. Breaking Bad might run at its own pacing, but in past seasons it always advanced the main story almost every week.
And now I'm proud to say that's back. This episode saw the most overarching plot progression so far this year, and it was fantastic. We got to see Walt finally getting his crap together to think up a plan to get rid of Gus, we see some of the most amazing Jesse scenes ever (and some insane acting from him), and then we are given some serious Hank progression -- not just personal progression, but case progression, as he draws closer and closer to finding Walt.
To top it all off, the entire episode was shot, acted, and scripted to near-perfection. Beautiful to behold.
Now we start to see it all taking shape, and the final episode starts to become clear. We're about to see an all out war between the Cartel and Gus, with Jesse stuck in the middle, and Walt being the thing that the Cartel no doubt wants to get their hands on most of all. Hank will surely follow the trail smack into the warzone, right at the last minute, as Jesse and Walt fight for their lives. I predict Gus being arrested and Walt narrowly escaping justice, ready to re-build and become the boss next season.
Oh heck yeah, now this is what I am talking about. A "Breaking Bad" episode that caught my attention from beginning to end with no slow or boring parts. Okay, the few minutes with Hank and the DEA agents was a bit boring but it wasn't extremely boring. In fact, that last few minutes of the episode was very interesting. Although, the ending could have just a bit better. Oh well, this episode didn't have any slow or boring parts in my opinion. Definitely one of the best Season 4 episodes that I have ever seen. The storyline was perfect just the way it was and awesome. Hank and Walter going to the Los Pollos Hermano Restuarant (I don't know if I got the restaurant name right)was very interesting and had a smooth touch. Walter exploding his own car was very cool and just awesome. Skyler still continues to bore me but it's easy to ignore that character though. Of course, the Jesse/Mike scenes never fail to disappoint me. Jesse going into rehab and crying was very interesting and most certainly caught my attention. I loved it when Jesse told the group how he was selling Meth to those people and he feels guilt. Overall, this is definitely one of the best Season 4 episodes that I have ever seen and I definitely recommend it to the "Breaking Bad" fans. 10/10
Problem Dog was a perfect episode of Breaking Bad and I really enjoyed watching this episode because it pushed the envelope of the series. Multiple scenarios are brewing right under Gus and we're not sure if he is aware of them or not which adds to the excitement. I liked the scene where Walt was burning rubber in a vacant lot before returning the Mustang and then he sort of wrecked it, which it seems would definitely happen to the ordinary man doing this. Walt's solution was crazy but freeing for him I believe. I like how he handled Saul and Skyler. Gus seems to be in for more than he is prepared. I wonder what the Cartel wants. Jesse continues to amaze me and he is one of the best characters of television. I look forward to watching the next episode of Breaking Bad!!!!!!!!!
what i liked- Walter blowing up the car, Walter Jr. and Hank at the Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant, Jesse in rehab and crying, and admitting he was selling meth to people there, Walter going through everything that him and Jesse have been through (surely he would know how difficult that must have been for Jesse?), amongst other things.
great episode, like usual. it didn't really drag nor get boring. the ending was kind of a rehash of an earlier ending this season, only instead of just hank, it was him and two agents for the DEA. but it was still good. the trailer for next week's looks amazing. I wonder if Jesse will actually go through with killing Gus? Either way i can't wait to see what happens next week!
Skyler and Walt break in the new car wash and she manages to talk the dealership owner to take Jr's car back for a fee. Instead Walt takes it for a joyride, blows it up and pays a bigger fine. Jesse, after being approached by Walt agrees to kill Gus the first moment he gets a chance to. Walt cooks up some more beans in the lab in a stab of irony since it belongs to Gus. Jesse gets on protection detail when Gus has a meeting with the cartel leader who has been raiding his trucks. Gus offers a one time 50 million dollar payoff for a total severance but the man won't be moved so easily. Jesse gets a few chances but takes none of them and he gets to carry a gun too. This mostly serves as a fork in the road for Jesse's loyalty as he is tested by both sides in his ultimate allegiance which will probably happen. He goes to rehab again and gives the leader's accepting yourself speech a run for its money and Aaron Paul gives a noteworthy performance in this episode when he finally says that all he wanted to do was sell them drugs and how being a killer is eating him alive and he doesn't know who he is anymore. Hank does more legwork in his Pollos Hermanos investigation and gets Gus's fingerprints and makes his case pitch to Gomez and his boss and reveals a frightening tale with a bit of evidence that will put Gus right into the DEA's line of sight. Great episode, good to see how Gale's death affects Jesse particularly in the beginning of the episode with the video game. All around great stuff another cliffhanger ending and more cartel war and great drama. With just over the half way mark in the season the clock is ticking and the ultimate build that has been going on since the beginning will give us an explosion of truly epic proportions. Maybe even some literal explosions too.
I have a question for those who think this season of Breaking Bad is suffering for the so-colled slow-pace syndrome: Do you realize that EVERYTHING can just blow off at any minute?!
And by everything, I REALLY mean everything:
Walter (and Heisemberg too) is constantly being supervised by Gus and his ego isn't helping him, making him take some bad decisions (that happens to all of us, after all he is a human being, this is not True Blood), which means that if he does something a little bit more extreme, BOOM!
Jesse is having some serious identity issues, not knowing which step, which decision will be the right one for him to make, which means that if he makes a bad move, BOOM!
Skyler is beginning to know that the meth world is too big and too dangerous for her to handle and for her loved ones, which means that if she doesn't have what it takes to manage the situation, BOOM!
Gus (this episode was all about him being in danger too) has the Cartel, Walt, and now Hank after him, which means that if he is not careful enough, TRIPLE BOOM!
I mean, how many shows can put their characters in such situations at mid-season time, while managing to keep the story coherent and incredibly intense?!
A couple of things before I'm done:
-Every director working at the show should get an emmy, their work is just flawless.
-Aaron Paul's permormance in this episode was just fantastic, his speech at the near-end of the episode was absolutely incredible, television has so many great actors, and he is one of the best.
-How many show's can make a season's best episode (so far) where the main character only appears for ten minutes or so?
Breaking Bad is not a slow-paced show, you just have to "read between the lines", and pay attention to the situations in which the characters are, and then, you will find the most intense show on TV. Breaking Bad is the best show on television right now, a television masterpiece, and those who think it's slow, please, think again.
PS: I´m portuguese, so sorry for the eventual spelling or grammar mistakes. See you soon!
The pressure is still on everyone. Walter has the threat of being murdered by his boss. Gus is caught between the cartel and (perhaps unknown to him) the DEA. Skyler has her work cut out getting the money laundered while keeping her family beyond suspicion. Jesse's loyalties are divided. Hank still has a score to settle with Heisenberg.
These problems have all been held over from the previous episode, restated without much development. This story feels like a placeholder, except for a couple spots of slight forward momentum.
One such spot is Walter plotting with Jesse to kill Gus. There is now a tiny poison pill in Jesse's cigarette pack; this is Chekhov's gun in Act I, and we'll see it used eventually, just not now. And we can't be sure on whom. Jesse did have the opportunity to kill Gus, and let it slide. And how seriously can we take Walt & Jesse's plot, anyway? What happens once Gus is gone? Like Satan, it's unlikely that Walter has a plan once the order is overthrown. For this reason, I can't seriously consider that this plot of theirs will come to fruition.
Another development is Gus's falling stock with the cartel. He anticipates a high-level meeting, only to find that a single, low-level operative shows up to deliver an ultimatum, with no negotiation. It can be assumed that both sides know that Gus and the cartel are now in open conflict, no matter what was said in the meeting. Gus is not respected, and he can't possibly find that tolerable. Worse, Gus's talent for motivation -- making someone believe that doing his bidding is the best possible outcome by telling them exactly what they want to hear-- has been rendered useless in this circumstance.
On the other side, Hank does his homework and legwork, and definitively links Gale Boetticher to Gustavo Fring. Again, just a nudge forward. But there are two interesting aspects. Hank reveals his evidence to Gomie and the DEA chief ... and I still think one, or both, of them knew about The Cousins' assassination attempt last season; at least one of them is crooked. And Hank keeps chirping about how his recovery is due to "clean living and vitamin pills" ... I'll make a prediction here that "vitamin pills" means painkillers, and Hank is an addict.
Jesse is stuck in his guilt over murdering Gale, and, like a guilty man, wonders aloud why nothing has happened to him for his crime. With the threat of being murdered by Gus evaporating (it seems), the lack of retribution on Jesse has thrown him into a moral tailspin (just slightly different from his fatalistic tailspin when he thought he'd be bumped off). Like his filthy living room, Jesse is whitewashing his guilty past.
Oh, and he has a gun now, sometimes, for real. The gunslinger life that appeals to him in his video games and simultaneously plagues him with guilt in his real life is becoming a reality.
The performances this week were high-calibre as always, especially Aaron Paul's. Still beautifully shot, still smartly scripted. But after weeks of having the story inch forward, this quarter-inch of progress is just slightly frustrating. I know, I know, we'll get those inches back soon, and that'll be a perfect-10 episode. But that upcoming high point comes at the expense of this episode, which justrounds up to an 8.
Yes, we got to see an explosion tonight. But there were explosions of many types in tonight's episode.
Once again Walt shows that he ain't a nice guy anymore. Casually calling that cab while the brand new dodge explodes? AND THEN dismissing the $50,000 in fines that doesn't even include the cost of the car as if it were a $15 parking ticket. AND THEN, trying to order a hitman for Gus! Really Walt you're becoming a bad @$$ faster than Tony Montana. That was like in less than half a day.
Walt then turns manipulative and tries to get Jesse to do his dirty work once again. The rift between Walt and Jesse becoming more and more apparent by the end of this episode. Jesse lies again to Walt. Yet before this, Jesse is apt to please Walt with killing Gus - saying he'll do it, no problem just like he killed Gale for Walt. Doing what Walt says even though he has Jesse breaking even rule and code in the book has gotten to him. Think back to when Jesse was "badder" than Walt. It's been a while since then, and Walt has clearly broken badder than Jesse will ever be able to handle. Walt has been abusing Jesse's loyalty. Well, this new job is a big problem for Jesse, as he's still emotionally unstable. He's not as bad as Walt, he's still guilty about Gale. Jesse still tries and actually has several chances - it's the complete opposite of Walt - yet Gus somehow predicts that Jesse will not double-cross him.
How good was Aaron Paul in this episode? That break-down at the counseling center had me on the verge of tears myself. This episode was very Jesse-centric focusing on the fact that Jesse is in this awkward position between choosing sides, choosing who to trust and who to be loyal too. I don't really want to use this analogy but they really play up Jesse as a dog in this episode. He's not a problem dog, but a loyal one - one that will do what you tell him to do and will stick by you provided he is given emotional security.
Hank provided another mind-explosion at the end of the episode. First off all, his apparent recovery is mind-boggling, but really who cares. It was all about that 5 minute speech of serious investigation, all ending with Hank pointing his finger at Gus.
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