Just days after his 50th birthday, chemistry teacher Walter White's life of quiet desperation completely transforms when he's diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. To support his pregnant wife and son, he partners with Jesse, a former student, to turn an old RV into a mobile meth lab. But their first attempt at unloading their product takes a deadly turn when Jesse introduces Walt to his unstable business associates. Written by
Bryan Cranston sat in on numerous classroom sessions at Rio Rancho High School to develop his character. See more »
There are several instances where the seasons change from one scene to the next. In particular, Walt walks into his school and there are no leaves on the trees; when he walks out a short time later, the trees are fully green. See more »
Walter H. White:
My name is Walter Hartwell White. I live at 308 Negra Arroyo Lane, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 87104. To all law enforcement entities, this is not an admission of guilt. I am speaking to my family now.
[covers camera momentarily]
Walter H. White:
Skyler, you are the love of my life, I hope you know that. Walter junior, you're my big man. There are... there are going to be some things, things that you'll come to learn about me in the next few days. I just want you to know that, no matter how it may look...
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Suicide is not a solution, but cooking crystal meth is. That's the lesson that Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, learns over the course of Breaking Bad. He's doing this with the help of a former student, Jesse Pinkman, who is a rather dim-witted fellow, but one that has experience in cooking and also selling the stuff the unlikely pair commences to make in this pilot. Added to that are Skyler, Walt's pregnant wife, Walt Jr., Walt's handicapped teenage son, Marie Schrader, Skyler's sister, and her husband Hank, a successful DEA agent. And with a fantastic cast and crew, these are enough ingredients to create a ten-time Emmy-winning show that is additionally the best-rated fiction TV show on IMDb.
The main characters are introduced through a handful of incredibly accurate scenes, with my favorite being the view on Walt as a teacher, in which his passion for the subject is obvious, but his disappointment with his apathetic class is as well. A couple of minutes later, Jesse makes his appearance in one of the best scenes the whole first season has to offer. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have a brilliant screenplay by Vince Gilligan to work with, but they deserve praise on the same level as they portray their characters fantastically well. I could say that for numerous scenes in this pilot, but this particular part is a rememberable gem I'd like to point out. It doesn't take long for feces to hit the fan, and once it does, 'awesome' is the singular word to describe it. The process of cooking crystal meth is staged superbly and also remarkably improved by the great soundtrack choices and the unique way of editing all of that a deserved Emmy for Lynne Willingham.
Other hugely impressive parts about this episode are the cinematography and the set design. The bleak parts of Albuquerque where the series is set are perfectly reflective of Walt's mentality and are captured in such great pictures by the Oscar-winning cinematographer John Toll. There's almost no scene in the 58 minutes of this pilot that doesn't include an amazing point of view by the camera team and the inventive shots impress me every time I decide to watch the episode. And last but not least, actually most importantly, the story and the screenplay are just wonderful. They get even better over the course of the seasons, but this pilot is a terrific start already and gives you an outstanding first look at the interesting characters Mr. Gilligan has invented. I don't quite consider it a 10 yet, as I'm aware of how excellent future episodes of Breaking Bad will be.
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