'Breaking Bad': The rise of Jesse
September 19th, 2011
11:07 AM ET

'Breaking Bad': The rise of Jesse

In a season that has often kept the main characters superficially active but substantively static, these last two episodes of “Breaking Bad” brought about significant shifts for all parties. From the calm of the expansive opening shot to the jittery closing shootout sequence, last night’s “Salud” was the most game-changing episode of the season.

First, the Bald Triumvirate descended upon Mexico for an interminably foreboding trip. Though Jesse seemed terrified at their departure, he quickly took control in the lab, belittling the Cartel chemist and cooking up 96 percent pure meth in the process. Cue Gus’ approving glance.

But the viewer knew what Jesse didn’t: this trip was only about revenge. We didn’t know how it would play out, but we knew it would involve that Cartel Patio of Death.

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The Throwback: Joy, joy 'Ren & Stimpy' are 20
September 15th, 2011
01:08 PM ET

The Throwback: Joy, joy 'Ren & Stimpy' are 20

"You EEEDIOT!"

"Happy, happy, joy, joy." "Hwarf." "No sir, I don’t like it." If this all seems like a random assemblage of words, then you’re not a child of Nicktoons (and I greatly pity you). The aforementioned are but a few of the indelible memories “The Ren & Stimpy Show” left singed in the brains of kids who grew up in the '90s, like a red-hot poker of cartoon lunacy sent plunging into our gray matter.

Back in August, the animated show about a neurotic chihuahua and his daft feline sidekick turned 20, sending shockwaves of nostalgia and terror through 20- and 30-somethings. And thanks to Nickelodeon’s recent surge of recycled  nostalgia programming, you can relive the classic series on Nicktoons (yep, we’re so old, the animation block has been given its own network).

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'Breaking Bad': Jesse bugs out
September 12th, 2011
01:03 PM ET

'Breaking Bad': Jesse bugs out

After focusing so much on pulling the threads of the figurative (chemistry teacher) sweater to reveal what was underneath, the past few weeks on "Breaking Bad" have been violent.

That’s not to say last night was light on the storytelling. For one, we finally found out the cartel’s question: Will you give us your meth recipe? Before deciding to give them the math behind the meth, though, Gus made a grand spectacle in the middle of a firefight to prove he was no folding coward.

With the reckless abandon of season 1-era Walter White, Gus walked straight into the cartel’s sniper fire. In the face of such badassery, the gunman flashed a respectful smirk and disengaged, natch. Though Gus was unscathed physically, his pride surely took a hit when he decided it was time to share that secret Pollos Hermanos recipe.

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'Breaking Bad': Every life comes with a death sentence
September 5th, 2011
11:38 AM ET

'Breaking Bad': Every life comes with a death sentence

Like a family sized bucket from Los Pollos Hermanos, there was lots to digest in the latest episode of “Breaking Bad.”

Flashbacks, the reappearance of cancer talk, the return of Jesse’s girlfriend and her adorable son, and some incredibly tense scenes were just some of the meaty bits served up.

After the open, we were presented with the now uncommon sight of Walter White wearing a hospital gown.

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'Breaking Bad': Walt shows his Heisenberg side
August 22nd, 2011
12:53 PM ET

'Breaking Bad': Walt shows his Heisenberg side

This week on “Breaking Bad,” or “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Walter White,” we watched a protagonist (can we even call Walt that anymore?) who didn’t have a single redeeming moment.

The episode picked up the day after the tense family dinner which ended last week’s episode. After Walt woke up in his clothes and in a browned-out haze, Skyler peppered him with questions and concerns about Gale’s murder and Walt’s safety and his drunken goading of Hank and maybe they should go to the cops and...you get the idea.

Walt calmly deflected the barrage, but once Skyler insisted he was scared and in over his head, the dude could no longer abide. Because, as we know, Walt can’t just shut up when his cojones are called into question. So, for the first time, Walt showed Skyler his Heisenberg side.

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'Breaking Bad': The hero complex
August 15th, 2011
12:35 PM ET

'Breaking Bad': The hero complex

Sunday’s episode of “Breaking Bad” placed three central characters on the circuitous path to becoming a hero as the show examined the very definition of the word.

And by the time the episode ended, each of those characters ended up in a much different position, whether or not they themselves even realized it.

In one of the series’ best opening sequences (and they’ve had some outstanding ones), Walt was maniacally making his way to Gus’ office to stop what he (and everyone) thought was Jesse’s imminent death. For those brief minutes, it was the Walt of yore: that selfless and unhinged man who gladly faced danger in order to save those he cared about.

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