BREAKING BAD “Open House” Review

BREAKING BAD “Open House” Season 4 Episode 3 – Having been out of town last week, I unfortunately missed the airing of “The Thirty-Eight Snub”, but thankfully my fellow writer Ciara was able to fill in for me. Having viewed the episode right before watching tonight’s installment “Open House”, I feel like both of these episodes really work best when seen back-to-back. Last week’s episode was rather slow moving and got a few pieces into place, whereas this episode seemed to advance those pieces and actually get this season’s story moving.

I want to get one thing out of the way before I get to my critiques, and that is this: I am of the firm belief that this is the best show on TV right now, and one of the best TV shows ever produced. So when I go through the parts of this episode or this season that are disappointing to me, just know that it’s because it’s my job as a critic and doesn’t reflect on my overall thoughts on the show. It’s like looking at the Mona Lisa and saying “Her nose could have been painted better”. This show is a work of art, and even its flaws are doing so little to actually bring down the overall quality.

With that being said, let’s go through the things of this episode that I really liked. The first thing is the Marie storyline, as we finally get some follow-up to her kleptomania and compulsive lying that we saw in the first season. It seems that she is using this as a coping mechanism to Hank’s verbal abuse and overall grouchiness, and I love that the writers found such a believable way to show Marie’s pain.

Speaking of coping, I loved, loved, loved Jesse in this episode. I feel like his downward spiral could have felt a little too on-the-nose on lesser shows, but it was handled so well here. His need for human interaction is evident, as he even stooped so low to invite party pooper Walter to go-karting. I think that the state of Jesse’s house is being used as a great reflection of his inner turmoil, and it really helps show how Jesse is feeling inside: Chaotic, messy, angry, and self-destructive.

The storyline I didn’t like as much this episode, unfortunately, was the main one: Walt and Skyler buying Walt’s old car wash. I understand that this show has always been about the “slow burn”, and not showing too much in every episode, but there was SO MUCH screen time dedicated to the purchase of this car wash, that I really hope it pays off throughout the season. We had to wait over a year, and with only 13 episodes, I can’t help but feel a little impatient when the longest scene in the episode is given to Walt, Skyler, and Saul discussing how they’re going to buy a car wash.

My biggest complaint with the pilot episode was that I didn’t know what direction this season is going to go in, and that I didn’t know what the hook or conflict was. Well, now it looks like Mr. Grumpy-pants himself, Hank, is going to be hot on Walter’s tail as he gets a copy of the lab notes! I don’t know how much Hank will be able to do from bed, but it looks like we’re heading slowly but surely to the revelation that everybody wants to see: Hank finding out Walter’s secret. I hope the ball gets rolling on this as soon as possible, as I’m getting pretty sick of the good-natured Hank being so mopey and negative all the time. We’ll see what happens next week!

Random Thoughts:

– We got another shot of Bryan Cranston in whitey-tighties this episode! The amount of time that this man spends in his underwear on this show has become somewhat of an inside joke with the cast and crew, so it always cracks me up when these shots make it into the show.

Breaking Bad has always done a great job at recruiting interesting guest stars, and this episode was no different. Bill Burr, a hilarious comedian if you’ve got some time to look him up on YouTube, played the “EPA Agent” that Skyler used to help buy the car wash.

– When are we going to see more of Walt Jr.?

What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments section below!