BREAKING BAD “Problem Dog” Review

Breaking Bad “Problem Dog”, Season 4 Episode 7 – Breaking Bad has always had such great cold openings for their episodes. Even this season I’ve frequently mentioned how great these scenes were, but this week with “Problem Dog” I felt like there was somewhat of a misstep. I’m an avid video game player, and I’m not exactly sure how I feel about directly equating playing a video game where you shoot mutants to shooting another human being in real life. Granted, I obviously haven’t shot anybody, but I’ve played hundreds of video games in my life and I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the parallels they were drawing in this scene.

I know this is a minor quibble, as the rest of the episode was just as entertaining as they always are. Walt’s disposal of poor Walt Jr.’s brand new Dodge Charger was great, and was another important step in Walt’s journey to “break bad”. I loved that Walt attempted to do the classic “Walking away from the car while it explodes behind you” move, only for the car to take a bit longer to blow up than he expected.

Meanwhile, things are plunking along on the car wash storyline. This continues to be the weakest storyline of the season, although I suppose it’s important to know how Walt’s money is being laundered. It may not be very entertaining, but it’s necessary. I get the feeling that the writers are aware that this isn’t the stuff we want to see. I know Skyler is generally reviled by most Breaking Bad fans, but that’s not why I dislike this storyline. It just feels like it’s…there for explanation’s sake.

On the other end of the interest spectrum, we finally get a great advancement on the cartel/Gus relationship. We really haven’t seen anything concrete happening here since the shooting in last year’s finale, so it was great to see more progression here. I absolutely adored Giancarlo Esposito’s expression when he finds out that the cartel representative is the only one coming. You see a brief expression of what looks like anger flashing across his face, but then it immediately turns to friendliness as he cordially invites the man to sit down. I think it’s great that somebody else is standing up to Gus. The guy seems untouchable to Walt and Jesse, but now it looks like he has to keep himself safe from enemies on another front. Not to mention, Gus has now got some very incriminating evidence with Hank bringing his findings to the DEA. Looks like Gustavo Fring has some explaining to do.

Ok, that’s enough of all that other stuff, let’s talk about that Narcotics Anonymous meeting, shall we. All I can say is “Holy crap!” Did anybody else rewind to the beginning of Jesse’s “Problem Dog” speech? If not, did you at least get chills? Man, what a well written scene. That’s two awesome speeches in the past two weeks, with Walt last week giving his “I am the one who knocks” speech to Skyler, and this week we get what is probably one of my favorite scenes of the season and possibly the series. These are the kinds of scenes that make this show great. I’m sure we’ll be seeing this replayed next year when Aaron Paul is nominated for his Emmy, and I hope he wins it. Great writing, great direction, great acting, great camera work, just a freaking great show all around.

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

Random Thoughts:

– I didn’t know Rage was going to be a lightgun shooter! On a related note, is anybody else getting sick of these first-person camera angles? We got two more this week, with one on the barrel of Jesse’s lightgun and one on the end of the ventilation hose in the lab. We already had the shovel-cam last week. Enough is enough, Breaking Bad!

– Does that method of blowing up a car actually work? Somebody try that out for me and let me know what you find out.

– Are all Narcotics Anonymous classes held in such depressing rooms? If I’m trying to clean up my life and get sober, do I want to go into some poorly-lit basement and sit in a folding chair?