"Breaking Bad" Season Three, Episode Six: "Sunset" Review

4/27/2010 Posted by Admin

Television Review

"Breaking Bad" Season Three, Episode Six: "Sunset"

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

Out with the old, in with the new. "Sunset" marks a massive change in direction for this season, and this series. As Walt begins a new act in his meth-cooking career, everything we know begins falling apart as new rivalries appear, old relationships disintegrate and Walt's old partnership with Jesse is figuratively and literally demolished. This episode is definitive "Breaking Bad."

Spoilers herein.

After some time without the devilish Mexican duo, they return this week with a vengeance, murdering a cop in the cold open and returning to Gus' chicken establishment to intimidate him into giving up Walt. Gus arranges them to meet him at sunset to mull over the details in their little agreement. We get to that at the end of the episode, so I'll get back to that.

What's important to note here is how much more interesting the twins have become in this episode. For one, we finally get a word or two out of them. Hell hounds they may be, but finally they get a little more personality. And as has been the case since their first appearance, they're best in small doses, and they're only in the episode in the beginning, end, and little bits here and there throughout. I don't know why, they just seem a bit more menacing and well utilized that way.

But onto the main plot of the episode. Hank has finally tracked down Jesse and is just waiting for him to take a misstep and lead him to the cooking RV. Hank recalls Walt's previous association with Jesse and asks him if he was ever aware of an RV or where it would be, and in a panic Walt calls Saul and tries to cool down the situation. Jesse, completely oblivious to the whole situation, begins prepping the RV to start cooking and selling again.

As Walt attempts to deal with Hank, the RV, and his relationship with Walt Jr. as the family faces the forthcoming divorce, he also begins his three month position as Gus' meth manufacturer. As we saw in last week's episode, his new lab is state-of-the-art and very well hidden, but here we meet the best part of this new environment--Walt's new lab assistant Gail, played by David Costabile of "The Wire" and "Flight of the Conchords." His massive differences from Jesse are made immediately apparent--he shares Walt's endless love for chemistry and his equally endless distaste for the politics of the field, and when it comes down to it, he's in it because he sees the magic in science. This is a revelatory moment for Walt. No longer does he have to mingle with petty criminals, ignorant kids and drug lords. As Gail recites "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" by Walt Whitman, he knows this is a new, wholly different world.

Appropriate, then, that the episode should climax the way it does. Walt finally tracks down the RV and plans to have it destroyed in order to remove any evidence of his time as Heisenberg before Hank can get to it, but when Jesse finds out about it he rushes to stop him and unknowingly leads Hank right to the crime scene. What follows is an unbelievably tense stand-off between Hank and Walt and Jesse inside the RV--of course, Hank doesn't realize Walt is there, and as he and Jesse argue over the legalities of a DEA agent breaking and entering in an RV, the suspense is a killer on both Walt and the audience. This is one of those great "Breaking Bad" moments that made the show so entertaining in the first place--maybe one of the first of the season--and they milk every ounce of tension out of it that they possibly can.

It all culminates in a relatively game-changing final few minutes. Hank is forced to leave the scene on an emergency and Walt immediately takes the opportunity to eliminate the RV for good. As the good old meth wagon is dismantled and trashed, an era ends for Walt and for the series, and a new one begins. Elsewhere, the fate of everyone on the show is decided as Gus meets with the twins at sunset. Miraculously, he talks the duo out of their hunt for Walt--but for a price. He instead suggests they go after the true murderer of Tuco, none other than Hank himself. So, as the sun sets on their hunt for Walt and Walt's partnership with Jesse, a new day comes, bringing a relentless hunt for Hank and a fresh, sparkly new set of tools for Walt.

This season has been excellent so far, but it's really relieving to know that halfway through, the writers are completely done stalling and are moving right into the meat of this season's arc. Things don't look good for Hank, just as I expected would be the case, but knowing this show, breaking bad has never done Walt much good either, and I have a feeling Gus is only delaying the inevitable. One can only cause plane crashes and cook meth for so long before what goes around comes around.

Grade: A

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