"Breaking Bad" Season Three, Episode Seven: "One Minute" Review

5/03/2010 Posted by Admin


"Breaking Bad" Season Three, Episode Seven: "One Minute" Review

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

"One Minute" is some kind of miracle. After last week's "Sunset," one of the best episodes of the season and even series as a whole, who would've thought the follow-up could and would best it in every conceivable way?

Spoilers herein.

The episode starts off with a cold open showing us a scene from the Mexican cousins' past. Playing in the back yard while their uncle watches nearby, one takes the toy soldier of the other and breaks it. Crying to his uncle, he tells him he wishes his brother was dead. The uncle, quietly considering, summons the brother and asks him to get a beer for him out of the cooler to his side. As the child reaches down to get it, his uncle pushes his head down and holds it there. After he stops and the boy coughs and recovers, he tells the two boys that they should never wish death on their family. Family is everything.

We then flashforward to the two sadistic men that those two innocent boys have become, preparing to hunt down and kill Hank for murdering Tuco, their family.

Here we leave the cousins to focus on Hank for most of the episode. The episode picks up right where last week left off, with Hank discovering he was tricked into letting Jesse and Walt escape and destroy the RV. He immediately drives to Jesse's house and, in a fit of rage, attacks him.

The whole season has led to this--with Hank's career and personal life falling apart, it was just a matter of time before he "broke bad," if you will. Turns out it might be a pretty good thing for Hank. After Jesse's taken to the hospital and he threatens to press charges, Hank is forced to re-examine his life. In a touching scene between he and his wife, Hank admits his hunt for Heisenberg and confrontation with Tuco have led him down a bad path. Little does he realize that confrontation may cost him more than just his sanity and his job.

Meanwhile, Walter attempts to deal with the aftermath of the attack on Jesse's end, as he's begged by Skylar to get Jesse to drop the charges and he and Saul deal with threats from Jesse to turn Walt in if he's caught. This gives us two incredibly powerful scenes for Aaron Paul as Jesse--one where he explains his intention to ruin Hank and Walt and another later in the episode where he tells Walt that he's responsible for everything that's gone wrong in his life recently. Again, he, like Hank, doesn't yet realize the true level of pain Walt has caused.

All of this culminates in two big moments at the end of the episode. One where Walt asks Jesse to become his partner again and split Gus' $3 million offer 50/50, and the other showing Hank's confrontation with the cousins. The latter is quite simply one of the most intense and thrilling moments in the entire series--it's reminiscent of the moment in "No Country for Old Men," where Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem's characters finally meet face-to-face and have a violent proverbial chess match through the streets of a small town. The direction in this moment is among the best I've seen on television. And, as is the wont of "Breaking Bad," the climax of the battle leaves us wondering who was the victor and asking for more as it cuts to black.

I never would have expected two of the best episodes in the series would come back-to-back like this, or that Hank's arc would start resolving so early in the season. I suppose "Sunset" marked more of a transition for the show than previously anticipated, as Hank's primary additions to the story may be wrapping up and the peace in Walt's new career may have been quite temporary--it'll be sad to see Gail go, for one, but I suppose it's worth it to see Walt and Jesse back together again.

But like "Sunset" before it, "One Minute" is pure "Breaking Bad" perfection.

Grade: A+

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