Top 10 Episodes #1
Season 3 – Episode 12 – ‘Half Measures’
When Mike the Cleaner delivers his big speech to Walter about doing away with “half measures,” it’s clear what he means. ‘Half Measures’ is the perfect reminder of why Breaking Bad is the best show on television. This specific scene was compelling enough to best most of the feature films released last year. The scene helped flesh out Mike’s character further and give us some understanding of why such a likeable character, who clearly has his head on his shoulders, does what he does. Mike is perhaps the one man in the entire show who hasn’t had one major misstep. He’s cool, calm, collected, smart, careful and and is bound to play a bigger role in season four. However that isn’t the only reason this specific scene was so crucial to the show. The conversation also acts as the trigger that will forever change Walt, and finally give the show the change it needs.
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Walt claims he’s not a bad guy. Yet since the start of Season 2, he’s lied, manipulated, murdered and walked over everyone – all for his own selfish reasons. For two seasons we’ve witnessed Walt wrestle with his morals. At this very moment in the previous season, Walter was watching as Jane choked to death. By not acting, he wound up hurting everyone around him. Walt is like the black plague. No matter what he does (or doesn’t do), and no matter who stands in his way, he’ll end up fucking everyone over.
It’s ironic how at the start of the season, Jesse accepts that he’s the bad guy, as if he had realized what his role in life was – but it’s not really the case. He’s the moral one, he just doesn’t know who he is yet. Let’s face it, the entire series has revolved around bad decisions made by Walt. Jesse, although still responsible for all his actions, as actually been worse off since Walt stepped into his life. This specific episode begins with Jesse planning on murdering two men, but we all know that Jesse isn’t a cold-blooded killer. Right? Well, sort of. Why is it that Jesse decides on poison as the murder weapon? The answer is simple. We all know he couldn’t actually kill a man in cold blood, not unless he was pushed to the very edge, or unless it was in self-defence. So what does he do? He has his hooker friend Windy do the dirty work for him.
Without this episode, Season 4 might well find itself replaying the previous three seasons in continuing to build those character arcs to where it needs to be, in order to hold on to our interests. Without this episode, the season’s final shot would have seemed uncharacteristic of Jesse and forced. This episode basically confirms, more or less unequivocally, that Jesse is the good, and Walt is the bad. If I had to place a bet on how the series will eventually end, I would put my cards on Jesse saving the day from yet another Walt fuck up. When this series ends, I guarantee you, Jesse will still be alive, but I can’t say the same for Walter Sr.
From the cold opening arresting montage, showing Wendy the prostitute turning tricks at the Crossroads Motel, set to the Association’s catchy pop hit “Windy” – to the final minute, chock-full of suspense and a shocking surprise, ‘Half Measures’ is without doubt a game changing episode. There are few shows that can deliver such jaw-dropping moments as seen in the final minutes of this episode, but more importantly, these moments don’t simply add shock value but also advance the plot even further. Episode 12 of season three is what took Breaking Bad from the second spot of my favourite TV shows to the first.
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