Katie McVay recaps Breaking Bad's midseason premiere

Chicago-based standup comic and writer Katie McVay is here with a recap of Sunday night's midseason premiere of the cult television drama Breaking Bad. Katie co-hosts and co-produces The Two-Hour Comedy Hour on Saturday nights at 7pm at the Gallery Cabaret in Bucktown and can be seen on showcases throughout the city.

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Turns out I don’t remember much of last season, but I also can’t remember if I brushed my teeth this morning, so we barrel onwards.

The show opens with a bunch of skatebros skatebro-ing around and I realize the cast of Brink! is likely is probably living in Poughkeepsie just trying to keep it together and not fall into some boring suburban porn addiction or something. So, like, life is futile.

Walt’s probably thinking a lot of the same thoughts about the futility of existence as he pulls a daylight B&E into his own house. His nom de plume in yellow spray paint mocks what was once a great wood-paneled empire. Nothing says “amazing imperial power” like wood paneling. Hence the famous phrase, “the sun never sets on a British rec room.”

Walt takes one look at the skate bros and apparently it is time to end it, so he pulls that ricin (that I remember!) from behind the outlet. He then leaves and frightens his neighbor, Carol. It isn’t stated overtly but Carol probably fears her plummeting real estate prices. No one wants to be the richest house on the street, but also no one wants to live next to the meth house. You know? Carol’s fucked. That’s all I’m saying.

BOOM. BREAKING BAD. MONTAGE. THEME.

The bald DEA guy creeps out the bathroom having had some sort of toilet revelation. I can’t remember the bald dude’s name. I can’t remember my own dad’s birthday, but I’m way more upset that I don’t know the DEA dude’s name. My dad’s birthday is never going to show up in trivia. No one gives a shit. But, basic knowledge of Breaking Bad will net me 20 bucks at some Lincoln Park bar. Anyway, they’re at a “party” yadda yadda and the DEA guy steals a plaque or something from Walt’s house. The plaque probably says “#1 Meth Dude” or something. A+ detective!

Anyway, Hank (his Prince-loving klepto wife said his name) gets super overwhelmed by his sudden burst of detectiving and James Gandolfinis right into some polo bro’s lawn. The writers of Breaking Bad have gotten really lazy. This whole “panic attack the car into something” is some real Sopranos season one bullshit. I have panic attacks 88% of the time and I haven’t crashed so much as a tricycle. Get it together.

Hank’s on a roll. Suddenly he has become some sort of typographical magician who can spot drug-indictment-related kerning from a mile away. He’s figured out that Walt is a meth kingpin. It only took him four seasons!

Walt and Skyler are considering franchising meth. Skyler is critical. Typical Skyler. Always ruining the fun money laundering party or whatever.

Mystery glasses (she was on last season—is her name Abby? who gives a shit.) does some real good work being “low key” and chats meth in the open while dressed like Audrey Hepburn in a Hitchcock movie. Skyler ruins the trenchcoat fun, however, by being a real Silverado detective and making the 1940s’ detective film vacate her property.

(Sidenote: everyone in the car wash is named Enrique. Straight up, everyone. I consider the possibility that they’ll hire Enrique Inglesias as their version of a Potbelly singer. I realize this is a joke best not made. I WRITE IT DOWN ANYWAY. I FEEL STRONG.)

James Gandolfini, Jr. feels strong too. He puts on his Yale theater school frown for some real old-fashioned crime solving. He flips through some mugshots that include George Takei. Weird easter egg.

They spend the next scene talking about Star Trek. I’m bored. Blah blah. Moose and Python are talking about launching fart pies into space or something. I really need Jesse Pinkman to have a meth-adjacent existential crisis for me to even know I’m watching Breaking Bad. Right now, he doesn’t have any lines. He goes to the lawyer’s office with bags of money and my foot itches, and he’s basically not saying anything. Jesse’s existential crises have been downgraded to just different levels of breathing. I’m not sure he’s even speaking English anymore. Later, he throws some money out of his car window. This is the biggest action he gets. Bitch.

Blah blah. Walt talks at Jesse. Walt has cancer. I don’t even give a shit. This is some middle of the road crap. The Whites have Christmas lights in their house. They are classless.

THE WRITERS ARE SO LAZY. Walt White is going to be “poetically” brought down by the poetry of Walt Whitman. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WHY DON’T YOU JUST HIT ME IN THE HEAD WITH AN ANVIL AND TELL ME THAT THINGS IN LIFE DON’T WORK OUT THE WAY YOU WANTED AND NOW YOUR BRAINS ARE ALL OVER THE PLACE AND THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS?!

I’m hoping Carol shows up again.

I’m bored and not really paying attention at this point, because my foot itches and I can’t tell if it is because there are bed bugs in my house and Chicago is the number one bed bug city in America right now or because I’m scared of all of these things and it is some sort of pyschosomatic reaction. And I can’t help but think that this pyschological drama is more interesting than anything happening on TV.

But then Walt finds Hank doing covert government business from the safety of his fully open garage and suddenly two bald guys are brawling and I think things are going to be OK, but I can’t really tell who is who. One of them has a goatee. One of them has cancer evidently (seems like a low blow to reveal during a melee). Then they breathe one another’s coffee breath into each other’s noses and Walt proves he doesn’t understand how drug indictments work as he—a man with no real political clout but definitely a growing “car wash” business—tells a DEA agent to “tread lightly.”

I’m exhausted. The premiere is over. My foot still itches.

-Katie McVay