I’ve been crowing panegyrics for Breaking bad since its debut, so I’ll understand if my unrelenting praise is getting tedious. But seriously — no exaggeration — it is the best show on television.
My lower middle class roots have predisposed me to get inordinately invested in such unlikely plot developments as Making One’s Fortune By Selling Exceptionally Pure Crystal Meth. But at the same time, my liberal arts education has also inclined me to appreciate somewhat more mundane conflicts, like the increasingly elaborate fictions Walter White has to sell to his increasingly unsympathetic wife. The highlight of last night’s installment, however, had to be Jesse Pinkman’s extended game of peekaboo with his tragically wily customers’ near-autistic child. The episode’s editor graciously intercut between Pinkman’s disastrous performance of hardness and the palpable discomfort of Walt’s flimsy lies, but nevertheless, that interminable scene in the meth addicts’ den of iniquity reminded me a lot of Jim Jarmusch circa Strangers in paradise. I kept expecting the story to advance, to cut reassuringly to some narrative plateau further along in diegetic time, but alas, diegetic time was not to be compromised quite so easily. Gilligan and crew left us to suffer along with Pinkman through a full day and night of tragicomedic mishaps. “Peekaboo” wasn’t fun or even enjoyable watching, exactly — and neither were the previous two episodes — but it was both rich in terms of narrative development and ballsy in terms of televisual convention. This is the one show (post-Six feet under) that I wish would never end.