Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Breaking Bad, "One Minute"

This story of a chemistry teacher turned crystal-meth cooker suffered most from my "one episode per series" rule in this list, because there were a good half-dozen examples from Breaking Bad's stunning Season 3 run that could have made it. "One Minute" captures both the show's riveting action and its moral vision as it lays out the cost Walter White (Bryan Cranston) has paid in going criminal. In an agonizingly tense, expertly directed scene, Walter's brother-in-law Hank (Dean Norris), a DEA agent, is stalked and nearly killed by the assassins sent to take out Walter for a rival drug lord. The closing minutes, involving a fight to the death in a suburban parking lot, perfectly capture Breaking Bad's juxtaposition of the operatic and the mundane. (AMC)