Breaking Bad — Season 5 [Blu-Ray]

Breaking Bad — Season 5 [Blu-Ray]
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Like some type of Kill Bill for television, the decision to split the fifth and final season of Breaking Bad into two halves means the customary (but rather shameless) release of a mid-season Blu-Ray, in advance of inevitably packaging the entire season as a whole months from now when the series has wrapped. While a great deal happens in the first eight episodes, including a heart-racing train heist, the death of a major character and a cliffhanger that frustrates in all the right ways, it can't help but feel as if this cash-grab is simply milking the show's devoted fans for every last penny. When we last found chemistry teacher-turned-meth-cooker Walter White at the end of an exceptional season four, he had just disposed of his imposing employer, Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). With the path now clear for a stranglehold on the profits, he concocts a plan to begin cooking again with increasingly conflicted partner Jesse (Aaron Paul), this time by posing as exterminators and making meth under the cover of tented houses. His relationship with wife Skylar (Anna Gunn) is more strained than ever, at this point more of a hostage situation than a marriage. As Walt's DEA agent brother-in-law Hank (Dean Norris) gets closer to figuring out Walt's true identity, it spells trouble for Walt's other partner, the laconic and sarcastic Mike (Jonathan Banks). There are also some choice moments along the way, as always, from Bob Odenkirk, as Walt's sleazy, but effective lawyer, Saul Goodman. Though this season appears poised to see Walt completing the Mr. Chips-to-Scarface transformation creator Vince Gilligan has said was always the arc of the show, it also looks to concern itself as much with the unraveling of the web of deceit Walt has been weaving for so long. This beginning of the end certainly manages to whet the appetite for the much-anticipated final bow for one of the finest dramas in television history. It would be tempting to say that the extensive bonus material almost justifies the purchase, but everything is almost certain to be included again on another disc at season's end. Featuring fascinating glimpses into the writers' room, insightful commentaries with cast and crew, and more behind-the-scenes footage than you could ever want, the most interesting inclusion is the scene "Chicks 'n Guns." Perhaps created out of guilt for making people pay for an unfinished season, the short (exclusively produced for the Blu-Ray and DVD release) features Jesse, Saul, Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) and Kayden Kross as a stripper showing more than AMC would ever allow. (Sony)