Why Breaking Bad Season 2 Was the Low Point of the Series

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It’s hard to think of Breaking Bad as anything but immortal and infallible at this point, one of the best TV shows to ever air, and possibly one of the best that ever WILL air (I can see the future). But was it always like this? Unlike many shows that go downhill after four, five or six seasons, Breaking Bad seemed to only pick up steam, and its final episodes were the best. In binge watching the show myself so I could catch up to season three which was airing at the time, I found myself loving the first season enough to continue, but I had a great many problems with season two, and looking back now, in my rearview mirror, I would even argue that it was the low point of the entire series. Now, keep in mind that a “bad” season of Breaking Bad is still leagues better than a “good” season of your average TV show, but I don’t think there’s any harm in casting a critical eye its way. There were a number of aspects of the season that just irked me, and still do, now that I’m thinking about it again.

Tuco

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Tuco was more of a major villain in season one of the show, and he meets his end pretty quickly in season two, but out of every villain Breaking Bad managed to introduce, he was always my least favorite. They made him crazy for the sake of being crazy, and when you compare him to a much more complex, layered villain like Gus Fring, or eventually Walter White himself, he seems like something of a cartoon character. I think the show was still finding itself this early, but Tuco seems out of place in retrospect.

Jane

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I’m not sure that there’s another sub-character in Breaking Bad more hated than Jane, the girl who takes our beloved Jesse and gets him hooked on not only meth, but heroin too. During the course of season two she brings him down to the point where we despise both of them, which sucks considering how much we generally like Jesse. Her death is a turning point for Walt, as he could have saved her but chooses not to because of her poisonous effect on Jesse. Still, I hated that the scene there relied entirely on the coincidence of Walt showing up at exactly the moment where she was starting to overdose and vomit, as that was a bit lucky for my taste.

The Plane

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I understand the grand meaning of the plane crash, this idea that Walt’s actions have unintended consequences that can end up hurting those around him or innocents. He let Jane die. Jane’s father is sad. Jane’s father is an air traffic controller and in his grief, lets two planes hit each other. Again, more bad luck, and not my favorite type of plot device. Also, we have to remember that all season long we were getting glimpses of debris and a stuffed bear in Walt’s pool, with the implication that something bad had happened to him personally, like his house had been blown up or something. But not so, and the plane crash was only tangentially related to him, and not the shake-up we were anticipating.

So I guess those are the three major complaints I had with the season, though I will admit there were some good moments as well. I believe this is when we first met Saul Goodman, and Badger and Skinny Pete had some great moments in this season as well. I really liked the episode where Jesse goes to confront the two dopeheads who ripped him off, and has his yearly, important encounter with a child. In this case, a neglected redhead living in squalor as his parents focus only on getting high.

And yet when compared to every other season and all the amazing moments they contained, I just think Breaking Bad season two is at the bottom of the pile in terms of quality. Not to say it isn’t good, but compared to the rest of the series, I don’t think it was when the show was at its best. Do you agree or disagree?

[Photos via AMC]

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  1. Kevin Gossett

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