Half Measures-Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad continues to display its ability to let even seemingly minor characters tell extended stories. In Half Measures, Mike, Goodman’s PI, tells Walt what can happen if only half measures are taken. He describes the experience of being called to the same house repeatedly for a domestic violence dispute when he was a beat cop. Finally, he takes the violent husband out into the desert and puts a gun in his mouth, telling him that he’ll kill him the next time he beats the woman. Before Mike can do that, he’s standing over the wife’s dead body. People end up dead if only half measures are taken.

The story also shows that Mike was willing to leave the law behind. The relatively clear cut world of law enforcement became impossible to him. Nobody is a good guy or a bad guy. Hank, the most moral character, on the show is paralyzed from his gun shot wounds and is being overtaken by bitterness.

Walt cares about Jesse and tries to teach him the importance of compromise after Jesse almost puts into action his plan to kill the dealers who took down Combo and used an eleven year old to peddle their product. However, these dealers are also working for Gus. After a failed round table conference, Tomas, the young boy, ends up murdered. When Walt learns what’s happened he runs the rival dealers down just as they are about to have a shoot-out with Jesse. This scene likely would have ended very badly for Jesse if Walt hadn’t arrived. Jesse doesn’t have the quick draw abilities of someone like Justified’s Raylan Givens.

Breaking Bad has been an exciting and fascinating show to watch this season. Half Measures sets up a season finale show down between Walt and Gus. In Justified, Breaking Bad, and Big Love, I find myself rooting for men drowning in the world that they’ve created.

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One Response to “Half Measures-Breaking Bad”

  1. Michael K. Johnson Says:

    I liked the way the episode took two very reasonable precepts and put them in conflict. At the same time that Mike warns again half-measures, Gus and Walt suggest that in business, one must compromise (a half measure of sorts). That half measure doesn’t work out quite so well, but I’m not sure that Walt and Jesse’s decision to go all in (and go after the guys who killed the child) is going to work out that well either. That showdown scene was one of the more explicitly “western” moments of the season, even down to the staging and camera set-ups.

    I also liked the very direct way Marie chose to confront Hank’s feelings of impotence.


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