I have split feelings on season two of this show. There’s a ton of stuff in here that I really like. But overall, I think I still preferred season one.
Picking up right where season one left off, we see Walt and Jessie get trapped in a deal with a psychotic drug dealer. When that goes south, they decide to start their own business. But can the two handle it, when they have no idea how? Meanwhile, Skyler begins to see through Walt’s lies and Hank struggles with his new position on the police force.
Pacing wise, this is a much slower season than the first one. It has some intense moments here and there, but this season is much more focused on taking its time to set things up. But when the payoff finally comes? Holy shit, dude, it is intense!
This season features some incredibly strong character writing. All the old characters have been further fleshed out, and they all undergo some truly dramatic changes. Jessie is pushed to the emotional breaking point after getting into a totally-not-doomed relationship with Jessica Jones and Walt has to deal with the numerous consequences of his growing lies and cancer. The two get into some truly intense situations this season.
I love how even the smallest change in a situation makes the tension skyrocket. For example, in my current favorite episode of the series, Jessie goes to steal his goods and cash back from a pair of meth-heads who robbed his friend. When he arrives, what does he find there but a little boy. In the simple act of a child walking into the room, the entire situation rises to Everest heights of intensity. And it all culminates in one of the darkest episode endings, as well as one of the strongest moments of morality in our young drug dealer.
The characters I didn’t much care for before also got a lot of fleshing out. Hank went from a boring racist cop to a complex character dealing with extreme pressure and self-insecurities. His morals and weaknesses shine through as he is confronted with some truly horrifying stuff. He quickly went from one of my least favorite characters to one of my absolute favorites!
I still don’t like Marie, though. But at least her shop-lifting plot got dropped. For now.
We also get a ton of new characters! We meet Gus, who is one of the most chilling antagonists I’ve ever seen, Mike, who is super cool, and my personal favorite: Saul Goodman! I love how Saul is the only one who actively embraces the fact that he’s a criminal asshole; everyone else pretends to be a better/worse person than they are, but Saul knows exactly who he is and runs with it. It’s a ton of fun to watch!
This season is also jam-packed with some horrifying shit. The tone is much creepier than it was in season one. Almost every episode opens up with a series of chilling images in Walt’s pool, in which some tragedy sets place at the end of the season. But that’s not nearly as creepy as some of the other stuff, such as the exploding tortoise or Jane’s death.
Visually speaking, this season is really strong! There are some amazing shots here, as well as some really fun editing. In-between that is a whole lot of shot-reverse-shot, which is never all that exciting. Thankfully, the dialogue that occurs during those scenes is enough to make up for the lack of exciting visuals.
In terms of music, this season is pretty forgettable. It’s mostly some insert songs or tension-building musical stings. It doesn’t have much in terms of an original OST.
Overall, I loved this season. It made a lot of improvements over the first, even if it was slower. I still somewhat prefer the first season, but this one is really close to it in terms of quality.
Season three, on the other hand? That shit is intense, dudes!