The Rainbow of Danger

23 Mar

Before we get into the post proper, let me just get some gushing hyperbole out of the way. Last season, from about episode 5 right down to the finale (although I know the ending had some detractors)  Breaking Bad was the best show on television. Whatever your favourite show was last year, this was better. Ok, got that out of my system.

It’s probably worth mentioning at this point that the following post contains  spoilers for Breaking Bad S03E01. I won’t give any of the reveals away, but if you’re the kind of person who likes to know absolutely nothing going in, consider yourself warned.

This week’s episode moved at a slower pace than last season’s finale, but with good reason. Things are about to change radically, but before that can happen you need to set up all your pieces. Think of it like Mousetrap: in order for the trap to work, you have to put all the bits in the right order before you kick the marble. What exactly that change will be isn’t certain (although some googling will find you a few clues) but the show has already provided a handy key.

Replacing season 2’s black and white openings is a bizarre sequence shot in a lurid yellow, and while those events will factor in later it’s the colour itself that is just as important. This yellow represents his meth business, and all the yellow things  are reminders of both the rewards and pitfalls of the trade. There is also a lot of blue in the opening, and this represents the consequences of his actions, the guilt of the things he can’t (or won’t) deal with yet. A character at the end of the episode appears wearing a yellow shirt and a blue tie, which is an inspired bit of costume design.

Breaking Bad operates on a level most shows don’t even attempt, and their symbolic use of colour is a perfect example. There are plenty of others, I was equally impressed with how much the audience can see Walt’s pain, even though he doesn’t speak a word until nearly the 15-minute mark. I’ll be following Breaking Bad all season, so look for a post around this time each week for more. If you haven’t seen the show yet, now is the perfect time to start.


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