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'Breaking Bad' premiere explores the nature of power

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The brief scene is telling in many ways, but only telling enough to raise many more questions. For those keeping score, Breaking Bad began on Walter White’s 50th birthday – so this is, in a way, Gilligan illustrating to his audience just how far Walt has traveled and in what amount of time. More clues come while Walt is making the purchase from Lawson in the men’s restroom. Lawson demands the artillery not cross the border, to which Walt replies it’s not even going to leave town – meaning someone is likely about to be on the receiving end of the machine gun. After Lawson wishes him good luck and leaves, Walt dry swallows a prescription pill of some kind, which will undoubtedly leave viewers questioning whether or not his cancer has come back.

Finally, as he’s exiting the restaurant, leaving a $100 bill under his untouched plate, the waitress addresses Walt as Mr. Lambert – the maiden name of his wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn). In addition to everything the audience is asked to take in, Walt’s choice of alias presents a whole slew of questions on its own. Again, Gilligan should be commended for the precision of his approach: it’s purposeful and direct without giving everything away.

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