Every camera angle and move in “Breaking Bad” is deliberate. The AMC show, which recently returned for its final string of episodes, is one of the most carefully filmed series on TV, and that’s saying plenty in the era of “Mad Men,” “Boardwalk Empire,” and “Game of Thrones.” The artful framing, the slow creeping up on a subject, the lingering in a person’s face, they all work intimately with the dialogue to make “Breaking Bad” a complete experience.
The first episode of season 5B unfolded like a visual essay. When DEA agent Hank sees Walt for the first time after knowing he is Heisenberg, understanding at long last that his nebbish brother-in-law is the famed meth-maker, he sees him through opaque curtains. The truth, the shot seems to say, is coming clear. When we first see Jesse in the episode, he’s sitting and staring emptily while a bad-trip light show plays on the large TV screen behind him. It’s an externalization of his internal horror, compounded by the nattering inanity of his friends’ “Star Trek” rap.