I knew very early on that ‘Dead Freight’ would be one of the most divisive episodes of Breaking Bad in the show’s history. It’s all a question of “reality” and how high the show expects us to suspend our disbelief. I suppose I should say up front that I thought ‘Dead Freight’ was a great episode of television. It’s the kind of episode that comes along only every once in a while; the kind where I can feel while watching it that something special is happening. Could I suspend disbelief? Sure, but not easily, and that’s precisely what the episode was looking for. It’s a gamble, but it’s a gamble that paid off brilliantly, at least for me.
Tonal shifts are difficult to accomplish, but ‘Dead Freight’ goes a step further by also trying to shift audience expectations of its plot. My experience came in roughly four stages: confusion, denial, acceptance and shock. I feel that was by design. Vince Gilligan and George Mastras, the writer-director of the episode, created, in some ways, the ultimate Breaking Bad story. It was about plans. Plans that seem stupid on paper. Plans that end up working far better and going way further than anyone could have expected. And, of course, it’s about plans that end up going horribly wrong. Click to read more.