updated - May 19, 2013 Sunday EDT
"Breaking Bad" Season 5 episode 1 kicked off last night on AMC with "Live Free or Die" and was the most-watched episode yet with nearly 3 million viewers. Compared with the season-four premiere in July 2011, the total number of viewers was up 14 percent, and the coveted 18 to 49 demographic in particular saw a 34 percent increase in viewership.
The hit AMC show follows Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a cancer-stricken teacher, and his entry into the world of meth manufacturing and dealing, alongside his former student, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul).
The Season 5 premiere of "Breaking Bad" finds Walter as powerful as he's ever been -- with Gus Fring out of the way, there seems to be nothing that will hold him back now. "Episode 1, titled "Live Free or Die" begins Walter White's trip towards wherever his rabbit hole leads, and we know he'll be packing.
In the opening scene, we see Walt arriving at a Denny's and meeting Lawson. Walt is there with the purpose of buying a gun, a rather large one, that is. Judging from Walt's New Hampshire driver's license, assumed name, and radically different appearance (hair on the head and face), it looks like Walt has been in hiding.
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 the restaurant. Walt then takes a bottle of prescription pills and swallows one. Did his cancer return, or what are these meds for?
As Walt leaves the Denny's, he leaves a $100 bill under his untouched plate, the waitress addresses Walt as Mr. Lambert - the maiden name of his wife, Skyler. This suggests he is either still loaded or just making one last kind act.
The primary focus of Seasons 5, Episode 1 is how Walt deals with Gus's laptop, which contains footage from the lab. Even though Walt is one of the most cautious guys ever, he made a major mistake when he never thought to track the lab security cameras to their source and destroy the evidence. This brings Mike back into the plot, since as head of security he would know exactly where those files were stored. Mike at first wants Walt's head for killing Gus, but his debt to Jessie overpowers his loyalty to his old boss and he agrees to work with them to try to come up with a solution.
Since breaking into a police station evidence room isn't going to work, the trio come up with a scientific solution: magnets. It's actually Jessie's inspiration, but as ludicrous as it might seem at first, Walt's scientific mind soon begins to grasp the possibilities. A trip to the junk-yard later, and the trio have a crane magnet with enough power to mangle anything in the room. Possible? Unlikely, but it's "Breaking Bad" after all.
There's nother damaged piece of Fring evidence, a picture frame from Gus's desk, reveals information on a bank account in the Caymans. So unbeknownst to him at the moment, Walt isn't fully in the clear.
Nor is he in the black, having learned from Saul that Skyler took $622,000 of their money to pay of Ted Beneke's IRS debt. (As for Ted: Of course he didn't die from his slip and fall on the Throw Rug of Doom last season. That would have been too easy. Instead, he's got a halo brace screwed into his skull and is still a couple days away from eating solid foods. But hey, at least he won't say anything now.)
Breaking Bad will return next Sunday with 'Madrigal' @10pm on AMC.
Watch a sneak peek below of Season 2:
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