Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Jonathan Banks on Breaking Bad: The Professional

*With the Emmys airing next Sunday night (9/22), we're going to take a look at a handful of the nominees this week.*

**SPOILERS AHEAD. This post discusses events through season four of Breaking Bad.**

Let us take a moment to praise Jonathan Banks.

With Breaking Bad wrapping up it's run at a breakneck pace (the series finale airs 9/29), it's amazing to look back and see how many of the characters impressively stand out. Banks' Mike Ehrmantraut is one of those characters. When we first met him, he was drug-lord-slash-restauranteur Gus Fring's (Giancarlo Esposito) "fixer," the right-hand man who kept Fring's meth operation running smoothly. In Walter (Bryan Cranston), he forms an uneasy alliance, particularly after Walter has Fring blown up.

In essence, Mike is the man that Walter could have been, if not for his monumental ego. Mike's the old pro, the man with the plan, and he's been saving up most of his money from the operation for his granddaughter. That's essential to Banks' performance: he can alternate between prickly old man and gentle grandfather within seconds, and he can convey so much on his face without saying a single word. He wears Mike's world-weariness well.

Banks submitted "Say My Name" as his FYC episode; for those who have seen it, they know what happens in the end. It may be Banks' finest moment: Mike's underestimated Walter's propensity for violence when his pride is wounded, and he finds a tranquility in those final moments. His last words could be the mantra of everyone who's crossed Walter:

"Shut the fuck up Walter. Let me die in peace."

He found peace. And on Sunday, Banks could find himself with an Emmy.

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