'Breaking Bad' begins to go out with a brilliant bang.


'Coke, the pause that refreshes!''

That was the famous advertising line for Coca-Cola back in the day.

Let me paraphrase that: "'Breaking Bad,' the show that never disappoints!'' (I think this is appropriate; both Coca-Cola and "Breaking Bad'' are American classics.)

On Sunday night, the first of the final eight episodes of the acclaimed AMC series premiered. It was, of course, brilliant.

Rarely has a series not only maintained its quality through a run of six seasons, but actually improved upon its original concept and enriched each and every character.

My admiration for star Bryan Cranston has already been noted many times. But I want to take some space to praise his co-stars who have morphed, for good or evil, (mostly the latter) as their characters have had to deal with Walter White, chemist-turned-meth-king-and-killer.

In particular, Anna Gunn as his wife, Skyler, who is either loved or loathed by hordes of "BB'' fans, Aaron Paul as Jesse, Walter's partner in meth-making and the only character on the show who seems to have a conscience, and Dean Norris as Walter's brother-in-law, Hank. (Hank's realization of who and what Walter was, in last season's finale gave us a stunning bit of performing; driving his car into a tree, hyperventilating with shock and rage.)

For all my...

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