Of course, you can’t be a meth cook without cooking some meth, so this episode gets around to what the next plans are for the Breaking Bad baldies. This episode also covers how Walt still needs to literally pay his dues. And he doesn’t like it one bit.
In this episode, we learn that everyone associated with the operation has had their hazard pay confiscated, and Mike wants to provide them what they were promised. This isn’t just for keeping them all quiet, I think. Mike has loyalty to the people he put in harm’s way, and he doesn’t take that lightly. I think another bonus for him is that he gets to screw over Walt by taking a cut of his profits to set things right. Because of the nature of Gus’s assassination, it is ultimately Walt’s fault that the money was discovered, and his blame is evident in that exchange near the end of the episode where Mike systematically takes stack after stack away, ripping open a wound for Walt with all the subtlety of rib spreaders.
In this episode, we got to see Saul being Saul, which is a thing of beauty. Odenkirk has a great rhythm with the character. In the search for the right location to set up shop, we eventually see that Walt lands on a plan that would thumb his nose at the whole damn world. He is so full of bravado that he sees no reason not to hide in plain sight. He feels so invincible that it appears he feels he can’t be caught. It’s a bit of a glimpse back to the episode where Walt and Skyler have sex in the car outside the school, stating that it was so great because it was illegal. He is getting a thrill out of this. The cat and mouse thing is his meth, and he gets his bump every time he cooks a batch.
The solution to their location problem lets us know what they were hinting at during the season 5 preview AMC shared with us earlier this year (Bryan Cranston said that if they panned a little to the left that it would give away a major plot point), as well as possibly helping to explain this Twitter-tease sent by Aaron Paul earlier this year:
Shooting on location can be so classy sometimes. twitter.com/aaronpaul_8/st…
— Aaron Paul (@aaronpaul_8) May 19, 2012
One mystery solved.
Once again, it’s Jesse who helps solve a problem of getting the equipment into the house and taking it down again without it being really obvious or too complicated. In the scene of their first tent cook, we are treated to a great montage set to “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” by The Peddlers. I loved that music choice. Later, while Walt and Jesse are having a beer, we see Walt trying to break up Jesse and Andrea by encouraging him to be honest with her about what he does and has done. He’s not comfortable with Jesse so near Brock and wants them out of the picture. Jesse feels really uneasy about his deception, as Jesse would, once he’s been confronted with it. The scene with Walt on the couch next to Brock was chilling.
One of the best scenes was Skyler’s break down. The shut ups were perfect, and sort of reminded me of the great scene in American Beauty where Oscar-nominated Annette Bening slaps herself and slumps to the floor weeping. A perfect meltdown we knew was coming. For Walt to then protect himself from Marie’s prying by divulging Skyler’s affair with Ted shows his lack of sensitivity to her, soiling the relationship between her and her sister.
In the end, we see as the garage door shuts on Jesse, that Walt’s “getting too close to the sun” speech has shed some light on Walt for him (pun intended), and he’s not really certain what to do with that. After finding out (so he thinks) that he almost killed Walt for a his own carelessness, he feels a responsibility to Walt much like Mike feels a responsibility to his guys. This episode was about loyalty and what it could potentially take to break it.
My only beef with it is the timeframe. We learn here that in the 4 seasons of the show that we have literally gone through 4 seasons, 1 year. That’s a lot of shit to happen in such a short time. I don’t know how long I expected it to have been, but for Walt to get into the business, build a reputation for himself, take down no fewer than 3 major players (4 if you count Tio), move out and back in with his wife, get cured of cancer, have his brother-in-law paralyzed and regain the ability to walk, and have his partner in the hospital 2x and at least one other time in rehab, it seems like a lot.
But if timeline is the thing that I’m hung up on, I guess I can deal.