Dead Freight begins with a classic kind of Breaking Bad teaser: one that doesn’t make much sense at all until the end. But even as you see the boy riding through the desert on his dirt bike and eagerly handling a tarantula he places in a jar he has at the ready, you get the sense that this innocence and curiosity aren’t going to end well for him.
Walt visits Hank’s office, which can’t really be a social call. In one of the interesting turns of his character, we find that Walt is such a good actor that he can actually pretend to cry and does so to get Hank out of his own office. While such good acting from an ordinary person might bother viewers, I do think it is fitting for him. Walt is thrilled to pull one over on people, and it’s the chance to lord some control over Hank that could bring out that performance in him. Besides, he has spent the past year refining his acting skills that are so necessary when leading a double (sometimes triple) life.
We subsequently discover that it was not Lydia who planted the GPS device on the precursor barrel, and her life is miraculously spared. Again. While she takes the time to explain to Walt and crew where they can get more methylamine, she also manages to slip in a comment about how they can discuss her cut later. She is still out to get paid, and that is worth noting for her character. Her motivation could keep her loyal – even to Gus’s killer.
The great sequence in the show is the actual train robbery. Again, the brains behind this operation is Jesse. It can’t be coincidence that the scene was so familiar this season. Jesse is working hard to keep the peace between his two warring father figures, but as he does, he shows that his aptitude – explored a bit last season – is well beyond what anyone would generally give him credit for. Todd remarks that they’ve thought of everything, and Walt smiles as he quietly takes credit.
I used both hands this episode to hold up my jaw. There were wonderfully funny moments to even out the tense ones. But the ending was the moment where I think I really forgot to breathe. I drew in a gasp that I couldn’t let go of when Jesse Plemons as Todd nonchalantly takes a gun from the back of his waistband and in one shot takes out a kid who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Watch the scene again and again, and you’ll see Aaron Paul’s wonderful reflexes and instincts at work here. We know that harm to kids is the line Jesse won’t cross, and his anguish as he is helpless to stop what is a completely senseless murder of a child happens right in front of him.
And also because of him.
- Another mention of Jesse James? What are you trying to say, Vince?
- Marie and Hank with Holly is beyond adorable.
- You know that Walt Jr., aka Flynn, is heading for something bad. He’s reacting with tremendous hostility to being shipped off to live somewhere else without explanation. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up tailing dear old dad and finding out more than he’d care to know since no one will be honest with him.
- I love that Skyler is again blatantly smoking around Walt to try to jump start the cancer. And her moment of asking him if he was out burying bodies. The matter of fact response from Walt that he was instead out robbing a train is priceless. It was a great exchange between those two characters.