Archive for April, 2010
Episode 3.12 – Half Measures
Jesse strikes out against advice; Walt takes drastic action to intervene.
Airs: 6th June 2010
Episode 3.13 – Full Measure
With Jesse on the run, Walt negotiates a bargain with Gus to provide for his and Jesse’s safety.
Airs: 13th June 2010
The word “pivotal” doesn’t even begin to describe this episode. When it was over, I let out a “Jimmy H. Carter!” so loud that it freaked out my fiancee — imagine another name with the initials “J.C.” instead of “Jimmy Carter” and you’ll get the idea.
So much stuff went on in this episode that it might be good for us to go in reverse order. Let’s start by mourning the loss of a friend, one that’s been with us from the very beginning of the series, back when Walt and Jesse were just two crazy kids trying to cook blue meth in the middle of the desert…
Friends, it’s time to mourn the passing of the RV. After all that happened this week, it was necessary that it had to go, but it was still sad to see it get crushed.
The scenes when Jesse and Walt were watching their meth factory get picked apart and crushed were actually a little bit moving; they both could and should have gotten the hell away from that scrap yard as quickly as possible after Saul lured Hank away, but they a) wanted to make sure the job was done, and b) pay their respects to the RV itself. That respect, accompanied by the Mexican elegy used as music for the scene, made it feel more like a funeral than the mere crushing of a vehicle.
Of course, how they got to that point was about as tense a scene as there has been in the show’s three seasons. It’s the closest Hank has gotten to Walt, even though he still has no clue his brother-in-law is the infamous Heisenberg. And, while watching Hank try to bust his way into the RV with Jesse and Walt cowering inside, I had no idea if this was going to be the moment of truth or not.
Were the legal musings of the junkyard guy (played by the wonderfully creepy Larry Hankin) a bit of a convenient way to unravel this plot tangle? Maybe. But the guy’s business is to make evidence disappear. This is probably not the first time he’s had to deal with the feds on his property. I was just surprised that Hank actually listened to him and waited for the warrant. I guess as hyped up as he was, Hank still wants to do things the right way.
Of course, no one could count on Walt bailing everyone out by leveraging his personal knowledge of Hank and Marie. But, as we’ve been saying all along, Walt is more evil than even he realizes.
As soon as Jeese ran out of the house after the call from Badger, by the way, I actually shouted “Idiots!” in disgust. That’s the twisted thing about this show; I’m rooting for the friggin’ criminals. From the viewer’s vantage point, you think that it should have been obvious to Jesse that the heat was on him. But, aside from Walt’s aborted phone call, how was he supposed to know?
There was an ingeniousness to how Vince Gilligan and company were able to close the loop, with the RV leading Hank to Combo’s mom, which lead him to Jesse, which led to Marie reminding him that Jesse knew Walt. But it was also good that he opened the loop back up again; it was too soon for Hank and Walt to cross paths in this fashion. Walt’s not done being evil yet.
Notice I didn’t mention the very last scene just yet, with Gus telling the Cousins that the person they really want revenge on is Hank, not Walt. It’s a clever move on Gus’ part, because he wants Walt to keep cooking, and he pretty much knows he can outsmart the Cousins at the drop of a hat. The Cousins want blood– as the cop in the cold open found out, they’re not subtle when it comes to killing — so Gus gave them someone. Which means that not only is Hank still after Walt and Jesse, but the Cousins are now after him. That’s when the “J.H.C.!” came out of my mouth, as the layers keep on being added.
Watch ‘Sunset’ Episode Online
If you’ve been waiting this season for the switch to be flipped, for the seemingly inert Walter White to snap back to life, this was it. The show was called “Mas,” Spanish for more. Looking ahead, that’s what we’re going to be seeing. For “mas” on the shifting tone, the parting of the ways and Ted’s heated bathroom tiles in this episode, follow after the jump.
This was the end of Jesse and Walter. They’re done as partners in crime, partners in need, even surrogate father and son. Whatever good will between them — like Walt getting Jesse into rehab after Jane’s death — it’s over. They are now adversaries. Jesse felt Walt had betrayed him on the Pinkman meth deal, but as the prologue showed, Jesse had betrayed Walt from the start by squandering Walt’s life savings at a strip club. Jesse wasn’t lying; he is a bad guy.
Jesse’s RV is definitely on Hank’s radar now, but when the camera pulled back to reveal there are dozens of RVs just like it in New Mexico, it was a great gag. The RV became like Moby Dick to Hank. He has to nail the great white meth lab. He has to because he’s too afraid to go back to El Paso.
If Gomey dies in El Paso, Hank will never get over it. He’s already so traumatized that he can’t even recognize how hard Marie is trying to help him. Hank’s efforts weren’t in vain; the last RV lead was a link to Combo. And in Combo’s bedroom was the photo Jesse at the strip club. Hank’s going to connect the dots soon enough.
Sky’s completely confused by her feelings and actions. The initial bliss of her affair with Ted has worn off. The symbolism of her luxuriating in the heated floor of the bathroom — which was obviously paid for with embezzled funds from Beneke — was later echoed in her fascination with Walt’s duffle bag of money.
Sky used her attorney as a therapist, and acknowledged that what she was doing wasn’t working. Walt wasn’t leaving, and Sky’s actions were foolish. And by concealing Walt’s crimes, she was an accessory after the fact. But perhaps Sky’s softening towards Walt a bit had more to do with Marie than Ted or the attorney. Marie told Sky how Hank had been transformed by the things he saw in Texas — facing death — and perhaps Sky realized that Walt had also changed when he faced imminent death from cancer.
After weeks of being emasculated by Sky, sabotaging his career at school, prostrating himself over his decisions, Walter finally turned the corner. It was Gus’s gamesmanship that baited the hook. The words: “What does a man do, Walt? A man provides for his family.” Gus played Walt. Walt had to do what a man had to do. It was very John Wayne, and it restored his dignity and self-worth.
It might not have worked, but Sky’s one bit of kindness, allowing Walt to care for Holly after dinner, cinched it for him. He held the baby and realized he had to do whatever necessary for his family even if they hated him for it. That’s why Sky returned home to find the nursery tidied up, the money and Walt gone and the divorce papers signed. He took control and took back his manhood.
Then, in Saul’s office, there was one more divorce to be enacted. Walt gave Jesse the bag from the stoplight and rejected him as a partner. Walt spurned the 10% Jesse offered him to use Walt’s formula — “And sit on your fat ass” — for something more. Like the title said, “Mas.” Walt told Jesse in cold, hard words: “I’m in; you’re out.”
Watch ‘Mas’ Episode Online
Of course, Skyler’s a fighter on Breaking Bad. That much had been obvious especially when season 3 of the critically acclaimed AMC series kicked off
last month. Not only did she try to divorce Walt (Bryan Cranston), she kicked him out and matter-of-factly let it slip that she’s having an affair with Ted (Christopher Cousins).
“It’s been important to me to never play her as a victim but to play her as somebody who is a fighter,” Anna Gunn tells the LAist. She does admit that she felt “hurt” the first time someone called her character a bitch. To the credit of that person, Skyler did tell her lawyer that the only reason she doesn’t want to bust Walt is because she’s just waiting for him to croak.
However, Gunn thinks “bitching at Walt” is a “part of the fabric” of Breaking Bad. It was also “brave” and “terrific” for the writers, she added, to make Skyler find out what Walt had been up to, because her character is smart and keeping her in the dark for too long would be uncharacteristic.
“Without this, what would the struggle be? What would the dangers be? Without her, the fine line he is walking would be less electric. Because of her strength it makes what he is doing even more dangerous.”
In fact, on the next episode of Breaking Bad, Skyler starts to doubt her new relationship. It might be part of the “breaking bad” process for Skyler. Gunn admits that season 3 marks the beginning of Skyler “breaking bad in her own way.”
“This season you really get to see her implode and then explode,” she points out.
Breaking Bad airs Sunday on AMC.
Watch sneak peek of Breaking Bad Season 3 Episode 5 Mas
Even on cable shows that are tightly plotted because of their short seasons, there are sometimes episodes that feel more like they’re setting things up for the episodes to come rather than pushing the story arc forward. This week felt like one of those episodes.
I wouldn’t classify it as a “throat-clearing” kind of episode, because, even when treading water, ‘Breaking Bad‘ still retains its intensity and sense of drama. But after the first three rollicking episodes, it was interesting to see the show take an hour to collect its thoughts and linger for a little while.
One of the indicators that this episode was destined to amble instead of run was when Walt went to confront Beneke after Skyler laid the “I.F.T.” bomb on him the night before. On another show, Walt would have lunged at Beneke and they would have rolled on the floor. Instead, this is real life: Ted cowered in his office while Walter ineptly tried to throw a plant through Plexiglass.
And in another triumph of not going for the over-the-top jugular, it was good to see Mike come by and grab Walt just before he tried to rip his way into the side door. It was much more realistic to see Walt fighting with Saul over the slimy lawyer’s insults about Sky than seeing Walt punch out Beneke. Even though Saul’s a sleazeball, he’s a pretty persuasive sleazeball. He desperately wants to get Walt cooking again because he knows the money machine he’s got there and wants to keep the good times rolling.
Walt really doesn’t know the machinations that are going on behind the scenes. Mike told him, “Sometimes it’s good to have someone watching your back,” because he knows that the Cousins and other cartel bad guys are watching him. And he knows that Gus Frings is doing everything he can to make sure Walt is alive and cooking the blue stuff. Gus is even willing to buy the semi-inferior meth that Jesse has started cooking, just to lure the prideful chemist back into his camp.
Speaking of Jesse… very brazen of him to peddle his crapola meth right in front of that cop, huh? It really feels like, since Jane’s death, that he really has nothing left to live for. The fact that he’s not using anymore is amazing. Maybe the sight of Jane’s vomit-choked body did the trick.
You really have to wonder, by the way, where Walt’s head is at. He’s so zoned out at school that he throws his career away by hitting on the principal. He tells both Saul and Jesse that he doesn’t want to cook anymore, but seethes with anger when Jesse dares to use his proprietary formula and creates inferior product. He doesn’t want to be the bad guy, but when he realizes his kingdom is threatened, he attacks. At this point, it’s hard to even be sure if Walt knows what he wants anymore.
Let’s talk about Hank for a second. Everyone, including Marie, is on to him. He doesn’t want to go to El Paso because he can’t relive the horrors he saw the last time he was there. But what the interesting twist about this story is, where at first it seems he’s holding onto any thread that he can find that will lead him to Heisenberg just so he has an excuse not to go to Texas, he’s actually getting somewhere with the investigation.
People forget that Hank is an excellent detective, mainly because he seems so buffoonish at times. Who would have thought of using the ATM camera to try to ID Jesse’s RV at that gas station? By the end of the episode, you no longer think the guy just tossed his career down the toilet; you think he might get the last laugh… until, that is, he finds out who Heisenberg really is.
Watch ‘Green Light’ Episode Online
Watch promotional photos of Breaking Bad Season 3 Episode 5
Watch Sneak Peek of Breaking Bad Season 3 Episode 4 Green Light
Watch Promotional Photos of Breaking Bad Season 3 Episode 4 Green Light