There’s an unfortunate thing that comes with shows like Breaking Bad — shows that are great and rewarding because of their subtlety and their complexity — that makes them hard to watch without feeling anxious that you are totally missing something and are an idiot. In the opening scene of this week’s Breaking Bad, we find Mike hiding out in a refrigerator truck while we hear some guys outside murder the driver of that refrigerator truck. Immediately I think, “Oh no. Who are these characters going to be and am I supposed to know who they are and what does this all mean and what is going on?!” Then they shoot up the truck, open it, and BOOM Mike kills them. Boom! Boom they are dead and Mike is alive and very cold and very cold blooded. And his ear got a bullet in it and is really gross:
And at that point you tentatively realize that maybe you aren’t missing anything with who these guys are and the point of this scene is just supposed to show in better detail how Mike is just a guy who does his job (murder + don’t get killed) very well and doesn’t give an F about anything. Oh thank goodness.
Then, we see Skyler in bed having an idea at 3AM. She goes to the kitchen table and writes down the idea. “Gambling.” She writes “gambling” on a legal pad and then underlines it. Oh yeah, Skyler? Gambling? That’s the idea you had to write down? But maybe it was just shorthand for “gambling support group,” like when I had the idea for something this weekend and instead of writing down the whole idea I wrote down “draw a picture” in my iPhone notes and now have no idea what I meant, because in the next scene they’re at a gambling support group.
Which is hilarious. A hilarious thing to make your drug-making husband do. Good one, Sky.
Most of this episode was dedicated to Skyler forcing a teen-angsty Walter to get his blackjack/counting cards story straight. They play a few hands at the dinner table and Water seems to be not very good at blackjack/counting cards even though he can explain different methods very well, like the “Kelly Criterion,” which has MY name in it. But while they’re doing this I’m thinking, This is like trying to teach someone who is posing as an alcoholic how to drink a lot. Probably people aren’t going to make a recovering gambling addict gamble to prove that he knows how to do it well. And then Walter says something to that effect and they stop. But. Like. Why did they do it for so long anyway? I guess they have to cover their bases. But then they just gave up their bases very quickly after they realized the thing I was just talking about. Guys! What are you doing. We have no time to waste since apparently you’re trying to get your entire coverup story straight on literally the day you have to reveal it.
After they give up on the actual card playing, Skyler hands Walter a detailed narrative/script of the discussion they’ll be having later with Hank and Marie, when they “come clean” about “where they’ve gotten the money” to buy the car wash. Skyler is an incredible writer and explains that she’ll be opening with the line, “We want to tell you the whole story. It’s a doozy, so hold onto your hats.” Hahahah. LOL. Very good opening line. Walt is upset about how this narrative portrays him, as Skyler has made him out to seem like a bad guy who is completely ashamed of his bad guy actions. Which is how he should feel anyway? Deal with it, Walt. Skyler tells him that he’s not the only one who looks bad, to which he responds, “Where is the ‘I slept with my boss’ part of the story?” OOooooohhhh BURN! Walt burn. That was a good one. But then Skyler says, “At least you won at gambling, I’m just the bitch mom who wouldn’t cut you any slack.” Oooops. Nope she’s right, sorry Walter! That was still a good burn, though! Then there is a moment where we think maybe Walter is not being a huge jerk, when he says, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I put you through all of this.” And we all think, Maybe we don’t hate him right now because he’s lost his brain? Maybe his brain still exists? And then he says, “How’s that sound?” And writes it down. And we all think, Ugh you’re the worst but THIS SHOW IS THE BEST!
When they show up for dinner that night at Hank and Marie’s, Marie immediately tell Hank to “Go show the boys your new rock collection.” Hahahah. “THEY’RE MINERALS” The “THEY’RE MINERALS” joke is the best part of season four. I can’t wait until I can buy a “THEY’RE MINERALS” t-shirt. But anyway, Hank takes them to see his rocks but then after one second of looking at a rock, Hank puts in a DVD pertaining to a case he’s consulting on. “Gulp” – Us.
It is a very, very good DVD of Gale singing “Major Tom (Coming Home)” by Peter Schilling. And look at the face Walt makes while he’s watching it:
The teeth face! I love when he makes the teeth face. But yes obviously this is a very unsettling thing for Walt to be seeing, I’m sure. First of all, it’s clear that Gale was a very talented karaoke singer. And Walt had him murdered! Boooooo. The world lost a beautiful karaoke spirit that day. And then of course, you know, UH OH. What a mess you’re in, Walt. But what, did you think they WEREN’T going to investigate that murder? Did you forget that your brother in law gets to hear about that stuff too? C’mon, Walt. Put your teeth back in your face.
At the dinner table, Walt and Skyler tell the story they’ve prepared and Hank and Walt Jr. (Also, as an aside, HELLO, WALT JR.! Long time no hear!) are only very impressed. “Damn dad, why’d you quit?” asks Walt Jr. Skyler tells them that they’ve made enough to buy the carwash and pay for some college tuition. “Uh, why are you buying a carwash?” seems to be a question that is never asked.
Walt sneaks off to look at the Gale evidence in Hank’s room. Hank approaches him in the hallway and tells him, in a nice moment, that he can always talk to him if he needs to. Walt, in a hilariously dumb moment, responds: “The same goes for me. If you ever want to bounce anything off of me…Casework…Sometimes just talking something through could really make a difference.” Hahah, UGH. WALT. Very smooth. “I’ve crafted this response very carefully and it will certainly never be a response that maybe looks weird in retrospect after some new evidence develops in future episodes.” – Walt’s idiot brain.
So Hank takes him up on his weird offer and shows him some of the evidence. The lab notebook has an inscription: “To W.W. My star, my perfect silence.” Uhoh! WW? WALTER WHITE? But then no it’s Walt Witman because it’s a Walt Whitman quote. That suspense was pretty weird, I thought. Because, like, of course he didn’t put that weird thing in for Walt? I don’t know. That suspense seemed kind of silly. But anyway, Hank explains the story behind this guy he’s been chasing — Heisenberg — and how he suspects that he had been Gale the whole time. He’s only upset because he wishes he could have caught Heisenberg himself. Walt asks if they have any leads on who could’ve murdered Gale, and Hank tells him that they have some finger prints and an eye witness. UH OH AGAIN.
Walt heads to Jesse’s nightmare house and is VERY upset. Jesse is shaving a man’s head:
Walt tries to get as much information as he can out of Jesse about the night he killed Gale. Jesse says he didn’t leave any fingerprints, but he did leave casings behind. Walt continues to push him, somehow not noticing that it is making Jesse insane and somehow not putting together, once again, that maybe Jesse isn’t handling being a murderer so well. “Did you ring or knock? Did you walk into the house or shoot him outside?” Jesse can’t take the questioning and the being-forced-to-think-about-it and walks into the main room asking if anyone wants to make $100. And then:
Walt goes to see Saul, who attempts to calm him down. Saul tells him that they have nothing on him, but Walt continues to rant about Jesse and the pressure Gus and Mike are placing on him at the moment. He’s upset that instead of being civil and just doing their jobs, Gus and Mike are only interested in intimidating and threatening him, and Jesse is only interested in being a waste. “Why am I the only person capable of behaving in a professional manner?” he asks. Uh, I don’t know, why are you incapable of understanding the motives behind any of the characters on this TV show? Walt White is the exact person that I am afraid that I am every single time I watch this show. “Am I supposed to know why he just did that?” – Walt White after any character does ANYTHING on Breaking Bad. “How did everything get so screwed up?” he asks Saul. Which is basically the tagline for this show. And Saul tells him that he can make him and his family disappear, if it comes to that.
Back at Jesse’s house, the skinny guy from last episode is talking about radiation. Blah, blah, blah. Radiation, etc. Jesse tells him to make sure there’s pizza for everyone by the time he gets home (which is an ADORABLE demand) and he gets him money from his huge bag of money that is just sitting in a drawer in a way where you’re like, Oh yeah someone is going to steal that money later. So he goes to work, comes home, says “soak it up, bitches” and throws I guess meth at the garbage people living in his house, and picks up a girl and takes her to his room. TO PLAY VIDEOGAMES.
Ugh, Jesse. I know you are depressed and totally broken, mentally, but it is very cute. Oh also his money is gone.
The next morning Mike wakes him up. “WAKE UP” he says. Very effective. All of the garbage people are gone except for one — the tattoo guy who stole his money. He is bound and gagged on the floor. The new Gus guy is also there — I guess last week he was outside of Jesse’s apartment. Not Walt’s. Live and learn! Mike explains that they caught him trying to steal his money and implies that they will now be killing him. Jesse doesn’t care and explains that he isn’t going to tell them to do anything different. But then also, “You know how I know you’re not gonna smoke this guy? You went through the trouble of putting a blindfold on him.” So pretty much he didn’t think they were going to kill them anyway and I’m not sure if we’re supposed to think that he would’ve reacted differently if he really thought the guy was in danger. But mostly I think we’re supposed to think, “Jesse is very messed up at the moment.”
In the next scene, Mike talks to Gus about Jesse. He explains that he’s a liability and that “something’s got to be done” about him. Uh oh.
Later, Walt is at Jesse’s house trying to get in touch with him. He calls his phone and bangs on his door but gets no response, so he breaks in through a window and finds that Jesse’s not there, though his cell phone is. Uh oh. He goes to the lab and looks in the camera. “Where is he.”
Meanwhile, Jesse is in the passenger seat of a car with Mike, staring out the window. “Want to ask where we’re going?” asks Mike. “Nope,” Jesse responds. The end.
UGH IT WAS SO GOOD. It has been clear for all of this season that Jesse is very close to not caring about whether he lives or dies. It has also been clear that Walt has been a total bonehead about Jesse being very close to not caring about whether he lives or dies. So this will be interesting. Will Jesse just die? Will he die on the car on the way to wherever they’re going because he just doesn’t care anymore? Are they going to a party that Gus and Mike are throwing to make Jesse feel better? Will Walt be upset that he wasn’t invited to the party? Will Marie ever be able to tell the difference between minerals and rocks? TUNE IN NEXT WEEK AND LET’S MEET BACK HERE AND TALK ABOUT IT.