I liked this cold open a lot! Remember how last week I didn’t like the cold open and everyone was upset and acting as if it weren’t the first negative thing I’ve ever said in my whole life about my current favorite TV show and the world ended? Well this week I liked it. THANK GOODNESS. The world will continue to turn, at least until this recap concludes. This whole episode was shot extra beautifully, beginning with this cold open. Who doesn’t love a little sweetheart on a motorbike collecting a very scary spider in the beautiful desert on a perfect day? (JK, we know who doesn’t.) (But let’s not talk about that yet.) (What a terrible thing!) (But ok, let’s not.) (Not yet.) Then we go to Hank’s office!
In Hank’s office, Walt gives Hank an update on Skyler — she went to work that morning because “she wanted to,” and she’s seeing a psychiatrist named Peter Canthinkofaname. Good for her! Good for her and those gross lies from her abusive jerk husband! But then Walt says an almost non-lie, “Skyler doesn’t love me anymore. … She says I was a bad influence on the kids and that I’m not good for them. She thinks I’m a bad father.” Then he starts to cry, very convincingly! This has the dual purpose of solidifying Hank’s location on Walt’s side of the issue, making Skyler seem like she’s gone off the rails, and getting Hank out of the room because oooooooooooook, he’s going to go get some coffee! Which leaves Walt just enough time to #HACK.
He plugs something in to Hank’s computer and plants a bug on a photo of him and Marie. Just as he finishes doing so, Hank walks in and sees him fumbling around with the frame. “I uhh…I was just, uhh, the picture…I uh thought…Well, huh-huh-huh, you know, the thing about pictures…It’s just, it’s like, what is a picture anyway you know? I just mean it in a way that’s like, huh-huh-huh, you know, whenever did we even decide that we need to smile for them? Haha, ahhhhhhhh, right?!” JK. He tells Hank that they’re such a great couple, or whatever. The end!
Then, the whole gang + lady are in a basement together! Yay, basement party! They start the festivities with a fun phone game. Lydia has to dial Hank, her ULTIMATE CRUSH, and read exactly what Mike wrote for her to say or else he will shoot her in the head with his pistol. LOL! Fun fun fun fun fun! She tells him about the tracking device she found on the barrel of methylamine, just calling to make sure it is supposed to be there etc., and he tells her that he doesn’t know anything about it but will look into it, and until then “mum’s the word.” This confirms Mike’s suspicion that she is the one who placed it there, not the police, and it also confirms his suspicion that he’s gotta murder her right in the head. BUT NO, SHE SAYS! She still claims that it was not her! SHE PROMISES! Then she makes this face:
And the guys are like:
But right when Mike is almost killing her, Hank’s voice comes back from the photo frame bug — “Please tell me you didn’t do something as lame-brained as putting a tracker on the outside of a barrel of methylamine.” OOPS! They did! Someone else did it, not Lydia! But it’s a good news/bad news type situation because this means they can’t use any of Lydia’s methylamine. Then Mike tells the boys that he still doesn’t trust her and also she put a hit out on him one time. “Like the mafia?” Jesse asks. “No, like Breaking Bad,” says Mike. But Lydia tells them that she still has access to methylamine — “Who said anything about barrels — I’m talking about an ocean of the stuff.” WHA-WHA-WHAAAAT?
In the next scene, Lydia speaks with Walt privately and tries to get him to feel a bit of compassion for her since they’re both parents. She wants him to swear on his children’s life that she won’t be killed, but HE tells her that she’s speaking to him as if she has any leverage, when in fact she does not have any leverage. BOOM! Then she explains why she had to add Mike to the list of people, and it actually kind of makes enough sense in a desperate sort of way and Walt seems like, well, whatever. “Let’s hear her methylamine plan because, I don’t know, whatever.”
She tells them about the plan — “If a train travelling at 24,000 gallons of methylamine drives into a dead zone in a post 9/11 world, well uh…so…what do you think?” (“Like rob it?” Jesse asks. “Like Jesse James?”) (Did Vince Gilligan just learn about Jesse James?) In an odd turn, since Walt just last episode said that the meth train (their meth train, not this meth train) DOES NOT STOP for anything — “the methylamine keeps flowing” — he argues for making nothing. I mean, when Mike suggests that “Making less money is better than making nothing,” Walt says, “Why is making nothing not an option?” and brings up how it is not an option only because Mike has to pay his 9 guys in jail. Then mommy and daddy fight for a while until this happens again:
Jesse, in the background, gets a “silly” idea that turns out to be a “good” idea. What…was the deal with this? This was mostly a really great episode, but this irked me. I do get that lots of things are being repeated this season — the Jesse James thing we just talked about, lots of walk-on characters talking about how good “free” is, other examples — but I just don’t get why. It doesn’t seem to be adding anything to the story, and it mostly just distracts me from it and makes me feel like the writers of Breaking Bad have lost faith in the intelligence of their audience. Maybe we’ll see? Maybe Vince Gilligan is just driving in these certain points so we’ll remember them over the year-long break before the continuation of the series? Maybe he’s sticking with the comedic rule of three? Maybe he forgot that he already did all this stuff and no one had the heart to tell him? I don’t know. I guess we’ll see! But I did not like this repeated scene. It took me out of the story and made me upset, and NO ONE likes to be upset. Thank goodness that we have Baby to make us feel better:
Baby and Hank are sweet with each other back at Hank and Marie’s, while Flynn (Flynn) is moping around like a big mopey jerk. “You can keep talking about me now” he says after Hank invites him to watch Heat (another movie allusion to the current situation) with him. Oh, Flynn. You don’t even have any idea! Also YOU JUST GOT A FANCY CAR, BUCK UP.
While Walt and Jesse prepare for the methylamine heist, we see that they’ve gotten Todd — the kid who told them about the nannycam — in on the fun.
He asks Jesse to explain what they’re doing and Jesse says, and this was a thing that definitely annoyed me too, “It’s all about the weight, yo.” Ugh.
The way that we’ve been provided with so many HEAVILY “Jesse” Jesse quotes this season reminds me of something that is probably definitely going to bore you to read about, so I’ll make it quick, but it reminds me of the band the Japandroids and their method for writing their most recent album. They said that they noticed their fans singing along to the big, main, “everyone sing along now”-type hooks in the songs on their old album, so they figured that a good way to write the new album would be to focus on putting a lot of those moments into the new songs. (I don’t actually remember where I read this, so you will either have to take my word or just not believe me.) (I’m sorry!) It “makes sense” and people do love the new Japandroids album, and likewise people do love quoting these Jesse quotes all over social media, but it seems pretty cheap? I mean, it is pretty cheap. People love — and should love — those moments when they seem natural and special, but picking up on how people love these special things and then running them into the ground seems only like something that someone who isn’t interested in the real “art” of the thing would be interested in doing. You know? Someone who is interested in the business of keeping people entertained, but not the art of entertaining them. If you understand what I’m saying. But that is just how I feel about it! Maybe you love it and then it’s worth it for you and who cares. I do love when Jesse says ridiculous things, but I don’t like when ridiculous things seem to be shoved in Jesse’s mouth, which is also kind of what she said. SO ANYWAY.
Ok, so back to angst-y Flynn. He’s back at home with Walt and Skyler and is super mad about having to go to Uncle Hank’s all the time. “Are you seriously kicking me out of me own house?” he asks Walt. “Why do I have to go to Uncle Hank’s? Give me the exact reason or I’m not going there.” Walt (correctly) tells him that he’s going there because he’s the child and they’re the adults and also YOU JUST GOT A FANCY CAR, BUCK UP! Then Walt talks to Skyler about how she is seeing a therapist now and that his first name is Peter but his last name is up to her! Oooooh, fun! Thinking of names is ALWAYS fun. She tells him, “I’m not your wife. I’m your hostage” along with some other stuff that was pretty good, but not as good and kind of in the same vein as her smack down last episode. When Walt leaves she asks, “Out burying bodies?” Hah. “Robbing a train,” he responds. Then the final scenes are all silent, played to this song:
So beautiful. Beautiful show.
JK. But the final shots were all VERY VERY beautiful. I barely took any notes during them because I only wanted to watch them because of how beautiful they were. Also Bill Burr is back with a horrible outfit!
Hi, Bill Burr! Bill Burr is part of the heist plan, alleging that his truck has stopped on the railroad tracks, making it necessary for the train to stop and the guys to get out and try to help him move it. Once they do, and once the train stops in the perfect spot, the boys get to work. To steal a quick action-recapping method from Gabe: Siphon siphon siphon, refill with water refill with water refill with water. Everything’s going well until a good samaritan pulls up to push Bill Burr’s car off the tracks. OH NO!
Mike, who is hiding in the bushes, haha, tells Walt that they need to stop because the train guys are about to stop the train again. But Walt is like, “no.” And he’s like, “keep going.”
But then eventually he’s like, “stop.” And it’s all fine! They got away with it! Everything’s good! Until the sweet boy from the beginning shows up again and waves in the heartbreakingly sweetest way possible:
And then this asshole waves back:
And then he picks up his gun and shoots him, while Jesse screams “NO.”
It was all absolutely awful. I did not cry, I saw some people said on Twitter that they cried so just TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT I did not, but it was awful! Was Todd just doing what he thought was carrying out orders? (“No one other than us can ever know that this robbery went down.”) Will he be disciplined? It will be very interesting to see if and how Jesse changes in reaction to this — I feel like it all keeps escalating near the point where he won’t be able to handle it — and it will be interesting to see how Walt, as The Boss, deals with this. Maybe Todd will replace Jesse? Maybe it will be Mike and Jesse vs. Walt and Todd? Maybe it’s all a dream? Who knows. But I thought this was a great episode. I did have some problems with it, because I am a human, but mostly it was very, very good.
Love ya, Breaking Bad! See you next week!