Breaking Bad Episode 402 “Thirty-Eight Snub”

402index“You won, Walter,” Mike says. “You got the job. Learn to take yes for an answer.” These quotes will resonate, one at the end of this season, one in the next.

In the season premiere, Marie mentions to Hank that she really likes the new PT guy, and it’s easy to see why. The guy is encouraging but not overly so. He seems to really be helping not just with Hank’s body but also with his emotional state. Hank puts on a good face around the guy. So much so that Marie wants him to move in. Marie is really overdoing the cheeriness here, which understandably irritates Hank. Both of their dispositions–Marie’s over-the-top optimism (bordering on patronizing at times) and Hank’s gruffness and grouchiness–have amped up since the premiere. I still really feel for both of them.

They have a strong marriage, despite little blips here and there, but now Hank is in a place Marie has never seen him, that we the viewers have never seen him. His PT is going, but it’s so slow and he’s in so much pain and he has this new mineral obsession and there’s no DEA or detective work to speak of. He takes some of it out on Marie but he also tries to pull back some. I think that neither of them know what to do with this new Hank, with the fear that the old Hank, in body and in mind, may not return.

Walt just gets knocked about and put down and thwarted at every turn in this episode. He is even defeated by inanimate objects (his gun) in the hilarious scene in his apartment when Skyler calls. At the end of the last episode, Walt asked Jesse if he had any thoughts about their next move. Jesse didn’t think there was a next move to be made, and by the looks of things, this may be right. Walt’s idea of the next move is obviously to shoot Gus.

But it just doesn’t happen. Power keeps getting taken away from Walt. He can’t draw his weapon well. When he goes to try to shoot Gus at the superlab, it turns out to be Tyrus. Walt is so funny how he says, “Hello?” and Jesse’s all normal. Then Mike comes in and tells Walt he’ll never see Gus again. Oh and his yield will be double-checked every time. When Walt goes to Gus’s home, gun and Heisi hat in hand, he gets called off. Later, he finds out Mike could see his gun in the superlab. He goes to talk to Mike and explains himself. “Everything I did was out of loyalty to my partner, and later of course, out of self-defense.” I think Mike gets that. But then Walt has to go and try to enlist Mike as an ally, and makes it very clear to Mike that he wants to kill Gus. Big mistake. You almost wonder where the season might’ve gone if Walt hadn’t been so, so obvious about his plan. Sure, things were never going to be great after Gale’s murder, but if Walt’s intention to kill Gus wasn’t so transparent, then who knows? So Mike punches him and kicks him while he’s down.

As if all these insults and put-downs aren’t enough, there’s an indirect one from Bogdan. He wants to charge Skyler ten million dollars for the carwash because that’s the price he’ll offer Walter White, and he goes so far as to imply that Walt isn’t a real man because he sent Skyler to talk to him. I think it’s so great that they brought Bogdan back for this season. No character ever gets left behind on Breaking Bad.

There’s a similar pattern with the beginning of Season Three and Season Four. Both open after Walt has done something terrible to Jesse (letting Jane die, asking Jesse to kill Gale), and in both seasons, Walt and Jesse start going on separate trajectories. Last season, they literally didn’t work together for several episodes. In this one, they are continuing to work together in the superlab but they are still on such separate paths.

Great details in this episode:
Saul’s commercial is on at Mike’s bar, and he’s still trying to drum up business over the 515 Wayfarer airplane crash.
Mike has a spot of Victor’s blood on him.
When Walt goes to Gus’s house to shoot him, there’s all this mounting creepy music that silences for a moment when he puts the Heisi hat on.
Brock trying to get out of the car, then looking back longingly at Jesse as Andrea drives off.
Skinny Pete being sensitive about his zone.
Badger and Skinny Pete arguing about zombie video games.
Badger going down to do some meth, then the shot comes up on Skinny Pete.
The debut of the roomba.

402aimagesJesse. Oh, this part of the overall Breaking Bad story is so well-done. I don’t think that in any of the episodes this season, Jesse ever says what’s going on, to anyone, but his inner turmoil is shown so well in so many scenes and episodes, and here’s where it all starts. “It’s quiet,” he says early in the episode. He invites Badger and Skinny Pete over and talks them both into falling off the recovery wagon and doing meth, throws this huge party, throws around money to keep the party going, tries so hard to get Badger and Skinny Pete to stay. He doesn’t want quiet. He doesn’t want to be alone. He’s numb.

This rang very real to me. It’s a totally different form of PTSD than what Hank experienced, but Hank was in a shootout, Jesse’s situation was different. I’m just so glad the writers chose to show a completely different but still overwhelming reaction. He’s suffering big-time. Jesse will never be the same after this. And he shouldn’t be. I’ve never been through anything like what Jesse just experienced but there was a time, after going through some shit, that I felt a little like he does here, the not wanting quiet, not wanting to be alone, feeling numb and wanting to feel and yet wanting to stay numb. It’s like a prolonged state of shock to the system. Maybe it’s because I once experienced that feeling myself that I found Jesse’s reactions so spot on in this episode.

Jesse and Andrea see each other for the first time since Walt ran over her brother’s killers. He left her some money and tells her she should use it to get out of that shitty neighborhood. It was so clear how close Jesse and Brock had gotten in such a short time. Brock wanted to hang out with Jesse so much. I like Andrea and Brock for Jesse. I don’t think Andrea and Jesse have the same kind of electricity and chemistry as Jane and Jesse did, but I think that’s a good thing. Jane and Jesse were great but soooo destructive together. Andrea has problems, sure, but she’s good, and this seems like a more solid situation for a slowly maturing Jesse. We’ll have to see where it goes.

The episode ends on the most compelling moment of Jesse’s inner torture. His friends have had a little too much partying and decide to go. All alone, but not wanting to feel alone, Jesse sits against the speakers for his new stereo system, to be close to something, even an inanimate object, to be more engulfed in noise, to feel something. It’s a stark ending. Our boys are not in good places, either of them, and ending on this note just underscores the hopelessness that permeates this season. Ending on this heartbreaking scene (portrayed so well without any dialogue) suggests more of the same to come.

Bring it on, right?

~Emilia J

Next Episode: Open House

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One thought on “Breaking Bad Episode 402 “Thirty-Eight Snub”

  1. I just now found your review site. I like your personal touch, how you relate to th. ep. on a personal level. Trying my best 2 finish th.series b4 th. holidays. Hey Emilia, I’m dying 2 find th. name of that jam that kicks off Jesses big party @12min 16sec. ( say unga bunga bunga gee…) Shazam app. didn’t help! Feel free to email me if you have th. time or th. answer…thanks, The Hook

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