Breaking Bad Episode 405 “Shotgun”

405imagesIt’s been established in the past that Walt should probably not make speeches or take any sort of pain or pre-op meds, and this week we add two more items to the list of things Walter White should not do: drink heavily after his ego’s been insulted and drive a forklift.

The onslaught to Walt’s pride just keeps coming. Has Walt been successful at anything this season other than staying alive? It seems that every attempt at moving in any direction since then has been thwarted and put down in one way or another. He gets nowhere trying to save Jesse, and it turns out Jesse doesn’t even really need saving, he storms in to see Gus who turns out not to be there; he hooks up with Skyler then she decides, without checking with him, that he will move back in and when; then after all Walt goes through trying to save Jesse, Jesse comes back and sorta bosses Walt around; and then Jr drinks out of a Beneke mug and that just does Walt in. But if all that isn’t enough, Hank has to go on and on about what a genius meth chef Gale was.

And Walt just can’t let it slide, oh no. He has to drunkenly say that Gale can’t be Heisenberg. Walt may be slighted in all these ways, and they all hurt his pride, but he has to be thought of as the alpha chemist, the genius, the maestro, the Michelangelo, and can’t, just can’t let Gale take the credit. Even if it means he sets his DEA brother-in-law back in motion.

Hank has spent soooo many episodes out of commission and recovering from his gunshot wound. In a story sense, this makes sense. Hank was getting really close, tracking down Jesse and the RV, and for the story to go on and for our boys to keep cooking, Hank’s detective work had to take a backseat for awhile and he had to have a different sort of story during that time. Hank has one other thing to keep him off the trail, and that’s his history with Jesse, who almost sued him last season. Hank beat Jesse up and had to turn in his badge and gun because of it, so Hank has to hold back big time on anything relating to one Mr. Jesse Pinkman.

But now the time has come for Hank to come back as a cop, thanks to a little tip from Walt. How dumb and prideful is Walt? Pride is, for sure, his fatal flaw. It went directly against his long-term self-interest! This is when you know that Walt must feel really wounded and inferior somehow, otherwise why would he act like this?

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 10.23.10 PMHmmm, this brings up a bit of a tangent. We know something happened with Gray Matter, the company that he started with Gretchen and Elliot, and there was some falling out. We still don’t know the deeper details of what went on, how Walt went from contributing to Nobel Prize worthy research to teaching high school chemistry. In that flashback in “Full Measure,” Walt is not working at Gray Matter but Sandia Labs. It’s possible that it was simply an element of discontinuity in the show’s narrative, but that seems unlikely, given the writers’ attention to detail. So then what? Walt worked at Sandia and then Gray Matter? So did he have fallings out with both places? Why when the Gray Matter shit went down didn’t Walt get some other chemistry-related research job, do some x-ray crystallography, find another lab? Why did he go into teaching for $43,000? It makes me think there is more to Walt, to his story, like maybe it was more his fault than we might originally think? Like Walt, having all these ego issues, took the easy way out, so he would never have to fail? (Synthetic chemistry includes a LOT of failure, by its nature). I always wanted just a little bit more, to know, more for certain if Walt had been screwed or if he’d been a coward earlier in life, or what combination of both. But I doubt we’ll ever know for sure.

So Hank is back on it and he is already connecting the dots to Los Pollos Hermanos. Shit is picking up fast here.

My favorite Hank line of possibly the whole season is, “It’s like Scarface had sex with Mr. Rogers.” Could there be a more perfect way to describe Gale?

405indexThe beginning of the episode is amazing, and makes me feel more sympathy and collusion with Walt than I have at other points this season. He may be completely unsuccessful, but he tries to save Jesse, and he goes into it knowing he might die, asking Saul to give all his money to Skyler if he doesn’t survive. Walt’s been a little cold to Jesse this season so it goes a long way that Walt goes on this rescue mission, even though he doesn’t have a clear plan or end up doing anything useful. Intentions count and his were good here.

In the last episode, Walt says that he has a partner who doesn’t care if he lives or dies, and in this episode, I thought, Jesse wants to live. He thinks Mike is going to kill him, but he grabs his keys and says, “You better shoot straight or I’ll slice off your other ear before this is over,” and this shows that there is still fight in him. Same with later when he protects the stash. If he really didn’t care, he would make different choices. I think an episode or so ago, he could’ve cared less, but somehow, tortured with boredom as he is, Jesse is slowly coming back to life. Of course, it won’t happen overnight, or completely.

Walt and Jesse haven’t been on the same paths, even as they’ve been working together in the superlab, but now they’re actually physically separated, and it looks like that will only continue from here.

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 10.22.31 PM When Jesse returns to the lab, he seems more together. But of course, he’s being played. The interesting thing here is that we see that Mike, though he’s like Gus’s other right hand man (in addition to Tyrus) doesn’t know what’s going on either. He may have more power than Walt and Jesse, but he’s not on the same level with Gus. He even said a few episodes back that Walt gets paid more than he does. Mike has no idea why he’s taking Jesse with him, or why Gus wanted to stage the robbery, but he trusts Gus. Mike and Jesse get a little moment of camraderie at the end.

“Go ahead kid, smoke up.” Gotta love Mike.

~Emilia J

Next Episode: Cornered

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