This is a challenging episode to write about. It’s amazing, but there’s so much I can’t say until the next one without giving too much away.
It’s interesting, the first time I watched this one, I was so caught up in what was happening, and the drama and the suspense of it all. This time around, I paid more attention to some of the small things.
There’s some great, interesting camerawork going on. That shot of Jesse and Tyrus from above, when they’re standing in the superlab with everything turned off as Gomez and his guy investigate upstairs. The angle heightens the sense of these two as in some danger. The other camera thing I loved was the whole part where Jesse goes back to his car out in the desert. More wonderful lingering on the quiet moment in a loud, drama-filled episode. And as always, beautiful landscape, the sunlight on the edge, the wide shot, the power lines. Similar lingering when Jesse’s laying on his couch playing with the lighter before he gets the call from Andrea.
So, speaking of danger. Skyler has been asking Walt all season if they’re in danger. It starts after he disappears and then a few days later she sees his black eye. Then there’s the phone call and the thing Walt says to Hank about Gale not being his Heisenberg, mid-season. Walt has told her over and over that he’s not in danger. The family’s not in danger. He’s the danger. But now, they’re all in danger.
The scene between Walt and Skyler in the beginning was so much more poignant upon rewatching. No matter everything that’s happened, and how much they’re arguing here, they still really care about each other. And it’s a goodbye. Walt doesn’t expect, at this point, to make it out of this alive. He’s saying let me stay behind and let Gus kill me. Skyler sees this and doesn’t want to let him, and there’s that moment where Walt softens and says, “Oh Skyler.” So sad. Walt just wants to keep them safe and he knows that means he has to stay behind.
Then Walt is home alone, spinning his revolver, which points at him twice. The next time it points at a plant. Walt is just waiting to be killed.
Over at the Schrader household, Skyler, as always, gets all the flack from Jr. And Hank puts together, just as Walt said would happen were anything to happen to Hank, that someone doesn’t like Hank’s recent activities. If nothing else made him sure, now Hank knows, really knows, he’s onto something with this Fring thing. Now the whole family knows that Hank suspects Gus.
My favorite moment is when Hank says someone doesn’t like what he’s been doing on his off hours, and Jr goes, “What, minerals?”
Another great little moment, following that great angle on Jesse and Tyrus in the superlab, is how Tyrus won’t move to give Jesse the phone, makes Jesse walk a few steps to get it. Everything is a power play, and Jesse has a certain amount of power as the cook, but it’s a subtle way for Tyrus to put Jesse in his place.
Jesse won’t sign off on Gus killing Walt. Gus tries so hard, he blames Walt for bringing the DEA to the laundry, but Jesse just won’t do it. I saw a few interviews with Aaron Paul, and he said he doesn’t think that Jesse ever would’ve signed off, that Gus could’ve pushed and pushed but Jesse just never would have broken his loyalty to Walt. And it’s interesting how things have changed. Last season ended with Walt saving Jesse and then Jesse saving Walt, and then Season Four starts with Walt as the needed cook saving Jesse’s ass by saying he won’t cook if Gus kills Jesse, and now it comes towards an end with Jesse as the cook arguing for Walt to be kept alive.
And this is a great place to say that the acting on everyone’s part in this episode–Anna Gunn, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Steven Michael Quesada, Emily Rios–is just superb. Like mind-blowingly good.
Sort of mirroring the poignancy of the early scene with Walt and Skyler is the scene between Jesse and Andrea. These two really seem like family in this episode. It’s so sad when the nurse asks Jesse if he’s Brock’s father and he says no and can’t go in. But he’s so good here, such a good support to Andrea, so worried about Brock. Just look at that way Jesse and Andrea hug. When Jesse goes for a cigarette and sees that the ricin one isn’t there, that’s some more amazing camera stuff shooting up through the cigarettes to Jesse’s face. And then Jesse goes crazy.
It is no surprise, really, that Aaron Paul won an Emmy for this episode. As we’ve seen so often is that his strength comes from being so, so emotionally raw. Holy shit, the scene between Walt and Jesse is so, so intense. It’s another one that I could watch over and over and over. I almost don’t want to say anything. This is a scene that should just be watched in silence.
Walt just leaves his gun there for Jesse to pick up. He has it in hand at first but then he sets it down. And then he talks about being hunted by Gus, about his family in danger. He’s afraid. When Jesse asks why did you do it, Walt goes straight to the DEA watch on Hank, but Jesse’s talking about Brock. The best line is when Walt asks why he would do poison a child and Jesse says, “To get back at me. Because I’m helping Gus. And this is your way of ripping my heart out before you’re dead and gone. Just admit it.” Holy god, so good.
So then Walt does the whole, “Oh my God,” like he just realized something. But he doesn’t immediately say that Gus did it. He starts laughing, like last episode, then presents the whole thing as Gus setting this up to make Jesse turn on Walt and not only get Jesse’s consent for Gus to kill Walt but to have Jesse kill him. He does it in a bit of a roundabout way though.
After all, it’s not like Gus hasn’t used, possibly ordered a hit on, another kid in Andrea’s family.
This show is just too fucking brilliant sometimes.
By the way, even though Walt has a gun to his head and all, I bet it pains him to say that Gus has been ten steps ahead of him, and to ascribe something “brilliant” to Gus.
Jesse, as always, when he’s righteously rageful about an injustice, like he was in 312 “Half Measures” when Tomas was killed, is about to set off to kill Gus and doesn’t care if he dies trying. And Walt offers to help. Jesse now wants to do the thing that Walt has been trying, unsuccessfully, to get him to do all season. Now it’s Jesse’s idea and Walt wants to help. He wants Jesse to just drive away but Jesse can’t, he can’t leave Andrea and Brock. The scene where he’s looking at them but isn’t allowed in, heartbreaking. He really loves them.
It might be a good thing for Jesse to stay in a hospital now. There’s security around so he has some leverage against Tyrus. Reminds me of Walt calling 911 on Tyrus a few episodes back. It’s funny, I didn’t like Tyrus at first, but I have come to like him in a strange way.
Is this the only time that Gus calls Jesse “Jesse”? I don’t remember Gus ever calling him anything but “Pinkman” or “Mr. Pinkman” in the past. I love that this meeting happens in the chapel. And how good is this between them when Jesse tells Gus the boy’s been poisoned, Gus says how did that happen and Jesse says, “The doctors, they don’t know.” Gus changes his mind at this point, allows Jesse to stay in the hospital, says he can come back next week. We know Gus never, ever wants to interrupt his production schedule, so this is a big deal.
So is that what sets Gus off?
And here, we end with something there has been so much of this season. Walt attempts to kill Gus and once again, denied. His plan doesn’t work. Was that Walt’s last card to play? How can they get Gus alone again? Will Brock live?
- Breaking Bad Episode 411 “Crawl Space”
- Breaking Bad Episode 410 “Salud”
- Breaking Bad Episode 409 “Bug”
- Breaking Bad Episode 408 “Hermanos”
- Breaking Bad Episode 407 “Problem Dog”
- Breaking Bad Episode 406 “Cornered”
- Breaking Bad Episode 405 “Shotgun”
- Breaking Bad Episode 404 “Bullet Points”
- Breaking Bad Episode 403 “Open House”
- Breaking Bad Episode 402 “Thirty-Eight Snub”
- Breaking Bad Episode 401 “Box Cutter”
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- Breaking Bad Season 2 Episode Posts
- Breaking Bad Season 1 Episode Posts
- “End Times” Insider Podcast
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