If it came down to it, you know, gun to my head, or desert island and I can only take one episode of Breaking Bad, I think this would be it. It seems like half the episodes would be on my top five list (the show is just too good), but if we are talking absolute favorite, not one of, not a handful of choices, well, “Full Measure” is in first place.
I’m not exactly sure what it says about my psychology or twisted mind that I love this episode so much, an episode where the sweetest, most innocent (aside from being a meth cook) character gets shot in the face. But I love this one like no other.
Jesse’s going off the rails and Walt’s getting his Heisenberg mojo back. And Jesse’s sobriety is over.
There is so much going on here it’s hard to know where to start. Guess I’ll mention a few visual details first. The neon green in some of the scenes with Wendy inside the Crystal Palace is ominous and haunting and beautiful. I like how the teaser ends with Jesse in a car and the first act opens on Walt in a car, and they’re in such different situations. During Mike’s “half measures” speech I couldn’t stop looking at how his ears are backlit.
With every season, there’s a storm of bad stuff brewing that hits full tilt by the finale. This episode, like 211 “Mandala” last season, is setting the stage for that storm. The clouds are gathering and growing ominous. As tragic as last season’s end was with Jane’s death and the plane crash, the world of Breaking Bad is somehow darker now.
So many stories are going on at once. Hank is officially off the Heisenberg trail by now. He’s in incredible pain, struggling with PT and with not walking, and being rude to everyone around him, very real for his situation. At least for now, Hank has other things to focus on or wallow in that don’t involve looking for the blue meth mastermind. So that monkey is off Walt’s back.
Oh shit. One of my all-time favorite episodes of this show EVER. I noticed that, last season, I was just saying that about too many episodes, which is natural when a show is this good, so I purposely held off this season and plan to only say it about two Season Three episodes (possibly three, the last half of Season Three may be my favorite part of the entire series). And “Fly” is one of them.
I know it’s a real fan divider. People love it or hate it. And I LOVE it. You know why? Because this is the only episode, ever, in the whole show that I almost turned off because I just couldn’t keep watching. So many episodes have been so intense that I would have to soothe myself by naming the elements during the credits or something–a sign of a really great series, no doubt. But this is the only episode that I thought I couldn’t watch. It was that good.
I still remember the first time I saw this one. It was late at night, I was binging on this amazing new show, watching it on Netflix, laying in bed with my iPad and Walt and Jesse and the fly in the superlab. And I was thinking this is the dumbest episode ever, did the writers accidentally start using Walt’s product or what? A fly, seriously? This is totally on crack. And then it turned.
Walter and Jesse may be working together again, but they’re still at odds with each other. They’ve been on separate trajectories this season, and at this point, I think they still are, at least on the surface. They’re having such different reactions to the job in the superlab. It’s like a regular job, with regular hours and a quota and you can even pack a brown bag lunch if you want. From the teaser, you get a sense of the superlab as part of one big assembly line. You also get a global sense of how Gus’s operation works, how organized and orchestrated it is, in just a few minutes.
Jesse misses being a criminal, feeling like a criminal. He’s also figured out–and it’s pretty funny when he says how he calculated it so many times–that though they’re getting paid extremely well for what they do, in Walt’s words, percentage-wise, not so much. They’re getting a lot of money but not a big piece of the pie. Oh I am dying to connect this to Season Five, but out of not wanting to spoil anything for those who may not have seen it yet, I won’t. Just, how funny is it to see this scene, after watching 506? Everything on this show comes back in different ways.
This is a quieter episode than last week. It has to be. There’s a natural fallout period after what happened to Hank last week. The characters all have to take the time to react and deal.
But I must say, my favorite ever Jesse “bitch” line is in this episode. Outside the hospital, Jesse is told he can’t smoke this close to the building and he says, “So, roll me further, bitch” in this perfect matter-of-fact tone. He’s not hurling the word as he sometimes does, and I think it’s actually funnier this way. LOVE IT!
Skyler continues her turn back towards Walt that’s been slowly developing all season. She has no patience when he’s all, “Do you know who that was?” re: the phone call–she knows enough to know that whatever he’s about to tell her is bullshit. But when Marie starts to blame Walt, she defends him. And later she’s sleeping on him. Such a nice turn, to see the ice between them start to thaw.
Well, this sure is one drama-filled hour of television.
Walter, Jesse and Hank all face some big decisions in this episode. A lot of it is about loyalty, and trying to do the right thing and deciding what they value most.
First of all, though, poor Gale. Gale is just so earnest, so hopeful, so ass-kissy but well-meaning. Gale dressing more like Walt is the perfect detail. It shows so much about his character, and about the power dynamic. Walt is in charge, Gale is the supplicant. But it annoys Walt. And I totally get that. Gale just has to top it off with “This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.” Oh it’s just too much for Walt, who needs to find a way to appease Jesse, as a way to appease Skyler. I don’t think Gale actually messed up the batch. He’s too meticulous, too ready to attune the lab setup, and himself, to Walt’s every whim, that I just don’t believe he screwed up the temperature. Walt just wants to make him feel bad so that he can have an excuse to fire him. I think it’s one step more than that though. I think Gale is a little too smart for Walt. Making Gale feel like crap, like he turned a badge into ruined sludge, makes Walt feel better, the superior alpha chemist.