(Warning: spoilers ahead!) Here's where we left off on last week's Breaking Bad: Walt and Jesse were planning to get back in the meth business (with Mike as the extremely reluctant third partner), Lydia the Bumbling Madrigal executive had tentatively agreed to supply the gang with the chemical needed for their product, and Hank and his cop buddies were circling closer than ever to the truth behind Heisenberg. Oh yeah, and Skyler endured yet another unbelievably creepy Walt-caress, putting Bryan Cranston on par with Benicio Del Toro in terms of Most Unpleasant On-Camera Intimate Moments.
Okay! *brisk clap* Now that we're all up to date, let's chat about what happened on tonight's show, because damn.
In fact, how about we jump right into the most memorable section of the episode, which was Walt and Jesse's new cooking environment. I mean, was that not one of the most immaculately-shot, perfectly-presented, most fucked up scenarios in Breaking Bad history? The music, the artful sequences of chemical reactions, the cool precision of the men working -- the lingering glance at the family photos on the wall? (Bonus points to the visual of off-gassing chemicals billowing gently over the kiddie pool.)
As disturbing as it is to think of someone setting up a makeshift meth lab in a family home, I'm almost more distracted by the idea of someone having to do such a full-scale fumigation. Is this a New Mexico pest thing? I mean, we get some freaky big-ass spiders in the Pacific Northwest, but I use a shoe for that shit, you know?
Anyway, so Walt and Jesse clearly have their production plan -- as rife with disaster as it seems (good thing the vaguely-Matt-Damon-looking pest control dude spotted that nannycam) -- figured out, and Mike's the business guy who's harshing Walt's mellow by controlling the cash flow. Mike knows who has to be paid and why, but Walt's become greedy and arrogant and thinks he can control everything. Which led to the interesting conversation at the end of the episode, when Walt reminisced to Jesse about good old Victor, whose throat was cut because he overstepped his bounds. Man oh man. Remember what Mike said about Walt being a time bomb? Tick tick tick tick.
Walt's been capable of some major deceptions before, but there was a special kind of awful in the way he lied to Marie, setting Skyler up as the bad guy and himself as the poor cuckolded spouse. (And what the hell, am I actually feeling sorry for Skyler these days? As much as I've disliked her in every season to date, that scene of her mindlessly shrieking, "SHUT UP, SHUT UP" over and over was excruciating. Topped only, perhaps, by her agonized expression when she came into the living room later that night to see her son and Walt watching Scarface. "Everyone dies in this movie," Walt said, casually.)
Also horrible: the way Walt planted the seed for Jesse to break up with Andrea. "I trust you to do the right thing," he said, sly as always -- then completely ignored Jesse's attempt to actually discuss the breakup later. God, what a soulless MONSTER Walt's become. (This is obviously going to be the season where I spend every episode marveling over the masterful character arcs that have brought us to where we are.)
In an episode chock-full of disturbing moments and looming dread, the return of Badger and Skinny Pete was a welcome, if brief, distraction. Although even that was infused with sadness, wasn't it? With Skinny Pete's unexpectedly beautiful keyboard solo, and the specter of the Pete That Could Have Been? Oh Breaking Bad, you're always breaking our hearts -- and we keep coming back for more.
What did you think of tonight's episode? Do you think Walt was talking about getting rid of Mike in his Victor/Icarus speech at the end?
Image via AMC