If your heart wasn’t racing when Jesse was standing on that roadside, you haven’t been paying attention. It’s a cyclical thing in Breaking Bad that just as soon as Walt gets smug that he’s “won” or gotten away with something, another thing (far worse and out of the blue) will happen. While many of us were surprised at how quickly the show put Hank and Walt at loggerheads, on the opposite side we’ve also been waiting a long time to see when things would explode between Jesse and Walt, and where their relationship would go as secrets came out. On Breaking Bad, no deed good or bad goes unpunished. Time is just the distance between cause and effect. Hit the jump for more.
Last week, we ended on the pregnant pause of Hank going in to talk to a catatonic Jesse. Theories buzzed — would Jesse turn on Walt now that he knows Mike is dead and Walt not only killed him, but lied to Jesse about it? Or would Jesse stand strong with Mr. White and tell Hank to go fuck himself? As we learned in this hour, Jesse didn’t waver for one moment. He immediately told Walt all of the information he could gather: that Hank knew Walt was Heisenberg, that he was working alone, and that if there was any real evidence Jesse would be in jail.
But then things turned, and Jesse began to fall apart as Walt “worked” him by telling him he needed a fresh start. Was Walt being sincere? The hopeful among us continue to yearn. Walt is absolutely right that Jesse needs to move on and start a new life and think about these last years as a bad dream. But that idea is not just for Jesse’s benefit, it’s for Walt’s as well. As Jesse breaks down and tells Walt he expected to be killed like Mike for saying no to him, and wanting nothing but honesty from Walt, Walt embraces him. Again, was it sincere?
Opinions will differ, but everything Walt has done to and for Jesse — his worst things, including Jane, the ricin cigarette, all of it –he has done because Walt felt it was in their best interest. Their best interest. Walt has always thought of the two of them as a team. He wouldn’t work with anyone else. There are no substitutes. The same was true for Jesse; Mike offered Jesse some attractive alternatives, but in the end he always chose Mr. White. The show has been about their bond as much as anything. When Walt embraced Jesse, I felt it was a true expression of his feelings towards a man he feels closer to than his own son.
Walt always pushed Jesse too far, and this season, we’re finally see Jesse wake up to Walt’s manipulations. The only time there was a light behind Jesse’s eyes in the interrogation room with Hank was when Hank brought up being sick of Walt’s lies. If Saul hadn’t burst in, what else might have been said by either of them? And then there it was: Saul instructed Huel to steal the weed from Jesse’s pocket just as he had done before with the ricin cigarette. The reality came crashing down on Jesse and all of us.
The explosive encounters between Walt and Hank were just a warm-up. The real shit storm is coming, because this is the real relationship the show has been built around, narratively and emotionally. It took the hour for Jesse to go from sticking by Mr. White in the presence of Hank to getting ready to make Walt’s house explode, because a touchstone secret (the moment when many felt Walt had really broken bad and lost his soul) was finally revealed. Last week’s ending was nothing. He’s there now. The one person Walt came to rely on totally is going to be the one to bring everything crashing down. Hold on to your butts.
Episode Rating: A+
Musings and Miscellanea:
– I didn’t even GET to the genius move of Walt blackmailing Hank and pointing at him as being the kingpin. Too brilliant. The way he integrated everything (Gus, Hector, the hit, the medical money, even the black eye!!) into the video was inspired. The twisting up of every event the two of them have shared … incredible. I can’t blame Marie though for taking the money at the time, she did what she thought she had to do.
– Hank is in an interesting position at work. It’s a good thing he didn’t tell anybody, I suppose, lest the video make its way into the wrong hands. Him giving up when Gomez asked about the tail on Jesse was an interesting moment. Hank is deflated, but we’ve seen him like this before. When he gets to thinking, he’ll figure something out. A friend of mine mentioned to me this week how he feels Hank is the real hero of the show, the only un-besmirched guy who really is on the side of right. Could well be! He’s certainly always been an interesting foil for Walt.
– If you haven’t read it, gander at a great op-ed piece written by Anna Gunn (Skyler) about people hating her character.
– What was that scene with Todd all about? I get that he was recounting the train heist and talking about Walt’s precision with awe, but I’m curious what bearing it has on the future. Also, his White Power Uncle is terrifying.
– When Walt said to Jesse that he would love to trade places with him (to go off the grid and start a new life), I wonder if that was foreshadowing to Walt’s identity change that was teased at the beginning of last year’s episodes.
– Poor Walt Jr / Flynn. He does not have a fucking clue. Walt manipulating him to keep him away from Marie and also to keep Marie and Hank from telling him the truth was ruthless.
– How great is Saul? I know, I know, but … seriously. How great is he?
– That dinner with the foursome was even more awkward than the one when Jesse showed up last season (but similarly hilarious).
– Purple count — 7+: shirt, lamp bucket thing, vase, Kleenex box, pillow, rug, chair. Was Marie’s dress at the restaurant black or dark purple?
– “Kill yourself, Walt. This whole thing dies with you.” – Marie