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Monthly Archives: August 2013

I did it!

Hey, everybody (actually nobody yet that I know of!) —

I finally did it! Finished my summaries of all the episodes and seasons so far of “Breaking Bad,” the most amazing TV show ever. In time for the last eight episodes, too…I did it to be prepared for the last eight, and I feel I am. I don’t know if I’ll add summaries of the last eight and the series as a whole before I’m done — probably, but most likely not as quickly as you’ll be able to find elsewhere. Meanwhile, I hope at least a few people will find this site of interest/helpful in understanding the show.

I’d love to hear from other fans…

P.S. Two of my most recent entries are from season 3, oddly enough, because I forgot to actually publish them after I wrote them. I hope this won’t put them out of order when you search by season; I know it may look strange to a first-time viewer.

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Season 3, episode 12: “Half Measures”

Breaking Bad, 3-12: “Half Measures”

Opener

“Windy” by the Association plays as Wendy, the meth prostitute, goes about her business of giving blow jobs (“Who’s bendin’ down to give me a rainbow?”). We see her giving a fast-food bag to the thugs from Tomás’s corner for meth as Jesse watches.

Scene 1: Casa Blanca, a nice bar

Walt and Skyler, both dressed in black, hammer out a deal. First, Walt says, “You should just take the money I give you and not look too closely at it, so if, God forbid, I get caught, you maintain plausible deniability.”

Skyler objects that it would be implausible for her to see a lot more money coming in than Walt’s former $43,000-a-year salary and not ask questions. “I’d rather have them think I’m Bonnie What’s-her-name than a complete idiot.” Walt and Skyler are alike in their pride and need to control things.

Finally, the two agree that Walt can have dinner at home with the family four nights a week.

Jesse talks Walt into getting a beer with him after work. At the bar – a nice place –Jesse pushes the little bag of meth he bought from Tomás across the table toward Walt. “Look at this, and tell me if it’s ours.”

“Yes, it’s ours,” Walt says. “Where did you get it?”

“I bought it from the two guys that killed Combo. They work for our guy. They had an 11-year-old shoot Combo on his orders. They use kids, ’cause if they get arrested, all they get is juvi. Hearts and minds, right? Get ’em young, and they’re yours forever. These guys killed Combo, using this little kid like some puppet to kill my friend.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“I need ricin.”

“Oh, my God!”

“They gotta go. I got it all figured out. I know a woman who brings ’em food when she buys her meth, ’cause it knocks a few bucks off her price. There’s your delivery system right there. I could be a mile away.”

“You trust her?”

“She stood up to questioning by your brother-in-law for five hours.”

“No. I’d end up in prison, right alongside you. You can’t be serious!”

“Oh, it’s not gonna work? How about when it was your plan – back when we were gonna use it on Tuco?”

“Apples and oranges.”

“Two or three days later, they get the flu or have a heart attack, and keel over. That other scumbag we work for is never gonna figure it out. It’s a good plan.”

“Tuco wanted to murder us. These guys don’t. Apples and oranges.”

“Combo was us, man! He was one of us! Does that mean nothing?”

“Why didn’t you go after these guys at the time?”

“‘Cause I just found out about it.”

“You could have tracked them down, but back then you were too busy getting high, feeling sorry. Murder is not part of your 12-step program. This is not some amends that you have to make. What you’re talking about here achieves nothing.”

“If you don’t see what it accomplishes, there’s no way I can explain it to you.” Jesse starts to get up.

“Jesse, listen to me! You are not a murderer! I am not, and you are not. It’s as simple as that.” Really?

Jesse pushes some money across the table toward Walt, and gets up.

“Jesse!”

“I’m doin’ it, with or without you.”

Scene 2: Saul’s office, Wendy’s motel room, Casa Blanca

Walt asks Saul if he could get Jesse arrested for something minor to get him off the streets for thirty days. Saul says “That’s my premium services package. I’ll call my P.I.”

Jesse asks Wendy if she understands what she has to do. Mentioning her young son, he asks her how she’d feel if he was treated like Tomás. Jesse’s paying Wendy with two teenths of meth. It’s unexplained how he obtained the ricin.

Mike visits Walt at home and tells him he’s not going to get Jesse arrested because “it’s moronic…The boss wouldn’t like it.” This is when Walt finds out here that Gus, not Saul, is Mike’s real boss. Mike adds, “You got a good thing goin’ here – we all do. Want to risk it all on one junkie? I realize you two have a history, but this kid’s been on the bubble a while now. It’s a long time comin’.”

Then Mike tells his half measures/full measures story about when he was a beat cop and had to go on the same domestic violence call over and over. Finally, he threatened the husband with a gun and told him he’d kill him if he beat his wife again. “Two weeks later, he killed her. The moral of the story is, I chose a half measure when I shoulda gone all the way. I’ll never make that mistake again. No more half measures, Walter.”

Scene 3: Tomás’s corner, Gus’s chicken farm office

Jesse and Wendy are in Jesse’s car with the bag of ricin-laced hamburgers. Jesse says, “All I see is the kid. Where are they?”

Then Mike knocks on Jesse’s window and says, “I need you to come with me,” and Victor tells Wendy to “take a walk.”

When they get to the chicken ranch, Jesse sees Walt’s car there. He’s made to sit at the table across from Gus and Walt, with the two corner thugs on one end. “I understand that you have a problem with two of my employees,” Gus says. “It is true that they killed one of your associates and that they may have acted rashly. But there was provocation – the man was selling on their territory. This will go no further. It will be settled right here, right now.”

Jesse to Walt: “You told him.”

Gus stands up and tells the thugs to wait outside. He goes around to Jesse, and says, “Listen to me. You have one friend in this room – this man.” He points to Walt. “Those men outside are my trusted employees, and when I learned what you intended to do…If it wasn’t for this man and the respect I have for him, I would be dealing with this in a very different way…Don’t look at him – look at me…This is what happens now. My men will come back inside. And you will shake their hands, and you will make peace. And that will be the end of this.”

There’s a pause. Then, to everyone’s surprise, Jesse says, “No.” He stands and faces Gus, saying, “They use kids. These assholes of yours – they got an 11-year-old boy doing their killing for them. You’re supposed to be some kind of reasonable businessman? This is how you do business?” Then Jesse challenges Walt. “You okay with this? You got anything to say here?”

Jesse turns back to Gus, who says, “Bring them back.” Jesse continues to stand, as Mike, Victor, and the thugs fill in the space behind him. Gus says, “No more children. Understand?” He turns to Jesse. “And you – you keep the peace.” Jesse nods, very slightly. “Say it.”

“Yeah – I’ll keep the peace.”

“Shake hands.” They do. Jesse turns and looks at Walt, who seems uncomfortable.

All the way back into town in Walt’s car, Jesse refuses to speak or look at him. Walt says, “Jesse, your actions affect other people. Sometimes compromises have to be made for the best of reasons.”

Still not looking at Walt, Jesse smiles slightly, knowingly. He gets out when Walt stops across the street from his car. “Jesse! Jesse!” Walt shouts as his partner gets out, gets in his car, and drives away. Tomás rides up.

Scene 4: Hank’s hospital room, Andrea’s, Tomás’s corner, the lab, the Whites’

Marie makes a bet with Hank that if she can “get the groundhog to see his shadow [give him an erection],” he’ll go home. “You’re just being foolish,” Hank says. “What’s the point?”
“The point is: you’re not completely helpless. Do we have a bet?”

“You know what? If it’ll get you outta here quicker, you have one minute.” Another one minute…Marie wins the bet, and Hank’s shown being wheeled out of the hospital, his lap full of pictures and flowers.

The next morning, Jesse’s in bed with Andrea when her grandmother calls to tell her that Tomás has been shot. Hearing his mother’s cries, Brock stands in the doorway, while Jesse looks shocked and guilt-ridden. He goes with Andrea to the scene, where Tomás lies dead, amid police flashers.

Walt calls Jesse from the lab to tell him he’s “42 minutes late.” Later, at home, as Junior finishes watching “Jeopardy” and Skyler makes dinner, he calls Jesse again, still getting just his voicemail. He says, “I hope you’re still not looking for an apology, because I did not rat you out. I was looking out for your best interests as well as my own. Call me back.”

A few minutes later, the TV news reports a murder in the South Valley: “11-year-old Tomás Cantillo may have been the victim of a gang-related execution.” Skyler asks Walt to turn “that off. I’m sorry – it’s just that they’ve been talking about it all day…”

Walt leaves the house, as Jesse, in his car at Tomás’s corner, snorts meth, his first use of drugs since Jane’s death. Wearing a black knit cap and dark clothes, he sees the car he’s been waiting for and a figure going over to it. Getting a gun (not the revolver of the Tuco days, but a semi-automatic pistol) from under his seat, Jesse gets out of the car, puts the gun in his pants pocket, and, without flinching or pausing walks slowly toward the car. The two thugs get out of it and walk toward him, showdown-style, guns at the ready.

Suddenly, from out of nowhere, Walt’s Aztek jumps the curb and runs the thugs down, as Jesse gasps in shock. Walt gets out of his car and, grabbing a fallen gun, quickly and efficiently shoots a still-conscious thug in the head. Looking up at Jesse, he says, “Run!”

 

Season 3, episode 13: “Full Measure”

Breaking Bad, 3-13: “Full Measure”

Opener

We see the White home, empty and faintly sinister, a man in a black suit standing in the deserted living room writing in a small notebook. We realize it’s a flashback when we see Skyler, in a long pink maternity dress and a ’70s hairstyle, enter with a much younger-looking Walt. They greet the realtor, who mentions the lab Walt works at and says it makes him think of “giant space lasers.” He leaves the Whites alone, and Skyler tries to sell the house to a reluctant Walt, who doesn’t think three bedrooms are enough, since they want “three kids, eventually.” He also wants a spare room, “so I can work at home and you can write…I think we need to set our sights high…Why buy a starter house when we’ll have to move up in a year or two? Why be cautious when there’s nowhere to go but up?”

Scene 1: a dry mountain meadow

We see some deserted corrals and the Aztek with a damaged front end. Walt waits in the car, his windshield shattered for the third time. A cuckoo sings mournfully, and a light wind blows. Finally, Gus’s station wagon appears over the horizon, its lights on, and Walt’s cell phone buzzes. It’s Mike, telling Walt to exit his vehicle and “start walking toward us.”

“And then what? I’m going to need some kind of assurance.”

“I assure you I could kill you from over here, if it makes you feel any better.”

Walt gets out of the Aztek and puts his Heisenberg hat on as he walks to meet Mike, mountains in the background. “Walter, you’ve been busy,” Mike says, doing a frisk. “You know I haven’t slept since Thursday? I was out all night cleanin’ up after you.”

“You said ‘no half measures.'”

“Yeah. Funny how words can be so open to interpretation. You get your car fixed?”

“Not yet.”

“You’re going to want to get your car fixed.”

“Let’s see how this goes first.”

The two men walk toward Gus’s car. We see Victor’s reflection in the driver’s side mirror. He gets out, followed by Gus, who faces Walt and asks, “Has your medical condition worsened?”

“Not that I know of – no.”

“Is there a ringing in your ears? Are you seeing bright lights or hearing voices?”

“I’m quite well, thank you.”

“No – clearly, you are not. No rational person would do as you have done. Explain yourself.”

“My partner was about to get himself shot. I intervened.”

“For some worthless junkie you put everything at risk? Some contemptible junkie who couldn’t keep clean for eight hours?”

“That’s right, he couldn’t. He was angry, because those dealers of yours had just murdered an 11-year-old boy.”

“You should have let me take care of them.”

“Maybe. Then again, maybe he thought it was you who gave the order.”

“Are you asking me if I ordered the murder of a child?” Gus’s body is immobile, but his face is angry.

“I would never ask you that,” Walt says, calmly, talking to Gus as an equal.

“Where is Pinkman now?”

“I wouldn’t know. A couple of time zones away at least. Beyond that, I’d only be guessing. He has enough money to last forever. He knows he needs to keep moving. You’ll never find him.”

“I don’t know, Walt,” Mike says. “It’s what I do, after all.”

Walt continues, “He’s out of the picture. I saved his life – I owed him that. But now he and I are done. Which is exactly what you wanted, isn’t it? You’ve always struck me as a very pragmatic man, so, if I may, I’d like to review options with you, of which it seems to me you have two. Option A: you kill me here and now. B: I continue cooking. We forget this ever happened. I prefer Option B.”

“You’d need a new assistant,” Gus says.

“I could get right on that.”

“No. This time I choose.”

Scene 2: the laundry/lab; Mike with Kaylee, at Chao’s, and with Gus

Walt gets out of the fixed Aztek with his paper lunch sack. His key to the lab door doesn’t work; Victor lets him in and follows him downstairs, where a yellow-suited Gale waits. Walt says, “It’s good to see you,” and offers his hand.

Gale pauses slightly, then shakes, and says, “Thanks…It’s good to be back. Well, shall we?”

“By all means. Let’s cook.”

Mike drops his granddaughter Kaylee off at her mom’s, giving her three star-shaped Mylar balloons. “‘Bye, Pop-pop,” Kaylee says.

“‘Bye, baby.” Mike waves to his daughter-in-law.

When we see him next, it’s dark, and he’s headed toward an isolated, lighted building with a huge bunch of Mylar balloons. He allows the balloons to drift upward toward the building’s power lines, and they crackle and spark. The power goes out.

Two men speaking to each other in Spanish come out cautiously, guns out. Mike, around the corner of the building, steps out and shoots them with a sawed-off shotgun. He goes inside, passing an Asian shrine. Holding his gun on the Chinese secretary, he removes one of her shoes and throws it down the hall, flushing another gunman, who meets his fate. Mike then comes to the end of the hall wall, where a frightened Chao sits at his desk, eyes on Mike and another man Mike can’t see on the other side of the wall. Chao indicates how high with his eyes, and Mike shoots through the wall, a clean head-shot. “They keep me prisoner,” Chao says.

Mike shoots Chao in the hand, saying, “The trucks will be here in the morning. I strongly advise you to return our calls in the future.” Chao is whimpering. “So have her drive you to a hospital…She’s gonna need her shoe…”

Later, Gus asks Mike, “Where’d they cross?”

“Laredo, it looks like…They didn’t exactly send their A-players. But, like you said, it’s cartel all right.”

“Probing for weakness.”

“Well, they didn’t find any.”

“What about Pinkman?”

“I’m making inquiries.”

Scene 3: the lab, Gale’s apartment

Walt and Gale seem to be working together well, closely watched by Victor. Walt tells Gale, “We had a little drama with the person you replaced.”

Gale tells Walt, “Whatever my shortcomings were last time, I intend for things to go perfectly now. However you like things to be done is exactly how we’re gonna do them. So…teach me.” Walt looks a bit suspicious, but pats Gale on the shoulder.

We see Gale at home that night, listening to opera, watering his plants, and singing falsetto along with the music. He has Oriental rugs on the floor and all sorts of esoteric objects, including a large telescope pointing out the window. Suddenly, there’s a knock on the door. It’s Gus, who, after being greeted and seated, says, “If push comes to shove, I was wondering how soon you might be able to take over the lab by yourself – you and an assistant.”

Gale smiles innocently. “Why would push come to shove?”

Gus tells Gale that Walt, dying of cancer, doesn’t want to tell anyone how long he has left. He adds that he can’t afford to shut down the lab, “even for a week, so we must prepare for the worst-case scenario.”

Gale says, “I suppose if we had a few more cooks together…”

“You don’t think you’re ready now?”

“Well, uh – he’s such a master…There’s always more for me to learn. One or two more cooks?” Gale pauses. “One more, I guess would do it.”

Scene 4: Saul’s office, the laser tag place

Mike comes to Saul’s office and demands to know Jesse’s “current whereabouts.” Saul hems and haws, and finally writes down the address of a Virginia trailer court.

When Saul leaves in his big white car with LWYRUP on the license plate, Victor is following him. But he doesn’t make it to the laser tag place, where Saul meets with Walt. “What the hell have you gotten me into?” Saul frets. “I’m being followed, my own P.I. is threatening to break my legs! This is over and above. We survive this, I’m seriously rethinking my pricing. And that goes double for you, hip hop!”

Jesse’s standing in the doorway. Walt asks how he is and he asks Walt the same.

“I got my old job back. At least until they kill me and Gale takes over.”

“He’s their boy, huh?”

“He’s their boy.”

“How long do you think you’ve got?”

“He asks a lot of questions about the cooking process. I try to be as vague as possible, but they have that guy Victor there listening to everything I say.”

“So, what’ll we do?”

“You know what we do.”

Jesse looks down. “There’s got to be some other way…We could just go to the cops – for your family. The DEA would love you – all the shit you could tell them. Federal witness protection – that’s a good deal. As for me, I’ll hit the road. I’ll make it. We had a good run, but it’s over.” Sensible advice.

But Walt, still trying to prove his manhood against Hank, Mike, Gus, or whoever, says, “Never the DEA. Gus has to keep cooking, so if I’m the only cook he’s got, it gives me leverage. It keeps me alive. It keeps you alive, too.”

“I can’t do it, Mr. White. Like you said, I’m not a – ”

“I’ll do it. But I’m going to need your help. I mean, they’re watching me day and night. They never leave me alone with Gale, not for a moment. Hell, I don’t even know where the man lives. If I could just shake Victor for even an hour, I might be able to make it look like an accident.”

“There’s gotta be some other way!”

“Get me his address, and I’ll do the rest…I saved your life, Jesse.” Jesse looks up. “Are you gonna save mine?”

Scene 5: the Whites’, the laundromat, the laser tag place, Gale’s

At the Whites’, Walt holds baby Holly, who plays with his nose and takes his glasses off. His phone vibrates, and he goes to the bedroom. Jesse says, “6353 Juan Tabo Boulevard, apartment 6.”

“He’s home?”

“Yup.”

“Anyone watching the place?”

“It’s pretty much wide open. When you gonna do it?”

“Tonight…when it gets dark.”

“Don’t do it, Mr. White! Please! Go to the cops!”

Walt snaps his phone shut.

After night has fallen, Walt comes out of the house. He’s about to get in his car when Victor glides up, saying, “We got a problem. Some kind of chemical leak in the lab. Better come with me.”

“I’ll follow you.”

“They tell me to bring you, I bring you. Come on – get in the car.”

At the laundromat, Mike’s starting to open the door to the lab. “I don’t know if it’s a barrel leak or what, but you got something mighty stinky down there. After you…Walt, the sooner you figure out what this is, the sooner we all go home.”

Walt, scared now, says, “Please don’t do this, Mike. You don’t have to do this!”

“Yeah, unfortunately, I do, Walter. Downstairs.”

“I’ll cook – I’ll cook for free, and there won’t be any more trouble, I promise you!”

“No.”

“If I could just talk to Gus! Please, let me talk to him!”

“Shut up. I can’t do it. I’m sorry.”

“I’ll give you Jesse Pinkman! Okay? Like you said, he’s a problem. He’s always been a problem. And he’s in town – I could take you to him!”

“Where is he? Give me an address.”

“He moves around, but if you’ll let me call him, I’ll have him meet me.”

Jesse’s at the laser tag place about to get high when his phone vibrates. “Did you do it?”

“No, I can’t now. It’s gonna have to be you. You’re closer than we are. You’ve got about a twenty-minute lead. They’ve got me at the laundry and they’re gonna kill me!” Mike grabs for Walt’s phone, and Victor has his gun on Walt as he shouts, “Jesse! Do it now! Do it!”

Jesse grabs his gun and runs.

Back at the laundry, Mike has his gun out, too, but Walt says, “You might want to hold off.”

“Yeah? Why?”

“Because your boss is gonna need me.” Walt recites Gale’s address, and Mike’s face falls. He gets out his phone as Victor races for his car.

Gale, playing happy Asian music, tea kettle whistling, doesn’t hear his phone vibrating on the counter. There’s a knock at the door, and he turns the music off. It’s Jesse, in a red T-shirt decorated with a white skull and black radiating lines. He holds his gun up.

“Take whatever you want,” Gale says. “I have money – I have a lot of money. Don’t do it – you don’t have to do this!”Jesse’s hand is shaking, his face is twisted, and tears are in his eyes. The gun goes off.

Kelly’s comments from TheTVCritic.org rewatch (slightly edited)

“Gus was plotting to kill Jesse from the start. He was just attempting to kill him in a way that wouldn’t upset his working relationship with Walt. Remember that Jesse hadn’t even met Gus before the last episode – Gus was been careful not to let Jesse see his face because he didn’t see him as trustworthy. The only reason Gus allowed Jesse to meet him in “Half Measures” was because he was already planning to get rid of him. I think Gus engineered a shootout between Jesse and the two dealers, the same as he engineered the shootout between Hank and the cousins. When Jesse revealed his moral outrage over the dealers using kids he gave Gus the perfect method for provoking him into a suicide mission. It’s my belief that Gus gave the order for the dealers to kill Tomás, hoping that Jesse and the dealers would kill each other. If the dealers survived, Gus would’ve had Mike kill them to show Walt he wouldn’t let his partner’s killing go unpunished. Gus could easily claim not to be responsible for Jesse’s death, as Jesse had disobeyed his orders and acted on his own.

The mistake Gus and Mike made was underestimating Walt. Not having seen Walt in Heisenberg mode before, they probably perceived him as a nerdy old chemist whom they could easily control. All through Season 3 Walt has been struggling to regain control, still wanting to see himself as the provider and protector of his family, including Jesse. In his half measures speech, Mike tried to get Walt to see Jesse as a dangerous addict needing to be put down before he can do any more damage. But when Walt hears Mike’s story he associates Jesse more with the battered wife, the person in danger of being murdered unless Walt takes a full measure to save him.

As for the recent criticism of Skyler, I disagree that Skyler suddenly changed her mind and decided Walt cooking meth to make money was a good idea. I think the worst-case scenario in Skyler’s mind is that Walt going to jail will result in her son’s innocence being destroyed, Hank’s career being ruined, and her family being left shamed and destitute. The only way Skyler can stop this from happening is by keeping Walt’s secret, creating a cover story, and laundering the drug money. While it is Walt’s favorite justification to say ‘I’m doing this for my family,’ in Skyler’s case I actually believe that her crimes and her collaboration with Walt are largely for the sake of protecting her family from the terrible truth.”

As Robin Pierson, creator of TheTVCritic.org often says, “Bravo, Kelly!” Her belief that Gus ordered Tomás’s killing to provoke Jesse can’t be proven, but neither can it be disproven. And it makes sense, given that, at this stage, Gus and Mike have nothing but bad things to say about Jesse and his drug addiction and consequent flakiness/untrustworthiness. Maybe Mike knew about this plan – if it was a plan – when he refused to engineer Jesse’s arrest on a minor charge.

Robin Pierson also makes a good point – that every time Walt thinks he’s rescuing Jesse – from Jane or from the thugs – he actually puts him in further danger. In the case of Jane, Jesse was saved from heroin addiction, but his heart was broken, leading him to challenge fate (and Gus) by stealing meth and selling it and not pursuing real healing through NA. And in the case of the thugs, Walt puts both himself and Jesse in danger of being killed by Gus’s hirelings, and has to ask for a return favor – that Jesse kill Gale to make Walt indispensable to Gus. Killing Gale puts Jesse into an even greater downward spiral – including lots of drug use – in Season 4.

 

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Season 5 summary

Season 5 summary

Walt, Jesse, and Mike use a giant magnet in a truck to wipe the hard drive of Gus’s laptop, which is in police custody. In the investigation of this event, however, the police discover information about Gus’s secret bank accounts tucked in a picture frame.

Walt plants a fake ricin cigarette in Jesse’s vacuum cleaner, where they “find” it during a search, and Jesse apologizes for almost shooting him.

Mike refuses to join a new meth-making operation with Walt and Jesse, because, as he says, Walt’s a “ticking time bomb.” He then meets with Lydia, an employee of Madrigal Electromotive and former employee of Gus’s, and reassures her that he’ll make sure that the eleven of Gus’s men likely to be arrested won’t talk. However, he finds out while being questioned by Hank and Gomez that the police have frozen the funds set aside to keep these “legacy” men quiet – not to mention the money Mike himself has amassed for his 10-year-old granddaughter, Kaylee. Lydia pays one of the men to kill everyone else on the list, including Mike. The guy kills one, Chao, before Mike kills him. Mike then goes to Houston, prepared to kill Lydia, but when he finds out she can still get methylamine, he lets her live and calls Walt and says he’s “in.” His share of the operation can fund the legacy men.

Walt and Jesse decided to cook in houses tented for insect extermination by Vamonos Pest Control. At the first tented cook, Walt manipulates Jesse into breaking up with Andrea by telling him that keeping secrets is bad for relationships. Walt and Mike tangle over the division of their first profits, and Mike tells Walt, “Just because you shot Jesse James don’t make you Jesse James.”

Skyler has a breakdown with Marie, then another at a family dinner celebrating Walt’s 51st birthday (she walks into the pool with her clothes on). Hank and Marie agree to take the children to live at their house for a while, since Skyler doesn’t feel they’re safe at home. Walt leases expensive cars for himself and Junior (another Dodge Challenger for the kid), and Jesse gives Walt an expensive watch.

Walt, Jesse, Mike, and Todd, a young Vamonos employee, pull off a train heist of a huge quantity of methylamine with logistical information provided by Lydia. Todd shoots a young boy on a dirt bike who’s seen them, upsetting Jesse. The next day Mike quits the operation, because the DEA is too hot on his trail, and Jesse quits because of the way innocents are harmed. Mike and Jesse meet with Declan, a Phoenix drug kingpin, and offer to sell him their share of the methylamine, but Walt steals it and makes his own deal. He and Todd will do all the cooking, Declan the distribution. Lydia also takes 25 pounds a week to sell in the Czech Republic. Mike and Jesse each get $5 million, but Walt balks at giving Jesse his share.

When Mike’s lawyer is arrested and starts talking, Mike needs a “go bag” he’s left in a car at the Albuquerque airport. Walt volunteers to get it for him, and while handing it over demands the names of the nine remaining “legacy” men. Mike refuses to give it to him and reams him out for allowing his pride to mess up the arrangement they had with Gus. Angry at this, Walt shoots Mike with his own gun. He gets “the list” from Lydia and uses Todd’s uncle’s contacts to have the nine men murdered in three separate jails in a two-minute period.

Some time after this, Walt pays a nostalgic visit to a frightened Jesse and leaves a bag with $5 million in it outside his door. Three months go by, a period of hard work and massive profits for Walt. Finally, Marie asks that Skyler take her children home, and Skyler shows Walt the huge stack of money she’s put in a storage unit and tells him she wants her life back. Within a few days, he tells her he’s “out,” but the next evening during a family barbecue, Hank discovers evidence in a book of Whitman poems Gale gave Walt that his brother-in-law is Heisenberg.

To be continued…

 

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Season 4 summary

Season 4 Summary

Walt and Jesse are held prisoner in the lab by Mike and Victor in the aftermath of Gale’s shooting. Victor, who’s started a cook while waiting for Gus to arrive, has his throat slashed by Gus with a boxcutter – because he’s been seen at Gale’s apartment and to send a message to Walt that this is what Gus wishes he could do to him. Throwing Victor’s body at Walt’s feet, Gus indicates his responsibility.

After this, Walt and Jesse are like slave labor at the lab, always watched and tailed by Mike and Victor. Walt, fearful, buys a handgun small enough to conceal, which he wears at all times. He also tries to get Mike to see his side, resulting in Mike’s beating him up in a bar. Jesse, on the other hand, can barely live with his guilt and horror at having killed Gale, an essentially innocent (and young) man. He doesn’t care whether he lives or dies, but can’t bear to be alone, so he keeps friends, then strangers, partying at his house 24-7, essentially turning his home into a shooting gallery.

Skyler buys the car wash to use as a money-laundering device after using one of Saul’s men to convince Bogdan that he’d have to buy an expensive filtration system to be in compliance with EPA regulations. Marie turns klepto again, stealing at real estate open houses and making up whole new identities for herself. Hank gets a chance to feel useful again when he enlists the aid of his police detective friend Tim to help his wife. Tim gives Hank a copy of Gale’s lab notes, and Hank starts working from home to investigate Gale’s drug connections.

Skyler convinces Walt to tell the family that he’s been engaged in illegal gambling; Saul tells Walt about the disappearer; and Mike takes Jesse on as a protégé on Gus’s orders – to give him a sense of self-worth and try to alienate him from Walt. Hank thinks Gale was Heisenberg until Walt gets drunk at a family dinner and disparages Gale as a chemist. Studying photos from Gale’s apartment, Hank realizes that, since Gale was a vegan, the Los Pollos menu found there is an important clue.

Skyler’s convinced that Walt’s in danger, but he tells her he’s the danger, the “one who knocks.” This makes her frightened of him, for herself and for the kids, and she takes Holly to the 4 Corners Monument, tempted to run away. She returns home, however, just in time to tell Walt he has to return the Dodge Challenger he’s purchased for Junior. He destroys it instead, unbeknownst to his family.

Jesse reveals his guilt at having killed Gale, symbolized by a “problem dog” at an NA meeting. Unable to “accept” or forgive himself for everything bad he’s done, he admits that he’s used the meeting to sell meth and made the therapist his “bitch.” At the same time, at Walt’s behest, Jesse agrees to use ricin to kill Gus.

Hank presents evidence to his boss, Merkert, that Gale took delivery of a $300,000 air filter perfect for a large meth operation, made by Madrigal Electromotive, a company based in Hanover, Germany that also owns Los Pollos Hermanos and the laundry over the lab. He has Walt put a tracking device on Gus’s car (with Gus’s knowledge) and gets Gus’s fingerprints on a Pollos cup that match fingerprints found in Gale’s apartment. Gus passes muster at a DEA questioning session, however.

Meanwhile, the cartel is attacking Gus’s operation. When they kill a man at the Pollos distribution center and fire on Gus, he agrees to share his profits and Walt’s meth formula with them. A Mexican flashback reveals why Gus enjoys taunting wheelchair-bound, mute Hector Salamanca at his nursing home. Twenty years ago, Hector killed Gus’s business partner and lover on the orders of cartel overlord Don Eladio.

Ted Beneke is audited by the IRS, but Skyler, desperate not to have her and Walt’s affairs looked into, gets him off by pretending to be a dumb blonde bookkeeper, ignorant of the law. Later, Ted refuses to pay the IRS the money he owes, even when Skyler gives it to him from Walt’s stash. She enlists Saul’s help, and the lawyer sends Kuby and Huell to Ted’s house, forcing him to write the needed check. Trying to get away from them, Ted falls and severely injures his head.

Jesse has dinner with Gus, who convinces him to go to Mexico and demonstrate Walt’s cook method. When Jesse asks “Mr. White” to help him prepare for this, Walt gets mad and reveals that he’s had a tracker on Jesse’s car and knows he’s passed up opportunities to kill Gus. The two partners have a vicious physical fight, after which Walt goes home and takes pain meds with alcohol. He misses Junior’s sixteenth birthday, on the morning of which Skyler gives their son a used PT Cruiser. Junior, worried about his dad, pays him a visit, and ends up caring for him. Walt tells his son he wants him to remember him as strong, but Junior expresses a preference that his dad be “real.”

Jesses passes the Mexican cook test, and he and Gus and Mike go to Don Eladio’s, where Gus gives his old nemesis a bottle of rare but poisoned tequila. Gus drinks the tequila himself, then goes into the bathroom and forces himself to vomit. Don Eladio and all of his capos die, Mike is shot, and Jesse shoots Joaquin, Hector’s grandson. Jesse drives the sick Gus and wounded Mike to a makeshift hospital Gus has prepared beforehand.

Walt and Jesse are still estranged, but each refuses to cooperate with Gus in any way if the other is harmed. Walt crashes his car on purpose to avoid taking Hank to the laundry. He goes to Jesse’s and begs him not to replace him in the lab, and is then kidnapped by Gus’s men and taken out to the desert. There Gus fires him and warns him not to interfere with his operation in any way, even if he kills Hank. Otherwise, Gus will kill Skyler, Junior, and Holly. Walt gets the disappearer’s card from Saul, but when he looks in his crawlspace for the $500,000 he’ll need to pay him, the money is gone – taken by Skyler to give to Ted. Walt becomes hysterical.

The next day all the Whites but Walt go to the Schraders’ house, guarded by the DEA, since Saul phoned in a warning that the cartel (really Gus) had a hit out on Hank. Walt somehow manages to poison Brock, Jesse’s girlfriend Andrea’s son, with lily of the valley berries. He also gets Saul to help him steal Jesse’s ricin cigarette. Jesse, thinking that Brock has been poisoned by ricin, blames Walt and comes to his house and almost shoots him with his own gun. Walt convinces Jesse that Gus, trying to split them up, is responsible, and the two agree that they will kill Gus somehow as soon as possible. Walt plants a bomb under Gus’s car, parked in the hospital parking garage, but Gus seems to scent it.

Jesse, being questioned by Albuquerque police because of his ricin tip to Brock’s doctors, manages to tell Saul about Gus’s and Hector’s mutual enmity. Walt uses this information to concoct a plan to murder Gus with Hector’s help. Hector goes to the DEA to get Gus’s attention, and when Gus comes to his nursing home to kill him for his supposed ratting, the old man uses his bell to set off the bomb Walt’s planted under his wheelchair (with his consent). Hector, Gus, and Gus’s henchman, Tyrus, are killed in the explosion.

Meanwhile, Jesse’s been released by the police and kidnapped by more of Gus’s men and taken to the lab to cook. Walt comes to the lab and shoots Gus’s two men, and he and Jesse destroy the lab.

At the end of the last episode, Jesse tells Walt that Brock is going to be okay.

 

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Season 5, episode 8: “Gliding over All”

Breaking Bad, 5-8: “Gliding over All”

Opener

A fly lands on what looks like a metal bar, then we see it on top of a desk and hear it buzzing. Todd gets out of a yellow cab pulled up to the Vamonos Pest yard gate. He comes in the garage, calling, “Mr. White! Hello?”

Walt’s sitting motionless at the desk, his back to Todd, while the fly – telling him things are far from perfect – continues to buzz. “Mr. White,” Todd says, “the car has been dealt with.”

Walt asks, without turning around, “No one tailed you?”

“No.”

“Did Joe ask any questions?”

“I told him ‘RV job’ like you said, and he totally knew…It’s pretty cool the way they do that – turn a car into a cube. So, shall we do the other thing now?”

We notice that Walt hasn’t been wearing his glasses when, now, he puts them on. “Yeah, sure.” He’s been looking at a fly chart.

The two men open the trunk of Walt’s car, and stare at Mike’s body (which, thankfully, we can’t see). Walt says, “I don’t want to talk about this.”

“Okay.”

“It had to be done.”

“Okay.”

Walt gets the white plastic barrel and Todd the first jug of acid, then all of a sudden the garage door opens. Todd shuts the trunk as Jesse comes in, saying (to Walt), “I need to talk to you – in private.” Todd leaves. “So, what’s the story? You get to Mike?”

“Mm-hm.”

“He get out safe?”

“He’s gone.”

“All right. Those nine guys got no reason not to talk now, so we need to vote.”

“We? Who’s ‘we’? I’m the only one with a vote left, and I’ll handle it.”

Jesse nods, gives Walt a long look, turns, and goes. Walt closes the door.

Scene 1: Casa Blanca, a jail meeting room, a high-end coffee bar

We see Walt showering, the Leaves of Grass book on the back of the toilet.

Then we see Dennis, the laundry guy, and his lawyer, trying to negotiate a deal with Hank and another DEA agent. The lawyer says they want the charges dropped and immunity, and Hank offers “queen for a day” and reduced charges. Then he gets up to leave, saying, “It’s a buyer’s market. I’ve got eight other guys and Dan the Douchebag lawyer.”

Lydia sits at a window table in a high-end Albuquerque coffee bar, opening a package of stevia to add to her classy red mug. Walt comes in wearing sunglasses and his Heisenberg hat. Taking them both off, he sits opposite Lydia. Declining to order anything, he asks to see “the list,” which Lydia says she has in her head. She seems reluctant to give Walt what he wants, and he asks, “Am I not tying up loose ends for our mutual benefit?”

“You’re tying up loose ends, and I don’t want to be one of them. If I give you that list, I’ve served my purpose, and then I might just be one more person who knows too much.”

“I guaranteed your safety already – on my children’s lives.”

“From Mike. You wouldn’t be doing this if Mike were still a factor.” Their eyes meet. “Yeah – that’s what I thought.”

“What do you want exactly? Because if you don’t want to give me that list, then I’ve truly got no use for you.”

“I can grow your business exponentially.”

“Give me the list.”

“What do you know about the Czech Republic?”

“The Czech Republic?”

“Do you know there’s higher meth use there than anywhere else in Europe? Ten percent of its ten million people, which is roughly the population of the Southwest from west Texas to Phoenix. By adding an overseas market you can more than double your profits. And the average purity there is only about 60%. They’ve never seen anything like your product.”

“Shipping internationally seems like courting disaster.”

“Not if you do it via Madrigal.”

“Madrigal is under investigation by the DEA.”

“The restaurant division mostly. We’ve got 46,000 employees across fourteen divisions. And once Mike’s people are no longer involved, this should tie up nicely. This is what I do, you understand. I move things from point A to point B all over the globe – 1.2 million metric tons a month.”

“The Czech Republic – who’s there on the other end?”

“People I’ve worked with for years – they’re professionals.”

“If this is such a slam-dunk, why didn’t you pitch it to Fring?”

“I did – he said ‘yes’ – we were in the final stages of working it out when somebody killed him. You don’t think Gus Fring built his distribution network all by himself, do you? I’m thinking 25 pounds a week.”

“All right.”

“With Fring my end was going to be 30%, which I think is more than fair.”

“Okay.” When she tries to add one more selling point, Walt says, “Lydia, learn to take ‘yes’ for an answer [Mike’s line to him at a an earlier point]. First things first.” He passes her a small piece of paper, she writes the list of names down, passes it back, then offers her hand. They shake.

“We’re going to make a lot of money together,” Lydia says, a callback to what Gus said to Walt when they started as partners. She puts her Jackie O sunglasses on and leaves. Walt lifts his hat, which has been sitting on the table, revealing the vial of ricin underneath.

Scene 2: Casa Blanca, a cheap motel room

Walt puts the ricin back in the wall outlet behind his night table.

Walt and Todd meet with Todd’s uncle and several of the uncle’s men in a cheap motel room. Several of the men, who all seem very skanky, have swastika and/or prison tattoos. On one wall is the same picture that we saw in Walt’s hospital room when he had his surgery: the family saying goodbye to a man in a rowboat on his way to a large ship. Only this picture is old and tattered. Soon after Todd’s uncle says he isn’t sure that nine men in three separate jails can all be killed within the same two-minute period, Walt says, “It can be done exactly how I want it. The only question is are you the man to do it?” One or more of the men look at Todd, standing in a dark corner of the room, and he nods, as if vouching for ‘Mr. White.’ “Figure it out. That’s what I’m paying you for.”

Back at Casa Blanca (on a different day, surely), Walt looks at his expensive gift watch and starts its stopwatch going. Let the shankings begin…Walt sees his reflection in the watch face, as the nine ‘legacy’ men are brutally murdered to some incongruous music (Nat King Cole singing “Start All over Again”). Dennis, the last to go, is locked in a room, gasoline poured on him, and a lighted match tossed in. Gruesome.

For a moment, we see Hank at the DEA meeting with a girls’ sports team, and we realize how hard this news will hit him. Then Walt’s phone cell phone buzzes. “Yes?”

“It’s done.” Walt clicks off.

Scene 3: the Schraders’, a montage of Walt’s life for the next 3 months

The TV news is on at the Schraders as Walt plays with Holly, who wears a monkey hat with ears. Hank comes home, limping noticeably, and pours himself and Walt whiskies at the wet bar. Hank sits quietly, thinking, for a while, then tells Walt about a summer job he had in college marking trees to be cut with orange paint. This made me think of men in orange jumpsuits being “cut down.” Hank says it was “a lot better than chasing monsters.”

“I used to love to go camping,” Walt says. He starts to get up, then we see him getting up from a different couch wearing his yellow protective suit after a break. “Crystal Blue Persuasion” plays as we watch a montage of cooking with Todd, bags of meth being dropped in barrels of oil, Lydia, planes taking off, and piles of money being counted and banded. Walt wheels a dolly of soda with money hidden behind the cans into the car wash, and meets with Lydia at the same coffee bar, where she kicks a bag of money toward him. Walt showers, Skyler’s cup turns into Lydia’s mug, and we see Walt falling asleep in a living room chair at home and waking up there in the morning. The montage ends with an aerial view of tented houses scattered throughout an Albuquerque neighborhood.

Back at the Schraders’, Skyler’s walking Holly over to Junior, who plays peekaboo with her. “You’re really good with her,” Skyler says. Of course, the baby has to be wearing an orange jumpsuit (am I the only one who notices these things?). We finally see Skyler’s face – she’s smiling for the first time in a long while.

“It’s nice to see that,” Marie tells her, adding that she and Hank think it’s time for Skyler and Walt to take the kids home and “repair the family.”

Scene 4: Casa Blanca, the Whites’ storage unit, the hospital

It’s dark when Skyler gets home, and she finds Walt sitting outside by the lighted pool. Standing by his chair, she says, “Take a drive with me.”

They go to a storage facility, where Skyler’s put a four foot by five foot by four foot high stack of money in a rented unit. “This is it,” she says. “This is what you’ve been working for.” When Walt asks “how much?” Skyler says she has “no earthly idea.” She says she’s been spraying the stack for silverfish, and adds, “There’s more money here than we could spend in ten lifetimes. I certainly can’t launder it at the car wash…Walt, I want my kids back. I want my life back. Please tell me how much is enough? How big does this pile have to be?”

We see Walt getting a PET scan on a table that rotates 180 degrees (get it?). Afterward, he’s washing his hands in the restroom, and we see that the towel dispenser that he banged up over a year ago still hasn’t been replaced (unrealistic in any but the poorest hospital).

Scene 5: Jesse’s house

We see Jesse’s hand holding the stub of a burning cigarette as he nods out on the couch. The cigarette burns his hand, waking him, just as someone knocks three times on the door. It’s daytime. Jesse, wearing a T-shirt with a dancing skeleton on it that has two long chains in place of each arm, peeks out the window. Five knocks. After disappearing off-screen for few critical seconds, Jesse opens the door cautiously.

“Hi,” Walt says.

“Hey.”

“I hope I’m not disturbing you or anything. I tried calling, but…”

“Tossed all my burners.”

“And you didn’t answer your home line.”

“It’s disconnected. Or unplugged. So, what’s up?”

“I was just in the neighborhood, so I thought I’d drop by and say hello.”

“You – uh – want to come in, or…?” Jesse looks distrustful and a bit scared.

“Sure – thanks.” Walt smiles as Jesse picks his bong up off the coffee table and stashes it in a corner.

“I’d offer you a beer or something, but I’m out.”

“Thanks. You didn’t wind up moving, I see.”

“Didn’t have to. Saul told me what you did. Anyways, I’m not in jail – you’re not either, so there you go.”

“There was no other option, Jesse. It had to be done.” Walt could have paid the men off with some of the money in the storage unit, but he would have had to keep doing it for years, with the DEA constantly looking for the money connection, and one of the men still might have talked.

“I’m not comin’ back.”

“I know.”

“Why are you here exactly?”

Walt shrugs. “It’s funny – I saw a Bounder yesterday.”

“Bounder?”

“Our RV – the Bounder.”

“Oh – same one as ours?”

“Yeah – well, within a couple of years, I guess – early ’80s. Certainly in a lot better shape than our old hunk of junk. No bullet holes in the door.” Walt’s reminiscing fondly about the days when he and Jesse struggled to learn the meth business and stay alive in the process – the days when his life was exciting and not just hard work. He also misses the guy he sometimes loved and sometimes hated, his ex-partner.

“That was a nightmare, huh?” Jesse says now.

“Huh. It was primitive.”

“I remember how I used to pray it wouldn’t crap out on me.”

Walt smiles again. “Yeah, and then suddenly it would have that screeching sound, just out of the blue.”

“Power steering belt – that’s what that was…We had money. Why’d we keep it? Why’d we have the world’s shittiest RV?”

“Inertia?”

“Yeah, yeah. Inertia.” There’s a long pause. “So, hey – I gotta get goin’. I’m supposed to meet a friend.”

“I gotta – ” Walt heads for the door, “get goin’ as well.” He opens the door and turns. “I left something for you.” He leaves without closing the door.

Jesse walks slowly to the door, peeks out, and sees a black sports bag, which he opens carefully, as if expecting a bomb. Inside is his five million dollars. Back in the house, he pulls a handgun out of his back pocket and, sitting on the floor, slides it toward the viewer. The camera pans up for an aerial view of the room.

Scene 6: Casa Blanca

Skyler’s washing a plate at the kitchen sink, and the interior of the home still looks dark, even in the daytime. Walt comes in, says, “Hey,” and turns off the water. He looks longingly at his wife, and says, “I’m out.”

Unable to believe him or take it in, Skyler looks out the window over the sink.

Time lapse photography of the city’s streets and skies shows us the passage of time – night to day. Then we’re in the Whites’ backyard patio/pool area, looking at images we’ve seen before: a hose dripping, a wind chime, a black bug (the bug may be new) – images that seem comfortingly normal, but which seem somehow eerie and may have been associated with negative events in the past.

We see Holly, a pacifier in her mouth, being pushed in a little car by her older brother while the adult Whites and the Schraders sit talking around the table. They’re conducting two separate conversations: Walt’s talking to Hank and Skyler to Marie. Both conversations appear to be pleasant and happy. Skyler breaks off and asks her son, whom she calls “Flynn,” to put more sunscreen on the baby. Walt and Skyler smile at each other, putting the icing on the cake of this “they all lived happily ever after” moment.

Then Hank goes inside to use the bathroom, going into the master bath because he’s afraid of stinking up the communal hall bathroom. He lowers his pants, sits on the toilet, and reaches behind him for a magazine, then for the book underneath, the copy of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass that Gale gave Walt. He flips through it, then stops at the flyleaf, on which Gale has written: “To my other favorite W.W. It’s an honor working with you. Fondly, G.B.” Hank flashes back to the conversation he had with Walt about the W.W. Gale mentioned in his lab notes, and we see and hear him reading, “To W.W. – my star, my perfect silence,” then asking Walt who W.W. could be. He finally says, “Walter White,” and Walt says, “Ya got me!” Hank interpreted that as a joke at the time, but now he really does have Walt, and his face shows it.

A DVD extra, “Chicks’n’Guns,” written by writers’ assistants Gordon Smith and Jenn Carroll, is a prequel to the last scene between Walt and Jesse. In it, Jesse, anticipating being arrested at any moment, since the legacy nine no longer have any reason to keep silent, has hired a stripper to dance at his house. He and Skinny Pete, high on pot from the bong, appear to be enjoying the stripper’s moves when Saul  (who knows the stripper) stops by to tell Jesse about Walt having “taken care of” the nine legacy guys and Mike’s lawyer. Now Jesse’s scared of Walt instead of the cops, and realizes that Mike’s dead, too. Saul’s brought Jesse a gun in a paper sack so he can protect himself from “bears – or a bear – that may have gotten used to the taste of human blood.” As Saul says, he and Jesse know more than the ten dead men ever did. All of this explains why Jesse’s so scared of Walt when he comes to bring him the money.

A funny line early in the scene is Skinny Pete trying to say “Carpe diem” and not being able to remember the second word. He says, “Car-pay, car-pee,” and Jesse says, “What? Are you having a seizure?” The stripper, evidently an educated woman, supplies the phrase.

This is a good place to say that as someone who’s been more into Jesse than any of the other characters (he’s like a son figure to me), I’m disappointed with the development of his character (or lack of it) in this season. Or, perhaps another way of saying it would be that his character is inconsistent. Doing more than just cook for Gus, successfully cooking meth on his own in Mexico, and bringing his two wounded cohorts to safety seems to have given him added confidence. And, at his age, one would expect him to be gaining in maturity and insight, especially in view of the harrowing experiences he’s gone through. He contributes great ideas – the magnet to destroy Gus’s computer and the siphoning of meth from a train tanker car – that some viewers have thought of as almost too smart, considering that Walt’s supposed to be the brains of the duo. But Jesse is smart, and has an inner moral compass that Walt, or at least the Walt of this series, lacks. Why then is he so unable to see Walt for the ogre he is? He goes along with all his plans, gives him an expensive birthday present, and seems to allow a lot of manipulation by his dysfunctional dad.

This reminds us of Jesse’s other father figure – Mike. If he really does think Walt’s killed Mike, why isn’t he angry about it when Walt comes to give him the money? As Mike said about him, Jesse is intensely loyal –  to a fault with Walt. He should be loyal to Mike, who looked out for his welfare far more than Walt, even after his death.

Perhaps these questions will be answered, and Jesse will show his full maturity in the last eight episodes. I hope so…People have speculated, especially after seeing posters for the last eight, that Jesse will team up with Hank to catch Walt. The only problem with this idea is that Jesse conceived an intense dislike for Hank after the latter beat him up. Also, Jesse doesn’t believe in being a rat. I’ve seen signs that Jesse might team up with Skyler – I think he would be willing, but could she lower her snooty nose long enough to see Jesse’s value? We shall see.

 

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Season 5, episode 7: “Say My Name”

Breaking Bad, 5-7: “Say My Name”

Opener

Mike drives out to the desert, Walt in the back, Jesse riding shotgun. Showdown music plays, and soon five men in two black pickups arrive to meet them. “Your play, Walter,” Mike says. “You’re on your own.” Walt and Declan confer as their backups space themselves widely behind them.

“Where’s the juice?” Declan wants to know.

“The methylamine isn’t coming,” is Walt’s answer.

“Why is that, and who the hell are you?”

“I’m the man who’s keeping it.”

“What the hell is this? We had a deal, right? So where’s the tank, Mike?”

“Mike doesn’t know where it is – only I do, and you’re dealing with me now.”

“Why don’t you just cut to the chase and tell me what you think is gonna happen here? ‘Cause we’re gonna get what we came for.”

Walt’s not wearing his black hat, but he’s in full Heisenberg mode – supremely confident. “A thousand gallons of methylamine is worth more in my hands than it is in yours or anyone else’s. But I need distribution.”

“Distribution…”

“That’s right. So, if you agree to give up your cook and sell my product instead, I’ll give you 35% of the take.”

“35% – wow – are you kidding me? Mike, please tell me this is a joke. We have our own operation.”

“I know all about your operation. You produce a meth that’s 70% pure – what I produce is 99.1% pure.”

“So?”

“So, it’s grade-school T-ball versus the New York Yankees. Yours is just some tepid, off-brand, generic cola – what I’m making is classic Coke.”

“All right. So, we just waste you right now, leave you in the desert, and there’s no more Coke on the market, right?”

“Do you really want to live in a world without Coca-Cola?”

Declan laughs. Then Walt reaches into his jacket pocket, pulls out a small bag of meth, and tosses it into the dust at his rival’s feet. “My partner tells me that your crew switched to a P2P cook because of our success. You dye your product with food coloring to make it look like mine. You already ape my product at every turn, but now you have the opportunity to sell it yourself…You’ve got the greatest meth cook – no, the two greatest meth cooks – in America right here, and with our skills you’ll earn more from that 35% than you ever would on your own.”

“So you say. Just wondering why we’re so lucky. Why cut us in?”

“Mike is retiring from our crew, so his share of the partnership is available, if you can handle his end – distribution. And if you can give him five million of the fifteen million you brought today. Just think of it as a finder’s fee for bringing us together. We have 40 pounds of product ready to go. Are you ready?”

Declan picks up the bag of meth and looks at his four men, one of whom, like Walt, has a shaved head. “Who the hell are ya?”

“You know. You all know exactly who I am…Say my name.”

“Do what? I don’t have a damn clue who you are.”

“Yeah, you do. I’m the cook. I’m the man who killed Gus Fring.”

“Bullshit. Cartel got Fring.”

“You sure? Now, say my name.”

“Heisenberg.”

The fierceness comes out now. “You’re goddamn right!”

Scene 1: a continuation

We see Mike’s five million in cash in his open trunk as the two pickups drive off. “I gotta hand it to you, Walter,” he says.

“Hey,” Jesse says, “I appreciate the kind words, but I’m out too. Remember?”

“I know,” Walt says. “We’ll talk.”

“Maybe we should talk about how and when I’m going to get my five million.” Bitch!

“We will do that. Absolutely.” When Jesse persists, Walt says, “This isn’t the time. I’ll need a little help during the transition, getting things up and running. You can at least do that for me, right? Huh? We’ll figure this out.”

Scene 2: back at the Vamonos Pest lot

“I guess that’s that,” Mike says. “Parting thoughts, of which I have two: first, as I said, I’ll handle the legacy costs on my end, so you won’t have to worry about my guys anymore. Two: the bug. The DEA will do a sweep sooner or later, so you need to get it out of there as soon as possible.”

“That’s it?” Walt responds. “No ‘thanks for the $5 million,’ no ‘sorry for chaining you to a radiator’?”

“Just get the bug, Walter.”

Walt heads toward the garage, leaving Mike and Jesse alone. “Guess I’ll see you around,” Jesse says to his good dad.

“No, I don’t think so. When I’m out, I’m out.”

“I’m out, too, Mike.”

“Kid, look out for yourself.” They shake hands as the Walt watches from the office window.

Scene 3: the closed car wash

Skyler looks out the door, as we hear banging noises. She opens the bay door for Walt, who helps Jesse back a Vamonos truck in. Jesse sees Skyler, and says, “Hey, Mrs. White.” She ignores him. He gets out and says, “Vamonos,” to which she replies, “I wish.”

“All right,” Walt instructs. “Let’s get this thing hooked up.”

“Walt, what is it?” Skyler asks.

“Do you really want to know?”

“Why are you hiding it here?”

“Don’t worry about it?”

“Who are you hiding it from?”

“I said don’t worry about it.”

“From the police? Or someone else – someone who would kill for it?”

“Why don’t you go back in the office and let us do this? We’ll get it out of your hair.”

Skyler walks by Jesse. He looks after her, and she turns and looks back at him, as if unconsciously beginning to realize that they have something in common – they both feel trapped by Walt but could get out if they really wanted to.

Scene 4: Mike’s bank, someplace in the boondocks, the airport, Mike’s house

Mike’s lawyer gives the lady at the bank some bacon-banana cookies and she opens up a series of deposit boxes for him, including a new one. The lawyer puts money into the boxes as music plays. The new box, a big one full of money, has a note in Mike’s hand on top: “To Kaylee on her 18th birthday.” Outside the bank, the lawyer tells Mike, “I guess this is it for a while.”

We next see Mike listening to Hank on his laptop in the country somewhere. Hank says, “We’ll go after Ehrmentraut in two hours.” Mike throws the laptop down a dry well, along with his collection of guns.

Finally, Mike drives a slate blue car to the airport and leaves it in the parking garage, with a satchel in the wheel well. He puts the car keys on a ledge beside the “Row K” sign, and goes out and hails a cab.

He’s back home drinking coffee when a team of DEA agents, including Hank and Gomez, pound on the door. They execute a search warrant while Mike watches an old black-and-white police drama on TV, but find nothing.

Scene 5: the VP garage

Walt’s in his orange cleaning pants when Jesse arrives. “Mr. White, could we just take a second and talk about all this?”

“Yeah, sure,” Walt says, handing Jesse a pair of blue gloves, as if he’s come to work. “You know what I think we need to talk about? Doubling down.”

“Doubling down?”

“Mmm-hmm. Cooking 100 pounds a week, not 50 – as in starting a new lab – a lab of your own. Why not? You deserve it. You’re every bit as good as me. What do you think?”

“Mr. White – I think that nothing has changed for me. I just want to get my money and get out.”

“Jesse, this – what we do – being the best at something – is a very rare thing. You don’t just toss something like that away. Do you want to squander that potential? Why? To do what?”

“I don’t know,” Jesse answers humbly.

“To do what?” Walt insists.

“Well, I’ll figure it out. All right?”

“Look at you. What have you got in your life? Nothing. Nobody. Oh, wait – yes – video games and go-karts. And when you get tired of that, what then? Huh? And how soon will you start using again? Look, I know how upset you are about what happened to this boy. I am just as upset as you are.”

“Are you? Really?”

“How can you say that to me? Jesus! I mean, I’m the one who’s the father here! Do I have to curl up in a ball in tears in front of you? Do I have to lock myself in a room and get high to prove it to you? What happened to that boy is a tragedy, and it tears me up inside. But am I supposed to just lie down and die with him? It makes me sick that it happened – just like everyone else who’s died in our wake. What Todd did you and I have done, things that are just as bad.”

“Yeah.”

“All the people that we’ve killed – Gale and the rest. If you believe that there’s a hell, we’re already pretty much going there, right? But I’m not gonna lie down until I get there.”

“What? Just because I don’t want to cook meth anymore, I’m lying down? How many more people are gonna die because of us?”

“No one. None. Now that we’re in control, no one else gets hurt.”

“You keep saying that, and it’s bullshit every time! Always. You know what? I’m done – okay? You just give me my money, and you and I – we’re done.”

“Okay…Why do you want this money?”

“Because it’s mine? It’s my cut?”

“But isn’t it filthy blood money? And you’re so pure – you have such emotional depth. No, no, no, no – you shouldn’t touch that dirty money. I’ll save you from that, Jesse…Come on – you want it! You want it just as much as I do. It’s not wrong to want it, okay? So, stay and work with me, and you can make twenty times as much.”

“Whatever, man. You don’t want to pay me? I don’t care.”

“Yes you do.”

“It’s on you. I’m done.” Jesse turns and starts walking away.

“No, you’re not! You’re not leaving, because if you leave, you get nothing, do you understand me? Nothing!” The door shuts. “Jesse!”

Scene 6: the DEA

Hank’s boss speaks to him from a TV monitor, saying that “too much time and money have been spent on the Fring case, a case that’s essentially over. All this time to surveil Michael Ehrmentraut? That’s just money that can be better spent elsewhere.”

“Fring’s gang is still on the street, and Ehrmentraut is involved,” Hank says.

“But it’s one case out of many. The surveillance budget for Ehrmentraut is now zero. Clear?”

“Clear.”

Afterward, Hank and Gomez confer, and Hank tells Gomie to tail Mike’s lawyer, Daniel Wachsburger.

Scene 7: a tented house

Walt starts teaching an eager Todd how to cook. Todd admits he didn’t even take chemistry in high school, but he takes notes on every step, and we get yet another meth cooking montage to the tune of the Monkees’ “Goin’ Down”: “Floatin’ down the river with a saturated liver, and I wish I could forgive her, but I do believe she meant it when she told me to forget it, and I bet she will regret it when they find me in the morning wet and drowned and the word gets ’round. Goin’ down, goin’ down…” The song ends on a more positive note: “Now the sky is gettin’ light, an’ everything will be all right. Think I finally got the knack – just floatin’ here lazy on my back. I never really liked that town. I think I’ll ride the river down. Just movin’ slow and floatin’ free – there’s a river swingin’ under me. Waving back to the folks on shore. I should have thought of this before. I’m floatin’ on down to New Orleans. Goin’ to pick up on some swingin’ scenes. I know I’ll know a better day. I’ll go down groovin’ all the way.

Goin’ down, goin’ down…”

In the morning Todd says the routine is “complicated,” but he’ll learn it after “a few more times…Did I do all right?”

“You did fine, Todd. Maybe we should talk money.”

“We can talk money once I get this right.”

Scene 8: Mike’s bank, Casa Blanca, Hank’s office

Poor Daniel Wachsburger brings cake pops – little heads on sticks with faces, one of them a pink pig – to a suddenly cool bank teller. He’s just entered the deposit box room when a DEA team headed by Gomez in a bright red shirt arrests him.

Skyler’s eating dinner and drinking white wine when Walt brings his dinner and a glass of water to the table. “I’m working with this new guy now,” he says. “I think it could possibly work out.” Skyler gets up without a word, taking her wine glass with her.

Having come to Hank’s office to retrieve the bugs, Walt has to produce another teary confessional: “I’m trying, but it’s like I don’t even exist to her…I mean, I know she’s struggling, but I don’t know what to do! I’m sorry…Do you have any coffee?” Bugs retrieved, Hank returns. “I’m sorry to waste your time.” They drink, standing up, and Gomez appears with some news.

Standing just outside the door, Gomie says, “He’s gonna talk.”

“He’s willing to give us Ehrmentraut?” Hank and Gomez high five, and Walt looks worried.

Scene 9: the park, Saul’s office, the airport

Kaylee swings, her back toward Mike, doing his crossword on a bench. He gets a call from his lawyer (Wachsburger), who asks him to come talk about “a small situation with the money.” Mike tells him he’s at the park on Alameda, and the lawyer tells him, “I’ll come to you.”

Then Walt calls. “Mike, they’re coming for you – right now – they’re coming!”

“Slow down, Walter. Who?”

“The DEA! Somebody flipped.”

Mike almost calls to Kaylee, then sees the cop car beyond her and the cops getting out and looking at his car. There are tears in his eyes, because he’s going to have to leave without saying good-bye. Kaylee’s swing squeaks.

In Saul’s office, Saul’s complaining that Mike’s lawyer was incompetent. Jesse says, “Mike won’t flip.”

“But his nine guys will,” Walt says.

Mike calls Saul, who tells him, “I’m putting you on speakerphone with Walt and Jesse.”

“I don’t want Walt and Jesse, Saul. I want you. I need your help.”

“What do you need?”

“I got a go bag at the airport – passports, money – but they got eyes everywhere. I can’t get close.”

Jesse leans over Saul’s desk. “Mike, I can get it to you. Tell me what to do.”

“No, kid – not you. I’m paying Saul – he can do it.”

Saul says, “The DEA is probably watching my car right now.”

“Mike, I can do it,” Jesse insists. “It’s not a problem.”

“No, Jesse,” Mike says again, gently.

“I’ll do it,” Walt volunteers. “Besides,” to Jesse, “you’re out, remember? Mike, tell me where to get this bag.”

Walt retrieves the keys from the airport parking garage ledge, unzips the satchel in the trunk, and sees a 38 snub in a holster on top.

Scene 10: by the river

Mike’s throwing stones in the river when he hears Walt’s car approaching. Walt approaches with the satchel, and Mike says, “Hello, Walter.”

Walt, twenty paces away, says, “Before I hand this over, I need something from you.”

“And what’s that?”

“The names of your nine men.”

“Why? You’re never gonna pay ’em off. What’s the point?”

“The thing is, Mike, it affects me. It affects Jesse, too, and we deserve to know.”

“The only thing left to do is leave town.”

“Well, I can’t just up and leave like you, Mike. I’ve got a family – I’ve got people who depend on me.”

“Yeah,” Mike says, looking aside and thinking of Kaylee and her mother. He walks quickly toward Walt and grabs the satchel. “Goodbye, Walter.”

“You’re welcome!”

Mike turns around, mid-stride. “I’m sorry – what?”

“Those names, Mike. You owe me that much.”

“I don’t owe you a damn thing. All of this fallin’ apart like this is on you!”

“Wow. Hah – wow! Oh, that’s some kinda logic right there, Mike. You screw up – get yourself followed by the DEA, and suddenly this is all my fault. What?”

“We had a good thing, you son of a bitch! We had Fring, we had a lab – we had everything we needed, and it all ran like clockwork. If you’d have shut your mouth and cooked, you’d have made as much money as you ever needed, but – no! You just had to blow it up! You and your pride and your ego! You just had to be the man. If you’d done your job, known your place, we’d all be fine right now.”

Mike turns and walks away, and Walt heads toward his car. Then he turns back. Mike, sitting in his car, looks in the satchel and sees that his gun’s been taken from its holster. He looks up and sees Walt standing at his window. Walt shoots Mike through the window, and Mike’s car takes off, crashing into a rock. Walt runs toward it, ready to shoot again, but by the time he gets there, Mike’s door is open and he’s nowhere in sight.

Following a footprint and a bloody handprint on a rock, a frantic Walt tracks Mike to the river. He’s sitting, glassy-eyed on the bank. Walt takes a handgun from Mike’s hand and breathes heavily, looking all around him. “I just realized that Lydia has the names. I can get them all from her. I’m sorry, Mike.” The river flows by. “This whole thing could have been avoided.”

“Just shut up,” Mike says, “and let me die in peace.”

The camera pulls back to a beautiful shot of the river and the willows, with two bald heads visible in the lower right hand corner. The lower one, the one on the left – Mike – falls over.

First major character killed; first totally senseless killing, unless you count Walt’s urge to prove his (actually nonexistent) alpha maleness as sensible. I hate the completely selfish, evil villain he’s become. I liked Mike, and fear for Jesse.

 

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