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Season 3, episode 5: “Mas”

05 Aug

Breaking Bad, 3-5: “Mas”

Opener

The episode starts with a replay of a scene from Season 1: Walt, with hair, wearing a tan jacket over a yellow shirt, stands outside Jesse’s original car, saying, “I am awake.” The threat of death from cancer has given him a new view of life.

“You are not how I remember you from class, like not at all,” Jesse says. He looks in the paper sack Walt’s just given him, and adds, “This isn’t even seven grand. My guy wants 85.”

“That’s all the money I have in the world. You’re a drug dealer – negotiate. Buy the RV…We start tomorrow.”

Next, in a flashback to that time, we see what Jesse did with most of Walt’s money: spent it in a strip club with friends Combo and Skinny Pete. Wearing his black beanie with the red edge and a red plaid jacket, Jesse orders expensive champagne, “Don Peringdon,” which the guys drink out of “tall, skinny” glasses, because, as Jesse puts it, “That’s what James Bond drinks, mofos! I’m all about that!”

Combo asks, “Where’d you get all this cheddar? Must be moving bad volume!”

“It’s really funny…This old dude gave it to me.”

“Why?”

“‘Cause he’s a dumb ass, that’s why!”

We see a montage of the guys drinking and being fawned over by naked girls to the tune of “I’m Not A Rocket Scientist” by the Teddy Bears. “I’m not a rocket scientist/I rock the house and sign the tits, and that’s it/Don’t take no astrophysicist to make your ass throw fits/Now, sistas, kick it!”

Combo takes pictures with his phone, Skinny Pete with a camera. At dawn, outside the joint, Jesse counts his money, and says, “$1,400…No, man! I was supposed to use that dude’s money to buy an RV!”

“What for?”

“Never mind! Jesus! Now I gotta leave town or change my identity or something. The guy’s blackmailing me!”

Combo says, “I can hook you up, bro.”

“On $1,400 at six in the morning?”

Combo takes Jesse to his mom’s house, and they steal the family RV in a “no paperwork type deal.” Jesse backs the RV out the Ortegas’ drive in a hurry, knocking into some trashcans and sideswiping more trash cans as he careens down the street.

Scene 1: Ted’s house, Casa Blanca, Saul’s office

We see Skyler at Ted’s. A little later, she’s setting the table for three at home. Sent to get his dad, Junior knocks on the nursery door. Walt’s in Holly’s closet on the phone with Jesse, who’s called him from Saul’s office asking him about “the deal” Walt’s evidently been making behind his back. When Walt explains that Victor just threw the bag of money into his car, Jesse says, “Whatever, man – you owe me that money.”

“I owe you nothing, but, trust me, I will get to the bottom of this.”

Jesse, wearing a plain black knit hat and a gray jacket over a black long-sleeved shirt, says, “Trust you? That’s a good one – like, that’s what I’m gonna do!” The two men argue about rights to the meth formula, and Jesse says, “I will be a one-man glass factory – I will rock that RV 24-7!”

Angry, Walt hangs up and emerges from the closet, Holly’s little yellow chair hanging from his butt.

Scene 2: Hank and Gomez on an RV park stakeout, the Schraders’

Gomez watches through a night scope as Hank sneaks around an RV, then comes back to the Jeep. Gomez says, “I ain’t feelin’ it. No smoke, no smell, no waste. I say we call it a night, and get a search warrant.” But Hank’s not ready to give up. “There’s gotta be a way…” He climbs up on the RV’s roof, and peers down through the skylight at an older couple playing cards in their skivvies. The woman sees him and screams, and the man rushes outside, shouting, “What the hell are you doing up there? Are you some kind of pervert?” The sun has risen by the time they get the people in the RV park settled down. Hank wants to check out another RV, but Gomez says he has to go home and pack. He’s going to El Paso in Hank’s place.

At the Schraders’, Marie has four packets of Sweet’n’Low laid out on the counter, and is putting the first one in her coffee when Hank rushes by. She follows him into the bathroom, and talks to him while he showers. “Get your bad guy?”

“Nope.”

“I spoke to Blanca and found out that Steve’s going to El Paso. I was wondering how you felt about that.”

“I turned it down – couldn’t do both.”

“You know that you can talk to me about things, don’t you?”

“Do you ask me which lead bib to put on someone before you nuke ’em? Jesus, Marie! I made a decision. I’m not ‘going through’ anything. I’m doin’ my job.”

“I’d like to be included, that’s all.”

“I’m doing some actual good out here, and all I get are these bullshit accusations…” Hank continues to rant, and Marie leaves.

Scene 3: Gus’s office at Los Pollos, Ted’s house, the new lab

Walt sets the Los Pollos bag with the money in it on Gus’s desk, and asks, “What exactly is this? I’ll tell you what I think it is – a ploy to get me cooking again…As if I would seriously believe you would hire an addict – Jesse Pinkman. Recovering, but…Jesse was capable of working under my supervision, but trusting him in a sole venture is quite another matter. He could never produce anything but a mediocre product.”

Gus: “I am told his product was more or less consistent with the quality I’d come to expect.”

“More or less? Really. Talk about setting the bar low – except you don’t do that…Therefore, you must think that selfishness about my own product, an overweening pride that you think overwhelms me, clouds my judgment.”

“It doesn’t?”

“No, I just respect the chemistry.”

“I apologize for being so transparent…Would you take a drive with me? I’d like to show you something.”

Marie, caring for Holly at her house, calls Skyler just as the latter is pulling up at Ted’s. She tells her sister that Hank’s changed since El Paso, working day and night. “Something’s eating him up inside, but he won’t talk to me.” Skyler’s expression says, “Yeah, been there.”

Gus and Walt walk through the big commercial laundry that Gus says he’s owned for years. Gus pushes a button that brings a huge dryer forward, exposing the entrance to a red-lit staircase. Down a second flight of circular stairs is a brand-new, state-of-the-art, mass-production meth lab, with a shiny red floor.

“What’s this?” Walt asks.

“Your new lab.”

“My God! Wow…How did you know how to put all this together?”

“I had excellent help.” Gus explains that the laundry staff is trustworthy, and that the filtration system he’s installed will vent all exhaust as clear steam. He adds, “I need 200 pounds per week to make this economically viable. You would choose your own hours, of course – come and go as you please, so long as the quota is met.”

“Sorry. The answer is still, ‘no.’ I made a series of very bad decisions, and I can’t make another one.”

“Why did you make these decisions?”

“For the good of my family.”

“Then they weren’t bad decisions…What does a man do, Walt? A man provides for his family.”

“This cost me my family.”

“When you have children, they are always your family. They will always be your priority, your responsibility. A man provides, and he does it even when he’s not appreciated, or respected, or even loved. He simply bears up, and does it, because he’s a man.”

Walt, wearing a life-giving blue-and-green striped shirt, listens.

Scene 4: Ted’s, Casa Blanca

We see Skyler at Ted’s, then at home having served herself, Walt, and Junior dinner. Junior asks to be excused, and Walt and Skyler are sitting across from each other, Skyler sipping on a glass of white wine. Holly starts fussing, and Skyler asks Walt if he wants to “take her.” Tears in his eyes, Walt smiles. He picks his daughter up, puts her on his shoulder, and starts caressing her small head, as Skyler leaves.

Scene 5: the DEA office, Casa Blanca, Skyler’s lawyer’s office

Hank works while the rest of the office celebrates Gomez’s departure for El Paso. Crossing off the last of the early ’80s Bounder RVs registered in New Mexico, he calls to a female co-worker passing by and asks her to “check again.” Then he goes out to the main room and congratulates his partner, “the man for the job” for whom “beanspeak comes natural. Don’t go native on me!” He gives him the Sun Tzu figure, and they shake hands. The woman returns and, smiling, tells Hank, “There’s one more. Its registration wasn’t renewed.”

Putting something away in Holly’s closet, Skyler ends up getting down the duffle bag of money and looking at it. Next we see her, dressed in sea green, telling her lawyer that she feels “paralyzed, like if I take a step in any direction, I’m going to make a spectacular mistake…I’m sleeping with my boss, and I don’t know why…That’s a lie. I do know why…The family sees me as a bitch, and you say tell my son the truth about his father. But I can’t – ever. I slept with Ted to make Walt leave me. It’s the only time in my day when I don’t feel like I’m drowning. But Walt’s not going anywhere…There’s money in the house.”

“How much?”

“I didn’t count it, but the bag is heavy.”

“Are you asking my permission to spend this money?”

“No, I’m just trying to talk it through.”

“I’m not a therapist. There’s nothing to discuss here.”

“We have a history – he’s the father of my children. And maybe what he did – ”

“He did for the family, right? Well, guess what? That’s one enormous load of horseshit. I’m going to spell this out as simply as I can: You’re a fool to stay in that house one minute longer. If your husband won’t leave, then you go. You are now an accessory after the fact. You’re culpable. You, your children – you could lose everything you own. Do you understand?”

Skyler returns home to a house that seems dark inside even in the daytime. The baby’s room has been cleaned up, the money’s gone, and the paperwork for the divorce is in Holly’s crib, signed off on by Walt. Dissatisfied with the slow pace of Skyler’s warming to him and tempted by the money and power, he’s decided to work for Gus.

Scene 6: Saul’s office

Walt comes into Saul’s office, dressed in black. “You’re late,” Jesse says.

Saul tells Walt he can have 10% of Jesse’s profits, and Jesse says, “That’s charity. I do all the work – he sits around on his fat ass, judging people.”

Walt gives Jesse back the money Victor gave him. “Take it,” he says, “It belongs to you.”

“You’re damn right it belongs to me!”

“Enjoy it. Spend it in good health. It’s the last money you’ll ever earn in this business.”

“What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”

“I hate to break it to you, Jesse, but our mutual associate was only using you to get to me.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You see, he needs someone with expertise, someone who knows what he’s doing. In other words, he needs me.”

“Are you tellin’ me you’re cookin’ again?”

“I’m in, you’re out.” Walt gets up to leave.

Saul: “Hold on there. What was the offer, if I may ask?”

“Three million for three months of my time.”

“Well, you’re gonna need that money laundered, right? Of course. What was the deal before? 17%? I’ll do it for an even 15.”

“Five.”

“Fourteen.”

“Five.”

“Thirteen.”

“Five.”

Jesse, standing: “What the hell just happened? You’re my lawyer, not his!”

Saul: “It’s the way of the world, kid – go with the winner.”

Jesse asks Walt, “You think this will stop me from cooking?”

“Cook whatever you like – as long as it’s that ridiculous Chili P or some other dreck. But don’t even think about using my formula.”

“Just try and stop me, bitch!” Outside, Jesse throws a big rock at Walt’s windshield. He’s finally had the damage caused by Wayfarer 515 repaired, and now it’s broken again.

Scene 7: Combo’s mom’s house

Hank knocks, and Combo’s mom answers. In answer to Hank’s questions, she says she had an RV, but it was stolen months ago, and she never got around to reporting the theft. “I didn’t want him arrested. He ran with a bad crowd, but he wasn’t a bad person. I thought he could turn his life around.”

“Who?”

“My son.”

“I’d like to speak to him.”

“He’s passed away. He was shot two months ago.”

“What was your son’s name?”

“Christian.”

“Was his nickname Combo?”

Inside there’s a framed picture of Combo at an earlier age with a little, worn teddy bear and a bag of Combos (a cheddar cheese/pretzel snack food) leaning against it. In Combo’s room, there’s a small white skull hanging from the wall, a model airplane hanging from the ceiling, and on a table a wristwatch stopped at 3:30. There’s also a poster of a marijuana plant and a snapshot, which Hank picks up, of Combo and Jesse at the strip joint.

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