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Season 5, episode 7: “Say My Name”

07 Aug

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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