by Billie Doux
"Are we in the meth business or the money business?"
They're certainly not holding back, are they? I spent most of this episode waiting for somebody to kill somebody. No one did, but what a way to ratchet up the dramatic tension, guys.
The opener might have been the most upsetting they've ever done -- the four of them, with a differing range of facial expressions, slowly dismembering the dirt bike, putting the pieces in a plastic barrel, pouring acid over the mess... and then going back to the truck for the boy's body. Wow. And I just knew all this would be the end for Jesse. I was a little surprised but pleased that it was the end for Mike, too.
It just seemed inexplicable that Walt wouldn't take the five million bucks and move the heck on since, as Jesse helpfully pointed out, all Walt initially wanted was $737,000. I was even thinking that the most appropriate response for Mike to Walt's refusal to cooperate would be to kill Walt. It would be a relief, wouldn't it? But instead, we finally discovered what was really motivating Walt.
We still don't know what broke Walt from his Gray Matter partners (I suspect it was Gretchen-related), but they bought him out for $5,000, and the company is now worth over a billion. Walt is still so obsessed by this costly mistake that he looks up the company's worth every week, and I sort of can't blame him. No wonder he's so bitter and driven. He wants his own Gray Matter. (Blue Matter.) Walt said, "I'm in the empire business." Jesse responded, quite logically, "Is the meth empire something to be that proud of?" But it doesn't matter to Walt what sort of empire it is. This is what he can do, and he will never stop. Not until somebody stops him. Or Skyler's wish comes true and his cancer comes back.
Walt apparently subscribes to the Scarlett O'Hara philosophy -- he'll be upset about the boy's death tomorrow. He told Jesse that he'd been unable to sleep, but then when Jesse was leaving the cook, Walt was whistling as if he hadn't a care in the world. Jesse was looking at Walt whistling. Maybe that was the moment when Jesse realized he'd had enough.
I knew as soon as Mike tied Walt to the radiator that Walt would McGyver his way out of it. It takes a lot of nerve to burn yourself that way. "Everybody wins"? I wonder what he found to say that convinced Jesse to change his mind? I'm sure we'll find out next week. Whatever it is, I hope it excludes Todd, a.k.a., Ricky Hitler, because that guy is super bad news. He wanted to kill someone, didn't care that it was a child, and he even took a trophy -- the tarantula in the jar. Couldn't Mike take this guy out before he kills someone else?
Meanwhile back at the ranch, I thought for a moment that Skyler was actually going to tell Marie the truth, but if the story went that way, they'd have to kill off Marie immediately afterward because it would be impossible for her to keep something like that from Hank. And Walt's story about Ted actually worked; it made Skyler think twice about confiding in her sister, because there would be no way back from that.
For me, the best part of the episode was the dinner scene. Jesse tried so hard, too, to complement Skyler on the prepared meal she bought at Albertsons, to describe his usual dinner of frozen food (scabby, tasteless lasagna, another fascinating verbal image in a show about evil and death). Skyler and Jesse don't get scenes together, and this one was just so wonderful. "Did you also tell him about my affair?" "May I please be excused?" Point, Skyler.
I also really enjoyed Gomez running surveillance on Mike, and Mike's response, both at the trash can and in the DEA office with the restraining order (with Saul! I've missed Saul). I'm just waiting for Hank to find those bugs, because you know it's going to happen.
-- The first shot in the episode was a shadow falling over a truck full of dirt. The dirt concealed the bike and the boy's body.
-- During their cook, Walt and Jesse were watching a cooking show about creating "caviar" from kelp. That made me think of meth for some reason.
-- Mike and Jesse were selling 666 gallons. I don't have to point out the number of the beast, do I?
-- Walt wore a blue shirt for much of the episode. And he hid his phone under his Heisenberg hat.
-- I loved Jesse's black tee with the white lightning strike on it. I want one of those.
-- Declan, the clever meth boss from Arizona, was played by Louis Ferreira, star of Stargate Universe. I like Ferreira. Continuing role, please?
Todd: "I saw a threat, and I took care of it the only way I could." Uh huh.
Saul: (to Mike) "Schrader's hard on for you just reached Uncle Miltie proportions."
I actually had to look that one up. And then I was sorry I did. If you're curious, do a search for "milton berle big" and the results will tell you everything you want to know.
It feels like they're moving toward a "mid-season" finale that will knock our socks off. Four out of four scabby lasagnas,