by Billie Doux
What a shocker. I'm still picking my jaw up off the floor. If this is just episode one, what will the series finale be like?
That final scene between Walt and Hank was exceptional, one of the best scenes they've ever done -- and that's saying a lot for a show like Breaking Bad. The focus throughout the scene was Hank's eyes, and Dean Norris managed to convey his fury, hurt and confusion, his feelings of betrayal, all of the complex emotions that a man like Hank would feel in a bizarre situation like this. Gold acting stars, absolutely.
When the garage door went down, I thought, OMG, Walt is going to kill Hank. But no. It was manipulation time. While Hank was melting down, Walt methodically went from A to B to C (and Bryan Cranston did his usual amazing job). First, innocence. What is this tracker doing on my car? Why on earth would you be investigating me? And then Walt tried to evoke pity and the friendship he has always had with his brother-in-law, as in hey, Hank, I'm a dying man. Your problem will be going away soon, so what's the point in coming after me? And finally, Heisenberg emerged. You'd better tread lightly with a drug lord and mass murderer like me, Hank. Shudder.
When Hank took Leaves of Grass out of Walt's house, I was completely freaked because I knew Walt would eventually notice it was gone. And when Hank had a panic attack and wrecked his car, I thought for a moment that the shock of what he'd learned was so great that it would kill him. So I was happy that Hank made it to the end of the episode. Please let Hank live to the end of series? I really, really, really, really want him to get Walt in the end.
Jesse put two and two together, and figured out that Walt wouldn't have taken out Mike's guys in jail without taking out Mike first. I want Jesse to live, too, but obviously, the guilt has gotten to him. He was outright suicidal and cared nothing for that five million dollars -- it was literally a burden to him that he couldn't unload on anyone but a bunch of strangers who will be very surprised to find what's in their yards tomorrow morning. I wonder if, now that Jesse has unburdened himself of the money, will he decide to turn himself in, and take Walt down with him? I don't see the series ending that way, but I suppose it could. (Note that Walt and Jesse had a heavy life and death conversation in Jesse's house with the bags of money and a lot of lies jammed between them.)
I'm going to talk about the opening scene for a bit, because it was also pretty amazing. It began with a shot of white cement, and then skateboards, and then we realized that boys were skating in the empty, dry pool at the White house, which was abandoned and fenced off. Future Walt broke into his own house (again) and saw the word "Heisenberg" spray-painted on the filthy walls. Boys on wheels and dirty water are both recurring bits of symbolism in this series. The pool being dry and the house abandoned was even creepier than the in media res plane crash shots a couple of seasons ago. The final shot in the house showed Walt with no eyes.
I knew almost immediately that future Walt had to be going for the ricin. Who's it for, Walt? Hank and Jesse had better be careful. Does ricin go bad? (If it did, and it wasn't poison any more, would that mean it "went good"?)
-- As Hank was trying to absorb what he'd just realized while sitting on the john, Marie told Walt, "You are the devil."
-- Walt and Skyler wore beige and white. It feels to me like, duh, they're back to being a couple again, and back to being the ordinary old Whites again. Jess Lynde, one of our Doux Reviews writers, just sent me this: a piece on Slate about the colors the characters wear on Breaking Bad, and what it means in relation to their characters.
-- Walt hasn't told his family about the new bout of chemo; he had the water running so they wouldn't hear him vomiting. As I said, dirty water is a continuing theme on this show, almost certainly signifying pollution and evil.
-- There was a roach on Jesse's coffee table, and we're talking the scuttling kind, not the kind you smoke. It was like the anti-Vamonos Pest. And Jesse was shot through the glass, which is, of course, what they call meth.
-- Jesse reached the decision to throw away all that money while sitting in the parking lot of the Dog House. They've shown Jesse at the Dog House before, during low periods of his life.
-- Liked the "Hello, Carol," both times.
-- Badger's story about the pie eating contest on Star Trek (Spock versus Chekov) was a perfect little gem of a scene. As Badger and Skinny Pete were talking, Jesse sat with his back to a TV screen filled with blue and green confusion, probably much like his thoughts, and of course, evoking the famous blue meth and the money.
-- Skinny Pete's theory about how the transporter on Star Trek works has occurred to me more than once (that it kills you and reassembles another person that looks and acts like you but isn't you). The idea totally creeps me out. But listening to Skinny Pete talk about it made me laugh. Hey, I can assign symbolism to anything. Walt has become a completely different person and lost his soul during the course of the series, hasn't he?
-- With his drug empire wound down, Walt is now into running the car wash. Skyler is being very protective of what she has, understandably, to the point of running Lydia off.
-- Lydia's new business overseas isn't going well because whoever succeeded Walt (Todd, a.k.a. Ricky Hitler, perhaps?) is delivering a product that is only 68% pure. This can't be good for Walt's retirement.
-- I loved revisiting the entire series in bits and pieces in Hank's files. We even revisited the video of the pom pom caper. And I loved that they had the kid with the remote control car again outside of Hank's house. The first time, Marie ran over the car. I wonder if this time, the kid saved Hank's life? Because Walt wouldn't kill Hank with a witness within earshot. He's too smart for that.
Walt: "Have an A1 day."
Hank: "I swear to Christ I will put you under the jail."
Walt: "Hank, my cancer is back."
Hank: "Rot, you son of a bitch."
(I'd quote the Badger/Skinny Pete discussion about the Star Trek pie eating contest, but it would be much too long. :)
Outstanding. Four out of four empty swimming pools,