by Billie Doux
One of the big continuing questions in this series has always been, does Walt truly care about Jesse?
And I still don't know.
Jesse stayed loyal to Walt. No snitching for Jesse. He was even ready to do exactly what Walt said, get out of town and lie low for Walt's sake. Jesse crying in Walt's arms had me in tears -- mostly because of Aaron Paul's exceptional performance, and because I really, really want Walt to care that much about Jesse. But despite that incredibly moving father-son-like hug, it felt like what Saul had set up was a hit.
When Jesse was waiting for the pick-up, he was standing in front of a big cement structure that looked like a sea of symmetrical tombstones. Saul mentioned that Jesse could "swim with the dolphins" in Florida. That's a lot like "sleeping with the fishes", or taking a "trip to Belize". And there were two greeting cards behind Skyler at the car wash that had swimming dolphins on them. Saul has suggested eliminating Jesse more than once. Jesse and Saul are the only two people (other than Skyler) who know enough to put Walt away, after all. Saul would probably keep his mouth shut forever, but Walt knew Jesse was losing it.
And then, right before the van pulled up, Jesse realized that Saul had had Huell take the dope out of Jesse's pocket, and Jesse looked at his pack of cigarettes and put two and two and Walt and Brock and poison together. I always wondered what Jesse would do if he found out the worst that Walt has done, and now he has. (Although he still doesn't know about Jane.) Is Jesse really about to burn down Walt's house?
As Jesse was losing control, Walt managed to defang Hank and Marie. His "confession" was an absolute masterpiece, so clever, so perfectly constructed, that I kept saying "Wow" out loud. He took every instance of Hank's inadvertent involvement in the Whites's lives over the past year, and turned it into evidence of Hank being the mastermind behind the meth empire -- from the initial ride-along in the pilot episode, to the hit by the twins, to Gus Fring and Tio Salamanca -- even the money Skyler gave Marie for Hank's therapy, and Hank and Marie taking custody of the White kids. Outstanding writing. And of course, they had to get some symbolic color in there, so for the latter half of Walt's "confession", there was a red stripe down the middle of Walt's face.
Walt also manipulated his own son with yet another confession. That was such a disturbing little scene. Junior was at the point of tears, realizing that he might lose his father after all, but I absolutely got the impression that Walt was "confessing" that his cancer was back in order to keep Junior away from Hank and Marie, and for no other reason.
With all that money at his disposal, why the hell doesn't Walt pack up Skyler and the kids and leave the country? He could buy an island and a jet or a yacht to get them there, hire a private oncologist, and live out his life, no matter how long or short, in absolute luxury and where Hank could never find him. Why won't he? I would.
-- Walt and Marie continued to wear white and beige during that meeting with Hank and Marie, who were wearing black and very dark blue. Throughout the episode, Walt's clothes got progressively darker.
-- I loved the tacky Mexican restaurant they chose for that life and death discussion. At least it wasn't Los Pollos Hermanos.
-- Walt put on a clumsy glob of make-up to hide his black eye, much like Jesse did back in season one.
-- There were several office shots: Saul's, Hank's, Skyler's, and all of them were oddly dark. When Walt came into Skyler's office at the car wash, he was completely back lit and black.
-- Walt retrieved his gun from under the soda machine. It was literally on ice. Who's the gun for, Walt?
-- Todd called Walt on the phone just to say hi. Uh huh. The restaurant scene showed Todd telling his uncle and the other guy about the Great Train Robbery in "Dead Freight". And it featured blood going down the toilet. And the methylamine on its way into New Mexico.
-- Because he can't tell him even a particle of the truth, Hank is losing his close working relationship with Gomez. That's sad.
-- I hated seeing Jesse beating Saul. I can't help but be fond of Saul.
-- I can't remember. What happened the last time Saul ordered a specific part for a vacuum cleaner? Was that a hit, or just a way to get someone out of town?
-- This week's Most Obvious Symbolism was probably the tarantula crawling toward Jesse in the desert scene. I couldn't help thinking of the little boy on the dirt bike in the train robbery episode.
-- Gold acting stars for Aaron Paul; this was Jesse's episode. Bryan Cranston was also awesome. That confession was a masterwork.
-- Seriously. What were those cement slabs where Jesse was waiting for the van? That was a fascinating location shot.
Walt: "What do I have to do to make you believe me?"
Marie: "Why don't you kill yourself, Walt?"
Saul: "It's always a desert."
Jesse: "Will you just for once stop working me?"
Exceptional episode. Four out of four dolphins,