Breaking Bad: ... And the Bag's in the River

"There's got to be more to a human being than that."

'The Cat's in the Bag' was horribly funny, and I do mean 'horribly,' as in full of horror. But this episode was just tragic.

Killing Emilio was self-defense. Killing Krazy 8 was murder. Walt tried so hard to find a way not to do it. He nearly let Krazy 8 talk him out of it. Krazy 8 was so smart, too — so friendly, sane, reasonable and normal, so not-crazy. His first gambit was to try to turn Walt against Jesse, but he quickly shifted to pretending he was a good guy in a bad situation who accidentally wound up chained in Jesse's basement. He even helped Walt find an innocent moment in the past when their paths had probably crossed over a (way too symbolic) crib or bassinet. Walt was about to let Krazy 8 go when he literally put the pieces of that broken plate together.

The thing is, you can't blame Krazy 8 for hiding that plate shard. The guy wanted to live. He must have been terrified, especially after he saw the blood and acid dripping on the basement floor right in front of him. No matter how reasonable and friendly Krazy 8 appeared to be, he was always going to be a danger to Walt and his family. I think the point of this episode was that Walt chose a path in the pilot episode, and no matter how much he wanted to change his mind and take another, it was already too late. There he was on the overpass, watching everyone else speeding in other directions, while he sat there, paralyzed by his own choices.

The opener with the acid and blood cleanup alternated with a flashback to a time when a younger and hairier Walt was writing the chemical components of the human body on a blackboard. At the end of the episode, he and the woman he was talking with said that the list of chemicals didn't include the soul. It might be an obvious leap to conclude that the writers were referring to Emilio's soul, since it was his remains that Walt and Jesse were mopping up, or maybe Krazy 8's soul. But I think they were really talking about Walt's. We get desensitized to killing and death in movies and television these days, but the murder Walt committed hit me hard, like a murder should. It was important and it was awful.

The flashbacks were beautifully shot, with Walt backlit. I know that was to make it easier for it to appear that he was a lot younger, and it worked. But the extreme lights and darks were metaphorical, too, much like Walt's long list of pros and cons that simply boiled down to morality on one side of the paper, and survival on the other.

In other news, Skyler mentioned pot to Marie, and it immediately got back to Hank. It was worth it for that weirdly funny scene where Hank was trying to scare Junior straight and Junior was totally clueless and straight out amused by the bizarre aspects of the situation. What all this really told us was that Marie is a tattletale and a hypocrite as well as a kleptomaniac. Although those were indeed killer heels.

Bits:

-- Hank was going on and on about gateway drugs, and I kept thinking that Walt killing Krazy 8 felt like a gateway murder. I also thought it was funny that the meth motel was called "Crossroads."

-- There were lots of things going into trash cans and toilets in this episode. Walt actually started his list of pros and cons on the toilet. And he fell down the stairs twice.

-- Krazy 8's real name was Domingo, meaning Sunday. I'm sure there was some intended religious symbolism there.

-- All the blood they were mopping up and spraying water in the kiddie pool reminded me of "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand." Man, that was a lot of blood.

And pieces:

-- Walt and Jesse worked together pretty well this time, except for that hilarious sissy fight in the bathroom. Both actors are so good that I forget they're acting.

-- It's a small world. Walt and Krazy 8 probably met before. Wendy the meth head went from talking with Hank and Junior to doing more than that with Jesse.

-- Skyler caught Walt in a lie about being at the car wash. Walt isn't a good liar. He'll have to work on that.

-- Walt cut the crusts off Krazy 8's sandwich. His last meal. Maybe if Jesse had had paper plates around the house, Krazy 8 would have lived. And he probably would have killed Walt and his family, and Jesse as well.

-- Hank is on the trail of Jesse's RV. Apparently, Emilio was Hank's snitch.

-- The camera work throughout the entire episode was terrific. Walt in silhouette at the top of the stairs. The blood through the glass. The overpass.

-- Is Skyler really painting the nursery that horrendous shade of green? Gag.

Quotes:

Jesse: "How am I supposed to live here now, huh? My whole house smells like toe cheese and dry cleaning."
Walt: "Because you didn't follow my instructions."
Jesse: "Oh, heil Hitler, bitch! And let me tell you something else. We flipped a coin. Okay? You and me. You and me! Coin flip is sacred. Your job is waiting for you in that basement, as per the coin!"
As per the coin. Loved that.

Krazy 8: "This line of work doesn't suit you. Get out before it's too late."

Hank: "Ay yi yi, Gomey. It's a culture in decline."
Gomez: "It's a rich and vibrant culture."
Hank: "It's a car that jumps up and down. What the hell, you people used to be conquistadors, for Christ's sake."

Walt's girlfriend: "What about the soul?"
Young Walt: "The soul. There's nothing but chemistry here."

Outstanding. Four out of four bologna sandwiches with the crusts cut off,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

13 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Programming note: I took on Breaking Bad and Justified at the same time, but I'm doing Justified a little more quickly. That's not because I like it better. It's because Justified returns in January. I thought I had until March or April. I'm still hoping to finish Breaking Bad seasons 1-4 before the 5th begins this summer. (If they move it up a few months, though, I'm in trouble.)

Unknown said...

I, for one, very much appreciate your work on all of these reviews, Billie! I always jump to your site when I watch any shows you have done :) Thanks to a bargain on Netflix, I just finished all of seasons 1 through 3 of Breaking Bad and of the Buffy series!!

Unknown said...

((I was the anonymous one, sorry about that!)) **and all the seasons of the Buffy series!!

Jess Lynde said...

I remember this one being the episode where I truly knew I was "all in" with this show. I absolutely loved how they took their time dealing with the fallout from the Pilot. And I loved that Walt spent two entire episodes working himself up to the point of no return with Krazy Eight (in my brain it is always spelled with a K, for some reason). I think when he truly realized he had to go through with it and then actually did the job, I was dumbstruck. It felt so intense and agonizing. I think I was expecting him to find a way out the whole time, so when it didn't go that direction, it took me by surprise. And really blew me away.

I will say, that I feel like this first murder was still self defense. Walt took things far enough that he really had no choice. He couldn't walk away from this without consequence. Krazy Eight would have killed Walt, Jesse, and Walt's family. He had to do it to protect his partner and his family.

Sacred coin flip. Tee hee!

Patryk said...

What we still don't know is whether Walt used acid on the body too. There was no talk about getting rid of the body.

Suzanne said...

I am watching the show for the first time and I agree Jess, this one pulled me all the way in! It was really great. I look forward to more. Great review, Billie.

Unknown said...

I keep looking for the LIKE button ;) Great comments, everyone!

Laslo Losla said...

An associacion:
When Walt assembles the yellow dish he realizes the real situation that is taking place by recognizing a "missing piece", very smilar to the missing piece in the list of the human body chemical components (in the flashback). The question on the background is "What is missing?". The answer is given by Gretchen ("the soul") and complemented in the present moment: The missing piece, the one that completes the picture of what a human is, is also the will for survival (represented by the piece of the yellow dish)... Domingo's will of survival and also Walt's will of survival. This epiphany is what convince Walt to go through the path he finally took, realizing that this is now an inalienable part of the circumstance. He reaches the point of the real, and he has the upper hand because Krazy Eight is still his prisoner. When he says "I'm sorry", he is saying "I see things now... I win, you lose... I'm sorry."

Josie Kafka said...

I'm still not "all in," but this episode was really good, especially the scenes between Krazy-8 and Walter.

I loved the "gateway drug" talk, too. I remember my father giving me a stern talk about gateway drugs. The reason? I'd started drinking coffee, which is apparently the gatewayiest of them all.

(And what do we know? He was right. I am now a terrible coffee addict.)

I also loved the "Judeo/Christian morality" item on Walter's list. I think that if you put it like that, chances are you are not much of a believer. :-)

sunbunny said...

Walt is some sort of chemist genius and he couldn't assemble the pieces of the plate faster? Really?

The entire episode was about Walt making a decision that was a fairly obvious foregone conclusion. There was no way of letting Krazy 8 go. None. He would've come back and killed Jesse, Walt, and Walt's family. Walt was just waiting for a good enough excuse.

I found it really horrific that Walt gave the bucket he used to dispose of Emilio to Domingo to use as a toilet.

Anne said...

As Patryck above commented, there was never any mention of what they did with Krazy 8's body. To my knowledge, this was one of the rare instances when something was never explained. Or maybe it all comes out in the wash later?

Billie Doux said...

I honestly don't remember if they say what they did with the body later on, but I always assumed that they dissolved it, like the first one.

ChrisB said...

The scene between Walter and Krazy 8 was brilliantly done. I believed that Walter might let him go and, at the same time, was worried that he would. Watching these two men interact was compelling stuff.