Breaking Bad: Over

"So how do you want to, you know, proceed in light of this kickass news?"

The title of this episode is "Over." But it's not over. Even though Walt's initial impetus for breaking bad may have ended, his experiences have changed him too radically. The metaphorical rot under the Walt's house is too far gone.

As I've mentioned before, Breaking Bad hits you over the head with metaphor and symbolism. Here, it was the busted water heater. (Dirty water is one this show uses a lot.) Walt really did intend to make a new start and leave the drug business behind. He cleaned up the dirty water that was coming into his house, although he used the drug money Jesse gave him (in a white bag, of course) in order to do it.

But in the end, Walt couldn't refocus. He couldn't change. In the final scene in the home improvement store, Walt picked up two cans of "Kilz Odorless" for the rot, and then set them down again, unpurchased, in order to go out into the parking lot and tell his possible new competitors to stay out of his territory. And he was scary. Wow.

(I thought it was funny that Walt's first impulse was to tell the guy what he was doing wrong. Once a teacher, always a teacher.)

Walt has felt emasculated by his illness, and during the party, he overcompensated by getting all macho with Hank over Junior. The bottle of tequila symbolized the meth, the source of his conflict with Hank. Walt's meth career is rotting his home life and polluting his relationship with his son, but Walt looked quietly pleased when Junior vomited into the swimming pool. The only reason I can think of for Walt looking pleased under those circumstances was that he had won the struggle with Hank. Junior is almost certainly going to suffer because of Walt's choices, just as he did here. (Junior even got burned by the new hot water coming out of the faucet, in case we didn't get the message the first time.)

I've assumed from the beginning of the season that the flash forwards we're getting are of the White swimming pool. But now we're sure, because the two filled body bags were laid out next to Walt's damaged car. (Who is dead???) The flash forward scene was filmed in black and white, with the wet, burned, bright pink stuffed animal the only bit of color. I don't know if it was deliberate or not, but it reminded me of the dead little girl in the red coat, the only bit of color in Schindler's List. Was that intentional?

Jesse was ready to let his partnership with Walt go without protest or complaint because he was genuinely happy for his remission. "Dude! No way! That's awesome!" I thought the scene with Jane where Jesse was describing the superheroes he created (Hover Man, KangaMan, Backwardo/Rewindo) and she pointed out that they all looked like Jesse was rather sad. Jesse is not a superhero and he most certainly doesn't fight crime. He's a criminal, the sort of person that superheroes catch, but that hasn't even occurred to him, has it?

When Jesse said that he drew those superheroes when he was a kid, like four years ago, it was a reminder of how very young Jesse is. Walt couldn't bring himself to change course. But Jesse could. He could change direction and make something good out of his life. And maybe turn out to be a boyfriend that Jane wouldn't hide from her father. Wouldn't it be nice?

Bits:

-- As I said, the tequila symbolized the meth, so they gave us a meth-like close-up of the salt crystals. There was also a close-up of the broken windshield of Walt's car in the flash forward.

-- To go with the rot in the house, Skyler found something wrong in the balance sheets at her old/new job. Skyler and Ted held hands over those balance sheets. Hey, if Skyler wants to get involved with someone who is flirting with crime, she's got a husband at home for that.

-- Skyler also went on a crying jag because she sensed that Walt's good news didn't change anything. She was right. It related to what Walt said about thinking "why me" when he got cancer, and "why me" again when he heard he might be recovering.

-- Jane drew "Apology Girl" for Jesse instead of just talking to him. That made me uncomfortable. Is it that Jane and Jesse identify with unreal fantasy beings instead of seeing themselves as they really are?

-- Jesse screwed up the eggs he was cooking for Jane. And his narration? "This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs." That, of course, was from the classic anti-drug commercials that aired in the late 1980s.

And pieces:

-- While Walt was frantically trying to fix the house, there was a news item playing in the background about the housing crisis.

-- The "Kilz Odorless" cans also said, "white pigment."

-- As Walt got deeper into the repair job, he started wearing coveralls, goggles and a protective mask that was just like what he wears when he cooks. Interestingly, Jesse was wearing rather nice clothes for a change when he was with Jane. He has never looked so normal.

-- The defective water heater has been mentioned before, specifically in the season two premiere. Great continuity.

-- John de Lancie (Q from Star Trek, not Bond) played Jane's father. And I knew I'd seen Krysten Ritter (Jane) somewhere, so I finally checked. Turns out she was Gia Goodman in season two of Veronica Mars.

-- Skyler: "There was supposed to be a light at the end of the tunnel. But lately, it just feels like..." Ted: "More tunnel."

Another disturbing, fascinating episode. Four out of four margaritas,

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

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reviews, they actually made me watch Breaking Bad. And I´m always amazed what hidden messages you find :)

I really wish there were more of the nice not work related moments between Jesse and Walt.

Suzanne said...

I loved the scene where Walt approaches the man in the hardware store to give advice. Theblook on the man's face was priceless. Walt's actions in the parking lot afterwards were chilling and showed how dangerous he can be if he wants to be. Not a good sign, for sure.

I found Jane's apology girl drawing to be really sweet, but I agree that they both appear to be in denial.

Billie Doux said...

Thanks, Anon. A Breaking Bad convert! Yay!

I loved that scene too, Suzanne. I thought it was funny that Walt's first impulse was to tell the guy what he was doing wrong. Once a teacher, always a teacher. And you know, I ought to put that in my review.

Suzanne said...

I forgot to mention that I loved seeing Q again, especially since he plays such a different role. I thought Jane looked familiar; thanks for catching the VM connection.

Josie Kafka said...

That tequila scene was almost unbearable. Walt Jr. really doesn't have a decent male role model, does he? Hank is all bluster, and Walt Jr. is too young to realize that bluster is just a facade. And Walter is so caught up in his own drama that he can't see the harm he's causing his family.

I've spent episodes wondering where I recognized Skylar's boss from. Turns out the actor, Christopher Cousins, has been in just about everything. But what I recognized him from was the SPN episode "Bedtime Stories," in which he played the doctor. Thank you, internet!