Breaking Bad: Full Measure

Walt: "I've got my old job back. At least until they kill me and Gale takes over."

That was amazing.

Talk about chess. Or perhaps more accurately, bluffing at poker when the stakes are literally life and death. Walt actually faked hysterical fear in order to play his last card: calling Jesse on the phone and telling him to kill Gale. Poor Gale. Poor Jesse, who was crying as he fired the gun. Did he kill Gale? He must have. If he didn't, he and Walt are both dead.

This entire episode was a showdown between Walt and Gus, with Mike as Gus's ace in the hole, and an unsuspecting Jesse as Walt's. Maybe I'm taking the poker analogy too far, though, so let's segue to the wild west at high noon. You could practically hear the strains of a spaghetti western score whistling in the background as Walt, wearing his Heisenberg hat, faced Gus down, said flatly that yes, he'd killed Gus's two dealers, and coolly presented Gus with his only options.

Mike witnessed it all and should have drawn some obvious conclusions. At the very least, Mike should have realized that Walt wouldn't panic the way he did at the laundry. Maybe Mike just hasn't realized that Walt can be as cold and calculating as Gus. And that Walt is quite possibly smarter. I think the scenes with Mike, his granddaughter's balloons, and the cartel hangout where the very scary Mike matter-of-factly killed four people without breaking a sweat was intended to show us that there are two sides of Mike, much as there are two sides of Walt. Mike has been doing this a long time, and is a lot more practiced with hiding his real self from his family, as well as killing. Walt is learning, though. Wow.

Maybe that's why we also got the history of the Whites in their current house. The opener showed much younger Walt and a pregnant Skyler touring their current home, completely unfurnished with the exception of a still wrapped Duraflame log in the fireplace. Walt didn't want to take the house, even though it was the right size and within their means, because he thought it wasn't good enough. He thought they'd be moving up and getting an even bigger, better house in no time.

Obviously, Skyler prevailed. Sixteen years later, they're still in that house with a second baby and the same untouched Duraflame log in the fireplace. We still don't know why Walt left the big job, but we do know that Walt finally did move up. He can certainly afford a bigger, better one now, although he can't risk it without drawing attention to his finances. And his job is so dangerous that it will probably get him killed, as it nearly just did. That is, if the cancer doesn't get him first.

Finally, I was completely surprised but oddly pleased that Saul actually respected attorney-client privilege and helped Walt and Jesse at the risk of his own life. Maybe Saul was just angry when he realized that Mike was working for Gus all this time, but I really do think Saul has a certain twisted respect for the letter of the law, as he sees it. As in -- Saul works for Walt and Jesse, he's their lawyer, period. Not that I think Saul would die for them or anything, but clearly, he does kinda sorta have Saul-like principles.

The Walt/Jesse scene in the closed down arcade where they went through their options and finally decided their only choice was for Walt to kill Gale was visually fascinating, with the muted video game sounds and green and blue lights in the background and one great big flash of pink. For Pinkman, of course.

Walt and Jesse have mended their fences and again, have only each other to depend upon. I can't imagine how Gus is going to react to what they just did. And how is Jesse possibly going to deal with killing Gale when his ATM non-murder completely freaked him out?

Bits:

-- The opening scenes included several shots of barbed wire, which I think relates directly to Gus's control over Walt. Mike was also talking with his granddaughter about a rhinoceros as a house pet.

-- Lots more dirty water in the lab, as Walt and Gale were scrubbing out the vats.

-- Walt's windshield, once again broken, was still held on with blue tape.

-- Gale was wearing a bright green shirt, and the woman in the warehouse had green platform heels. I wouldn't point this stuff out, but it's obvious that the writers assign colors to the characters for a reason.

-- Baby Holly pulled off Walt's glasses. At least she didn't break them.

And pieces:

-- Gus went to visit Gale in order to tell him about Walt's cancer and ask when Gale could take over. Did Gale pick up on the subtext? He's a smart man, so I think he did.

-- I absolutely loved Gale's weird apartment and extremely weird taste in music. They were perfect matches for the character.

-- I also loved the wordless scene in the warehouse where the imprisoned man told Mike with very tiny gestures where his enemy's head was on the other side of the wall.

-- Gus's quiet minion finally has a name: Victor. Or maybe he had it before and I just missed it.

Quotes:

Younger Walt: "Why be cautious? We've got nowhere to go but up."

Walt: "You said, 'no half measures'."
Mike: "Yeah. Funny how words can be so open to interpretation."

Gus: "Are you asking me if I ordered the murder of a child?"
Walt: "I would never ask you that."
Did he? I don't think Gus did because he looked offended, but it's difficult to tell with him.

Mike: "You're never too old for balloons."
Loved Mike taking out the transformer with his granddaughter's toy balloons.

Saul: "You ever actually play laser tag? It's good cardio. Plus you get to shoot at kids."
Considering what happened in the previous ep, maybe not in the best of taste. But maybe that was the point.

Walt: "I saved your life, Jesse. Are you going to save mine?"

Every time I think they've taken things as far as they can get, they go further. Four out of four closed down video arcades,

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

5 comments:

Roman said...

Awesome Billie! I think Gale definitely caught what Gus was getting at. Am I only one that found it funny that Gale was like "I need three more cooks with Walt...ok two more....ok one more will be fine. Gus has such an ominous stare.

Mark Greig said...

This show just continues to get better and better. Season three has been fantastic from beginning to end. I'm looking forward to getting started on season four, which I hear is even better. Hopefully I'll be all caught up by the time season five starts.

Thanks again for all the wonderful reviews, Billie.

Billie Doux said...

Thanks so much, guys. I really am hoping to finish season four by the 15th.

Tim said...

Blimey, I didn't think season 2 could be bettered. I was wrong. So very wrong. Where can it go from here? Thanks for the great reviews, Billie.

Marianna said...

I wonder if the whole laser tag thing was a nod to How I Met Your Mother, which the actor who plays Saul is also in. In How I Met Your Mother, the character Barney is obsessed with laser tag, especially because he likes shooting kids.

I don't think Gale realized that he was involved in a plot to kill Walt. I imagine if he did he wouldn't have gone along with it. He seemed like a really nice guy, which is why the idea of killing him seems so wrong. The previous people they killed (at least the ones they intentionally killed) were all bad guys, but Gale is an innocent.