Breaking Bad: Mas

Skyler: "I didn't marry a criminal."
Lawyer: "Well, you're married to one now."

Gus owns a laundry. (Insert joke about laundered money here.) And it has a secret underground lab. (Insert joke about mad scientists here.)

Gus told Walt flatly, "A man provides. And he does it even when he's not appreciated or respected, or even loved. He simply bears up and he does it, because he's a man." As before, Gus's professionalism and (twisted) moral and ethical standards resonated with Walt. Well, that and appealing to Walt's pride in creating a superior product. And the immense, shiny new lab with the very latest equipment that made the RV look like a joke, plus tons of cash, choosing his own hours, how could Walt turn that down?

Giancarlo Esposito (Gus) was pretty amazing in that scene. Was Gus acting, or did he mean every word? It made me wonder what sort of home life Gus has. I would guess that he keeps his secret life completely compartmentalized. Which is what Walt should have done. Walt knew Gus was manipulating him, but it worked, anyway. And what does that say about Walt? That returning to cooking was what he wanted to do all along.

Since "twisted morality" was this episode's theme, Skyler was looking down at Ted's heated bathroom floor and thinking about Walt, the husband she promised to love and cherish in sickness and in health, even if he is a criminal. I'm sure her second thoughts about the divorce have nothing to do with the huge bag of money she pulled out of the baby's closet. And stared at.

Again, I don't mean to rag on Skyler. When you've been broke and struggling for most of your life, when you have a disabled son and an infant to care for, a sick husband, a shabby house and an old car, a bag full of money is hard to turn down, no matter how honest you are. I thought it was hilarious that Skyler treated her lawyer like a therapist and confided in her about the money while wearing a bright green money-colored blouse and playing with the green flowers on the lawyer's desk. When Skyler came home, Walt had made the decision for her; he'd moved out of Holly's bedroom and he took the bag of money with him. She initiated the divorce; it was what she wanted. Why isn't she happy?

(It almost felt like Walt was divorcing Skyler and Jesse, and marrying Gus. With Saul as a pawn in the custody battle.)

Jesse's lack of morality, taste and judgment was front and center in the flashback, which showed how the RV was initially acquired. Jesse used Walt's life savings to party hard at a strip club, and then he used what little was left to buy an RV that the late and unlamented Combo stole from his own mother. And now Jesse might be in serious trouble, since Hank is about to pound down his door. (Loved Hank scaring the older couple sitting in their RV half naked playing cards.)

Gomez got Hank's promotion and is on his way to El Paso. Marie knows exactly why Hank turned down the promotion. Who does he think he's fooling?

Bits:

-- Again with the water. Hank in the shower lying to Marie about El Paso. Not one but two scenes with Ted showering. Skyler said the only time she didn't feel like she was drowning was when she was with Ted.

-- There was a long shot of the Whites at the dinner table, with a column dividing Walt from Skyler and Junior.

-- Hank gave Gomez the little statue from the turtle episode. Maybe it'll do a better job of protecting Gomez than it did Hank. I hope Gomez doesn't die.

-- Jesse broke the glass in Walt's windshield. A bit more successful than Walt trying to toss a potted tree through the window at Beneke's.

And pieces:

-- This episode is entitled "Mas," which means "more." An earlier episode this season was entitled "No mas," meaning "no more."

-- Marie is still using way too much Splenda.

-- Why doesn't Marie have children? She's crazy about Holly.

-- Walt was doing business in the baby's closet. Great visual of the baby seat stuck to Walt's butt.

-- Walt: "Chemistry must be respected." Okay.

Three out of four secret labs,

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

3 comments:

Jess Lynde said...

So, was this the first episode with Skylar prominently wearing green? I remember her shirt in the lawyer's office so well, and that's what always makes me think her color is green. If this is where it started, then it was definitely tied to her change of heart. She went from blue to green when she decided to get back in bed with her criminal husband.

I was so disappointed in Skylar for ceding the moral high ground here. I know that Walt had put her in an impossible position and that the money had to be so, so tempting. But I had been so sympathetic to her plight and was so proud of her for sticking it to him in whatever way she could, that I was really, really crushed by her giving in to her baser instincts. I guess I saw shades of myself in her character, and wanted to believe she would do the right thing, and resist Walt's dark path.

They've been doing great stuff with Hank this season, particularly the way they are funneling his post-traumatic stress into his hunt for Heisenberg.

Gus was absolutely fantastic in this episode. I don't think he necessarily believed anything he was saying to Walt. I think he just knew how to play Walt. The lab and the money clearly weren't enough to sway him, so he keyed in on Walt's manly pride and used that to seal the deal. Brilliant! And brilliantly acted.

Anonymous said...

I have devoured the first three seasons and am awaiting the arrival of Season 4 from the UPS man later today. I know there's a lot of symbolism in each scene, and maybe on my second viewing of the series, I will focus on that. For now, I am enjoying the characterization and reading your reviews to point out the symbolism that I have skipped over. Thank you so much for reviewing this brilliant show!

Anne said...

Skyler loves Ted's heated bathroom floor. I wonder why she placed a white towel on the floor and stood on that instead of the radiant floor? Is she "feeling the heat" from her illicit affair? Did she want to stand on the towel rather than the floor to dissipate the heat? The color of the towel, white, has significance too.