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Breaking Bad: Bullet Points

Walt: "Why am I so ashamed?"
Skyler: "Do I really need to answer that?"

Awesome opening scene. Mostly amusing in the middle. Upsetting ending.

Mike the fixer (Jonathan Banks, who is probably best known for Wise Guy) is a fascinating character, and I'm enjoying the increased focus on him. How many of us could lie calmly inside a refrigerated truck while it was blasted by machine guns, and then carefully take out both of the gunmen as soon as they opened the doors? I loved his annoyed expression when he realized a bullet had taken off a piece of his ear; it was like, geez, what an inconvenience.

In the middle, we had Skyler and Walt constructing their car wash cover story, and it just made me laugh over and over. The title of this episode referred to the cover story bullet points that Skyler made Walt rehearse and memorize before their get-together with the Schraders. Skyler was actually waking up in the middle of the night because she was so engrossed in the details. I loved how she coached him on how to look remorseful and cast his eyes down as if he were ashamed of his fictional gambling addiction, and how she inadvertently kept beating him at blackjack. Actually, I think this is the best Walt and Skyler have gotten along since the start of the series.

(I also really enjoyed Walt confiding his troubles to Saul, who, oddly enough, is probably the only person on earth who knows all of the different corners of Walt's current existence. Saul suggested that Walt and his family get out of town and off the grid, permanently. I can't see Walt doing that, but it might be his only option.)

Having his finger back in the law enforcement pie has clearly done Hank some good. He's out of bed and in a wheelchair now, and enthusiastically analyzing Gale's superlab notebook. (Loved the detail in that notebook: the Ron Paul sticker, the Far Side cartoon, the recipe for vegan smores. And the karaoke video was so weird it almost wasn't funny.) Hank thinks the late lamented Gale was Heisenberg, and is bummed because he wanted to be the one to catch him. I wonder how long it will take before Hank realizes that Gale wasn't Heisenberg? And you know he will.

Hank told Walt there were fingerprints in Gale's apartment, and that led us to Walt hustling over to Jesse's pretty much destroyed house, and getting nothing. Jesse just wouldn't play any more. Jesse's behavior is worsening. He shaved his head. He threw Walt out. He got ripped off for thousands of bucks, and didn't even care.

Mike went to Gus and said something had to be done about Jesse, and in the final scene, Mike was doing it. It certainly feels as if Mike is taking Jesse somewhere in order to put a bullet in him. And Jesse doesn't care. I think Jesse wants to die, but isn't capable of killing himself.


-- Okay, this week in color: there suddenly seems to be a lot of orange. Hank and Junior were both wearing orange, and Saul wore a bright orange tie over a blue shirt. The yellow lab coveralls were back, and yellow is Gus's color. In the refrigerator truck opener, Mike was wearing a red and black parka.

-- Cutting off all of one's hair is a traditional sign of mourning. Funny how so many of the characters on this show are bald, and now Jesse is, too.

-- At Jesse's house, Walt broke a glass pipe with his shoe.

And pieces:

-- The opening scene was spectacular. The machine guns destroying the truck trailer, all that flying chicken dip, the contrast between the dark, icy interior and the hot, bright sunshine. I also liked the first shot, which looked like blue smoke and turned out to be Mike's breath.

-- Skyler was right about not telling Hank where his therapy money is coming from. Walt wouldn't take money for his treatment, after all, and Walt and Hank are alike in a lot of ways.


Walt: "How do you look bad, exactly? Where is the 'I slept with my boss' bullet point? I can't seem to find that anywhere."
Skyler: "For a fired schoolteacher who cooks crystal meth, I'd say you're coming out pretty much ahead."
Walt: "I don't like it. I don't want Junior thinking less of me."
Skyler: "At least you won it gambling. I'm just the bitch mom who wouldn't cut you any slack."

Walt: "I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I put you through all of this. (pause) How does that sound?"
For a moment, I thought he was genuinely apologizing.

Skyler: "Lying doesn't come as easily to me as it does to you."

Hank: "Walter H. White, man of hidden talents."
Junior: "Dad, you're such a stud."

Walt: "Why am I the only person capable of behaving in a professional manner?"

Walt: "Oh, god. How did everything get so screwed up?"
Saul: "You two do have a little shit creek action happening."

Mike: "Wanna ask where we're going?"
Jesse: "Nope."

Three out of four refrigerated trucks full of bullet points,

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


  1. I really liked this episode and thought Walt and Skylar rehearsing the cover story was simply fantastic. This show can do so much with a seemingly simple scene of two people talking. So much is always layered into the subtext, making everything utterly compelling. I particularly loved the way Skylar and Walt occasionally revealed some of the true bitterness and emotional damage between them, but never quite let it go beyond the staging of their cover story to really get into it. Riveting stuff.

  2. I also loved the "table read" scene with Walter and Skyler. Delightfully meta and character-appropriate, too.

    Walt asked Skyler why he would say "terribly" twice, and instead offered to say the word "sorry" twice. That's the third time in the series that Walter has counted his apologies. He's got a real issue with admitting wrongdoing and making amends.

    I also love the hypocrisy of his rant to Saul. Really, Walter? You think of this as a business? Is that why you fired Gale? Had him killed? Killed the two drug dealers to protect Jesse? Walter thinks he is the only rational actor surrounded by morons and hotheads. It's amazing how little self-awareness he has.

    And how little he understands the drug business. I know--just from watching TV and existing in the world--that the drug business is one in which you trade the dental insurance and relative safety of an office job for more pay, higher risk, and "being pink-slipped" meaning "getting your throat sliced open with a symbolically-colored box cutter." But Walter seems to want the drug business to play by his rules. Such conceit.

    Also of interest: two discussions about how this series might end. Or at least, two hints. Hank mentioned The French Connection and Walter pointed out that "Frog One" (? I've never seen the film) never got caught. Saul, on the other hand, introduced the idea of being disappeared. Or disappearerered. :-)

  3. I imagine a scenario where prideful Walt somehow finds a way to "let Hank know" that Gale isn't Heisenberg. Walt has shown that he does seem to want credit and appear as a mob boss, at least to some degree. Speaking of pride, I thought this episode showed us how annoyed Walt is with all the details that Skyler has provided to their cover-up story. I wonder if Walt is torn between thinking this is overkill or understanding just how necessary it all might actually be.


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