Breaking Bad: Hazard Pay

Walt: "$137,000. Less than with Fring."
Mike: "Listen, Walter. Just because you shot Jesse James don't make you Jesse James."

Mike is on board, but he just drew a line in the sand. He has not forgiven or forgotten that Walt blew Gus up and landed Mike's guys in prison. Mike feels strongly that Mike's guys deserve hazard pay, and they're gonna get it. The end.

And Walt just didn't buy in. No more lines in the sand for Walt. He has become so greedy that while he eventually gave in to Mike, it was obvious from what he said to Jesse about Victor's death by box cutter that he was thinking about eliminating Mike.

What can Walt be thinking? As Mike pointed out, Walt is not Gus. Walt has not spent decades building up a restaurant cover business. Walt may have fooled Jesse into breaking up with Andrea during that little discussion on the couch while companionably watching The Three Stooges (interesting bit, since Walt, Jesse and Mike just went into business together) but when it came to Mike and the business, Jesse clearly saw what Walt did not. Who do they think is going to handle distribution if Walt eliminates Mike? And it's not like Mike is going to be an easy man to kill. Geez, he's probably the toughest guy in Albuquerque, if not the entire state of New Mexico. And he'd be expecting it, too.

You know, it just occurred to me that Mike may be deliberately trying to provoke Walt into making a move so he can kill him. Jesse can cover the cooking, after all, and I think Mike actually likes Jesse.

The Albuquerque tour the four of them took to find the perfect cook spot really did show how brilliant Walt is, though. He knew what would work and what would get them caught. The fumigation tent scenario is brilliant: cook a batch, bug bomb the place, leave. Everyone avoids a tented house. And the symbolism of creating poison in an infested house? Perfect.

On to Walt's home life, where Skyler is continuing to melt down in a great big way. Screaming "shut up!" at Marie a dozen times at the car wash probably gave her some release, but it certainly didn't help her any. Walt cleverly used the perfect lie he came up with for Marie to take a little revenge on Skyler for cheating on him. Three steps ahead, all the time. Wow.

(I never put it together before, but Skyler's little smoking rebellion relates directly to Walt, since he has lung cancer.)

Walt may not be Gus or Jesse James, but he may be starting to think he's a big crime boss like Scarface. (Does Walt remember what happened to Capone? And Hank is already on board in the Eliot Ness role.) Interesting comment about Scarface: everyone dies in this movie. Does that mean everyone is going to die at the end of Breaking Bad? It's funny, but it occurred to me as I was watching that I really want our antiheroes to finally succeed and make several million bucks. I'm not quite sure why, but I do.

Bits:

-- Walt and Jesse set up their new cook to the musical message, "On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever)."

-- Walt has been wearing dark purple and dark blue, and I noticed Mike was also wearing dark purple.

-- Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad, has said often that Walter White's journey is from Mr. Chips to Scarface. And I'm sure it's not a coincidence that AMC ran a commercial for Scarface directly after the episode.

And pieces:

-- Mike's lawyer is a lot less colorful than Saul Goodman.

-- Walt is indeed about to turn 51, which makes the flash forward in the premiere a year from now, as we all guessed.

-- Walt met Brock for the first time, and sat with him on the futon, both looking uncomfortable. We still don't know how Walt managed to poison Brock, but Brock didn't recognize him. I wonder if that's why Walt got Jesse to break up with Andrea? Andrea is the second girlfriend that Walt has separated from Jesse. At least she lived through it. Brock nearly didn't.

-- Jesse mentioned Gale. And Walt came across a copy of Leaves of Grass and smiled ruefully, as if having Gale killed was a semi-pleasant memory.

-- Jesse was looking at Walt when he was going on about Gus killing Victor. Jesse is no fool and I think Jesse likes Mike.

-- Todd from Vamanos Pest took some initiative with disabling the nanny cam. I couldn't tell if Walt was pleased or pissed about it, since Mike told Vamanos Pest guys not to talk to Walt and Jesse. Probably pleased.

-- Skinny Pete has musical talent! Badger does not. Jesse didn't respond to their requests for jobs. I sort of miss Badger and Skinny Pete.

-- Marie confirmed that Hank is indeed back on the job. Bad news for Walt, who paid for the therapy that got him there.

Quotes:

Mike: (to the laundry guy in prison) "You will be made whole."
That's such an interesting way to put it.

Walt: "I'm home. It's time."
Skyler: "Do you really think that's a good idea?"

Saul: (re: Mike) "He said he was going to break my legs. Don't tell me he didn't mean it, okay, because he gave me the dead mackerel eyes. He meant it."
Walt: "Saul, Mike threatened me. He threatened Jesse. He probably threatened someone before breakfast this morning. It's what he does. C'mon. Grow a pair."

Jesse: "We'll make the tortillas smell like cat piss."
Mike: "Somebody's bound to notice that."

Another excellent episode. Three out of four Stooges,

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

9 comments:

Devin said...

The way Walt reacted when Andrea and Brock came in, I originally thought he was afraid he might be recognized by Brock. Maybe Walt wore a disguise of some kind when he poisoned Brock. Between the way Walter was acting and the weird way the kid was looking him over. I got the impression the kid was trying to figure out where he had seen him before. Just my thoughts. Could be totally off base.

Your Modest Guru said...

Solid review

Walt watching Scarface so fervently made me think of the first flashforward scene this season. I get the feeling that given that "everybody dies in this movie" line and Walt's assurance to Jim Beaver that the M-60 is "not leaving town" Walt, the Tony Montana of Breaking Bad, is probably gonna plan on going out in some blood crazed blaze of glory. That would be mighty interesting to see. Preferably with the fedora hat. Not sure who he'll be shooting, though: Mike, whoever Mike and Gus worked for, Hank and The DEA, Jesse?

Walt's magnificent bastard streak is enjoyable in a sick sort of way, even more so than usual. But enhanced brilliance usually means enhanced madness. Judging from the menacing scene where he considered talking to Skyler before deciding to leave her and take a bite out of a red apple. I doubt he will try to make her feel any safer from now.

To be fair, though, I have also wanted to scream SHUT UP at Marie before. Her first reaction to her sister's obvious distress was to criticize her nonstop.

Mike is in it for the same reason as Walt (initially, he's in it to be in it now). He wants to provide for his loved ones. I like and respect Mike a lot more than Walt, so I'm hoping he survives the chaos that follows Walt.

I feel really bad for Jesse as well as Skyler. He's finally developed a lot as a person as well as a criminal. He's become intuitive and savvy in a lot of ways, but the only person he trusts manipulates him, ruins his life so he can commit to making meth, makes him look like a fool in secret. It's gonna be bad if the ice breaks.

I personally think the writing has not waned a bit, and has been especially terrific early into this season. I feel like this might be one of those shows that ends kind of perfectly. Hope so.

Jess Lynde said...

Your description of Walt as an "antihero" kind of shocked me. I hadn't given it much thought until I read that line, but I realize that I've now come to see Walt as the villain of the piece. Jesse and Mike fall into the antihero category for me (people doing bad things that I root for anyway), but not Walt. He is the evil that must be destroyed.

What Walt has done to Jesse and Skyler is appalling. He really fits the mold of an abuser. He has isolated them to such a degree that they depend on him entirely or just don't know how to escape. The way he manipulated Jesse into, once again, shedding his outside alliances was utterly heartbreaking. And then to be so uninterested in Jesse's pain when he told him what happened ... I really hope that Jesse survives this series. He is becoming much more competent and confident (except for his blind spot with Walt), and I'd like to see him get past these criminal beginnings and make something better out of his life. I can only hope the little Icarus speech from Walt started to open his eyes a bit.

Skyler's "breaking bad" journey has been fascinating to me. Similar to Walt's, but opposite in many ways. He started in a position of weakness and found that breaking bad gave him control. A control he apparently has an insatiable thirst for. She started out in a position of control and confidence, and as things began to spiral out of control, she kept trying to assert some measure of control, only to steadily lose ground. "Breaking bad" stripped her of her control, and I can see her possibly viewing suicide as her only way out. If she goes that route, I hope she has the presence of mind to find a way to reveal Walt's dirty secrets and arrange for her children to go into Hank and Marie's custody. Marie may be annoying at times but she cares deeply about her family, and she really loves those children.

Anonymous said...

Walt is really on some disgusting path. I felt that the scene where he put his clothes back into the closet was really symbolic: He just pushed her stuff to the side like he puches her to the side of his life. She is just an add-on - she handels the business and he handels her like he thinks he handels Mike (good joke Walt).

I felt sorry for Jesse. The way Walt manipulates Jesse is awful and I wish that Jesse will see through Walt pretty soon. He didn´t even care that Jesse broke of with Andrea. It´s amazing how Walt plays the people around him. The scene with Marie showed this pretty well. Does he even know or care how much Skylar hates him?

Skylar lying on the bed and hearing the gunshots made me think if she will considering to kill herself or Walt to resolve the situation.

The head on Jesse´s shirt in the last scene had some resemblance of Heisenberg to me.

Gus Brunetti said...

Walt is a monster now, but I don't think he's sadistic. He's ruthless and cruel, but not sadistic. I think he smiled when he saw the Walt Whitman book not because he remembered Gale's death, but because he could fool Mike perfectly about the WW in Gale's diary. He's very proud of his quick thinking, hence the smile.

God I love this show. I'm happy that I can read your reviews after the episodes this season too, Billie. It adds a lot to the experience.

David De Pasuqale said...

Reading that quote by Vince Gilligan about Walt's journey to become "Scarface", i just remembered that Mark Margolis was on both Scarface and Breaking Bad, and both characters played by him end up being killed by the protagonist (ok, Walt didn't actually kill Tio Salamanca, but he gave him a purpose and the means to end his life).

At the end, one could say that Walt is becoming even more evil than Tony Montana because the latter killed Margolis' character to avoid the death of some children, and Walt was capable to poison a kid as part of his plan to kill Gus.

Anne said...

I knew for a fact that Jesse would grab a hot tortilla as it rolled down the conveyer belt!

Azalea Bradley said...

Something tells me that Skyler has been wanting to tell Marie to shut up for .... several decades.

A nice touch: I'm pretty sure the actor who plays Skinny Pete was actually playing the piano in that scene. Adding that little bit of background to his character was a nice touch! I miss Skinny pete. I don't miss Badger!

I knew Walter would put up a fight about the hazard pay. He is such a petty, greedy, self-involved b... I won't say it here, but you know. He's become pretty despicable. And I can't stop watching.

Anonymous said...

Walt has just become so arrogant and greedy that things cannot possibly end well.