Breaking Bad: Open House

Saul: "Walt told me you took a run at this Bogdan character, and he wrestled you into submission with his eyebrows."

It's funny how I've grown to care for the characters. Even Skyler and Marie, neither of whom I liked at first.

Skyler acquiring the car wash was a lot of fun. Saul ran through every possible underhanded and/or illegal means to get Eyebrows to sell, but it was Skyler who figured out what would work. And then she even had the nerve to lower the price and get him to accept it, while Walt was having a cow and trying to wrestle the phone away from her. (Dan was passing by at that moment and said, "I love it when Walt's just wrong.")

And then, it was nice that Walt congratulated Skyler and gave her the credit she was due. She really did know what she was doing. He should listen to what she said about buying expensive champagne. The devil really is in the details.

Back at the beginning of the series, I was so impatient with Marie and her cry-for-help kleptomania. But this time, it was obvious what was going on with the open houses, and I felt bad for her. Marie couldn't strike back at her disabled, depressed husband directly; I'm sure she didn't even realize that that was what she was doing. She was using a fictional name and chattering to perfect strangers about fictional family members -- a husband who worked at NASA, a brother in the Peace Corps, children with assorted issues and problems. I think the open house thing was much more about the positive stories she was inventing about her troubled life than about the stealing.

It's funny that Marie getting caught again was what made Hank reach out to Tim, and now Tim has brought Hank something that might make all the difference: a copy of Gale's lab notes with the oh so appropriate lightning strike graphic on the cover. Hank needed something meaningful to do, and now he's back in the game.

(When Marie was caught, she yelled at the realtor that the realtor was in a lot of trouble. Those sisters, Marie and Skyler -- they sure don't lack for nerve.)

Clearly, the title of the episode referred to much more than Marie's adventures in kleptomania. The party at Jesse's was worsening, and Jesse was out on the kid's race car track screaming because he couldn't express his true feelings. Jesse was throwing crumpled bills at an unconscious man lying on the floor (in the exact same position that Gale was lying on the floor), trying to get the money into the man's mouth. (The subtext there was pretty obvious.) At the lab, Jesse told Walt that you kind of get used to getting the shit kicked out of you.

So Jesse was looking for trouble, and Gus's new minion was staking out Jesse's house. And there are now video cameras all over the lab. And Walt is still not telling Skyler the truth about his situation. An argument with a co-worker? Well, at least Walt was honest about it being a bar fight. But he hasn't told Skyler that his boss was about to kill him, and his boss's enforcer beat the hell out of him. He just promised to tell Skyler if things got dangerous. It's already gone way beyond that. I get it, though. If he told her, what could she possibly do about it but worry?

Bits:

-- The opening shot was of a red square that turned out to be the window in the door of the super lab. Jesse and Walt were both wearing red, and Saul, for some reason, bright pink. Skyler was still wearing green and blue. That is, until she got the car wash. Then, she was wearing light gray.

-- Interesting that when Marie got caught, she was wearing purple (her color) and yellow. Cut to Hank, who was in a yellow shirt and sitting against a purple pillowcase. I think that was supposed to mean their marriage is still solid, despite how it currently appears.

-- In this week's dirty water imagery, Skyler looked at the soapy water going down the drain in her sink at home and figured out how to take down Eyebrows. The scam was that the car wash's wastewater was contaminated. And Skyler and Walt celebrated with foamy champagne.

And pieces:

-- Saul has a new bodyguard named Huell (he was in the previous episode, but I didn't mention him) who had to run to the bathroom. He doesn't inspire me with his bodyguarding competence.

-- I saw season four when it originally aired, but I'm doing these reviews from the brand new DVD set that said this episode was now "uncensored". I can't think of what was censored, other than quite possibly the orgy at Jesse's house, or Hank watching porn alone. Or maybe both.

Quotes:

Saul: "Where were we?"
Skyler: (dryly) "Professionalism."
Saul keeps ticking off Skyler. I don't think they're ever gonna be friends, no matter how many times he flatters her. :)

Saul: "Okay, so all we have to do is think of a nonviolent, unsuspicious way to purchase the car wash that protects the innocents and doesn't cost twenty million dollars. (Pause) Don't everybody speak at once." (toilet flushes)
And she succeeded in doing exactly that, didn't she?

Again, not a great episode, but it was probably all about the groundwork. Three out of four infuriating video cameras,

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

1 comment:

Remco said...

Skyler is a highly manipulative and passive aggressive person. Very unpleasant to be around. Walt sometimes also behaves this way, but this he learned from Skyler. Walt has a much more annoying character trait: he avoids confrontation like the plague. He takes humiliation after humiliation just to be agreeable. A horrible marriage.

I have warmed to Skyler since their marriage almost broke apart. That's when Walt stopped bowing down to her. Mind you, she still tries to take charge, and often does. But they are equal partners now, and that gives her character room to be something beyond a pain in the ass.