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Breaking Bad: Salud

Don Eladio: "Once every twenty years, you forget your place."

It's Junior's birthday. But it was Gus who came up with the absolute killer gift.

Again, Gus was simply awesome. Twenty years is a long time to wait for revenge, but there was no rush, as well as no hesitation. Don Eladio said re: killing Max "business is business" but it wasn't business for Gus: it was personal. But Gus never let his emotions show until his triumphant speech to the innocent bystanders at the end. The only time he showed even a hint of what he was thinking was when he stood in front of the swimming pool at the very spot where Max was killed and took the pills that would protect him from the poison. (Well, and his near-cringe body language when Don Eladio hugged him.) I was also fascinated that Gus carefully took off his jacket and put a folded towel under his knees before he threw up. The control over himself and his surroundings that he was exhibiting was really something.

Mike was in on it, of course. You don't usually have a garrotte in your pocket unless you plan to use it. (Well, then again, Mike just might.) But Jesse most certainly didn't know; he thought he was going to end up a permanent prisoner in a meth lab in Mexico. But he again showed a lot of courage, standing up to the Cartel guys who called him a joke, an amateur, an infant, ordering them to clean the lab for him and calling them names. Gus smiled just a tiny bit; he was proud of Jesse, and so was Mike. And Jesse lived up to their faith in him, keeping his head in the melee even though he was totally freaked, killing that Cartel guy we've seen so many times (sorry, his character's name is eluding me) and getting the poisoned Gus and injured Mike out of Dodge.

I'm not sure how the Skyler/Ted stuff related to the rest of the plot, because the "Ted is an absolute idiot who is going to sink Skyler and Walt" stuff just continued into the realm of the absurd. It seemed utterly unbelievable that a man who needed over six hundred thousand dollars just inherited almost exactly that amount from an aunt in Luxembourg that he's never so much as heard of, and he didn't have a glimmer of an inkling that these two things were related, so he runs out and buys a loaded Mercedes, and decides to restart his business? It was interesting that clever Skyler didn't realize that Ted would do something so stupid, but Saul was expecting it. Maybe Skyler still felt a little bit of affection for Ted. I'm sure she doesn't now, though. I'd be ready to kill him, and I'm not in the least homicidal.

Skyler also showed extreme cluelessness when picking out a used car as a birthday present for Junior. I don't know if she could have chosen one less appealing to a sixteen-year-old boy who desperately wanted a red sports car if she had deliberately tried. But interestingly, Walt seemed to have hit on something that made Junior feel good about himself, and much more like an adult. He let Junior see him injured and vulnerable. Walt even cried in front of Junior, and talked about the only (horrible) memory he had of his own terminally ill father. Did Walt really take pain killers with beer, or was his crying jag in front of Junior a calculated decision? It's sort of sad that I now see Walt as so callous and manipulative that it's even a possibility.

I also thought it was perceptive of Junior to observe how false and distant Walt has been, stating that "At least last night you were real, you know?" Junior fixed Walt's glasses for him. I could probably come up with some related deeper meaning about how Junior sees Walt, but I've nattered on quite enough for one review.


-- Lots of red, appropriate for an episode about a mass murder. Jesse was wearing a red shirt with no skulls or anything else on it. The plane was red, the Cartel building was red. Walt's blood-stained sheets were red. (And sticking to his wound. Ouch.)

-- Except for the meth-tester, which was blue. As was the swimming pool. And "Zafiro Anejo," the expensive tequila, is "sapphire annexed" in Spanish, according to my Google translator. How appropriate is that for a meth-related massacre?

-- The Breaking Bad wiki says there are a lot of number 8's in this episode, possibly referring to the eighth episode of this season, "Hermanos." I didn't notice them. Maybe I was too focused on the colors, dirty water and broken glass. :)

And pieces:

-- The Cartel's lead chemist, whom I'm assuming is now dead, was played by Carlo Rota from La Femme Nikita and 24. Speaking Spanish, yet.

-- The anecdote about Walt's father explains a little why Walt is so uncomfortable in medical situations, and why he hates to appear sick in front of his family. And why it took him so long to tell them he had cancer.

-- I love Saul's outfits. Neon orange shirt, purple tie, ivory suit, and still with the blue ribbon. The class action lawsuit must still be going on.

-- During the scenes with the Cartel, there were again shaded and unexplained references to Gus's past and status.


Saul: "Bad idea. This is a bad idea."
Saul was right. It was a bad idea, mostly because Ted is an idiot. I've said that about Ted quite a few times, haven't I?

Jesse: "Look, I get my phenylacetic acid from the barrel with the bee on it. That's how I know how to do it."

Carlo Rota: "I speak English."
Jesse: "Then you understand what asshole means."

Four out of four bottles of very expensive poisoned tequila,

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


  1. Is it the barrel with a 'B' or a 'bee'? I only ask because I was wondering that at the time the episode aired, and I think one of the chemical barrels has some sort of bug on it. Or am I misremembering?

    Great, great episode. Between Gus's revenge and Walt's drugged speech to Junior just some utterly compelling stuff this week. I feel like I understand Walt so much better now. I don't like him any more, mind you. I just understand him better.

    I don't think he was manipulating Junior. He actually called him Jesse at one point, so I think he really was heavily drugged. He seemed rather taken aback that Junior had seen him in that state, and rather stung to learn that Junior liked him better in open, honest mode, rather than "strong, powerful" mode. He thinks so highly of the persona he's developed, to have his son feel so differently had to be something of a gut-punch. But will it change him?

    I think this Ted business is just so Skylar can fumble her way through her own "trial by fire" on her downward spiral. If she's gonna break bad, she needs to recognize all that comes with it. Including the idiots that don't do what you expect or tell them to. :)

  2. Gus is the creepiest character ever when he acts in this controlled and cold way. Every move so calculated and somewhat minimalistic *shudder*

    In contrast it was nice to see Walt so out of character/control. Maybe this emphasized that Walt has some "humanity" left in him. Gus just seems to be in control even in such chaotic situations.

    Skylar and Ted are just odd. Very cringeworthy most of the time.

  3. Brilliant episode. The best of this series so far.

    The gulf between Walt and Jesse is now so immense how can they possibly reconcile, unless their roles become completely reversed (which I wouldn't be at all surprised at, should it happen.)

    Also Ted is, what I believe one would be referred to as on the other side of the Atlantic, a total douche-bag.

    Great reviews. Thanks Billie.


  4. Hi Billie!

    I've enjoyed your reviews for a long time (since Alias on your old site), and even though I never gave any feedback, I read'em every time i can.

    This episode of Breaking Bad is genius, you pretty much pointed out in your review. There is only one little detail (not that it changes much of what you said): the correct translation for 'Zafiro Anejo' is 'Old sapphire' or 'Vintage sapphire'.

    I'm currently watching all the episodes of this show back to back to catch up to the premiere of the final 8, and I'm eager to read your reviews.

    Greetings from Venezuela! (and pardon my english).

  5. Thanks so much, David, and thanks for the correction! Blame the Google translate for that one. I have a little Spanish, but it wasn't up to that one.

  6. I thought Skyler would refer Ted to Saul and then Saul could convince Ted he'd negotiated the debt away, while secretly paying it with Skyler's money. Taking Ted out of the equation altogether seemed the smartest move. Of course he went out and bought a Mercedes immediately after. Ugh. What a dick.

  7. I've mentioned before how long the takes are when Walt and Jesse "get into it". Like a stage play. The scenes with Walt and Jr. in Walt's place were also very long. A lot of dialogue to memorize and deliver in one shot.

    Has my mind gone blank? There must be some significance to Mike ripping off Don Eladio's "necklace".


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