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Breaking Bad: Shotgun

"This genius of yours, maybe he's still out there."

Jesse spent most of this episode riding shotgun without the gun. How many episode titles have been weapons? Let me check. Just a moment... nope, just this season. But four out of the first five episodes this season. Is that a signal that we're going to get some major violence?

It certainly seemed that we were headed that way here. The episode began with a speeding car that turned out to be a frantic Walt in his boxy, ugly hybrid, yelling on the phone to Saul that he wanted Skyler to get everything if he didn't hear from him in 24 hours. Followed by a call to Skyler that went to answering machine saying he loved her and was thinking of her and the kids (unspoken, in his last moments).

Walt stormed into Los Pollos Hermanos, ready to beard the lion in his den — for Jesse's sake. That actually made me sort of like Walt again. He really does care about Jesse. (Of course, Walt is also desperate to kill Gus, but I'm trying not to be too cynical.) How clever of Gus to refuse to interact with Walt at all. I wonder if Walt storming into Los Pollos Hermanos made Gus change his mind about taking Jesse out? Did Gus call Mike and change his orders at the last minute?

Whatever. Gus ultimately decided that what Jesse needed was to feel like a hero, to feel that he had worth, and his ploy worked. Maybe part of it was that Jesse finally internalized that he might wind up dead in a hole in the desert, too. At any rate, the speeded frame montage gave us back the old Jesse, bored out of his mind, making faces, playing with the seat belt. (When he acts like this, it always reminds me of how young Jesse is.) And when he saved Mike and the stash from the fake takedown, it was definitely what the doctor ordered. Jesse is himself again.

Walt's phone message o' love as he thought he was going to his death got him back in bed with Skyler, although part of it was probably euphoria on her part after closing the deal on the car wash, as well as the honesty she thought she was finally getting from Walt, which she wasn't. Skyler decided Walt can move back in. Junior was quietly thrilled.

This episode began and ended with Walt acting suicidally stupid. Hank was ready to close the book on Heisenberg; he was satisfied that it was Gale. And Walt just couldn't handle it. Part of him must have always loved that he was outwitting his clever brother-in-law the DEA agent, and he just couldn't let it go. So he got drunk and told Hank that what Gale did was rote copying. This genius of yours, maybe he's still out there.

Honestly, was it pride in his criminal accomplishments? The perverse recklessness of a man who has been so close to death so often? Or does Walt actually want to get caught? All of the above?


-- I swear that practically every shot in this episode (okay, every other shot) featured bright red, yellow and blue, the primary colors. Walt and Skyler were in black and white.

-- When Walt came back to the lab, Jesse was there, "breaking the ice."

-- When Mike got the shovel, Jesse grabbed his keys and made a fist with individual keys sticking out. Not just a decent weapon, it was also a nice physical clue that Mike (or actually Gus) had hit on the key to changing Jesse's behavior.

-- Gus, in his ever-present yellow shirt, was taking out the trash. That probably should have been coupled with him ordering a successful hit, but it still worked.

And pieces:

-- Gus's new minion Tyrus came down to help Walt get the job done while Jesse was out with Mike. So both Walt and Mike had a helper they really didn't want. Jesse and Mike were fun together. Walt and Tyrus, not so much.

-- Hank mentioned again that the only people he knew that were connected with the blue meth were Badger and Jesse, and Hank didn't think Jesse was capable of murder. Actually, even though Jesse did kill Gale, Hank was pretty much correct.

-- Skyler got her hair cut. Not quite as drastic as Jesse's new do.

-- This DVD version was again listed as "uncensored." Maybe it was Walt's nude scene.


Hank: (re: Gale) "This freaking guy. I tell you what, it's like Scarface had sex with Mister Rogers."

Jesse: "It's finally hitting me what the plan is here. It's to bore me to death. So mission accomplished 'cause it's totally working. Great job."

Mike: "You are not the guy. You're not capable of being the guy. I had a guy, but now I don't. You are not the guy."
That may be my favorite Mike speech so far. Was he talking about Victor?

Mortgage broker: "Are you having second thoughts?"
Skyler: "Every minute of every day."

Hank: "So when do vegans eat fried chicken?"
There was a number scrawled on that Pollos bag. What did it mean? Oh, my. It must be a Clue.

Three out of four money drops,

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


  1. Another fascinating episode. I think those final moments were Walt's hubris, pure and simple. I don't think he wants to get caught at all. He just can't stand somebody else getting credit for his genius. Pride is his fatal flaw. It's the reason he lost everything when he had the falling out with Grey Matters. It's the reason he couldn't accept Gretchen and Elliot's help. It is the reason he keeps cooking. And it is the reason he couldn't let Hank think Gale was Heisenberg. Not Gale. Not the man who's death Walt orchestrated. He doesn't get credit, even if it means risking getting caught. It's all about the pride and ego with Walt. The illusion of power because of his supposedly superior smarts. And, in the grand scheme of things, I can't help thinking that pride goeth before a fall.

    It's somewhat challenging for me to reconcile Walt's attitude towards protecting Jesse with his neglect of Jesse. His attitude doesn't really strike me as fatherly concern, or a mentor's concern. It's more like he's got some sense of ownership towards Jesse. Jesse's his. His minion. His tool. His guy. No one else gets to mess with him or hurt him except Walt. And boy does Walt excel at that. I feel so bad for Jesse. You know things are frakked up when saving the life of the guy you spent all day thinking was going to kill you brings you back from the nihilistic edge.

    Yes, I think that Mike was talking about Victor. Victor was the guy.

  2. You have a point, Jess. How Walt truly feels about Jesse is something I just keep going back and forth about as I'm writing these reviews. It's such an interesting relationship, and a core of the series. It might be the only thing that I still find sympathetic about Walt, no matter what his motivation is.

  3. I can't remember which episode it is after Gale is shot and Skyler is scared for Walt and the family. She tells him she's afraid the doorbell will ring and someone will shoot him and he tells her that he is the one who rings the doorbell. It may be the episode after this one. At any rate, I think that statement sums up Walt's character. He will NOT let someone else take credit for what he has done. He is the one who rings the doorbell. As Jesse said, he is the bad guy.

  4. @Amy Ennis: That speech by Walt is by far the most frightening thing in the series. He just turns on a dime and becomes Heisenberg just there. The quote is so good that it certainly will be in the review for the next episode.

  5. Yes, he just can't stand somebody else getting the credit!!! Such an idiot - that's what drives him the whole time. And now when Hank said that Gail might be that genius - he wants the credit even though he can't take it openly.

  6. Final episode. Very surrealistic and maybe full of metaphores. But let's go to the essentials: Has Nr. 6 won? Has he defeated the village and become a free man? The answer is a clear no. Remember the two last scenes: Going to his appartement in London, the door opens by itself. And what we all thought to be the intro scene was indeed the end scene, the decision in Nr. 6's face to defeat evil or what ever the village stands for.
    These 2 last scenes tell us that the village is everywhere and probably in the evil part of human beings themselves.
    This opinion of mine was confirmed in a very rare TV interview of Patrick McGoohan where he answered questions about this finale, saying that the end of the series is just an eternal new beginning. Behind the safe appartment doors lays the village... We may not like it, but Patrick was decided to give his own view of the notion of Power.


  7. Mike, I think you posted this comment on the wrong review. Was it supposed to be on the last episode of The Prisoner?



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