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Breaking Bad: Dead Freight

Walt: "I think you've seen too many movies."

And now they're robbing a train. Shades of Butch and Sundance. Breaking Bad just isn't like other shows, is it?

This episode could have been simply enjoyable, because the heist was terrific, filmed cinematically (as so much is on this show) and riveting to watch. I still can't help rooting for our guys, even though they're the villains. Jesse again was the one who came up with the answer -- a sophisticated plan where no one would have to die, and I was actually proud of him.

But I knew someone innocent was going to die, because that's what happens on this show. I was certain Mike would have to kill the two train guys and possibly even the good Samaritan in the truck. Even with the opener as a great big hint, I didn't think it would be a child. And it was a boy on a bike again. The boy on the motorbike with the tarantula in the jar was even sort of a combination of Tomas (bike) and Brock (poison). How is Jesse going to live with causing the death of another child?

Walt was again having a great time, probably seeing himself as the modern day Jesse James that Mike told him he wasn't. Even though Walt went with Jesse's plan, he was so determined to get all of his key ingredient that he risked the lives of Jesse and Todd. I absolutely shrieked out loud when Jesse was lying on the tracks and the train went right over him. No, I'm not into this show, am I?

Lydia Rodarte-Quayle remains a giant question mark. I kept expecting her to sabotage them somehow. What if the methylamine wasn't in the train car she specified, for instance? I was completely surprised that the tracking devices on the barrels had indeed been placed there by law enforcement. She has no conscience but she actually wasn't lying. She's trouble, though. Todd from Vamanos Pest is going to be trouble, too. What sort of man can kill a child in cold blood without even thinking twice? I don't think Mike could do that, even though he was ready to kill both of the train engineers.

Meanwhile back on the ranch, Hank moved into his huge new office, and promptly got a visit from Walt, who came bearing tears as well as bugs. I actually thought Walt's motivation was getting the kids back, but no. Skyler appears to be doing better, and Walt seems to be accepting that Skyler will shut up and do her part as long as the kids are out of the house.

And Hank was referring to Holly as "my little girl" and "I'm not giving her back." With the way things are going, it seems pretty likely that Hank and Marie are going to raise Holly, and frankly, they should. Junior is another whole ball of wax, though. He loves his parents and idolizes Walt, and I can absolutely see the time coming when Junior is going to find out that Walt has turned evil. And it's going to destroy him.

Bits and pieces:

-- Two of the more constant bits of symbolism in this show are (1) dirty water and (2) broken glass. The dirty water was, of course, a major component of the heist. And the jar with the spider never broke, but I kept expecting it would.

-- Was that a grill that Mike chained Lydia to? For a moment, I thought he had some sort of horrible torture in mind for her.

-- The guy who did the bit with the truck stuck on the tracks was Kuby, whom we've seen twice before: as the inspector at the car wash and as one of the guys who pressured Ted Benecke to sign the IRS check.


Mike: "She has a gun to her head. Everybody sounds like Meryl Streep with a gun to their head."

Hank: (to baby Holly) "Can you say ASAC? ASAC, can you say that? ASAC Schrader?"
Marie: "If those turn out to be her first words, I will beat you with my shoe."

Skyler: "I'm not your wife. I'm your hostage."

Skyler: (sarcastically) "Out burying bodies?"
Walt: "Robbing a train."

Another wow. Am I wrong? Four out of four tarantulas,

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


  1. This was one of my favourite Breaking Bad episodes so far. Great story (my heart was pounding so hart when Walt didn´t tell the guys to get off that train) and the cinematography was awesome.

    When Walt was in Hank´s office and wiped away his false tears I wanted to punch him. What a disgusting weasel he is. That makes me even happier that Jesse came up once again with the best idea.

    I´m glad that Sky got her act together and stands up to Walt now or at least she drew a line how this will work.

    Lydia´s double-barreled gets on my nerves and I miss Saul.

  2. Definitely another great episode. I love the variety of approaches they have for creating tension. Last week it was small intimate moments that were impossibly tense, and this week it was a great action sequence. In the moment, I find myself rooting for these capers to succeed, too --- even as I'm calling myself an idiot, because I soooo want Walt to fail in the grand scheme of things. I guess I just don't want Jesse and Mike to fail.

    Unfortunately, in the end, this caper ended up feeling like a big fail from Jesse's perspective. Sure, they were able to pull off his brilliant idea, but someone *did* get killed. And not just anyone. An innocent kid. And all because Jesse made it absolutely clear to Todd that there could be no witnesses to what they were doing. Even though he didn't pull the trigger, this could be even worse than the fallout from Gale. At least Gale was part of the game. This was someone well and truly innocent who just paid the price for Jesse and Walt's business. Can't wait to see where it goes from here.

    I can't decide if where I'm at with Skyler this week. I absolutely understand all the reasons discussed last week for why she'd be hesitant to go to the police. It is definitely a believable character choice. I guess I just wish she was willing to do more. But, her current plan seems to be working for the moment. So we'll see how long that lasts.

  3. I spent the whole episode thinking Todd was going to die. I was so mad that Walt would risk everyone for his pride. I was screaming at the tv for Todd to get off the train. I could just see him falling into the vat and drowning in meth. I let out a breath finally when the heist ended. However, I had no idea what would come next. When Todd pulled out the gun and killed the kid, I instantly thought "Why couldn't he have died on top of the train?" I couldn't believe how quickly I turned on him. Brilliantly written, acted, directed and filmed episode. I don't think I've ever had a character go from innocent bystander to me wanting him dead in less than three seconds.

    For the record, as soon as the show ends, I begin looking for your review. No viewing is complete without it. Thank you!

  4. You're so welcome, Amy. Your comment made me think about Todd. Was he the only one of the four of them who could have killed a child? Mike couldn't bring himself to kill a woman, and she had put out a hit on him. Jesse certainly couldn't. Could Walt?

    At any rate, the more I thought about this episode today, the better it got. They're having an outstanding final season.

  5. Excellent episode and review! I am not even sure that Mike was willing to kill the two engineers. He made it clear they would have to be killed in order for the heist to occur, but then he was trying to sell Walt and Jesse on going smaller scale for awhile. That was when Jesse came up with his plan. Upon reflection, it seems to me that neither Mike nor Jesse could have killed the child. I am not sure about Walt even though I fully expected him to be the one to do it. I was as shocked as anyone that Todd (he will always be Landry from FNL to me) was the one to do it. That was a great yet awful twist.

    I was as surprised about the boy. About halfway through the episode I expected him to be the one to witness the heist but not for them to be aware of it. Then I got so caught up in the heist I forgot about him. In the end, I was shocked when he was shot.

    The other surprise to me was that I am not sure that Walt's tears about Skylar were fake. He seems to want a "relationship" with her over having his kids back if I am reading their scene right.

  6. Skyler said she will be whatever Walt needed her to be as long as the kids stay safe over at Hanks and Maries. How do they explain to Hank/Marie that they can just keep their kids forever or until Walt dies? Did you see the different reactions on Jesse's face versus Walt's face when Lance/Landry/Todd shot the kid? Jesse was shocked and Walt didn't even flinch. He might have even been smiling. Crazy how much he's changed.

  7. wow... when I saw this episode and the child killed and killed like that - I just wanted the show to end. I wanted Walt not to die but to get caught by Hank immediately and just end the show. It was too traumatic. I kept thinking who would want to watch it after something like this. I am still watching but with a greatest desire for Walt to get busted by Hank.

  8. With regard to the nasty spider stuck inside the glass jar, I took that to be symbolic of the main characters each being stuck inside his or her glass jar and not able to escape.

    As Billie mentioned, there have been a couple of bicycle incidents now. Did anyone notice when the evidence room was "magnetized" by Walt, a child's bicycle came flying through the room?

  9. I think it's funny how the reviewers and commentors are all increasingly calling for Walt's death! I'm on board with this as well. This episode, I found myself hoping that Skyler kills Walt. I have no idea what happens, but that's what I'm rooting for. If this show's purpose was to get people to root for the main character to die, it has done it well!

    Walt's ego is so huge, he just has to get exactly 1000 gallons, didn't he? He couldn't settle for 800 or 900 or even 999. He's so confident he can do it -- and sadly, he's vindicated here -- that it doesn't occur to him or he doesn't care that innocent people (the train drivers) could be killed, or that Todd could get stuck on that tanker or fall off and get injured. Collateral damage to him living the dream.

    And now Skyler has bargained for the safety of her kids with her own happiness and freedom. "Any kind of partner you want", to me, sounds like it means Walt gets to have sex with her whenever he wants, regardless of her actual desire. But it's her asserting the last bit of control she can. Really chilling.

  10. First, Walt bugging Hank's DEA office...are there not cameras? I know it's a private office and cameras are more prevalent in common areas of federal buildings, but still....
    Walt has become a much better liar/manipulator over time. Think of the opening scene with Hank, with Marie (a couple of episodes ago) and what he's done to Jessie....I hope Mike will get at least to kick Walt's ass real bad. Remember when he OWNED him in the bar fight last season?
    As with the boy getting killed in the end, i didn't see that coming. It was buried by Todd and i think someone will find the body. I didn't actually see any smirk from Walt face when he was shot by Todd..he seemed as flabbergasted as Jessie and the rest of the crew.


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