Oh, yeah…that’s the stuff. Here it is, here’s my show. We get great character moments from nearly everybody, some fantastically memorable scenes, some genuine “WTF” moments, and great cliffhanger ending.
We start out with the conclusion of last week’s fantastically successful train heist. Walt, Mike and Todd are somberly taking apart the dirt bike bit by bit and then finally lowering it into the now-familiar acid barrel. Already it’s great. It’s a brilliant move to show the destruction of thedirt bike and allow us to imagine the same thing happening to the boy. After that bit of unpleasantness is done, Todd makes the extremely ill-advised decision to engage in small talk with Jesse. This ends in a much deserved punch in stupid Todd’s stupid face. The Three Stooges have a meeting on what to do with Todd, and Jesse’s for firing him, but both Walt and Mike agree that keeping him on is the safest choice. Interesting that Jesse, as mad as he is, doesn’t go for option two, which was killing Todd outright. This is why we love Jesse, people. Please don’t let anything happen to Jesse, Vince. Please.
The capper to the opening scene is the reveal that Todd has kept the jar with the tarantula in it. Because he’s a fucking psycho. He practically started muttering “yes…my precious” at it. Todd is a big problem and no one seems to know it yet. Will his uncle’s prison connections lead to Walt ordering the assassination of Mike’s legacy guys, Godfather-style?
And then Jesse’s overcome with guilt again and thankfully the show doesn’t have a full-on meltdown from him because we’ve been there too many times and frankly with ten episodes left, we don’t have time for it. Walt gives him a pep talk, tells him that now they finally are running things on their own and can make sure nothing like this ever happens again. (Everyone knows you get a one-kid mulligan in these matters). Jesse feels a little bit better, and Walt gives him the rest of the day off, but then Walt goes ahead and whistles a jaunty tune, and Jesse realizes, finally, that Walt is truly broken inside, and he wants out.
Mike does too, on account of the constant DEA supervision. So he and Jesse plan to sell their two-thirds of the methylamine and move toMauior something. But then the guys inPhoenixwon’t buy unless they get all the blue meth off the market. Jesse’s sent to Walt to convince him to sell.
Walt turns down Jesse’s request and gives us a peak into his psychology via the Grey Matters story, proving once and for all that this whole thing was never about providing for his family and only about having an empire, a legacy of his own.
And then we get The Most Fantastic Dinner Scene In All of Television History as Walt, Jesse, and Skyler sit down for dinner at the family table. Fortunately, they’re not eating breakfast, or Junior would be pissed. Jesse sucks on his water while for some damn reason insisting that one inane topic after another must be broached with “Mrs. White” in order to keep the silence from engulfing them all, while Skyler actually manages to crawl inside her punch bowl of wine and float away. It’s the fucking greatest.
Then Walt tries to steal the methylamine, and Mike catches him and holds him hostage, but must tie him up and leave him for an hour while sitting in on a meeting with Saul and Hank and Gomie, and for the first time ever, we watch Walt use his wits to get out of a sticky situation and we don’t want it to happen. What a difference a year makes. I don’t ever think I’ve seen a show where a main character has changed so drastically and yet totally organically. It’s never felt like a cheat, not once. And furthermore, in a sense, he really hasn’t changed at all. This is the same bitter, angry, insecure man who left a fledgling business because the girl he liked didn’t act the right way or starting falling for another man, or whatever happened. He blew it, and he never forgave himself for blowing it and this “empire” is his only chance in his eyes to redeem the past, to make it right.
So what’s Walt’s plan to make sure everybody wins? Dunno. But somehow I think “everybody” will be a relative term.
Breaking Bad, Season Five, Episode Six: “Buyout”: A