TV Recap: Breaking Bad “Dead Freight”

Todd: loyal, inquisitive, good with kids. (Image © Sony/AMC)

Todd: loyal, inquisitive, good with kids. (Image © Sony/AMC)

Why does Vince Gilligan hate little boys?

Okay, starting at the end. Todd, who I had proudly pegged as a undercover cop two episodes ago is, fact, not that, unless he’s like, super method or something. So newbie Todd kills a little boy (would Walt have done it, if Todd wasn’t there? Probably not. Maybe not. We’ll never know, because Gilligan pulled that punch) and that was shocking, I guess, though unlike some others I hadn’t forgotten about the little boy in the teaser and the train whistle in the background so I was expecting something like this. From a plot standpoint, I appreciate that we’re left very much wondering what happens next. I don’t think Walt’s so far gone to not be horrified by this development, but will he be suitably horrified for Jesse’s tastes? Does this signal the end of Jesse’s involvement in the business? For his sake, let’s hope yes. This will leave Todd as Walt’s far more loyal and lethal foot solider, a fact that does not bode well for the enemies of Walter White, like Skyler and Mike. Last week, we talked about how the Heisenberg hat was taken away from us, cheapened and degraded by Walt’s dubstep silliness. And now the very last thing we have left, the “Walt and Jesse go on a madcap adventure and win despite all the odds against them” trope is gone as well. Our last fun heist was the magnets. I hope you enjoyed it.

But backing up from the great ending is a rather mediocre episode, with basically no great character moments, a rather implausible train-robbery scenario and a perfunctory wrap-up to Sklyer and Walt’s detente in the last episode. Walt sneered at Sklyer’s suggestion that the kids weren’t safe at home, but now he’s apparently agreeing with her. Huh? How exactly did Skyler gain the upper hand? The great and powerful Heisenberg caved awfully quickly. The only fun part of that exchange was “out burying bodies?” “No, robbing a train”. And of course, this is a temporary solution at best. How long will Hank and Marie go along with being foster parents to Holly and Junior? (No, you don’t get to be Flynn again, Junior. The line must be drawn here!) I suppose we’re to root for them to possibly have to be Holly and Junior’s actual adoptive parents, once Walt and Skyler are…no longer around.

On the positive side, the scene with Walt and Hank in the office was fun, though I can’t believe that bug will go undiscovered for long.

I should’ve enjoyed the heist more; it was certainly the most ambitious thing the show’s ever done, and it was a technical marvel to watch, but man. I’m gonna go back to it again: there are three episodes left in this “season”. On the one hand, I admire the show’s resistance to changing their structure. The show is just as deliberate as it’s always been. But on the other hand, there are three episodes left in this “season”. Ugh. I feared that we would get no payoff this year and now that it looking more and more like the case. I’ve no doubt the eight episode will be fantastic with a killer cliffhanger, and I will be back next year like a desperate methhead eager for another fix, but I will also hate myself just a little. Years from now, those who discover the show on Netflix or wherever and get to watch at their own pace will not have to feel this pain and will have a much better viewing experience than I. But I was there from the beginning. How ‘about a little consideration, bitch?

 

Breaking Bad, Season Five, Episode Five, “Dead Freight”: B-