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TV Recap: Breaking Bad “Say My Name”

Mike and Walt square off (Image © AMC)

Mike and Walt square off (Image © AMC)

No more half measures, Mike. Remember that? This whole half season has been nothing but half measures for the old guy. He’s been slipping and sloppy. He let Lydia live. He knowingly got into business with a ticking time bomb; an irrational egomaniacal neophyte who has fully bought into his own bullshit. These are half measures, Mike. You’re better than this. I guess it’s Kaylee’s fault. He did it all for her, and now it’s all for naught. Poor thing. I mean, imagine waking up on your 18th birthday and not getting access to 5 million dollars in drug money. I shudder to think! There but for the grace of God and all that.

But before that, Walt, Mike, and Jesse go to the middle of nowhere for another meeting with Declan, the Phoenix meth king guy. Weirdly, Declan has a full head of hair. Someone didn’t get the memo. So Walt’s “everybody wins” plan is to go into business with Declan. They’ll distribute Walt’s blue meth. Walt’s Classic Coke. Declan’s meth is some off-brand cola. Appealing to Declan’s sense of pride in his ability to get junkies high does not work, so Walt adds that they can increase the price, too. This Declan agrees to. But Walt wants more. He wants Declan to say his name. Neither Mike nor Jesse curl up into little embarrassed balls at this nonsense as I would’ve, and eventually, after Walt very stupidly brags about killing Gus, Declan does as asked and says his name: Heisenberg.

“You’re goddamn right I am”.
Bleah. You sir, are no “I am the one who knocks”.

So Mike retires, for indeed, he is much too old for this shit. He throws away all his many, many guns. He gets his lawyer to deposit 5 million in Kaylee’s safe deposit box and to make the small deposits to the nine legacy guys. Hank personally delivers a search warrant to Mike’s door, but Mike is ready for him and there’s nothing to be found.

As for Walt and Jesse? Well, Jesse still wants out. But Walt won’t let him go. He goes full-on abusive husband. “Where will you go? What will you do? You have nothing and no one! And you’ll start using again! No one loves you like I loves you, baby!” and on and on but Jesse’s out the door, completely fed up with the bullshit.

Oh wait! Before he goes he helps Walt hide the methylamine at Skyler’s car wash and we get the second scene in as many weeks between Jesse and “Mrs. White”. Jesse starts out with the Eddie Haskell routine again, but Skyler’s having none of it. And then something potentially wonderful happens. Jesse reads the words off the truck: Vamanos. It means, “let’s go”. And Skyler says “I wish”. Could it be? Dare I dream? Will my two favorite characters join together and rise up against Walt? Is this where their redemption lies? Or are they in too deep and doomed for hell no matter what (if you’re into that sort of thing)? In this shared moment, Jesse certainly sees the humanity in Skyler; but perhaps Skyler is too hard and too angry to reciprocate. We shall see.

So Walt removes the bug from Hank’s office (oh, and for those conspiracy theorists who think Hank is onto Walt; he’s not. He suspected nothing when he left Walt in his office for the second time. We see him leave the office and do a cute “shoot me” gesture to the lady outside), and learns about the cheap Saul knockoff lawyer flipping on Mike. He calls Mike to warn him, forcing Mike to heartbreakingly leave poor Kaylee swinging in the wind. He has a duffel bag with fake ID’s and passports and money; all he needs to escape and start a new life on some remote island, just like they do in the movies. Only problem is, Saul can’t get him the back, he’s being watched. Jesse can’t do it; it’s too dangerous. That leaves Walt.

Which brings us back to half measures again. Walt and Mike meet up in some secluded woods and already my stomach drops. Walt demands to know the names of the nine guys. Mike won’t give them up. He advises Walt to run; but Walt refuses. They start a screaming match, Walt demanding the respect that Mike will never give. Mike turns the screws, saying they had a good thing going with Gus (not true Mike, you had a good thing going) if only Walt had kept his head down and none his place. That’s entirely too much for Walt. He stomps back to his car (and I breathe a sigh of relief) and then he stomps on back to Mike. Blam! Shot in the gut. It’s a messy, stupid shot. It’s not the shot of the one who knocks, it’s the shot of the one who fucking whines. Mike drives off, crashes, dies in front of a picturesque stream next to the person he hates most of all. Turns out, Mike was already in hell, if you’re into that sort of thing.

There go my hopes for a Mike and Marie Hart to Hart-style spinoff.

Interestingly, if you’re still looking for signs of humanity in Walt, and still looking for some way to root for him, it’s worth noting that he’s pretty broken up about killing Mike this way. It’s the very first time he’s killed someone that it wasn’t in self-defense or defending Jesse. This is it. This is the true “breaking bad”.

Next week. Walt’s got a new Jesse (Todd) and a new Mike (Lydia). He did not trade up. The nine guys will be killed with ricin by Todd’s uncle’s prison connections while Walt attends Holly’s christening. Or Walt will do some whole other fucking dumb thing, probably.

Breaking Bad, Season Five, Episode Seven, “Say My Name”: A

Ryan Roach lives in Studio City and suffers through traffic indignities on a daily basis. He also has a cool movie blog: