Breaking Bad
Caballo Sin Nombre

Episode Report Card
Joe R: B+ | 8 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
There Ain't No One For to Give You No Pain
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Previously on Breaking Bad: Skyler discovered Ted Beneke was cooking his books but decided to keep working there anyway, because moral ambiguity and human weakness is the stock on trade of cable drama. Tio couldn't speak but still wanted revenge on Walt and Jesse for killing his nephew Tuco. Jesse's parents cut him off after discovering the meth lab he was running out of his basement (in the house they owned). Skyler busted Walt for dealing and traded her silence for Walt's absence. And Walt turned down Gus's $3 million offer to cook for one more month.

Time-lapse photography of the desert (always captivating) leads to a shot of Walter White driving down an empty desert road in the middle of the day, singing along to America's "Horse with No Name" (the ingles version of this week's episode title). He crosses paths with a cop car, which immediately U-turns and flicks on its lights. Walt looks momentarily worried (something incriminating in the car(?) we're led to think) before returning to his default emotion: totally pissed. The cop approaches and asks Walt if he knows why he's been pulled over, in that passive-aggressive way cops do. Walt starts to argue that he wasn't speeding, but the cop's like, "No, your windshield." Then, a brilliant cut to Walt from behind the cracked glass (up 'til this point the camera was inside the windshield -- clever work, there.

The cop asks for license and registration, which Walt digs out, but he thinks he's got an out now. He explains that his windshield is cracked because of the plane crash. He was in the debris zone, see? His plea for unearned sympathy is as pathetic as it is a fairly direct parallel to his meth situation. Extenuating circumstances! Caught a bad break! Sure, I persist in breaking the law, but only because of this terrible thing that happened to me! The cop is showing no sign of being impressed by Walt's tragedy, nor in backing off that ticket he's writing, which just gets Walt angrier.

Oh, by the way, the cop is wearing a blue ribbon, which Walt "helpfully" points out is in remembrance of the victims of the crash -- not, as I theorized last week, for lung cancer. It seems pretty obvious now, but thanks for indulging me in my wrongness anyway.

So the cop bottom-lines it for Walt that the car is unsafe to drive with the windshield cracked in a hundred places, and Walt gets so angry, he gets out of the car. Which, obviously, is a no-no. Walt gets righteous about how "This is America and I have rights" and "hellfire rained down on my house where my children sleep," and the cop keeps telling him he needs to get back in his car. He unholsters his pepper spray, which just makes Walt more insane. "Oh, this is perfect! Pepper spray the man who's just expressing his opinion under the First Amendment!" SMASH CUT TO: Walt getting shoved into the back seat of the police cruiser, whimpering and red-faced. Welcome to Breaking Bad.

Hank's debriefing the DEA folk about the chicken truck the Cousins torched at the end of last week. Besides impressing me with his more-accurate-than-not pronunciation of "polleros," Hank's also pretty on the ball about what happened with these six charred corpses and a shot driver. This is pure Juarez-style cartel happenings, and he'd like to find out why it's crept north of the border (the truck got torched in Laredo). After the meeting, Gomez makes a crack about it being 29 days since they've seen any of Hank's blue meth on the streets. "It's still out there," Hank says softly (hopefully?). Then Hank gets a phone call from the local PD that is obviously about his increasingly rageful bro-in-law.

With his 45-day chip hanging from his rearview mirror, Jesse drives up to the comfortable suburban home which he used to live in. It's up for sale now. Jesse peers in the front door, but doesn't knock. His dad's in the yard, though, and approaches him gingerly. They try to small talk about the fix-up job the Pinkmans are doing on the house, but after all that's happened between them, nobody really knows how to have a conversation anymore. Mr.Pinkman lists all the improvements to the house -- "fumigated the basement" acts as a kind of conversational landmine, what with the meth lab and all. Jesse's still not the same Jesse. He's clean, so he's not so ... ridiculous anymore. But it's hard to miss the darkness that's crept in. The sadness. He does get to deliver one perfectly Jesse line, though: "You know, fixing up the place totally increases its resale value. I read that in, I wanna say, like, Time magazine." Jesse says the whole enterprise is great and asks if maybe he could get a tour of the place. Dad backs off sharply, though, making an excuse about the workers. Jesse gets it. Once a screw-up meth-head who was corrupting his little brother, always a screw-up meth-head who was corrupting his little brother. Dad does manage to squeak out that Jesse's looking good now. Healthy. Jesse wonders if maybe he could come by some time for dinner, but that's met with a noncommittal "sometime." Jesse gets it. That's probably Jesse's biggest cross to bear in this young season so far. He gets it.

Walt sits, handcuffed, in the hallway of the police station, listening to Hank list all the reasons why they should go easy on him. He looks disgusted. Once again, Walt's complicated sense of pride is on display. He'll practically beg for sympathy about a plane crash he knows he's responsible for, just don't try to do him any favors about his cancer. Walt apologizes to his arresting officer like one of his least convincing high-school students, but with Hank's word, that's enough. Well, and I guess the pepper spray was punishment in its own right. In Hank's car, Walt explains that Skyler is divorcing him AND doesn't want him to see the kids. Hank clearly thinks the last part is fucked up so, again, Walt happily reaps ill-gotten solidarity from Hank. I'm starting to suspect Walt's value system is a bit skewed.

With the pink hue still glowing about his eyes, Walt does his laundry at the Laundromat when who should appear but Saul Goodman, admonishing, "What? You don't write? You don't call?" Cut to his apartment, right after Walt has spilled the whole tale of Skyler leaving him to Saul. Saul says it's not as bad as he thinks. There's too much blowback for Skyler to ever come clean about the meth. What with the consequences for Hank (who'd have let a kingpin exist right under his nose) or the kids (obvious reasons) or herself (she'd lose the house, at least). Walt tries to explain that it's not the legal consequences he's concerned about -- he's lost his family. Saul has fewer insights on that subject. As in ... well, none. "After a certain interval of time, well ... there are other fish in the sea." As Saul starts talking about the wonderful opportunities for sex crime inherent in Thailand and the Czech Republic, Walt silently wishes he were dead. But then Saul gets back on track: time to start cooking again. Walt's silent for a moment. Then: "I can't be the bad guy." Saul wasn't there for Jesse's talk last week, so he has no way to respond to this. "We'll revisit," he negotiates, then with a "don't hang yourself, huh?" he's off.

Outside, Saul gets in his car (license plate: LWYRUP) and places a phone call. It's to his pal Mike the Cleaner. The guy who helped Jesse after Jane died. Like all shady criminal facilitators, Mike is watching his grandchildren play at a playground. "We may have a wife problem," Saul tells him. "We need eyes on it." Mike jots down an address.

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Breaking Bad

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