Breaking Bad

Episode Report Card
Joe R: A | 7 USERS: A+
Bang! What's Up With That Thang?
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Thanks once again to Couch Baron for coming to my rescue with the recaplet. Previously, Walter got worried that Hank would connect Gale's murder to Jesse, while Mike and Gus fretted that Jesse could be the downfall of their whole operation simply for being sloppy and generally checked out of life. So Mike took Jesse on a little road trip.

This week's pre-credits vignette probably shuts up the two or three people who complain about this show not being action-y enough. Because this sequence is 100% Walter racing his product-placed Aztek (I had previously embraced the Aztek as the kind of product placement I like because the car spoke so much to Walt's suburban displacement in the drug world, but that glamor shot of the car logo really made me squeamish) all over Albuquerque. He's frantic that Jesse is, right at this moment, being murdered, and the panic and concern that Walt's currently experiencing for someone else (especially poor Jesse) is encouraging. Then Walt decides to double-down (card-shark terminology!) on caring about other people by making a frantic call to Skyler. Actually, first he calls Saul, but it's only to make sure that in the event of his untimely demise -- which might happen, oh, any minute now -- Skyler gets all his money. "Every last dollar." When he does call Skyler, he gets her voicemail. In the calmest tone he can manage (the soundtrack helps him by downshifting into lullaby music, which is a nice touch), he says he just wanted to say he was thinking about her and the kids, "...and I love you." And then he reaches under the seat for his gun because it's back to the car chase!

After the title card, Walt comes screaming into the parking lot at El Pollo Knockoffo. To his credit, he does not take a handicapped spot -- you know, for a guy who's intending to murder his boss in a few minutes, Walt's being unusually conscientious today. Inside, he badgers the poor girl at the counter to let him see Gus Fring. The Sofia Coppola-ish girl is not having it. Gus isn't here, et cetera. With every denial, Walt gets angrier. He basically plays the "Do you know who I am?" card, like the name "Walter White" is supposed to open the secret vault to Gus's pleasure dome. Walt finally decides to wait at a table until she announces his presence to Gus.

Of course, the wait only allows Walt's exponentially-expanding paranoia to truly flourish. Every security camera, every car pulling into the lot, every glance the counter girl shoots at him becomes fraught with dread. Finally, his phone rings; it's Mike, adopting the world's weariest tone and wondering just what the hell Walt thinks he's doing. So obviously Gus IS there, somewhere. Or else word travels awfully fast in that dry New Mexico air. Walt demands to know where Jesse is, and when he doesn't believe Mike's "he's with me" assurances, Mike puts Jesse on the phone. If you thought Jesse would be more forthcoming with answers for Walt, you're really underestimating the degree to which Jesse has stopped giving a fuck. "We're driving," he says. Driving where? "I dunno...north?" And while I personally found that part encouraging (i.e. they're not headed to the Mexican desert so Mike can feed Jesse to the cartels or something), Walt is endlessly frustrated at not only Jesse's lack of information but at the fact that Jesse doesn't seem overly concerned for his life at the moment. Walt's been screaming all over town, breaking every traffic law ever invented, and now has made a scene at Pollos, all for Jesse, who is barely raising his voice. Mike takes the phone back and tells Walt that "Jesse's with me today," and Walt should get back to the lab and muddle through today's cook solo. Walt should be taking Mike's conditional word usage ("today" implies that there will be a tomorrow, for Jesse) as comfort, but he's too busy shaking with rage at being brushed off -- by Gus, by Mike, and even by Jesse. So he decides to plow past the girl at the counter, through the employees' area, and into Gus's office. Which is empty. "This area is for employees only," the counter girl says. "I have to ask that you leave immediately." I suppose Walt can't exactly explain that he IS an employee, now can he?

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Breaking Bad




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