Wow. Can’t believe there’s only one more to go. What will I do without my weekly fix?
Okay, that’s just gross, but seriously that shit looked pretty tasty in this episode. Is it me or has there been more focus on food this season than most? The dressings at Madrigal, the bacon in 501 and 504, the whole thing about green beans and frozen scabby lasagna, Hank’s thing about Miracle Whip, Skyler’s whipped potatoes and double chocolate cake, and now Dan’s treats for the bank lady.
Also, what’s up with Saul’s outfits in the last two eps not being as awesomely colorful and eye-catching as usual? I mean really, give him a psychedelic tie next time or I’m out yo.
Okay, okay, for real now.
I think if you had to sum it up, this was an episode about alliances made and broken. We start off with Walt brokering the deal with Declan in the desert. That wasn’t too surprising. Mike wanted out, Declan has an inferior meth (70% pure if he’s lucky) and has a lot of competition from “Blue Sky” so it just made some logical sense that Declan would become Walt’s new distributor. Of course, he couldn’t jump into it willingly, had to voice all the concerns and hear how good it would be for his economic interests.
I know I say this every episode, but this season is just knocking it out of the park with beautiful cinematography. This episode had so many shots that were just gorgeous. I like how that gets juxtaposed against the dark world of the show. This scene in the desert (especially after the title sequence, when there’s more clouds to catch some of the color) was one of the many examples of that in this week’s episode.
Early on in the episode, the official business partnership between Mike and Walt ends. Their ego struggles continues though, as Walt asks for a thank you or an apology. Which I think is a little much. Yeah Mike got his $5 mil, but he would’ve gotten it a lot easier if Walt hadn’t stolen the methylamine. Mike didn’t end up any better, financially from Walt’s plan than his own. And of course, Mike doesn’t think he owes Walt an apology or thank you, and just talks business. Then he tells Jesse to watch out for himself, seeming not to believe that Jesse’s really out. Walt looks a little jealous when he sees them talking. They have a bond that he’s not part of. It kind of reminds me of how Walt reacts when his son Walt Jr looks up to Hank so much.
Then there’s our odd couple–Walt and Jesse. Walt asks Declan for a $5 million finders fee for Mike, Mike’s buyout price, but nothing for Jesse. Walt includes Jesse in his talk to Declan, includes him as the other finest meth cook. But Jesse still wants out. Walt asks him to help him take care of loose ends and seems not to hear Jesse. I think the fact that Walt pointed Jesse out to Declan could lead to trouble. When Walt leaves town (as we assume he will from that flashforward) and Declan has no cook, I have a feeling he will get Jesse somehow. I HIGHLY doubt Declan will be able to use Todd no matter how much Walt trains him.
Then there’s that great scene at the carwash. Jesse and Skyler may have had a moment of bonding there. Walt has treated both of them badly, and I think in some way they both sort of see it. Look at Jesse’s face when Walt is being a dick to Skyler and telling her to go inside when she voices (pretty legit) concerns. I think that moment only solidifies Jesse’s wish to get out of the business even more. It’s as though he sees this, how it’s f’d up their marriage, and doesn’t want to end up like that. I loved their little exchange.
Jesse says, “Vamonos.”
Skyler replies, “I wish.”
Second week in a row that we’ve seen these two interact. Gotta think it’s building to something.
Then there’s that great scene between Walt and Jesse. Walt acts like Jesse isn’t out, starts talking about how they have to get to work cleaning the equipment of its residue. When Jesse says they have to talk, Walt brings the gloves over, puts them in Jesse’s hand and starts talking about doubling down. He thinks Jesse is going to roll over. When he doesn’t, Walt goes from one manipulative tactic to another.
He, as always, knows what buttons to push. He appeals to Jesse’s desire to be really good at something (which Walt also shares). He brings up Jesse’s drug use and says he’ll be back to that in no time. He says that Jesse has nothing, no one. I found that the most interesting because really, who’s fault is that? Who let Jesse’s girlfriend die? Who manipulated Jesse into breaking up with his next girlfriend and cutting him off from the “instant family” he wanted? That’s not to say Jesse hasn’t made some bad choices or isn’t responsible for some of it (his family, for example, is definitely partly on Jesse) but all that other stuff was Walt.
It’s also a little weird when Walt starts talking to Jesse about not giving up on the business. If you didn’t know what they were talking about, the conversation would almost sound like Jesse was about to drop out of school or something and Walt was trying to get him to stick it out. But no, it was all about cooking crystal meth. So when that too, fails, Walt tries to say he’s just as upset as Jesse about the kid getting killed but Jesse doesn’t buy it. Also note that when Walt talks about the people who have died because of their business, he mentions only Gale by name. So then Walt refuses to pay Jesse his share but even that doesn’t work. Jesse walked away from $5 million dollars. It kinda made me proud. We have seen this character grow up a lot.
It also struck me that everyone around Walt is trying to tell him what’s up. Mike told him he was a time bomb, among many other things. Jesse tells Walt that it’s bullshit that no one else will get killed if they’re in charge (which of course, proved true by the end of the episode). Skyler tells him in different ways several ways that he’s going to get them either caught or killed. But Walt won’t listen to any of it.
So his alliance or working partnership with Jesse is somewhat broken, and Walt takes on Todd in Jesse’s place. That wasn’t too surprising–last week when Todd said how much he wanted to be in on the business, you kinda knew he would be the new Jesse. Except Todd seems kinda slow with this stuff. He took copious notes, which could potentially come into play later. Did it get anyone else thinking about Gale’s “Lab Notes”? It was oddly nice to see Walt in chemistry teacher role though. He was exhausted by the end of it, but I think he sort of liked talking through his chemical processes. But maybe that’s just the chemistry tutor in me projecting.
This was another place with just gorgeous filming. Especially that scene at the beginning of the cook, the green light from the tent pouring in through the window and casting everything in green, the light from that little lamp, Walt’s yellow cook suit. It was beautiful.
I don’t know if Todd’s really going to work out. It seems like he sort of knows it. He’s totally overwhelmed. A lot of people think there was something shady about him not wanting to talk money, but I don’t know. I think he just knew he was WAY over his head. I also think he is trying to get in good with Walt and maybe this is another way to achieve that. As much as Walt tells Skyler during their tense dinner (of frozen dinners!) that his new guy might work out, I kinda doubt that it will.
When Walt cries in Hank’s office again, it’s similar to the first time in that what Walt is saying is technically true and I think, on some level, he is really bothered by it. I really think in Walt’s own fucked up mind he loves Skyler and just has to find a way to make her come around to his way of seeing things. I think the fact that she won’t talk to him seriously bothers him. So he is a lying pro weaving the truth in there like that. Hank is clearly distracted though, not as responsive as last time. Walt has to ask for the coffee.
On the boards, people are saying to look at the pictures Walt’s looking at while Hank gets the coffee. I couldn’t really blow them up or freeze them in a way to really see what the “clue” might be. In fact, I thought it might be all talk, people getting carried away, but when I rewatched, they really did spend some extra time showing that grid of photos. I think it could be from the bank because on top it says “Cradock Branch” or something like that. What is Walt seeing in there?
Speaking of pictures, people were also saying that Lydia was in one of the pictures Hank was looking out while zoning out during SAC Ramey’s teleconference. Again, I tried to pause it to get a good luck but it was just not working (kept looking really blurry when I would pause it) so I gave up. Anyone? Is Lydia in one of those pics?
Another thing that’s come up a lot is that people think SAC Ramey is “In on it” and that’s why he’s steering Hank away. I don’t. It’s a legit request. After all, Hank is now the ASAC. He should be spreading the investigation love to all his cases, not just this one. But he’s always been pretty single-mindedly trying to catch Heisenberg. He did get shot in relation to this case, after all.
As soon as lawyer Dan brings in the cake pops, you know something’s wrong. The bank lady is totally different in demeanor. And Dan gets caught. What I like about this is, you know Mike wouldn’t roll, ever. I really don’t think he would. But Dan, from that first episode of his (“Hazard Pay”) seems like he’s not cut out for this. He doesn’t look the person in the eye when he talks to her about bringing his paralegal. He’s all looking down at the paper, and then he had the headphones in when Mike was talking to Dennis. He just seems, from the beginning, like a guy who can’t stand the heat.
More great, great filming when we see Kaylee on the swing. It’s heartbreaking to watch Mike walk away as the police go after his car. He’s crying, and even the way he takes in a breath, it’s so perfectly done that you can feel his sadness at having to leave Kaylee. Powerful stuff.
Mike and Walt’s tension comes to a lethal end when Walt retrieves Mike’s “go bag” at the airport and brings it to Mike on the banks of the Rio Grande. He wants the names. Mike knows Walt won’t hesitate to kill the guys somehow and doesn’t give it up. Mike gets the bag in this weird almost tug-of-war. Walt again asks for some gratitude, and that starts the last of their manfights, the worst. Mike says the same thing Jesse said, “It’s on you,” and accuses Walt of blowing up the really good thing they had with Fring because of his ego, his pride. Walt is enraged, especially at the mention of Gus’s name.
And Walt shoots Mike in the abdomen.
Holy crap. I had a feeling Mike might die this week (I was still afraid it might be Jesse but was leaning more toward MIke) but still that was pretty shocking. And sad. And a huge turning point for Walt. This is the first time Walt has ever killed someone purely out of emotion.
Back to their argument for a second, I think they both have valid points. I haven’t felt all “Team Walt” in awhile, but Gus did threaten to kill Walt’s entire family. And he would’ve killed Walt the moment Jesse gave in (which maybe he never would have, but still). Mike was in a hospital in Mexico when this happened so maybe didn’t know about that part of things. But Mike has a point too. Would Gale ever have caused Gus the kind of trouble that Walt and Jesse did? Never in a million years. If Walt hadn’t opened his big mouth, Hank would’ve been off the case a long time ago and probably never would’ve suspected Gus in the first place. So I think they both have valid points.
And that’s where it gets tricky. All the other people Walt has killed, you can see some justification. Emilio and Krazy 8 were going to kill him and Jesse. When Krazy 8 lives and Walt kills him in the basement, he knows that Krazy 8 was going to kill him with that plate shard. Those rival drug dealers were going to kill Jesse. Jane was taking Jesse down a horrible, heroin-riddled path when Walt lets her die. When he asks Jesse to kill Gale, he is about to get murdered. Gus, as mentioned above, had threatened to kill Walt’s entire family. So all his previous murders had somehow been out of self defense or defending those close to him. Not to say it was the right thing to do but you could always see why he had to do it.
But Mike wasn’t threatening Walt. He wasn’t going to kill Walt or anyone in Walt’s family. He was skipping town. Walt did this purely out of anger and ego, because Mike wouldn’t show him the respect he thought he deserved. It did nothing to help him get the names of the guys. This was done out of pride.
And it was pretty sad seeing Mike go. But again, beautiful cinematography in that whole sequence. What a juxtaposition. And Walt seems to be knocked down by what he did, a bit in shock perhaps, more like the bumbling Walt we saw in early seasons. I think he really regretted it. I don’t know how long that’ll last–he’s the master of rationalization–but I think he realized he did something terribly wrong.
And of course, Mike doesn’t want to hear it. “Shut the fuck up and let me die in peace.”
This was a pretty bleak ending. The train episode had a bleak ending to but that was tempered a bit by the adrenaline rush of the heist, whereas this one was pretty bleak throughout. There wasn’t much humor in this episode, or moments of relief from the darkness. But it’s sort of fitting. This is the dark world Walt has made for himself and the people around him. I already miss Mike.
So is that who Bryan Cranston was referring to when he said a major player will die this half-season? I’m inclined to think so. It seems crazy that anyone else would die this early.
I do have some predictions for next week’s half-season finale:
Walt will get the names from Lydia and try to use Todd’s uncle in prison (and the uncle’s connections) to shank the nine guys. I think it’ll be hard, since it was stated in “Hazard Pay” that the nine guys weren’t all in the same prison. Dennis (laundry manager) is going to get it for sure.
On the other hand, I think there’s a good chance Walt will get very close to getting caught. On one of the podcasts for the season 4 finale, they were talking about some moment they wanted to put in that ep but it was too soon. I got a feeling it involved Hank starting to suspect Walt. ANd at this point there’s just too much in play. Skyler and Jesse could somehow team up if Jesse thinks Walt is going too far in trying to off the guys. Or one of the guys could talk before Walt gets to them. Lydia is still a loose cannon. Hank is always on the trail. I still also think Marie could start putting stuff together too.
So I think Walt is going to get “this close” to getting caught and he is going to use Mike’s “go bag” and get out of dodge. The passports are in there. Someone on one of the boards suggested he might fake his own death and I think that is a definite possibility. But he won’t die, he’ll be on the run.
There may have to be some blow up or tragedy with Skyler that explains why he’s not wearing his wedding ring when he comes back to ABQ. It’s also possible that something could happen to one of the kids. Even if not, we’ll probably see them next episode, since we haven’t seen them much at all in the latter half of this season.
I also think Declan and his gang will somehow get Jesse working for them. They won’t be able to use Todd, and Walt pointed Jesse out as an equally good meth cook, so they will somehow get him cooking for them. And I think when Walt comes back to ABQ the person he’s trying to protect is Jesse. I honestly think it will be him and not one of his family members but could be wrong on that.
What do YOU all think? Can’t believe there’s only one episode left this summer. Sad.
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