Jesse is using the RV to cook again. The teaser for this episode is a perfect example of Jesse taking the “I’m the bad guy” and his no-nonsense acceptance of that fact too far. Jesse has never been a pusher before, using his charm to get a girl to trade him free gas for a baggie of meth. Maybe he’s resigned to the bad guy role. Maybe he believes that’s who he is. It seriously makes me question the philosophy at that rehab place with those amazing plush green robes and shirts. Jesse’s not using anymore but something’s off and Jesse’s actually more of a bad guy since accepting this “fact” about himself than he ever was before.
Walt is, as Mike puts it, a disaster over this thing with his wife. Man, Mike is sooo deadpan. When Saul asks is this a good thing or a bad thing, Mike plays a bit more of the recording and then says, “It’s a bad thing.” It’s kind of hilarious. Gotta love Mike. He’s just as good later when he tells Walt the reasons he’s definitely removing all the bugs from Walt’s house.
But yeah, Walt is a mess. The arguing with Skyler is just as expected. Skyler says something that I think sort of puts it plainly–Walt is back in the house but in her mind, they are not married anymore. And if she can’t get him to leave, she’ll make that clear another way, by sleeping with Ted. Then of course, Walt has to try to confront Ted, trying to bring his Heisenberg out and get some respect, maybe make Ted a little scared of him, but Walt’s attempts are a bit pathetic. The stunt with the plant, and the way it just bounces off? Perfect way to show Walt as out of line and ineffectual.
Then there’s that incredibly awkward scene with Carmen. I hate watching that scene. It’s painful. You know, I always thought there was some chemistry (haha) between those two, a flirty vibe. But she is NOT being flirty in this scene. She seems about to fire Walt or put him on some sort of probation or suspension. It’s clear that he’s been dropping the ball as a teacher. But Walt either is not picking up on the lack of a flirty rapport, and mistakes her concern over his job performance as a come on. Or he knows it’s not but thinks he can distract her, charm his way out of trouble. And get some sweet revenge on Skyler and make the pain go away for a minute. But it gets him fired. Errrr, I mean, he’s on indefinite sabbatical.
Walt also gets in a fight with Saul, who’s trying to get him to pull his shit together and “grow up.” As distraught as Walt is by Skyler’s affair, maybe the most upset we’ve ever seen him, he’s still sharp. He figures out, and pretty fast, that Saul had his house bugged. Nothing gets past this guy.
Not much gets past Hank either. Except maybe El Paso. Hank clearly doesn’t want to go back, and has probably never been more thrilled to hear about blue meth showing up in ABQ. Now he has an excuse, and doesn’t have to say that he doesn’t want to go back. It can be all about his investigation at home. I don’t think Merkert buys it. When he says, “You better get to it then,” there’s a note of sarcasm or annoyance in there. I think Merkert has Hank figured out.
But despite all that avoidance and fear around El Paso, Hank’s really is on a trail. He’s putting stuff together, getting info out of people. Just when you think it’s going to be a dead end, he makes something of it. I love when the girl, Cara I think her name is, starts talking about how blue Jesse’s eyes are. Hank plays it just right with her, calling her on her bad lying and then being sweeter to her when he needs to. And so, he knows about the RV. Uh-oh.
Jesse and Walt’s argument. There is something so positive and childlike about Jesse sometimes, the way he’s so happy for Walt (even when Walt isn’t), like when Walt went into remission, and now when Walt says he’s back in the house. At this point in the story, it seems like Jesse has more genuine concern for and interest in Walt’s well-being than Walt does for Jesse. Walt calls Jesse “son” again early on in this scene. The father-son nature of their interactions was established in the last season and in this one, it’s being challenged.
Jesse says something really important in his conversation with Walt in the car. He says that cooking meth is the only thing he’s ever been good at. It’s sort of heartbreaking and I think that’s a huge part of Jesse’s motivation. We know that he’s been a big disappointment to his parents, never did well in high school, and has generally felt like a big fuck-up. But this, he’s found something he can be successful at. And so, in the face of all his loss, he wants to get back to it, without using. He’s pretty respectful of Walt too, doesn’t want to push Walt back into cooking when he knows Walt is done, wants to cut Walt in, all of that.
But Walt, whose ego has taken quite the beating lately–he’s just been cheated on, bugged, fired (and rejected in the process of getting fired), thrown out of Beneke–can’t take this indignity. He nitpicks Jesse’s product, and they get in one of their classic arguments. Walt and Jesse are on the outs now. And it looks like Gus and Mike might use that to try to lure Walt back into cooking. Gus isn’t going to use fear to get Walt to do what he wants. Even though he has been told that The Cousins might not be patient, Gus is playing a long game, and doesn’t seem rushed at all. He is doing this his way. Gus is a man in power.
Victor, at Gus’s call of course, has set Walt and Jesse against each other, by only giving Jesse half the money for the meth and tossing the other half to Walt at a stop light. Jesse will think Walt meddled somehow. Walt will know Jesse went ahead with selling his inferior product, Walt’s formula, and that is bound to make him go off the rails even more. At least that might mean we get more scenes with these two together. The first few episodes of this season don’t feel quite right with Jesse and Walt on such different trajectories, even though it makes perfect sense, story-wise.
And I gotta say, I don’t know why but I have a little crush on Victor. I’m sure this isn’t what’s intended but I just find him adorable. But I’ll probably always love Jesse most.
Walt turned off the radio too soon. We don’t find out if Jane’s father lives or dies after this suicide attempt. And, a few seasons later, it’s still never been resolved. Hmmm. Ya gotta feel for Donald.
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