This is a quieter episode than last week. It has to be. There’s a natural fallout period after what happened to Hank last week. The characters all have to take the time to react and deal.
But I must say, my favorite ever Jesse “bitch” line is in this episode. Outside the hospital, Jesse is told he can’t smoke this close to the building and he says, “So, roll me further, bitch” in this perfect matter-of-fact tone. He’s not hurling the word as he sometimes does, and I think it’s actually funnier this way. LOVE IT!
Skyler continues her turn back towards Walt that’s been slowly developing all season. She has no patience when he’s all, “Do you know who that was?” re: the phone call–she knows enough to know that whatever he’s about to tell her is bullshit. But when Marie starts to blame Walt, she defends him. And later she’s sleeping on him. Such a nice turn, to see the ice between them start to thaw.
There’s actually something coming up that I really thought was in this episode, but apparently it’s not.
Walt firing Gale is so, so painful. Walt is so vague and awkward, and Gale is so hurt. He doesn’t let Walt off the hook either, because he can’t make sense of it, wants a reason. It’s almost like a bad breakup. When Walt says that he’s classical and Gale is jazz, Gale seems to take that okay, accept it. There’s truth to it, too. Just look at how they’re dressed the first day they work together. Walt is more classical, and Gale is more jazz. Then Jesse comes in and just blows it way back into incomprehensible territory for Captain Nerd. I think that’s one of the funniest moments, Jesse discovering the superlab.
Man, I said it before but I know that Victor is supposed to be all dead eyes and badass but something about his face is too adorable and sweet. I just love Victor.
Walt gets to figure some things out in this one. Man, that scene with the living Cousin ripping out all his IVs and wires and propelling himself all the bed, all amputated and deadly and fixated on Walt with rage that could kill is so intense. So good. And Walt, while talking to Jesse, figures it out that these guys are Tuco’s cousins. He figures out that Gus knows about Hank, and about his cancer. And that his pathetic lying to Gus on the phone was totally see-through. Even if Gus didn’t know what was going on by other means, Walt’s lying here just seems so obvious. He also has to go and blame it all on Gale.
The main thing Walt gets to see here is how in control Gus is. That’s why he asks him, essentially, if he and his family are in danger. Gus is the mastermind here. He’s the only person in this episode who’s in control. Hank clearly isn’t, he’s not even conscious. Marie totally loses control and takes it out on the DEA and the hospital forks. Jesse is still pretty beat up, and then has to spend all this time in the amazing “the bomb” lab without being able to cook anything. Walt is putting all this attention into trying to balance the table, manage Jesse, steer off Gus, conceal phone calls, figure out if he and his family are going to be killed. Not in control at all.
But Gus is. He’s the orchestra director here. He’s taken care of so many things at once. Defeats Juan Bolsa, injures Hank but doesn’t kill him–he needs Walt to keep working for him, for now–and he shuts down the border meth trade, gets rid of The Cousins. Gus’s evil genius is starting to show itself to be more calculated and cold than first suspected. But at least Walt knows now.
It’s a little chilling and strange to see Gus with Marie and Skyler and Jr.
One thing that adds to the sense of no control for all these other characters is all the waiting. The quiet scenes where they don’t say much, where the waiting feels excruciating. Breaking Bad is so good at picking the right moments to pause and draw out, to not let the viewer off the hook. The show almost makes you suffer, lingering on the awkward pauses, the uncomfortable silences, the tense moments, where other shows would skip or cut too quickly, never let the whole scene play out. But it’s a kind of suffering that is so, so good.
This episode starts with one of these scenes. Jesse, poor Jesse. He’s so injured, and it’s so slow for him to get ready to go. His breathing, he plays the pain of the scene perfectly. Hank really beat the living crap out of him. It’s funny when Jesse says to Walt to tell Hank to go towards the light, but it’s also kind of touching that Jesse is the one who tells Walt what happened.
Jesse in the superlab has got to be one of the highlights of this episode, hands down.
Walt is usually horrible at giving any sort of speech or talk, so disconnected, but he’s good here, genuine. He’s trying to help Marie, give everyone a sense of hope, but it’s his rumination on the drive to the hospital that’s the most moving, that sense of wanting to freeze time in the car before his surgery. Of course, once he got to the hospital for his surgery, he made the mistake of admitting his second cell phone, which led to Skyler figuring out all his lies. So I think this speech is not just about wishing he’d had more time with his family before surgery, which was probably legit, but also about wanting to be able to pause in that time before it all went to shit.
This will come back.
- Breaking Bad Episode 307 “One Minute”
- Breaking Bad Episode 306 “Sunset”
- Breaking Bad Episode 305 “Mas”
- Breaking Bad Episode 304 “Green Light”
- Breaking Bad Episode 303 “I.F.T.”
- Breaking Bad Episode 302 “Caballo Sin Nombre”
- Breaking Bad Episode 301 “No Mas”
- Breaking Bad Season 2 Episode Posts
- Breaking Bad Season 1 Episode Posts
- “I See You” Insider Podcast
- Weak Interactions – The Science of Breaking Bad: I See You
- Tim Goodman – Bastard Machine Deconstruction: I See You
The second time around I could enjoy watching the cousin crawl out of our lives the same way he came in.
Great point, Ellyn! Man he looks so vicious in that scene, throwing himself off the bed and slithering legless across the floor of his hospital room. Love that moment. So striking and memorable. Wonder what new images will be burned into our brains with the final eight eps?