Breaking Bad Episode 403 “Open House”

403imagesGale’s coffee machine is still operational and Walt is still using it.

One thing that really strikes me about “Open House” is that in a way, nothing moves forward. Nothing changes. Everything just deepens, but putting it that way sounds too pretty. Everything goes deeper into a dark morass. The only plot point that moves forward here is the buying of the carwash. And that’s big, but it also feels more like sinking deeper than moving forward. Other than that, everyone’s situation is just getting worse.

A lot of things in this episode resonate later this season, especially this bit of Skyler and Walt’s fight about whether or not he’s in danger. And then several of Saul’s suggestions for how to inspire some “motivation” in Bogdan and Skyler’s objections to them come back later. So funny when she says, “We do not do that, that’s not who we are, right?” re: violence.

Hahahah, Saul says that Bogdan wrestled Skyler into submission with his eyebrows! Oooh, and we get to meet Saul’s “A Team” now.

Another terrible outfit for Saul. On the flip side, love Skyler in that green. And this episode seems like a significant reconciliation for Walt and Skyler. It’s nothing huge, but I like that Skyler wants to go after Bogdan because he was rude about Walt. In her own way, she’s defending Walt. And later, after they get the carwash, they have the happiest moment, albeit a short one, that they’ve had in seasons. They actually laugh together.

Of course, Skyler’s recounting of how Bogdan was rude about Walt gets Walt on board to buy his carwash. His pride gets injured and he’s going to strike back.

As always, Walt, he’s rewriting history, and you start to wonder if he believes himself at this point, that he didn’t retaliate against Mike because Mike’s much older, that their fight cleared the air and ended in mutual respect. He always has to change the story to satisfy his own pride. In fact, Walt’s pride is a little out of control in this episode, and in this whole season. It’s a running theme throughout the series but definitely comes into its own in Season Four.

bb4033What’s that saying? Pride goeth before the fall? I’ve read in several places where Vince Gilligan says that Walt is a very damaged man, and I think that’s where this endless need to feed that ego comes from. Walt doesn’t have any actual reason to feel all this pride stuff right now–most of it is made up versions of events so it’s not even really real–in fact, he’s reminded once again that he is under Gus’s thumb by the cameras. Jesse takes it in stride, just as he did Tyrus and the double-checking of the yield the week before, but Walt sees it as a personal affront.

I still say Walt should have been a lot more cautious, played nice and not made it totally obvious he wants to kill Gus. Might’ve been a much better strategy, but Walter White is not a cautious man when his pride is at stake.

It’s good that Walt asks Jesse how he’s doing, but at first it seems a bit perfunctory. Does he really want to know? Or is just checking in to make sure Jesse’s still okay enough to be a loyal partner? I’m not sure. Jesse asking Walt to go go-karting is sad, because it’s not like Jesse and Walt ever hang out outside of work, well except when they go to a restaurant and discuss murdering rival dealers with ricin at the end of Season Three, or when Walt made Jesse breakfast in Season Two. There’s pleading in his eyes. Jesse’s desperate here for some company, and maybe to share that company with the only person on earth who knows what he went through, but I think a big drive is just not to be alone.

His house party has deteriorated. No more light, fun days of Badger and Skinny Pete and their antics and discussions of video games or Star Wars or fun girls and drugs and booze and uncut pizza for Skinny to scissor up. His house party now has a much darker, more desperate feel. Jesse is not okay.

The go-kart scene is another superbly done compelling scene that shows, instead of tells, Jesse’s inner turmoil. There is so much going on inside him. The screaming is so powerful. I think he really is feeling numb and wants to be numb and to obliterate feeling and also desperately wants to feel anything at the same time. It’s a complicated state of mind for him. It’s like he’s out of touch after shooting Gale and can’t get back. He lost some part of himself when he saved Walt’s life. Loyalty has a price.

“I mean NASA was like a second family to us,” Marie says. She’s another character deep in emotional turmoil who never comes out and says anything direct about how she feels but shows it in indirect ways, as humans usually do. I love the return of her kleptomania, partly for the continuity from earlier seasons, and partly because it just fits her personality so well. Also in continuity from other seasons, she refuses to admit to it and takes the offense. Having her go to all the houses though, and make up those stories? That’s brilliant. It’s perfect because Marie really wants to be someone else right now. She wants to be anyone but Marie, stuck with grouchy Hank and his grousing about Cheetos vs. Fritos. Her stories are just so detailed and pitch perfect. This show has some world-class liars.

Every character seems to be digging deeper into whatever hole they find themselves in. Hank is continuing to wallow and indulge in his mineral collecting, and is getting colder towards Marie, no longer pulling back on some of his meanness towards her like he did in the last episode. He so outright refuses to see APD Tim’s delivery of Gale’s Lab Notes as anything but charity, no matter how consistent Tim plays it that it’s not.

Skyler and Walt are like the perfect couple. I know people hate her and might disagree with me, but just look at how well-matched they are here! Walt is the man who said, “Name me one thing in this world that isn’t negotiable,” and Skyler here is a master negotiator. Not only does she get Bogdan to sell, but bargains down to a lower price, while telling him he’s unpleasant and he insulted her husband. This is what I mean about reconciliation and Skyler standing up for Walt. She’s on his side, as much as she can be in the circumstances.

Of course, she’s also being anal about keeping up their story. It’s an annoyance to Walt, but it’s also important. Someone’s gotta do it, especially with that DEA brother-in-law sitting around with some Lab Notes and nothing to do.

Skyler ringing Walt’s doorbell so incessantly reminded me so much of when Walt was trying to get into Jesse’s apartment after the Spooge incident.

Jesse to Walt, “Getting the shit kicked out of you? Not to say you get used to it, but you do kind of get used to it.” Jesse would know.

Someone on another review, can’t remember where I read it (was a long time ago) said Gale was dumb to take notes on the criminal conspiracy and all the meth synthesis stuff and I just want to say in Gale’s defense, the man is a chemist. Chemists take notes, especially synthetic chemists trying to work out a process. And that includes plenty of chemists who synthesize drugs, legal or otherwise. If you don’t believe me, all I will say is, you can find proof on the internet of just about anything if you know where to look. Maybe he should’ve hidden it better (but of course, he always thought there was no chance that Gus’s operation would ever come under suspicion) or something, but chemists take notes on their syntheses.

~Emilia J

Next Episode: Bullet Points

One thought on “Breaking Bad Episode 403 “Open House”

  1. Hey Emilia .) I just saw the episode and was left wondering about something that doesn’t make much sense. So I thought maybe you have an explanation. Why was Skyler so concerned about Walt buying the expensive champagne when they just bought the car wash. They have the gambling story sorted out for the money income and Walt also bought or (rented?) his own apartment. Looking forward to your insight.


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