Gus got his face half blown off and walked out of the room and straightened his tie. Maybe gilding the lily, maybe a believability stretch. Still a nice touch. It’s a lot like the scene where Gus makes himself throw up after taking the poison in 410 “Salud,” he was alone, no one was watching, and he was still so Gus. Same here, he’s pretty much dead, in shock, and habit takes over. Gus doesn’t just put on a face for the outside world of this meticulous, inscrutable, insanely professional man. Gus is Gus to the core.
RIP, yo. Gus is dead. Walter White has “won” so he says.
But before that, one of my favorite lines ever. “Did you just bring a bomb into a hospital?” Jesse asks Walt. Great callback to “You brought a meth lab to the airport?” from Walt to Jesse in Season Two. So funny how Walt’s bag sticks to the door.
Gus’s “spidey sense” must be tingling towards the end of this episode.
This is a challenging episode to write about. It’s amazing, but there’s so much I can’t say until the next one without giving too much away.
It’s interesting, the first time I watched this one, I was so caught up in what was happening, and the drama and the suspense of it all. This time around, I paid more attention to some of the small things.
“My brother-in-law doesn’t deserve to die because of this,” Walt says.
As with all the thirteen-episode seasons, episode eleven is the point when everything starts to boil, situations become untenable and all the cards get stacked for what follows. All the makings of the storms are in play. This is true as ever here in Season Four.
As mentioned in the previous episode post, despite all the terrible things that Walt and Jesse have done, they have also learned to stand up in the face of fear. In this season, they each get a moment where a younger Walt or Jesse would have crumbled and this time they don’t. Jesse got his moment in the last episode and Walt gets his here.
Another stellar, high drama, edge-of-your-seat episode, Breaking Bad at its finest. And this one has one of my favorite ever images.
Towards the end of last season, I was talking about these little moments Jesse and Walt both had standing up to Gus. The idea was that though Walt’s decision to start cooking meth back in the pilot has mostly wreaked havoc on both of their lives, their families, their souls, Walt and Jesse have also become more courageous. Maybe the good thing they’ve both gotten from all of this is a certain lack of fear. In the latter half of this season, Walt and Jesse each get a big moment of bravery. These are moments where maybe they should be afraid, and maybe they are afraid, and if these moments had happened a few seasons back, they would’ve crumbled, but this time they show big courage in the face of all that fear.
I LOVE this episode. Maybe my favorite of the season actually. As with so many, so much happens. This is an episode where certain storylines, like Gus trying to pit Jesse and Walt against each other, come to a climax, and other storylines, like Ted and the IRS trouble, are just beginning.
We haven’t seen Ted in a long while, not since he came to visit Skyler in Season Three after Hank got shot. Tio came back in the last episode, Ted in this one. No one ever goes away for long on this show. But Ted’s not back for a romantic rendez-vous as Skyler first suspects. Oh no, he’s got much bigger troubles. The IRS. An audit. With Skyler’s name on record. Meaning she could get investigated as she’s laundering Walt’s drug money through the carwash. Bad news bears for sure.
I will say this. There is a perfect “That’s what she said!” moment in this episode. Go forth and find it.
So, this is Breaking Bad, and that means that there are no clear villains or heroes, as it should be, as it is in life. Characters are complex and have many layers. Gus is sort of the antagonist to our antiheroes Walt and Jesse, and I want to know what others thought before this episode. Did you hate Gus? Did you think he was evil?
I didn’t. I don’t know what it is because to just think about the bare facts, maybe hating Gus and thinking of him as evil makes logical sense. He slit a guy’s throat in a brutal silent scene in front of Walt and Jesse, and anyone reading these posts knows I had a thing for Victor. Gus has also intended to kill both Walt and Jesse. He’s done a lot of bad things and he’s been a threat to the dynamic duo, but Gus is somehow….so likable anyway.
This episode is the halfway point for Season Four–six episodes came before, six will come after–and it feels like a tipping point of sorts. Skyler, Walt and Jesse all wrestle with decisions, and a lot of plot turns happen in this episode.
But before we get to any of that, how freakin’ AMAZING is Jesse’s monologue at his rehab meeting? One of the best moments in the entire series, in my opinion. So tortured. So moving. So raw. You’re right there with him, in that intensity. To me, this speech is a bit like Walt in “Fly” last season. Jesse’s reckoning with what he did at the end of the last season, and it’s an outburst filled with guilt and it doesn’t happen right away. The fallout takes time, which is so real. It also feels true to Jesse’s character that he’d still be in turmoil this long after. He’s also newly sober, four days, so perfect time to be wrestling with his soul, especially now as Walt’s asked him to murder again.
When I saw this episode for the first time, I wondered if there was a little Season Two action going on, because here we have a teaser that starts almost identical to the one a few episodes back, and they have a specific color palette, starting with the blue breath, just like the ones in Season Two had their black and white and pink bear palette. But these aren’t flashforwards, and there’s no hidden message in these episode names. It’s just the cartel, amping up their aggression towards Gus’s operation. There’s something very artistic about these openings, the cool blue of the inside of the refrigerated truck, the way the light comes in through the bullet holes. Always an eye for that sort of thing on this show, how to play with light and color to make scenes not only dramatic but visually interesting and artful.
It’s been established in the past that Walt should probably not make speeches or take any sort of pain or pre-op meds, and this week we add two more items to the list of things Walter White should not do: drink heavily after his ego’s been insulted and drive a forklift.
The onslaught to Walt’s pride just keeps coming. Has Walt been successful at anything this season other than staying alive? It seems that every attempt at moving in any direction since then has been thwarted and put down in one way or another. He gets nowhere trying to save Jesse, and it turns out Jesse doesn’t even really need saving, he storms in to see Gus who turns out not to be there; he hooks up with Skyler then she decides, without checking with him, that he will move back in and when; then after all Walt goes through trying to save Jesse, Jesse comes back and sorta bosses Walt around; and then Jr drinks out of a Beneke mug and that just does Walt in. But if all that isn’t enough, Hank has to go on and on about what a genius meth chef Gale was.
All right yo, things are starting to move and get more dramatic here. Every season it takes a few episodes to start moving forward more quickly after the huge dramas at the season change, and now is the time to bring in new twists and turn up the heat.
Walt and Skyler go public with the family and come clean, errr appear to come clean about Walt’s gambling winnings and about buying the carwash. Some people say that Walt is a careful man. Gus wouldn’t agree and neither would I, not really. Walt has a giant genius brain and is very good at getting out of situations, and he’s a master manipulator, but he doesn’t usually think too far ahead. Even Saul has chastised Walt in the past for not having plans for certain eventualities (RV). Sure, he likes a clean lab, but that’s not the same as being a careful man. I discussed this more in the post for 508 “Gliding Over All” because Walt does something that Mike might call “uncautious,” and I argued that though Walt is a meticulous chemist, he is not, at his core, terribly careful and has often left loose ends. Thinking far ahead is not Walter White’s strong points.