Well, this sure is one drama-filled hour of television.
Walter, Jesse and Hank all face some big decisions in this episode. A lot of it is about loyalty, and trying to do the right thing and deciding what they value most.
First of all, though, poor Gale. Gale is just so earnest, so hopeful, so ass-kissy but well-meaning. Gale dressing more like Walt is the perfect detail. It shows so much about his character, and about the power dynamic. Walt is in charge, Gale is the supplicant. But it annoys Walt. And I totally get that. Gale just has to top it off with “This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.” Oh it’s just too much for Walt, who needs to find a way to appease Jesse, as a way to appease Skyler. I don’t think Gale actually messed up the batch. He’s too meticulous, too ready to attune the lab setup, and himself, to Walt’s every whim, that I just don’t believe he screwed up the temperature. Walt just wants to make him feel bad so that he can have an excuse to fire him. I think it’s one step more than that though. I think Gale is a little too smart for Walt. Making Gale feel like crap, like he turned a badge into ruined sludge, makes Walt feel better, the superior alpha chemist.
Even though Walter “the maestro” White still isn’t cooking, things he’s set in motion are still managing to spiral out of control on so many fronts at once for just about everyone.
In the last episode, Walt broke into his own house and in this one he stays, even when Skyler comes home and calls the cops. Walt’s been consistent on this–he cares more about getting his family back more than he cares about getting turned in, that if he doesn’t have his family, it’s all been for nothing.
Walt says to Skyler in their talk later in the episode that he’s made sacrifices. At first, it seems a little disingenuous. What has he really sacrificed? Yeah he’s gone through hard times, but overall, he’s been the one causing harm, killing, lying, and sometimes he has thoroughly enjoyed being Heisenberg. But I do think that in doing these things, Walt chose to sacrifice pieces of his soul. He’s sacrificed his conscience. His ability to truly believe he’s not the bad guy. He has to know, every day, that he let a girl die, a girl who the person that’s like a son to him loved more than anything. As Walt says, he has to live with the choices he’s made. It might not be the same kind of cost others have had to pay or suffer, but it’s still something.
“It’s like Michelangelo won’t paint.” Saul on Walt staying out of the meth game.
And Walt, so far, is still out. And being out no longer sits so well with Walter White. The last time Walt declared he was out, to Jesse after getting his remission diagnosis, he got all weird and aggro at the party and was generally bored and in need of distraction (all that fixing up different stuff in the house) until he got his Heisenberg back by telling those guys to stay out of his territory. This time, after turning down Gus’s verrrrry tempting offer, he gets all aggro and irrational with a cop. Now that Walt has somewhat become this Heisenberg guy, he’s a little lost when he gives that up.
New season, new look to the teaser. Last season was all black and white with the pink bear as the only color. This year’s opener is saturated in color. They must be using a yellow filter to get the sky and landscape to look like that.
I like that this starts out visually different than the year before, because this season has a different feel, some different themes, a change in tone. And this time, we aren’t left hanging for episodes to see any elaboration on the teaser. This time it takes less than an episode. Two super scary dudes are crossing the border and if the ceremony is any indication, they are in search of Walter White.
I actually really love these characters, The Cousins as they’ll come to be called. Scary and deadly quiet but strangely elegant.