'Breaking Bad' Recap: Back in Business
Monday, July 30, 2012
With the four amigos (Walt, Jesse, Saul and newest member Mike) finally in partnership, this week's episode focuses on starting up the meth business again. While the relatively relaxed plot centers on where Walt and Co. are going to set up shop (resulting in a brilliant solution), there are also plenty of subtle Heisenberg moments hinting at Walt's disturbing shift (you can almost hear the ticking in the background...).
Scoping Out a New Base
Once Saul is forced to accept "dead mackerel eyes" Mike into the group, he leads them on a tour of his handpicked locations for their new base of operations. Walt and Jesse have cooked everywhere from the Crystal Ship RV to Gus's superlab, so their expert eyes see issues with each of Saul's choices (to the hilarious exasperation of Saul). A cardboard factory will produce too much steam and salt. Anything food-related means surprise government inspections. Bad memories (at Lazer Blast, where Mike nearly killed Walt).
When they consider an unpromising pest control company, a light bulb goes off in Walt's warped, shrewd mind: when the crew tents a house to pump it full of poison, Walt and Jesse can go in, set up their lab and cook undetected. With guaranteed privacy and a temporary site each cook, it's the perfect cover. When Mike suggests they take a vote, Walt overrides him, asking "Why?", making it the second time in the episode he exercises a worrisome authority (the first being his "Mike handles the business, I handle him" excuse to Saul earlier).
But it's clear being on Mike's side has its advantages, as displayed during Mike's strict instructions to the pest control employees (including the appearance of guest star Jesse Plemons as Todd)--Walt and Jesse can't help but smile as they watch what Mike does best, which is keep people in line.
Walt and Jesse Experience Normalcy
As Walt and Jesse are going over their lab diagrams for the new space, Andrea and the adorable (and alive) Brock come in, and Walt doesn't bat an eyelash as he's introduced to the innocent victim of his poisonous crime. As Jesse and Andrea go prep dinner (it's weird to see Walt and Jesse actually doing something normal together, like sharing a home-cooked meal), Walt and Brock sit silently on the couch and you can't help but wonder what the heck is going through Walt's mind--is there even a shred of guilt? Or has he gone too far off the deep end for that?
A Meth-Making Musical Montage
Once Walt and Jesse enter their first house, the jazz music starts and these two get to work. As shown through the many shots of their skilled chemistry (both scientifically and as a team), these two have really taken this science to an art form. It goes to show you how powerfully twisted this show is, when as a viewer, you can't help but feel cheery seeing Walt and Jesse back in their yellow hazmat suits.
Continuing His Reign
Afterwards, they share another moment of normalcy with beers in front of the TV, as Walt oh-so-casually brings up Andrea in a sort of heart-to-heart conversation. It's hard to trust anything Walt says or does (probably since the shock of his masterful manipulation in the season 4 finale), which makes it really difficult to read their dialogue. Walt seems to be only mildly interested in Jesse's romance, as a father/friend figure, but it's also likely he's playing a role to manipulate Jesse into cutting the relationship off (though the psychological maneuvering is so subtle it's undetectable).
Next, Walt needs to address a seriously shaken Marie, who experienced Skyler having "a breakdown" at the car wash when she cried out "SHUT UP!" non-stop until she broke down into tears. Marie knows something's up and she's not leaving until Walt gives her answers. Again, Walt handles the situation with scary finesse as he nudges Marie into a safe place by revealing Skyler's affair with Ted Beneke and his recent paralyzing "accident." With Marie's fears at ease (she even gives Walt a hug in sympathy), Walt calmly walks into his kitchen and takes a bite of an apple. It seems Heisenberg is hitting his stride.
You Ain't Jesse James (Yet)
Though Walt seems at peace from his lofty throne, he's brought back to reality when Mike goes through the process of whittling down their $367,000 earnings: they need to pay the dealers, the mules, Jesse's initial investment, the pest control guys and Mike's nine guys who were under Gus's care. This last bit pushes Walt over an edge and as the two baldies get into a tense exchange, Jesse attempts to diffuse the situation by offering his share. Walt backs down, but is left with a mere $137,000 (less than he made under Fring, he notes).
After Mike leaves, Walt gives Jesse a peek into his dark mind after he reveals he's been "thinking about Victor" recently. Jesse's no mastermind, but he's been with Walt long enough to note the troubling signs and this last mention of Victor, who died because he got "too close to the sun" (according to Walt), results in Jesse staring at Walt in a startled silence. It's a look we've seen before this season and it's one we're sure to see again. How long until Jesse realizes Walt is the time bomb Mike believes is yet to be seen.
(Image courtesy of AMC)