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Breaking Bad Open Thread: “Buyout”

August 19th, 2012 by | Tags: , , , ,

Sunday Sunday Sunday! We’re going to have a weekly chat about Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad. I buy mine off Amazon, so I’m usually a day behind, but every Sunday around showtime I’ll post an open thread. I’ll probably start linking the Breaking Bad podcasts and trailers and whatnot

If you haven’t seen Breaking Bad, you should. You can find Breaking Bad:
-On AMC, Sundays at 10 eastern
-Seasons 1-4 on Netflix
-on DVD
-on Amazon Instant Video (my preferred method)

Rules:
-Don’t be a dick
-No spoiler warnings, so don’t come in unless you’ve seen the latest episode
-Feel free to hyperlink and youtube it up
-Liveblogging is cool, just be specific so we know why you’re going “WHOA DUDE WHOA WHOA BRO”
-Make sure your speculation is reasonable

This week is “Buyout,” written by Gennifer Hutchison and directed by Colin Bucksey. Two episodes left!

Sneak peek for this week:


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23 comments to “Breaking Bad Open Thread: “Buyout””

  1. I don’t buy Mike’s behavior in this episode. Specifically this part: why would he cuff White so carelessly? It doesn’t make any sense. Mike’s a pro. I feel that this cheapened the entire episode, and I hope something like that won’t happen again. It’s bad writing.

    Loved Walter’s speech near the end. He tells Jesse about the moment that he still lives in – the thing that’s eating away his insides, the old mistake – and it feels right and logical. It’s not only one moment that changes us, ever, THE moment that changed him — it’s choosing to stay in that moment for so long, as it ate away his insides, like cancer, until it transformed into one, first inside, then out as well.

    Looks like Todd’s a total dumbass after all (the fucking tarantula, ack), but why did he drop the contacts in prison line? Does he know about Mike’s associates? If so, I suspect Walt’s going to use him soon.

    Also – the guy that’s playing Todd is great. Reminds me of the way Matt Damon plays sleazy criminals.

    Mike’s got 24 hours. Given Walt’s past behavior, and Mike’s sloppiness in this episode, I think the next episode is the end of the road for Mike. He’s too close to the sun.


  2. Oh man, oh man oh man oh man. That was a fun one!

    That opening was SO dark. Seeing that dirt bike reduced to a skeleton and dumped in a barrel to be dissolved into nothing. They might as well have just shown the kid dissolve too. So brutal. Everyone’s faces spoke volumes. “We have to dissolve and disappear a child.” UGHHHHHHHH

    Mike didn’t know Todd had the gun. I had a hunch Mike didn’t know. Very nice. Todd defended himself with his “I was just following orders! He said no witnesses! Mr. White, I did good, right?” Oof. I loved it when Jesse heard that and just turned around completely pissed, going, “FUCK. I hate that I said that, and that this asshole took that and decided that meant he had to shoot that poor kid!”

    At this stage in the game, I liked that they went over their choices regarding Todd (pay him off, kill him off, or put him back on houses), and went with the smart choice, albeit a temporary solution (they didn’t want to kill him, especially Jesse, who wants no one to die, and considering what they just went through, who the hell wants to drag around another barrel and start all over again?). Plus, the other B&E Tent guys probably would’ve balked something fierce (not to mention Todd’s “I have prison connections” chest-puffing).

    Todd kept the tarantula, like a psychopath. Before the theorizing kicks off, I just want to go on record saying I do not believe the tarantula nor its jar will bite anyone in the ass (figuratively, it could very well bite Todd literally). It is from the desert, no one but the kid ever encountered it, and Todd will not be keeping that jar. Even if he does, he will wipe it down. We’ve seen how smart Todd is when it comes to B&E’ing, disabling baby cams, etc. A jar isn’t going to take down Walt & Co, yes?

    Loved that they brought back Grey Matter. Looking up name etymology for the past couple weeks refreshed my memory of Walt’s involvement with Gretchen’s & Elliott’s precious company. This episode really shined a lot on Walt’s open nerve. ‘Every week’ Walt, you look up Grey matter’s worth? YIKES.

    Skyler’s shock at Jesse in her home was a moment I didn’t know I’d ever see, and MAN was that nice and tense (and enjoyable). Skyler just putting together more pieces of Walt’s Heisenberg life. What does she see in Jesse? Does she see a monster? Is she thinking, “Wait- My husband’s student? The kid I threatened to call the cops on if he didn’t stop selling Walt (what I thought at the time was) weed?!”

    THAT DINNER WAS AMAZING. Jesse was CLASSIC JESSE. Telling Skyler how her green beans remind him of his mom’s, commenting on the ingredients and asking if she put in almonds, and Skyler just dropping the Albertsons bomb. LOL That was a great beat. Nothing like being front row for a couple’s marital trouble and strife.

    WALT: “The kids are gone.”
    JESSE: “THANK GOD.”

    AND, that house scene was integral to Walt because once again, it re-humanized him to Jesse after the whistling stuff. Jesse SAW Walt whistling while he worked, completely unaffected by the death of that child, which just concreted Jesse’s desire to get out of the biz with Mike. But because of that house visit, Jesse is ready to hear Mr. White out on more “brilliant plans” which I’m sure won’t go badly at all (can’t wait to find out what plan that is).

    Nice to see the introduction of a new party. DECLAN. Don’t know if he’ll be important (I’m assuming he’ll show up at least one more time), but it was cool to see another interested party. Is Declan and his crew who Walt is going up against a year from now? WHO KNOWS?

    Speaking of a year in the future, I JUST realized that the guy who plays Lawson (Walt’s arms dealer) is Jim Beaver, aka Ellsworth from Deadwood! Love that guy. Both his scenes with Cranston have been top notch.

    Before this week’s episode, I did snoop the internet and found the sneak peek of the scene between Skyler and Marie. I’m never going to snoop again, for the record. Not that the sneak peek was the whole scene, but it’s just that I watch the show through an iTunes season pass, so I just get the show. No ‘Previously on’ before the show. No ‘Next on’ afterwards. I love it. It is my preferred way to watch it. I get to spend 48 minutes a week with Breaking Bad. Why would I want to sneak a peek before it’s time to jump in?

    But anyway, I watched that scene earlier this week. It cliffhangered right when Skyler looks like she’s going to tell Marie something about the awful truth. But I figured Marie was going to admit she knew about Ted. And OOF sure enough she did. Truth be told? I was distracted by that baby just munching on Skyler’s watch. Anna Gunn was going through so many acting motions of distress and despair, and I was like, “That baby is chewing up the scenery. Somebody get this baby a line read. She is blowing up Anna’s spot!” Too cute.

    I got very nervous for Mike when he sat with Walt all night. I thought Walt might go for Mike’s gun or something and successfully subdue or take Mike out. Glad it didn’t go down that way. Which is funny, for reasons I will get into after I address Walt’s escape.

    Walt is such a crazy survivor. “Zipcuffed? Oh well, I’ll just create an electrical arc with a coffee machine, and then blast through the cuff and my wrist. Then I’ll be free to run off with millions of dollars-worth of methylamine. Too-da-loo.” The man will not stand by idly and watch his business partners fuck him out of his empire a second time around. Walt’s ambition is admirable, his rage is understandable, and his drive for his second lease on life is inspiring, but his insane hubris pushing him to climb to the top of an empire of shit is just… mind-boggling. The image for this season with Walt sitting in some dingy warehouse surrounded by money and meth is pretty on point.

    Back to Mike. It’s crazy how when Walt was battling Gus and Gale, etc, every time Mike put a gun to Walt’s head it was very nerve-wracking for Walt and for me, and I’m sure some of you were nervous too. Now, yeah, I’m still nervous, but WALT IS CREEPY. He’s had so many guns pointed at his head by now— Mike’s guns especially— and now I’m more afraid for the people holding the guns! Because they’re not going to shoot him and then they’re going to suffer more of Walt’s foolishness. Jonathan Banks did a great job when he had to contort his face in a “I fucking knew this guy is the worst” look, as he stopped himself from just pulling the trigger on Walt.

    (Thru gritted teeth) “Is that true, Walter?”
    “Everybody wins.”
    *I SHUDDER*

    You’re a stone-cold freak, Mr. White.


  3. Jesse finally asked the question I’ve been waiting for someone to ask: is it really worth it to build an empire on meth? Jesse has to understand by now that people are dying on all sides of the meth business — dealers, cooks, users, innocent bystanders — and whatever mental tricks have allowed him to overlook that in the past, it seems like those tricks are starting to fail.

    It’s real difficult to hate Todd, somehow. He thought he was being a good employee, and the secret truth Walt and Mike don’t want to acknowledge is, they would have felt obligated to shoot the kid if Todd hadn’t been there to do it for them. I wonder if they’re going to keep Todd in the game as their moral pressure valve? “Todd, you’d better carry a gun, we don’t know what sort of rough characters (wink, wink) we’ll run into.”

    Walt as Charles Foster Kane, I get that. “I think it would be fun to run a meth lab.” Except Walt is hungry for an empire in ways that Kane really was not; Walt wants the empire itself, Kane mostly wanted his happy life back.


  4. @Chunky Style: Walt wants the empire itself, Kane mostly wanted his happy life back.

    Walt: “… Gray… Matter…”


  5. Can’t say much more than @Karl Savage already laid out. Seemed like a very clear episode that didn’t leave me speculating much.

    But I did want to add – that intro was amazing and when Jesse lights his cigarette and you hear actual sound suddenly, it was a bit of a shock, like, noticing that you hadn’t heard any sounds in awhile. I really liked that cigarette lighting sound effect.


  6. I had problems with Mike’s behavior as well. Him not knowing Todd had a gun was bad (considering how careful he is, he had to have noticed) but his way of subduing Walt was terrible. :rolleyes:

    Also a bit stunned by Jesse not imploding. Still liked the episode but I had some issues with it.

    I’m hoping we don’t get Jesse dying by the end of the series. It would feel like a cop out to me. Him having to mentally deal with all the shit he’s been through over the past year would be so much more interesting. I want to see him go back to group support. How the hell will he be able to get any kind of support for killing Gale and being an accomplice to the murder of a child?

    There is a ticking time bomb on the White family but I would like to see some redemption in the series and Jesse seems to be the only person who can attain it.


  7. Few things:

    -I really liked Todd calling Walt “Mr. White”, and connecting him to Jesse a bit. Even if they just wrote that to swerve the people who read into everything, it was interesting.

    -Also, Todd’s “Shit happens” to a dead kid, like what Skyler was afraid of in saying “I don’t want people hurt or people killed to be written off as “Shit happens”. Seems like Todd is Skyler’s nightmare idea of the meth business, especially in the way he kept the Tarantula as a keepsake, like some psycho serial killer.

    -To echo Karl Savage above, the Walt checking Gray Matter’s worth every week seems like a major part of his character development.

    - I LOVED the dinner scene, not just because it was hilarious, but because we get more scenes of Jesse as the awkward child between feuding parent figures. He just can’t get away from it. And when Walt was telling him and Skyler to stay, it was incredible how creepy he was.

    - I read the zipline handcuff thing as it being Mike’s “mistake”, the one Hank said he’d make eventually. Only thing is, it wasn’t the DEA that was around to exploit it, it’s Walt.


  8. Yeah, I really don’t get why Mike had to meet with Saul and the DEA right that second, other than, I guess, to ensure that he’s not going to be tracked that day? But goddamn was that careless.


  9. The best line in this episode without question had to be “I look it up every week.” That’s one of my new favorite lines in the show, period, both for it’s underplayed, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it delivery by Cranston and its darkly funny implications.

    I also loved Gus’ little “Sorry” after cuffing Walt to the Radiator. He’s a stone cold drug pushing murderer, and he hates Walt’s motherfucking guts, but there’s some part of him that just can’t help being a decent person.


  10. @David Fairbanks: To answer this, I took it as the only way Mike could be absolutely sure that they wouldn’t track him to the methylamine deal.


  11. Not that there was any doubt in any but the most inattentive, BUT: this episode makes it crystal clear that Walt isn’t in this for his family. He’s barely even in it for himself – the rational play would be to take the easy payout with zero risk and walk off. He’s in it for the gaping hole inside him which nothing will ever fill.

    Jesse’s attempts to make nice at the dinner table were priceless – and, like so much of the show’s interplay between dialogue and shot placement, richly symbolic. “The pictures are always so awesome … yo, whatever happened to truth in advertising?” Jesse says, as Skyler takes another healthy swig of wine and Walt stares into the middle distance.

    (Side note: could someone please make me a GIF of Skyler getting up from the dinner table, eyes locked on Walt’s, and pouring herself a refill as she stands? That whole fluid motion is perfect GIF material)

    I mentioned last week how Lydia parallels Walt in a lot of ways. This week, I was struck by the parallels between Todd and Jesse. That youthful earnestness, that desire to make peace. Of course, Todd is much less sensitive (has less of a soul?) than Jesse is.

    Lot of beverage/liquid imagery in this one. POV of the dissolving agent being poured into the bike bin in the cold open. Over-the-shoulder shot of Walt’s glass of scotch as he talks to Jesse. Skyler pouring herself one tall glass after another. Jesse chugging his ice water to avoid the awkwardness of Skyler announcing her affair. And, of course, the incongruous gallon jug of methylamine.

    I knew Gray Matter was going to rear its head once more. Did we ever get a definitive answer on why Walt left? I knew there were hints, but it’s been long enough ago that I can’t really remember.

    Finally @Ziah, @Ales: I didn’t see Mike’s handcuffing of Walt as particularly careless. It’s an industrial-strength ziptie. I don’t think he could have plausibly expected that Walt would rip out an extension cord, strip the wiring, and sear his own wrist in order to burn through it.


  12. Here’s that Skyler GIF


  13. @Professor Coldheart: It was ridiculously careless. You do both hands, always, and you check the subdued person’s maximum reach radius after you have them down. Mike did neither.


  14. @Ales Kot: No half measures.


  15. @David Fairbanks: Good one.

    Also – what’s with the Miracle Whip Hank talk, and the fake caviar report? Is Walt’s plan somehow connected to that? Is he going to mix the methylamine with something else, then try to sell it, but give Mike’s share for free in exchange for Declan and the crew taking Mike’s life? If so, I can’t imagine that not backfiring spectacularly, because Jesse will not only split, but probably…shit, I don’t know. Is Jesse the person that eventually comes to Hank? That would make sense considering his earlier remarks, and the fact that he now knows some of Walt’s family, and understands the danger they’re in. Apologies if anyone’s offended by my wild speculation, I’m trying to make sense of this.

    And I’m not sure if anyone mentioned this before, but the first scene in episode one of this season…Walt’s not wearing his wedding ring.


  16. I could see Jesse finally deciding he needs to go to the police; he’s got a conscience, especially where children are concerned. He could be capable of heroic sacrifice under the right circumstances.

    I also have this notion in my mind that, when Walt finally gets busted, he’s going to see that he was brought down by some piece of equipment produced by Gray Matter, and he’ll laugh like a madman as the final scene of the series fades to black.


  17. So, I just remembered that Hank’s PT was paid for with meth money. Any idea how that could weigh on him, legally or otherwise, when he finds out about Walt? I’m saying “when” because it seems pretty obvious that that’s got to happen at some point.


  18. @David Fairbanks: Well, my idea is that once Hanks finds out about Walt, he will keep it to himself, precisely because he’ll put two and two together. He’ll weigh the family security and his job against killing Walt, and he’ll off him.

    I could be completely off on the second part, but yeah, I can’t see Hank mentioning his knowledge to anyone except, maybe (and that’s a big maybe), Skyler. And I think he’s very, very close to finding out.


  19. Oh, and one more observation – Werner Heisenberg died of cancer.


  20. S05E01: The waitress calls Walt ‘Mr. Lambert’, so…

    “Frank L. Lambert (born July 10, 1918, Minneapolis, Minnesota) is a Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Occidental College, Los Angeles. He is known for his advocacy of changing the definition of thermodynamic entropy as “disorder” in US general chemistry texts to its replacement by viewing entropy as a measure of energy dispersal.”

    Energy dispersal being that which is likely going to happen to Walt’s “empire”?

    If intended, this is not only a nice touch – this is phenomenal writing.


  21. I really enjoyed the conversation between Walt and Jesse in the dark, especially Jesse’s comment about the meth empire. It reminded me of the conversation right before the big fight in Akira, when Kaneda tells Tetsuo that he’s the king of the trash heap or whatever, only Jesse didn’t go on the attack like Kaneda did.

    It was weird to see characters who are probably genuinely friends argue like that. There’s so much history between them, and Walt is so far gone, that Jesse is left in an incredibly awkward position. He wants out, he wants to take the money and run, and Walt’s too small to ever be smart enough to do that.

    Jesse’s “Thank god!!!!!” was the moment of the episode for me.

    Some Breaking Bad fanatics figured out that Walt was whistling a tune called Lily of the Valley… named after the plant that Walt poisoned Brock with. Amazing touch, and so unbelievably callous.


  22. @david brothers: Holy moly, that is a ridiculously thorough whistling detail.


  23. @Karl Savage: Yeah. We were talking the other week about how it’s important to not go too far when talking about the show, but I love that it rewards you when you go just far enough. Great attention to detail.