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Breaking Bad Open Thread: “Dead Freight”

August 12th, 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 “Dead Freight,” written & directed by George Mastras. This is his first stab at directing an episode, but he co-wrote “Crawl Space” and eight other episodes over the course of the series.

Last week on Breaking Bad:

Sneak peek for this week:


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27 comments to “Breaking Bad Open Thread: “Dead Freight””

  1. As the episode was going on, I was wondering why the show was going on this detour when it only had a few episodes left before the end of this mini season. And of course, the odd cold open.

    Cold blooded murder of an innocent kid. Walt and Mike are too far gone at this point (and apparently Landry is too), but this is going to break Jesse like never before. He’s done. Walt and Mike both like him a lot, but he is now at best, Walt’s hostage. And with Landry (sorry, Todd), they already have Jesse’s replacement for cooking. Walt is probably now in the position that Gus was in regards to Jesse. Best to get rid of him.

    (Even if Walt deals with Todd, he can’t continue with the business alongside Jesse. The moment Jesse sees Walt as a bad man is the moment where Walt is completely alone and fucked.)

    That ending is overshadowing the rest of the episode so much that the rest is starting to fading away for me. Walt shows himself to not be completely devoid of humanity as he accepts Skyler’s terms for the time being. I got a kick out of the Dark Knight reference cutting to a interrogation scene.

    Now that Walt has a innocent dead kid on his conscience, I got to imagine Mike’s former associates are done for as well (except maybe Lydia).


  2. Oh, and that’s a helluva debut in directing, George Mastras.


  3. No Killing Kids.
    Jesse’s #1 Rule.
    Todd shot the kid.
    But Jesse for sure is going to feel responsible.
    Afterall, what did Jesse tell Todd?

    Jesse: “Boosting methylamine from a train is a major wrap.”
    Todd: “Ok.”
    Jesse: “The point is- No one other than us can ever know that this robbery went down. NOBODY. Got it?”
    Todd: (nodding) “…Yeah. Absolutely.”
    Walt: You sure?”
    Todd:“Yessir.”

    NOBODY.
    That was some great foreshadowing.

    What a light-hearted Jesse-planned heist episode, just wrapped in a feeling of dread due to the cold open, and ultimately nerve-wracking the whole time, and just when we’re all lulled into a sense of celebration and security, Walt looks over Todd’s shoulder in despair, and the whole thing goes to shit.

    All the scenes with Todd leading up to the heist had this air of Todd being the weak link. Is Todd going to be their downfall? Walt and Jesse shared their whole plan with Todd like they’re a couple of supervillains, after all. Is that going to be their undoing? NOPE. But something else Todd-related is. :aaa:

    Todd was not privy to all the meetings beforehand where it was essential that nobody died during this heist. Jesse told Todd essentially no eye witnesses. Jesse is going to hate himself, and he’s going to hate whatever actions Walt and Mike take to try and make it better.

    My question is, was anyone aware that Todd had a gun? Were they all strapped? If not, then Todd was way out of line. If Mike sanctioned it and didn’t tell Walt & Jesse, then Todd will be covered but Mike will be in the hot seat. A lot is riding on that detail.

    I’m not too sure what will happen if Jesse calls it quits. I think he’ll be able to walk (at least for a little bit). I don’t consider him Walt’s hostage in the slightest. What can Walt do to Jesse? Kill him? Please.

    The catch is that Mike has been wanting Jesse to walk away from Walt for a while. But now that Mike’s income and the hazard pay he needs for his ‘Nine Guys’ depends on Walt & Jesse’s output, will Mike begrudgingly become more closely allied with Walt? I can see that becoming an issue, but it’ll eat at Mike. Walt’s a time bomb, after all.

    Will Lydia find out about the murdered child? If she does, how will that affect her involvement?

    Speaking of Lydia, I loved the interrogation scene, and I can’t believe Walt’s ‘awesome’ plan was “How about I go bug my brother-in-law’s office, then you call him and we’ll see what’s what?” Sounds good, Walt. Except your fingerprints are all over everything. We can only wait and see if that leads to anything. But hey, at least Lydia wasn’t making a play after all. We know that now, and it puts her in a different light, which is a context I still need to get used to. Even writing this right now, my mind is still in sync with Mike’s at the end of last week’s episode. She’s still a wild card, for sure.

    Fucking Todd.


  4. Wow, yeah. I thought Todd was going to blow it in a totally different way than that.

    They mentioned Jesse James again in this one. Not sure what that means, but maybe they’ll keep doing that.

    I really liked that Jesse got to have another great plan, like he was the brains of the gang. I know he’ll be wrecked by the dirtbike kid’s death, but I wonder what plan he’ll come up with next…either to save himself, or to fix everything. In the end, I wonder if we’ll see Jesse as the only one alive or in charge or whatever.

    Are they going to make a big deal out of the body disposal? Acid in a bathtub again? Desert burial? Hide it with the Ricin?

    The scene with Walt and Hank seemed very odd. Like, Hank did not seem happy to see Walt at all. I know he isn’t really comfortable with “feelings” stuff, and he’s dealing with Walt’s kids, but he didn’t seem to really care about Walt’s troubles at all. Like he was just hoping Walt would leave right away. Interested to see where the DEA wiretap goes next.


  5. The ‘Jesse James’ reference said by Jesse may be as simple a thing as: Mike referenced Jesse James earlier / Mike is a father figure to Jesse / Jesse tends to emulate his father figures. It’s Kafkaesque. ^_^

    Anything more than that requires reading up on Jesse James to look for clues, which is against how I watch the show, but everyone is welcome to do just that and make their own conclusions.


  6. Yeah, that makes sense actually.


  7. Todd’s unquestioningly going to be important for the next few episodes, and will undoubtedly be a catalyst for the next big changes in the power balance in the group.

    As for if Lydia will mind about hte kid being shot? I don’t think Lydia would care at all. She is solely concerned for her OWN well being. If it was HER kid, she’d certainly care, but, aside from some concern about the body being found, some kid no one knew in the desert is something she couldn’t care less about.


  8. I don’t wonder so much if Lydia will mind if a kid was killed, I was more interested in the logistics of the guys telling her (and then of course how she’ll react to it).

    I mean- the job’s still not done. They still have to get those vats out of the ground. There’s a time limit because how long can that kid be out missing on his dirt bike before his parents begin to fret and involve local law enforcement and such to form a search party? Whatever time limit that is, that’s how much time Walt & Co. have. Jesse’s going to be a mess.

    Basically, once they get out of this mess, when Lydia asks how it went, what will the guys tell her? I’m just looking forward to every conceivable piece of fall out right now. This episode really rocked the boat.

    Regarding how Lydia feels, she definitely does not want to die, but I think if she heard that a kid was killed in the process, she’ll feel partially responsible for it. It was her idea to hit up the train in the first place.


  9. It’s a credit to how frenetic the pacing was that I completely forgot the cold open until the final scene rolled around. Even though I knew a train figured in this episode, and I heard the train whistle right before the opening credits. Completely forgot. That’s some good directing.

    Billy – I think Hank is just bad at handling feelings. Recall Season 3, where he suffered panic attacks for weeks before opening up to Marie; or Season 4, where he was in stubborn denial over his inability to cope with his feelings of inadequacy due to his injury. That’s the typical behavior of a guy who doesn’t like strong displays of emotion, especially from other men. I thought his reaction to Walt was hysterically awkward (“Hank, I’m sorry …” “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, no, no. Cup of coffee, right?”). Which, of course, is what Walt was counting on.


  10. A friend pointed out how, in hindsight, a possibly significant reason for these early episodes’ emphasis on Skyler’s and Lydia’s plotlines (and their concerns over Walt & Co’s actions threatening their children) was to lead into this episode’s ending.

    From my friend: “The show has been forcing us to think about young characters being at risk while Walt is indignant at even the suggestion of it. Now, at a totally unexpected moment, the two women’s fears have, in a sense, been realized. Walt’s fledgling drug business has quickly graduated from poisoning kids (remember how irredeemably dark a turn that felt like just 5 episodes ago?) to straight up shooting them – much like when Andrea’s younger brother was killed by Gus’s men at the end of S03.”

    I was like, WHOA. Good call.


  11. I kept expecting Todd to be in some kind of deep cover, just because of the screen time he was getting, an idea that only gained more support as first Walt blew Jesse’s cover to him and then Jesse referred to Walt as Mr. White right in front of Todd.

    Of course, killing that kid changes everything.

    I also expect that Todd knowing their names is going to be some kind of leverage later on, if only because of the huge deal Mike made about not letting any of the exterminators have any clue as to who they are (of course, the only reason this happened is because Walt got cocky before with Todd, actually acknowledging his existence).


  12. Looking at Todd’s behavior, one almost has to consider the possibility of him eventually making a play at becoming the new drug kingpin. A quiet, quick-thinking, fast-acting sociopath. Ideal material.


  13. Karl hit on something unintentionally with his spot on analysis/theories here and it forced me to watch the episode again. I came away with the same thought:

    With all the stuff the Walt and Jesse have gotten away that we have laughed at, been shocked and disgusted by…. wouldn’t it be ironic if that it is this action by Todd that leads to the whole tapestry finally unravelling?

    After all a missing kid… small town… law enforcement searching… That would certainly mean trouble to the nth degree…

    With that being said, I totally glossed over the fact that the train WAS Lydia’s idea. Can you say “final straw” when she finds out?

    We were going about 90 miles an hour this season before this episode… I think we have reached 120 after it. What a ride!


  14. I’m not sure if this is just selection bias talking, but it seems like children are even more important this season than ever before. Mike’s granddaughter, Lydia’s daughter, Hank playing with Walt & Skyler’s baby, the kid this episode, Jesse’s protectiveness over Brock (it feels like he was most concerned about Brock, though of course there was also Andrea), and… was there one more? Walt Jr, of course, though he doesn’t read as kid-like as the rest. It’s both showing us what everyone involved has to lose and also humanizing, I think. None of these people — Mike, Walt, Jesse — are evil, pure evil. They just willing to do things that most people wouldn’t for a variety of reasons that they believe in.

    I love Lydia. Her accent came out briefly this episode (“anythin” was SUPER scottish) but she was great. I loved her interrogation. I’m also kinda glad that she didn’t try to trick the gang, because I like her so much. I can’t even tell why I like her, maybe that part where she kicked her shoes off and screamed into the pillow last episode or the one before. She’s charming, but charming in a way that makes her look like a schemer when she probably isn’t much of one, apparently? Such a great addition to the cast.

    Walt’s plan to bug Hank was idiotic. What in the world? How is that supposed to not come back on him? I can’t believe it worked out so well.

    And how good was Walt questioning Lydia in private about assassins? Argh!

    @Ales Kot: Okay, I’ve got to ask: are you screwing with us? It seems like every week you have a new theory that’s not just outlandish, but completely unsupported by the text. Todd is a dimwit B&E specialist who showed a minor bit of promise an episode or two ago. Here, he’s just following orders without thinking about it. He’s no kingpin. He’s barely even a soldier. What’s the deal? Support your argument.

    @Karl Savage: Yeah, wow, that is a GREAT call. Walt & co. slid into depravity, rather than stepping.

    @Professor Coldheart: I loved Hank’s reaction so much. He’s such a good ol’ boy that real emotions are a serious problem. What do you do with a crying man? You give him time to cry alone.

    @Karl Savage: If they still have that backhoe, getting the meth and water out solves the problem of what to do with the kid, too. Giant hole in the ground. Next episode is going to be super grimey on that front. I can’t imagine what they’ll do besides panic, dump the body (with Mike’s expertise, of course), and try to move on. Todd’s become a loose end now, too.


  15. I got the sense that the original intent was to leave the container buried and to return and fill barrels as they needed. Storing outside of the city rather than in. Maybe way off? Either way, the kid getting disappeared out there doesn’t allow them that option. I dislike wild speculation, but I think this is the breaking point for the already fragile alliances. Like David was saying, kids are very important this season, and important to each character. This is a line for everyone, and I imagine Walt’s usual rationalizations will be met with hostility (more than usual)

    Todd- just another loose end now. Rather than him being a kingpin (which is a huge stretch) I see him eventually being more of a Waingro (the big loose end in Heat) I imagine a scenario where Mike goes to off him and he slips away. Another thread dangling for the back eight. Then again, he could be dead before the first half is done. Also also, the actor that plays Todd is in The Master!


  16. She’s charming, but charming in a way that makes her look like a schemer when she probably isn’t much of one, apparently?

    That whole sequence of scenes is a trip – watching her bounce from pleading victim to indignant victim (“Asshole”) to partner in crime (“an ocean of it”).

    That whole arc, in fact, mirrors a lot of Walt’s character development from S1 to S3. At first, they’re emotional in the face of a fatal threat. Then, they’re stung at not getting what they’re due. Finally, they seize an opportunity to get more. Of course, that act of seizure gets them in more trouble, which starts the cycle over again: plead for mercy, nurse the wound, step back up to the plate.

    Those parallels between Lydia and Walt are what made their one-on-one so fun to watch. Two brittle people who get off on how smart and careful they are. Walt asking if she’s familiar with the concept of leverage; Lydia firing back that she’s not an idiot; Walt firing back in turn: “You have none.” It’s clear that neither of them really gave ground – admitting, at best, a temporary truce.

    Predicting where BB is going next is a mug’s game, of course, but I can see Walt eying Lydia as a replacement for Mike. She can get her hands on raw materials like methylamine. She thinks of these nine men in jail the same way Walt does (a liability), rather than the way Mike does (a debt of honor). And hey, she apparently knows how to get hold of assassins.


  17. Anyone remember so very long ago, when Walt was making lists of reasons to let a drug dealer live, and was even going to let him walk?

    I don’t think Walt is going to see Todd as the loose end; rather it’s Jesse who’s the loose end. His conscience is troubled, plus Hank might start hassling him again and who knows what will happen. I can see Walt deciding that Jesse’s got to go, but having at least a little trouble pulling the trigger.

    Jesse had been the protege of Walt’s in terms of being an eager enough student. Todd is just good at the business. These days, that’s what Walt is looking for in a surrogate son.


  18. @Professor Coldheart: Lydia totally shares a resemblance with an earlier, desperate version of Walt. She’s not a carbon copy, but she is definitely getting herself deeper while trying to get herself out.

    Seeing Walt become very interested in Lydia when she confirmed she put a hit out on Mike tells me Walt will get up to no good with that information. If/when Mike becomes too much for Walt, it seems like a pretty safe bet that Walt will pull Lydia in even deeper to assist him in dealing with Mike.

    If that happens then I hope Mike gets out of it, but I have a sneaking suspicion he might not make it. OR! Mike might be left unscathed, but whatever it is Walt attempts with Lydia’s assistance will have extremely serious, immediate and unexpected consequences (innocent people in the line of fire, etc). OR! None of this will come to pass.

    Loads of fun to ponder and drive yourself mad over tho, right?


  19. For those wondering about the Jesse James reference, do yourselves a favor when you can and watch Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Poster directed by Chopper’s Andrew Dominick. A fine, fine historical film that’s quite poetic.


  20. David Brothers: No, I’m not trying to screw with anyone here.

    Remember when Gus met Walt for the second time, at the end of Season Two, and asked him why is he working with an addict (Jesse)? Walt’s immediate response is “Because he does what I say.”, and that’s precisely what Todd did. The precision he shot the kid with? The split second decision? That has “professional” written all over, sadly. Todd just proved — to Heisenberg, because I don’t think Walt’s there anymore — that he’s not only a soldier, but a GREAT one, because he does EXACTLY what Walt says. I’m not saying this *must* be true, but I considered the possibility a few times already, and it keeps coming back. Also interesting – it feels like Todd’s trying to appeal to Walt’s teacher ego, be the kid that’s hungry to learn things, and so on.

    I think Mike and Jesse will want to dispose of Todd, but I don’t think they can, because the other exterminators know their faces, and my first impression of the exterminators was that they’re a tight group. They would have to off them all.

    Morgan Jeske: Yeah, I thought of Waingro as well, especially since Hank’s selection of ‘Heat’ directly points to the conclusion of the episode. The thing is, Waingro had a clear problem with not being a hard crime professional, but Todd just showed the exact opposite.

    Professor Coldheart: Lydia as a replacement for Mike makes a lot of sense. Especially if Mike tries to get out of the game.

    Chunky Style: Agreed.

    Watched the last few episodes of Season two last night, again. ‘Over’, episode ten – I think this is where Heisenberg first takes over in a dramatic, complete manner. Walt gets his son wasted at their party, has a tense stand-off with Hank. He later tells Skyler, apologetically, that he’s “Not exactly sure who that was yesterday, but it wasn’t me.”

    Also in this episode? Walt discovers the crawl space, and starts talking about the rot under the house. And then starts cooking again, even though he could have ended it right there. Rot under the house. Crawl space. How Jungian. Talk about masterful plotting and foreshadowing.

    Also, “Stay out of my territory.” at the end of the episode, when Walt bumps into two rookie meth dealers. And TV On the Radio’s ‘DLZ’, lyrics excerpt:

    “You force your fire then you falsify your deeds
    Your methods dot the disconnect from all your creeds
    And fortune strives to fill the vacuum that it feeds
    But this is beginning to feel like the dog’s lost her lead”

    “Where’s Annie?” comes to mind.

    We’re watching a horror film.


  21. @Ales Kot:

    Putting aside the fact that Walt never said anything about shooting kids, and the closest anyone said about that was Jesse when he told Todd that “No one other than us can ever know that this robbery went down. NOBODY. Got it?” the fact remains that Todd is a narrative tool. His character isn’t going to rise up the ranks and become a reckoning force for our protagonists, trying to usurp a throne. He’s a thing, a complication that needs to be dealt with, just like Waigro.

    Making a case for Todd being a drone trying to garner Walt’s favor and do what he’s told is a completely different point of debate than predicting that Todd is going to try and usurp everyone to become a drug kingpin! That is what David was asking about.

    Walt cooks with Jesse. They are partners, friends, family. Walt has also increasingly, horribly deceived and manipulated Jesse to save his own life and the lives of his family (it’s actually good to remember that Walt acted on threats made toward his family when he poisoned Brock, manipulated Jesse, and killed Gus).

    IF/When Walt and Jesse split over irreconcilable differences, Walt will have more pressing issues than trying to fill Jesse’s position (his 52nd birthday shows us that). In the instance of Walt and Jesse splitting, Todd— if he’s even still around to curry favor— could MAYBE be useful to Walt. But Todd will never, EVER, replace Jesse in ANY capacity, and right now? Todd’s a liability.


  22. @Karl Savage: “No one other than us can ever know that this robbery went down. NOBODY. Got it?” is a pretty clear statement.

    I don’t think Todd will try that hard, and I’m not sold on that possibility, I’m just contemplating it, having fun with what it would mean for the story. If anything, the way I can see that scenario unfolding is this: the power struggle that comes and drives Walt out of the state will create power vacuum, and Todd will be (maybe) able and willing to turn it into something he will profit from. It won’t be some sort of a master plan. He’ll just wait until the time is right.

    Also, since I’m theorizing: how hard would it be for Todd to install some sort of a listening/video/both device(s) in the houses Walt & Jesse go to when they cook?


  23. @Ales Kot:

    JESSE SAID THAT. NOT WALT. That was my point…


  24. @Karl Savage: I was under the impression that Jesse repeated Walt’s words about no witnesses, and added some words of his own. Am I wrong? If so, apologies.


  25. More fun name etymology!
    I think it’s safe to say that the creators of Breaking Bad do like to have fun and get creative with their character names, examples of such being Gray Matter (named after Walter White and Elliott Schwartz), and “S’all Good, man.”
    Just an aside, but I love how the show incorporates colors in names, clothes and environments in the show.

    This time I’ve looked up some supporting characters unlucky enough to have crossed paths with Walt.

    Gretchen (Pet form of Margaret) = ‘Pearl’
    Jane = ‘God is gracious.’ Margolis = ‘Pearl’ WHOA! That’s pretty interesting.
    Donald Margolis = ‘Ruler of the World.’ That’s pretty interesting too, especially since Jane was Jesse’s world when Donald is introduced.
    Gale = ‘Sing, Call’
    Brock = ‘Badger’

    That Gretchen/Margaret/Margolis connection blew my mind a little bit.
    Also, Hector was played by Mark Margolis.


  26. Normally I wouldn’t think too much of this, but with Madrigal being a German company and the names thing Karl Savage talks about I think it may be interesting to point out that Todd is a normal name in america, in German it echoes Tod, or Death.


  27. Season 3, Episode 13.

    Saul Goodman to Walt: “You ever play Laser Tag? It’s good cardio. Plus you get to shoot the kids.”

    Also, related to that episode – Saul sends Mike somewhere else. Gives him Jesse’s FALSE whereabouts. We all know what happens because of that.

    How the fuck is Saul still alive now?