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Breaking Bad Open Thread: “Fifty-One”

August 5th, 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”

This week is “Fifty-One,” directed by Rian Johnson (Looper! Brick!) and written by Sam Catlin, who also wrote “Crawl Space,” the episode last season that ended with Walt laughing and gave me waking sleep paralysis in the process.

Sneak peek:


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42 comments to “Breaking Bad Open Thread: “Fifty-One””

  1. this shit with Skyler is getting really gross. Like, at least as gross as the grossest shit in Game of Thrones. it’s really uncomfortable to watch


  2. Holy shit.

    “Waiting for the cancer to come back.”

    Is Skylar going to try to kill herself? I don’t see that coming, but I do see Walter setting it up so it looks like suicide.

    I hope Hank finds out, kills Walter, and cleans up the mess. That’s the way out for the family, and pretty much everyone else.


  3. Skyler following up her cancer remark by smoking cigarette after cigarette inside the house, in front of Walt? That was goddamn cold.

    Powerful episode for her.


  4. We know Walter survive to his 52nd birthday (first scene in season 5). He is also free, but alone. I am worried that Skylar’s motherly instincts are not enough to save her kids. Although I expect her make some tries.


  5. In this episode, the mechanic says “Free is good” about the insurance. When Walt got his free 52nd birthday breakfast at Denny’s, the waitress also said “Free is good.” I wonder if that’s going to be some sort of mantra for the season.


  6. @Ales Kot: Skyler’s pool dip was her making a play. Maybe if she went into the pool, she could get Hank and Marie to take the kids. Skyler killing herself is highly unlikely. How can she protect the kids from Walt if she is dead? No, she’d rather wait him out and plot along the way.

    ‘Will Walt kill Skyler?’ is an interesting question, but it seems like he is going to will her to like him first, evidenced by his Fring-esque speech at the end.Good speech, but funny how he used Jesse as an example, considering how much Walt has manipulated Jesse using other people’s lives as means to that end (but Skyler doesn’t know that, although she can probably assume). The only problem for Walt is Skyler isn’t Jesse. Her bullshit detector is much more refined than Pinkman’s.


  7. Karl Savage: Well, I suspect Junior will die, and the young one will stay with Hank & Marie. I think Junior’s death will drive Skyler over the edge in a major way, and she’ll either kill herself, or get Walt to kill her.


  8. @Ales Kot: That is some pretty far out extrapolating you are doing. I’m not saying that Jr’s death wouldn’t affect the family in the way you described, it’s just that there is even less evidence to support that prediction than Skyler killing herself.

    If you wish to predict a White household tragedy, then consider this: How can the ricin hidden inside Walt’s nightstand’s electric outlet come into play later? Will Walt poison someone with it? Will Skyler somehow find it and use it against Walt? Will Walt ultimately get poisoned (ironic, since his very first assassination attempt in the show was with the ‘virtually-undetectable-in-a-toxicology-report’ poison)?

    I’m pretty confident Jr. will make it to the end. I’m also pretty confident Walt will too. Death is a predictable finale to a television show about a man on borrowed time.

    Walt watching Scarface and commenting to Jr., ‘everybody dies in this film’ is so on the nose that I don’t think any of Walt’s family (the Whites AND the Schraders) will die in the show.

    Walt exposed to the world will be his death, because it will be the death of his ego and pride, which at this point is the only thing truly thriving on the show (not so much when he turns 52).


  9. Karl Savage: Walt Jr. dying — or being seriously injured — in a car accident, maybe while on meth? That would connect some dots. Too neatly, perhaps.

    The ricin – you know what I’d love? I’d love to never hear about the ricin again. Leave it there, have it as a storytelling possibility that ends up unexplored, but always there.

    Jr. might make it to the end, but Hank killing Walter White, cleaning up the mess, and covering it all up so the family doesn’t suffer feels…right. Predictable, maybe, but life sometimes is predictable, especially when it comes to organized crime with its rigid structures and everyday risks. Walt is dead already. Heisenberg is still walking, but that’s about it. “Everybody dies in this film” is Heisenberg’s subconscious wish, because when that happens, he finally won’t have to look over his shoulder.


  10. @Ales Kot: The ricin – you know what I’d love? I’d love to never hear about the ricin again. Leave it there, have it as a storytelling possibility that ends up unexplored, but always there.

    “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.” -Chekhov’s Gun principle

    You’re throwing out a lot of predictions, Jr. on meth being another one where it just feels so out of left field that I don’t really feel it a valid consideration. Hank killing Walt and doing a cover up also seems extremely out of character. Jr. knows better than to do meth. He has cerebral palsy, plus Hank is his uncle. Hank doesn’t break the law (besides the occasional Cuban cigar). If this were a D&D Alignment Chart, Hank would be ‘Lawful Good.’

    Interesting interpretation of Walt’s Scarface comment. I think drawing a distinct line between Walt and Heisenberg is a mistake tho. It gets tricky, because Heisenberg is merely an extension of Walt, not a separate Jekyll to his Hyde. His hat was in full force for this episode tho! Back with a vengeance and revving engines!

    We are touching on ground I don’t wish to explore further though, since it is all speculative, “I think THIS will happen next” stuff, which always winds up going in a circle ad nauseam.


  11. Karl Savage: I know the Chekhov’s Gun principle pretty well – I’m a writer. CG is a useful storytelling rule, but it also often becomes a crutch that makes stories extremely predictable. Unexpected things happen all the time — things that come out of left field — and great storytelling makes sure we remember that not everything can be cut into acts and neatly wrapped up.

    Walt & Heisenberg – Cranston commented on that, saying “Walt is gone, it’s just Heisenberg now”, or something very close to that effect.


  12. I wasn’t trying to slam you down with Chekhov’s Gun, nor provoke you into displaying your credentials, I just love the general feel of Chekhov’s Gun. It’s a great tool, and can be used to misdirect as well as slam something home.

    As far as what Cranston said about Walt: He is an actor. He does a bajillion press junkets and interviews. He is a very candid, pleasant man who says all sorts of stuff. But he doesn’t write the character. Even if one of the show’s writers said, “Only Heiseberg remains,” that’s more of a figurative declaration than a literal one. Heisenberg is a tool Walt uses. It’s just now he’s using his tools a lot more.


  13. I loved how the opening was so unexpectedly goofy and dumb. It started out with a great run thru of the Aztec’s exploits, Walt finding his Heisenberg hat, and pulling ‘gangsta’ move by abandoning his dependable ride.

    Then it cuts to all that dubstep-blasting ridiculousness with the fast-paced panning back and forth and engine revving. It had ‘BROS!’ written all over it. It actually reminded me a bit of Jesse back in his Cap’n Cook days with his ridiculous ride. Message received: Walt is enjoying his spoils, and he’s being flashy and wreckless.

    I love it when cars become characters. Skyler’s Wagoneer rolling up on those two bro-tastic rides and awkwardly braking before parking on the street was such a great touch.

    My only question is: was Walt’s Aztec a lucky totem of sorts? Well, probably not ‘lucky’ per se– and maybe it had too many bad memories attached to it– but it got Walt out of a number of scrapes, and we’ve known that car for as long as we’ve known Walt. It was sad, seeing it sold off for 50 dollars. What the hell, man?

    Then again, at the same time a car IS just a thing.


  14. Karl Savage: Hey, I agree. Not feeling like you tried to provoke me or slam me down at all.

    The Cranston thing – I disagree on that one. Let’s remember he’s also a producer of the series now. Heisenberg is no longer just a tool. Heisenberg took over in the crawl space, I think.

    The car was an integral part of the mask Walter created. He thinks no-one can touch him now, so he’s becoming incredibly reckless and stupid.


  15. Listen- When we talk about Heisenberg vs. Walt, when people get too Heisenberg-y, to me it sounds like people think Walt has a split personality (dissociative identity disorder), which is not accurate. He doesn’t have DID. He is Walt.

    ‘Tool’ might not have been the best term, but it was accurate for a while. Heisenberg was a tool at the start— a hat and a pair of sunglasses to disguise Walt and keep his two worlds separate. Heisenberg is Walt’s will; his conscious decision to break bad. His experiences have severely impacted his attitude and his way of carrying himself in order to survive the path he’s chosen. Walt has broken very bad after the end of season 4. So I get the meaning behind, “He’s all Heisenberg now,” but it is not like he’s some different character separate from Walt. His name is still Walt, and Walt is who he was for the first 50 years of his life, and he’s still Walt.

    My point about Cranston and the writers is that when artists explain their own work, it is something we, the audience, can take into consideration for sure, but art by its nature is open to the interpretation of its receiver, and we are allowed to disagree with the artist’s assessment of what they think they have done.

    More to the point, actors are obligated to do an obscene amount of press junkets and interviews to the point of madness, so I never give much credence to what they’ve had to say over and over again, repeating it and fine tuning stock answers into article-friendly sound bites as endless interviewers make the rounds.

    Additionally, producers’ responsibilities vary greatly. Sometimes they contribute creatively. Sometimes they’re a monetary source. Sometimes it’s a name-only credit. I’m not saying Cranston doesn’t have creative input, I’m sure he does— he’s Walter White— I’m only clarifying that a producer credit isn’t a concrete credit to assume creative input on a show.

    This feels like a pissing match, and I’m not very comfortable with that. I just wanted to talk about last night’s episode.


  16. Karl Savage: No idea why it feels like a pissing match to you, but that’s ok, we don’t have to talk if you don’t want to.


  17. To say Walt is the same person he was in episode 1 is a MAJOR stretch. Before episode 1, he was for the most part a nice guy. In one year, he has killed people both directly and indirectly, made millions making crystal meth, and become unrecognizable, and quite threatening to Skyler from what he was at the start. Also, a really good actor can see their character from a good angle, and know a bit more of waht they’re thinking. Cranston’s opinion is very valid. Sure, it might not be “He’s become a totally split character”. But to say Walt is the same Walt from the start doesn’t ring true.


  18. I think that Hank’s likely promotion to head of the division office may mean that when Hank figures out that Walt is Heisenberg, Hank may actually collude with Walt. The guy that Hank’s replacing was forced out for being too close to Fring, and not suspecting who Fring was. If Hank takes Walt down, Hank’s entire career goes down with his biggest bust.

    **

    As for Walt and Skyler, I want to shout at the TV for her to go all Kay in the Godfather, but Walt’s got too much control in the situation for her to stand up to him right now. If anyone in the family is going to die, my money is on Walt killing Skyler, though I think the chances are small.


  19. Alright, that’s it. Everyone to the emergency eyewash station, STAT!


  20. Apparently they confirmed on the podcast that it was in fact a gun cocking at the end of the episode as Walt laid in bed. Every one of these had me more excited for the next, and I am not going to be particularly happy when we hit episode 8.


  21. Man, this was another episode that had me laughing for fifteen or twenty minutes, and then I realized I’d been watching in utter silence after that. So great.

    Highlights:
    -Anna Gunn looking at the pool over Walt’s shoulder.
    -Jesse’s meeting with Lydia. I don’t know why, I just loved her sloppy interrogation and his “C’mon lady seriously?” response.
    -Walt rescuing Skyler from the pool, approaching her from behind like Jaws.
    -The direction in general. There were a lot of good shots.
    -”I’m waiting for the cancer to come back.”
    -”I thought YOU were the danger.”

    Notes
    -From the BB wiki: “The watch that Jesse gives Walt is the Tag Heuer Monaco, a watch forever linked to and made famous by Steve McQueen in the movie Le Mans (1977). Steve McQueen died of a rare, inoperable lung cancer.” ha ha ha!
    -The stuff with Walt and his son is essential. It shows that Walt isn’t cartoonishly evil and that he really is trying to make his family happy. He’s just such a small person that getting even a taste of power was too much for him. Buying the cars, leased or not, was stupid. It’s a Scarface move.
    -The entire bedroom conversation was so so crucial. I couldn’t believe it. Perfectly executed.
    -I love how impossible this show is to predict. What’s that old gag about how some people zig, other people zag, and still others zog? BB zogs constantly. Every episode a treat. Even the stuff with the Heisenberg hat fraying, it’s obvious, but it’s still good.

    I’ve been watching Malcolm in the Middle, and I saw Total Recall this past weekend. Cranston doesn’t look right when he has hair any more. He looks weird.

    @Ales Kot: I… can’t see any of that happening? What led you to that conclusion, especially the bit about Walt Jr smoking meth? Skyler won’t kill herself because she’s the only compromised person in the family to absolutely refuse to compromise any further. She has children, and she loves them more than she loves money & power. She’s terrified, of both Walt and herself, and she refuses to take a step past that. Jumping in the pool was to force Walt’s hand.

    Walt won’t kill Skyler, I don’t think. That’d go directly against his fantasy of helping out his family. Also the ricin never appearing again — not a chance. It might not have the effect we expect, but the BB crew is too good at following up on every little thing to just let that slide.

    @Greg: Anna Gunn is running things. I never saw it coming.

    @Billy: That is a great catch. Also, the name of the first episode was “Live free or die.” I’m going to have to pay more attention to that stuff.

    @Karl Savage: I missed the awkward brake, but that’s great touch. I just imagine Skyler rolling up and double-taking like :aaa:

    @ec: I love love love that their big confrontation this episode didn’t have a resolution. Her screaming “I don’t know!” was the most human thing, like she’s just barely hanging on by a thread but she has to do something. “No further.”

    @GQ: He’s not the same Walt, but he is, too. All this stuff he’s doing derives from the same source as his temper tantrum in the car wash. He has more experience being bad now, is all, and he’s found the limits of what he’s wiling to do to “protect his family.”

    Great episode. Can’t wait for the next.


  22. Re: Chekov’s Ricin

    I can’t speak for anyone else but I feel like the backlash against “Chekov’s Gun” comes from viewers/readers fixating on little things and believing they will come back into play and then being disappointed when they do not.

    The Sopranos was chock full of these things. Furio was written out in a way many people found unsatisfactory and then people expected him to come back at a crucial moment. Fans fixated on the Escaped Russian for years and were disappointed when he never made any difference, save for a couple fan-servicey lines of dialogue.

    The ricin is different. Sure, if people were constantly trying to come up with plot devices that would somehow tie Jesse’s Mexican Meth Tutorial Video back into the narrative, or that Jane’s father will pop up and murder Jesse, or think that old lady who was waving at Walt in the nursing home will become the DEA’s star witness, that would be silly. Even though the Mexican Meth Tape seemed like potentially a big deal in that episode, it’s never been mentioned again.

    But the ricin was a significant plot point in the climax of season four, and played a significant role in the opening episodes of this season. It could have easily been ignored or quickly written out, but it wasn’t. It was deliberately left as an open plot thread. I don’t think it would be bold or innovative (or even good) storytelling to let it lie and never be mentioned again.

    That said, this is a show that “zogs” as Brothers put it. I don’t expect it to pop back up as Convenient Poisoining Plot Device Round Four. It’s one of Walt’s “insurance policies”, but it’s also a smoking gun that would likely permanently destroy his relationship with Jesse if he ever found it. It could also implicate Saul.

    It is now sitting, hidden, in a home shared by someone who actively wishes Walt dead. It *could* never be mentioned again. And maybe Walt Jr. will start taking meth. Maybe Hank and Mike are secretly lovers? It could happen.


  23. @Chris Eckert: It is crazy how far down the rabbit hole people will go based on little bits in the show that I tend to chock up as atmospheric artistic license.

    For example, in this episode, people have grabbing hold of Walt’s new watch and are running with it. Some theorize that Jesse is plotting (or co-plotting with Mike and even Hank) to off/take down Walt, and somehow the watch is a weapon of sorts, or it’s got a recording device in it, etc, etc.

    I felt the watch was more of a thematic, symbolic thing, not a seed for a new, mind-bending plot thread.
    A watch keeps time. Walt has been on borrowed time since S01E01.
    Skyler says that all she can do is wait for Walt’s cancer to come back.
    When Walt shows Skyler the watch he says she will come back around in a very, “You’re going to wait for my cancer? Well guess what— I’m going to wait for you, and we’ll see what comes first.”
    Then the final shot of time passing by the second (52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59)
    Time’s a’wasting.

    That last tick as the sweep hand hit 12 sounded like a gun being cocked. The foley artist probably used the sound of a gun being cocked. But I don’t think the show’s intention was to make us think someone in Walt’s room just cocked a gun. I think the sound effect was used for the watch’s minute hand moving as the sweep hand hit zero. Plenty of BrBa characters find their time is up at the end of a barrel.

    What’s that Freud thing? Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar?


  24. @Karl Savage: I won’t lie, when they showed a closeup on the watch, I had half a thought that it might be some type of listening device. But then I realized that Jesse likes Walt. He looks up to him. They had their troubles, like Walt explained to Skyler, but they made up. He’s “Mr. White.” There’s a mentor/surrogate father thing going on there that’s way more interesting than any made-up betrayal plot.

    It’s just a watch. It has significance outside of the series w/r/t the Steve McQueen thing, but that’s just a nod.


  25. David Fairbanks: The cocking gun thing – could it one of the operators that “solved” Beneke for Skyler, specifically the smaller one? Or Walt himself, because wants to be ready in case Skyler tries to kill him, however implausible that scenario is? Or Skyler.

    David Brothers: Tag Heuer Monaco! Hah. That’s amazing.

    Walt Jr. smoking meth – ok, this is just a game, and I’m likely wrong, but:

    1) Jesse finds out Walt killed his girlfriend/finds the ricin, most likely because Mike connects the dots for him. Decides to kill Jr., realized he doesn’t want to, so he at least offers Jr. some meth.

    2) Walt Jr. finds out about his dad being the meth baron, combine that with all he had to go through (parents divorcing, horrifying atmosphere at home, cerebral palsy), Jr. gets some meth, smokes it.

    3) Walt Jr. meets Jesse’s old friends at a party? I mean, it’s a small city. Stranger things have happened.

    Either way, he probably won’t die in a car crash, but he’ll be much worse off than before.

    And that’s the moment Skyler kills herself — probably because she’ll threaten Walt in some way, either by going to Hank or someone else, or by attempting to kill Walt.

    “Walt won’t kill Skyler, I don’t think. That’d go directly against his fantasy of helping out his family.” — I agree that it would go against Walt’s fantasy, but that fantasy is bound to be destroyed.

    Chris, David: The ricin – I agree. Excellent explanation, Chris, thanks for that.

    Zog.


  26. @Ales Kot: When has Jesse been the guy to sneak around doing things? He always seems very direct to me, and hurting Walt by giving his son meth, an act that might not even work, doesn’t fit who he is. #2 sounds equally unlikely, because Walt and Skyler have, by and large, maintained a pretty healthy atmosphere at home. That was part of the point of their separation & the gambling lie.


  27. Honestly the biggest reason I don’t think we’re going to go down the “Walt Jr. smokes meth” route is that Walt Jr. idolizes his awesome drug-bustin’ Uncle Hank. Walt’s insecurities about this (Hank essentially ‘stealing’ his son’s affection as the latest in a long list of emasculating acts from his brother in law) hasn’t been front-and-center for awhile, though in a physical way Hank and Marie *have* taken his kids now. And even in the opening scenes of the season, Walt is basking in the afterglow of “winning” only to get deflated by Walt Jr. coming in and regaling him with the tales of how badass Uncle Hank is, how clever Uncle Hank was to suspect Gustavo Fring was a kingpin, how Uncle Hank is “basically a hero” because of all this. You could almost physically see Walt deflate during the scene.

    The tension between father figures is a big part of the show: Jesse torn between Walt and Mike, Walt Jr. less torn between Walt/Hank. Even if Walt Jr. is pretty happy with Walt trying to buy his love with a muscle car this week, Walt is still bound to lose both of his sons’ affection by the end of the story. The way to rebel against finding out your dad is a meth kingpin is generally not to start using his product.

    But there’s still a dozen episodes left, and a lot can happen.


  28. @Chris Eckert: Well said! I didn’t even catch that detail of Walt deflating as Walt Jr. regales him of Uncle Hank’s bad-assery. It is totally simpatico with every previous occurrence of the Walt/Walt Jr./Hank ‘triangle of cool.’ Walt Jr. and Hank even got to spend more quality time together in season 4, and are still sharing a common bond over their physical disabilities.

    Meanwhile every instance of Walt’s Heisenberg dealings– from his profits to his scrapes & bruises to his various car-crashes– have been explained away to Jr. as his father being an extremely flawed person barely in control of his vices; a gambling addict, a terrible driver, a loser of fist fights, etc. Walt Jr. loves Walt unconditionally, but Walt is the one who is annoyed by his own cover-story because he doesn’t want his Jr.’s memory of him to mirror Walt’s memory of his own broken father.

    The opening, and much of this episode was Walt trying to shrug off some of his cover story and be more open with his new lease on life, which he’s spilt blood and killed to have. “Look how cool your old man is, Jr. I take care of you. You don’t need to take care of me. I’m good.”


  29. @Karl Savage: You mentioning that Walt & Skyler’s lie emasculates Walt is interesting. The point when I turned around my unfair opinions on Skyler was when she finally took Walt to task last season. Something about how Walt gets to be the victim here, and “I’m the bitch.” I hadn’t realized that their deception makes both of them look terrible in ways that are damaging to their children, family, and friends.


  30. @david brothers: I didn’t ever really think of it that way until Chris wrote what he wrote, but yeah, it does emasculate Walt, and it does make sense to do that. Walt’s & Skyler’s lie makes Walt seem like a dope because it doesn’t arose suspicion.

    That guy is a criminal? But he’s so affable and also kind of just, you know, bumbling and clueless. He’s booksmart, for sure. But the man wouldn’t know what to do on the streets and in the alleys. There’s no way.”

    So yeah, with Walt steadily shedding his cover-story, he’s going to lose that layer of gee-shucks buffoonery and in doing so will expose the Heisenbergian, hard-knocked inner core of just what kind of man he actually is/has become.

    Skyler’s sees him for what he is. Jesse is friends with him. It will be interesting to see characters not in the know get in the know. It’ll be heart-breaking. I can l already see Marie’s teary eyes, mind racing, and I don’t like that visual.


  31. Should have proof read before posting. Yeesh.
    *because it doesn’t AROUSE suspicion
    *SKYLER sees him for what he is.


  32. Damn! Everyone, this is great!

    I’ve got nothing after all this other than I loved that the Walt/Skyler confrontation happened this early in the season.

    re:predictions – I predict there will be some more great television :wink:


  33. One of the things I absolutely LOVE is the way Skyler was completely sidelined by both Walt and Junior. Walt’s been saying for the entire show that he’s been doing this for his family, and, with this episode clinching it, it’s been becoming steadily apparent that he’s only been doing all this for his family insofar that it feeds his ego. Buying Jr. the car makes him look good, having dinner parties with Hank & Marie makes him look good…Skyler being this emasculating influence (remember, she’s the one who devised the major cover story) doesn’t, and so she’s become this object of hatred for Walt. I feel like Skyler trying to get the kids away wasn’t just because they’re in danger, but because she also had this taste of her kids becoming egotistical pricks in the beginning, and she doesn’t want Walt poisoning them any further.


  34. I just realized something.
    Goodfellas: Henry & Marie
    Breaking Bad: Hank & Marie
    That’s interesting if it’s a nod to Goodfellas.

    I’m a huge fan of name etymology, but had never looked up Breaking Bad character names. Until NOW…

    Walter = ‘ruler of the army’
    Jesse = ‘God’s gift’
    Skyler = ‘scholar’
    Flynn = ‘red/ruddy’
    Henry/Hank = ‘ruler of the home’
    Marie = ‘rebellion/to be bitter’
    Saul = ‘Asked for’
    Mike = ‘Who is like God?’ (A: ‘no one’)
    Gustavo = ‘Staff of the Goths’ (a Germanic tribe)


  35. @Karl Savage: I’m really enjoying your analysis. Thanks!


  36. I’m not sure how anyone else would ever come across that ricin hidden in the house. Unless Walt resorts to it again and forgets to re-hide it.

    Maybe more people hide stuff behind their outlet plates, I dunno. When I saw it, I couldn’t get over how good of a hiding place that was for something small.


  37. @Billy: That’s how I feel about it too.
    I read a comment somewhere that said Holly could get to it once she’s crawling around (and no one has baby-proofed the house yet). I was like, “Yeah, Holly could get to it if she could crawl, know how to work a screw driver, and be strong enough to move a nightstand.”

    The only indicator of the hiding spot I can think of is if the imprint on the carpet left by the nightstand is visible/noticeable. Which means Walt will have to go back into the outlet first to make the mistake of not lining up the end table perfectly, and for Skyler & Co. to notice it.

    That, OR, Walt could be backed into his bedroom at the end of his rope and death raining down, so with no options left he decides to poison himself (which would be a weird thing to do, since ricin isn’t an instant killer).

    Yeah. The ricin vial is an interesting plot thread. Can’t make heads or tails of it.


  38. I know I’m late to the party, but I was just rereading the pilot script and I realized that the Scarface scene in S05E03 is not the first time it appeared:

    Walt nods, overwhelmed and hiding it. Skyler doesn’t know about his doctor’s appointment. Even if Walt wants to tell her, something stops him. He sips his beer, stares.

    Loud MACHINE GUN FIRE startles them both. Skyler yells into the living room.

    SKYLER
    DAMMIT, WALTER! TURN THAT DOWN!

    (more GUNFIRE) Go talk to him.

    Walt rises, sets his bottle in the sink.

    INT. WHITE HOUSE – LIVING ROOM – CONTINUOUS

    The end of “Scarface” plays on the TV. TONY MONTANA, with his mountain of cocaine and his M-16, takes on all comers. Walter, Jr. is sprawled on the couch, watching. His crutches are leaned against the armrest.

    WALTER, J R .
    Hey.

    WALT
    Hey. Your Mom wants you to turn it down.

    WALTER, J R .
    Shit, come–on. This is–the best–
    Wait, wait
    (watches TV, remembers)

    23.
    TONY MONTANA (ON TV) COME AN’ MEET MY LEETLE FRIEND!

    WALTER, J R .
    Oh–damnl Hell, yeahl

    Walter, Jr. awkwardly pumps his fist. Walt keeps watching.

    WALT
    DVD?

    WALTER, J R .
    Uncle Hank–gave–it to me.

    Walt’s eyes stay on the screen. The garish little kingpin mows down acres of Columbians, then dies in a blaze of glory.

    Off Walt, whose thoughts are unknown to us.

    “Uncle Hank gave it to me.”


  39. I just finished re-watching this episode (in my ongoing effort to watch every episode at least twice) and I have some more thoughts/observations I wanted to share.

    1) Skyler and Lydia are kindred spirits. They both find themselves in over their heads and want out. They are both actively trying to wriggle their way to freedom. Skyler wants out for the sake of herself and her children, and ultimately will get what she wants once Walt has passed, and is actively trying to find a way out even before Walt’s passing, if it is even a possibility. Lydia wants out for the sake of herself and her daughter, and ultimately thinks she will get what she wants if she convinces Mike and Co. that she is no longer useful to them because the Heat is on. Skyler and Diana both enact poorly constructed, short-sighted plans in an attempt to dissuade further engagement with them, but to no avail. They are both outmatched at this juncture by veterans of the game. And as Omar Little once said, “It’s all in the game.” Walt won’t ever kill Skyler, and Jesse won’t allow Mike to kill Lydia. But something needs to be done and neither of them THINK they can go to the cops without then going to jail, which is completely unacceptable (at this juncture).

    Walt tells Skyler she’ll come around. Regarding Lydia, whatever plan Walt cooked up that we weren’t privy to seems to have spared Lydia for the time being, and I’m looking forward to finding out what exactly Walt proposed.

    2) Hank— Does he know abut Walt’s dealings regarding Fring’s computer, etc? General internet consensus of the first three episodes was that Hank more than likely knows something. After this episode I noticed people signing off on Hank probably not knowing anything. I don’t mind the show keeping people guessing, but for my money I think this episode served to relax Hank a bit, but not a lick of this episode disproved any presumed knowledge Hank has. The man plays it EXTREMELY close to the vest, and as viewers we are not privy to as many of the man’s inner monologues as we are Jesse or Skyler or Walt (and for good reason).

    Here’s what happened with Hank in this episode: He talks to his partner bemoaning how crazy Fring’s case is as it messes with them from beyond Gus’s grave, and how Fring’s crew will not crack despite their hazard pay disappearing. They talk of getting a detail on Mike, and then their temp boss comes in to offer Hank his ex-boss’s position. In the spiel, Hank hears that he’ll be handing off his casework to other agents, including Fring’s case. Hank is the most competent agent there, having fingered Fring from the start, his fellow agents begrudgingly following through on leads Hank could not follow up himself due to health and employment reasons. With Hank taking a step back, he doesn’t have to pursue Mike. He can let some tenderfoot chase his tail instead. I’m not saying that will happen, and I’m not saying Hank knows, but up until Hank’s temp boss told Hank the promotion would force him to reassign his active cases to other agents, Hank looked tense, and once the boss said that, Hank then became very cordial and eager to accept.

    Later at Walt’s birthday party, Hank kept things very light, partially because of Skyler’s infidelity secret Marie shared with him and also just because the man keeps things light. Once Skyler makes her play, Hank is paired with Walt in the dinging room and he keeps things completely inconspicuous. Either he knows of Walt’s doings and is completely keeping Walt as far away from suspicion as he can, or he honestly doesn’t know about Walt and is being uber-supportive of everything Marie wants to do with the kids, which seems slightly uncharacteristic of Hank to agree with one of Marie’s plans flat out, but is totally understandable and also very nice of him to do, seeing as his sister-in-law just walked into a pool like a deranged person. So ultimately Walt’s birthday party is a wash. Hank in the presence of Walt is extremely inconclusive, as it’s nigh impossible to detect abnormal behavior when the events surrounding their interactions are also abnormal.

    3) Walt and Skyler’s argument is sadistic joke. I love how it starts out with Walt trying to understand Skyler— to suss out where she’s coming from and what exactly her motives were with that play regarding the kids— to see what he can do to help with the situation and better the family unit (if one were to give him the benefit of the doubt), and why Skyler feels it so imperative to send the kids away. Then, as Walt fully understands how Skyler feels when she says, “I said NO. I swear to God, I won’t have them back here,” Walt fully grasps Skyler’s concerns and deems them unacceptable, closes his eyes in a “am I the only professional here?” manner, mentally shrugs Skyler off, and turns on his ruthless, Heisenberg demeanor necessary to deal with life’s bullshit that is too important to let lie and treat with kid gloves of love and understanding. It’s so fucking brutal. Skyler doesn’t stand a chance, which is basically why that scene is so goddamn effective. At this point in time Walt has become such a mental gymnast he deserves a gold medal. But. He can also be incredibly short-sighted. Not in this scene, but man alive, Walt’s hubris is a huge monkey on his back, and as Mike warily said, “he’s a time bomb.”

    4) When Walt returns home to Skyler smoking in the living room— I remembered the opening dialogue from the first viewing but it didn’t click until the second viewing, and that is alt saying he stopped by Marie’s and Hank’s to check in with his children, and that Jr. has a lot of questions. Skyler got them out of the house, but Walt can still easily see his kids. Skyler’s plan didn’t work out at all. Maybe it will pay off later (probably), but as far as immediate results go? She accomplished nothing. “Hey, I saw our kids. You probably didn’t even see them today, did you? Well anyway, they are doing good. Junior has a lot of questions, of course about why he can’t come home. But overall, they’re doing fine.”

    That’s it. Excited for episode 5. Can’t wait to see what Walt’s plan is regarding Lydia for which Jesse was so grateful.


  40. Whoops. I mistakenly was calling Lydia ‘Diana’ at first, and thought I corrected all occurrences, but it seems I still missed one.

    ***Skyler and LYDIA both enact poorly constructed, short-sighted plans in an attempt to dissuade further engagement with them, but to no avail.


  41. Just caught up and read the Sepinwall recap. May I say this show just continues to amaze?

    Lots of callbacks, references, and in jokes this episode. There’s at least two Dexter references (the way Skyler wraps her floss and the blood during the shave). Both Holly and Jr. are kind of joked about in a meta sort of way with Holly being the worlds most amazing baby plus Jr’s reaction to his bacon being taken was amazing (and in my opinion a nod to the audience). Selling the Aztec (his outward modesty) is pure recklessness and Walt doesn’t seem to really give a fuck about hiding any more. He’s wearing the Heisenberg hat in public and there are now two flashy cars in his driveway. That Heisenberg hat hasn’t been forgotten by characters looking for him.

    I’m wondering when the cartels come into play, it would be bizarre if they didn’t. Gus is dead, I’m surprised they didn’t fill the gap already.

    I like how much leeway the show gives to directors. Rian did an amazing job. The whole pool scene after Jr left was incredibly intense. I couldn’t even really pay attention to Walt, I was just watching Skyler the whole time. The Jaws-like Walt grab from behind was perfect. And Anna Gunn’s acting is really something else this season. Every time the show goes to the shot of her on her side, you get a taste of the horrors she’s facing.

    Regarding the watch, you can take it a few ways. It could be a meta way of signaling that the countdown on Walt’s life has begun (eh). I could also see it as referring to the ticking time bomb that is Pinkman’s relationship with Walt.

    If I had to make a dumb prediction, it’s that Hank will know about Walt by the end of the eighth episode (and we’ll have to wait a year to find out what happens next). With Walt getting so careless, I think he’ll find out sooner rather than later.


  42. Whatever the plan with Lydia, I think Walt will dispose of her once he’s got enough methylamine, and he will try to keep that part of the plan away from Jesse, as usual. And since Lydia visually resembles Jane (and Jesse already had a very strong reaction to the idea of killing her – then again, that could be also easily chalked up to his still having some sort of an ethical code), I suspect Jesse will find out.

    Also: does anyone else think that Walt might subconsciously want to be caught because he knows, deep down, that he’s a danger to everyone around him? The dinner with Hank and Marie back in season four, all the flash of season five…