haha, me too. I also loved that Gus came out to personally wait on Walter, and Gus kind of pushed his cashier out of the way.
Yeah, that was funny. And sort of hammered home the point that, if they're going to get to Gus, it's going to have to be Jesse. They seem to have Walt locked down.
I also find it funny that Walt tends to talk tough and have some sort of swagger, but is totally scared and out of his element with Gus and Mike. The way he was telling Gus that he wasn't going to do it was priceless. Aspects of that scene sort of reminded me of a scene a few episodes back (can't remember if was end of Season 3 or beginning of Season 4). Walt was going to Gus' home to kill him and Mike called Walt to ask him what he was doing and told him to go home. Walt is such an amateur compared to these guys, and he knows it. It's fun to see him squirm after taking on a "bad ass" attitude.
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Skyler = The Slutty Accountant
using Quicken Home Edition 2003. Thought she deserved some props. Writing appears to be on the wall, but giving Ted $650k cash to pay off the IRS? Or does Walt find out and off him first (make it look like a suicide)? Trying to go legit and that sprouts up out-of-nowhere. When you are in the business of trouble, trouble is always just around the corner.
"Don't you have enough cancer?". Going down south to Mexico way (*rubs hands together*). What a show.
Last edited by Premium Roast; 09-12-2011 at 01:53 PM.
Great episode. Great way they smoothly shifted gears. Loved hearing Bang Data in the poisoning scene.
You know, but that's valid because if we are all gonna die anyway shouldn't we be enjoying ourselves now? You know, I'd like to quit thinking of the present, like right now, as some minor insignificant preamble to something else.
It's that tad bit of Crazy that keeps me Sane...
I guess Gus really did see something in Jesse.
Since the bastard machine recap was missed last week...
While “Bug” may go down as one of those episodes with an ending that knocks the wind out of you – Walt and Jesse in a knock-down, drag-out, friendship-damaging brawl, I was probably less enamored with it than most, simply because it served mostly as an episode that resets the storyline.
Nothing wrong with that – four or five of these episodes happen every season. But outside of the epic ending, “Bug” left me a little cold because it stopped moving forward at the clip I was hoping for and set up two intriguing but curious new possibilities for the story (so that if neither really pan out, “Bug” ends up being an episode about a fight and little more).
PHOTOS: 2011 Emmy Nominees: 'Breaking Bad,' 'Mad Men'
Since this episode is bookended by the fight – alluding to something bad, as usual, in the opening scene and then a roughly five minute brawl to close it out – the elements of what happened between the two might be (or should be) more important.
Central to the ongoing story is that Hank, still tenacious on the old Internet, is closing in on Gus. And by closing in, I mean he’s an annoyance, not a super legitimate threat just yet. But tipped by Walt to the fact that Hank has found a possible distribution outlet, Gus starts moving all the meth (camera in the batter alert!) and has Mike clear all traces of drug-making. In the process, the cartel has a sniper take out one of Gus’ men (and almost Jesse – camera in the sniper lens!), but the message attack ends when pulls some “Terminator shit” and walks out in the open, daring the sniper to kill him.
PHOTOS: David Strick's Portraits of 2011 Emmy Nominees
The cartel needs him alive, obviously. Less obvious is who Gus really is or who he’s connected to (probably in Chile) that keeps him alive. The combination of Hank and the cartel eventually leads Gus to change his mind and tells the cartel “yes” – that he’ll work with (for?) them.
But we’ve known that already, so that’s not real movement.
No, the key elements were:
Ted Beneke emerging from nowhere with the IRS on his back.
The cartel wants Gus to send his meth maker to Mexico to train its people and he wants to send Jesse, an act that sends mixed messages on the surface.
Everything wrapped around this was just a fight – a damned good one, mind you, and one that needed to happen. Jesse has been boiling since the first episode and Walt’s selfish cluelessness to what he’s made Jesse do (and his lack of appreciation for that) is what, combined with tracking him via the “bug,” sets off the fight.
But let’s look at that Ted Beneke situation. I certainly hope it goes further – like Skyler using the drug money to pay off his debt, which would (or should) unleash an enormous shitstorm with bigger ramifications than either the cartel or Gus. Her peeking down into the money under the house certainly suggests she’s thinking about it.
Otherwise, the Skyler-as-dimwit-sexpot ruse may be the least believable thing that’s happened on Breaking Bad. Despite what she says after the fact, ignorance of the law doesn’t give you a get-out-of-jail-free pass. The criminal division of the IRS isn’t going to give up just because Skyler put some slutty make-up on and wore a pink push-up bra, then claimed ignorance via Quicken. Come on.
The Gus and cartel issue is much bigger (or equally as big if Skyler does help pay off the Beneke debt, which she’d surely have to do without Walt’s knowledge). Until we find out why they’re not killing Gus – and haven’t for years – then we can only assume whatever he’s trying to pull on them is risky. Sending someone to Mexico to help them cook Walt-grade meth is a suicide mission. If it’s not – and we’d have to assume that Jesse would be the central figure in surviving such an excursion – it would have to be awfully trick (or funny, or violent – like when Gus easily got to the leader of the cartel in the leader’s own heavily-fortified house) to be believable.
My faith in the Breaking Bad writers to pull that off is enormous, given what they’ve delivered on in the past. It would just be complicated (as would an IRS investigation).
So those two strands – Beneke and Gus’s plans to send someone down to Mexico – bear watching. The fight, which gave this episode its reason for being (and of course ties all the way back to Hank singing “Eye of the Tiger” in the car with Walt), could end up going in a number of directions.
It could signal the beginning of a much bigger rift between Walt and Jesse that exists now (did you notice that Jesse seemed to use the “Mr. White” phrasing a lot more in this episode, to ostensibly heighten the impact of the fight and the split, since Jesse, deep down, really does see Walt as both father figure and authority figure)? By creating this chasm between the two, it makes Walt’s survival more perilous. But by simultaneously putting Jesse in danger by sending him to Mexico, there could be a sympathetic scenario in the future where the past is just forgive.
Or maybe this dust-up will not be an enormous rift. Maybe it’ll blow over – bygones. Granted, it’s hard to see that. But maybe the fight literally knocks some sense – or maybe compassion – into Walt’s bald head.
Why has Jesse been a mess? Because Walt has used him to do the dirty, evil work for so long – culminating in killing Gale – that Jesse is buried under scars. It might be nice for Walt to acknowledge that, but part of Jesse’s spiral this season is due in part to Walt’s ignorance of the emotional damage he’s caused. It’s why Jesse started the “after all I’ve done for you” speech that led to rage and why, in turn, Walt cut him off with, “You’ve killed me is what you’ve done!”
So that had it out. You could say it was a long time coming, but you could hardly call it expected. It was the kind of scene that Breaking Bad excels at – exploding on the screen, a turn taken that’s always a bad or dangerous idea.
I guess we’ll see what the overall damage is between these two “partners,” and that will go a long way in ultimately judging (along with the Beneke and Mexico demands) just how major this episode was. But on its surface, “Bug” (and yes, I think its conceivable the IRS is already bugging Skyler’s phone) was the least interesting episode of Season 4, for me.
Is that the first time we’ve seen Walt in desert boots? Gonna be hard to get that blood out.
Advice: Don’t let anyone sing “Eye of the Tiger” that long in your car – ever.
“A guy this clean has got to be dirty.” – Hank on Gus.
What Jesse watches when he’s just chilling out at night: Ice Road Truckers. What’s it about, Walt asks? “Guys drive on ice.”
Jesse on Walt smoking (but not inhaling): “Don’t you have enough cancer already.”
Walt, somewhat ominously (or maybe that’s just is increasing paranoia): “What does it matter. We’re both dead men anyway.”
“Maybe you can start thinking of an exit strategy.” – Skyler to Walt when, to her surprise, it looks like the car wash will soon make a profit. But she’s unclear on the concept when it comes to the drug game.
“Tracking” magazine at Walt’s house. A little light reading on surveillance?
Gus owns all 14 restaurants of Pollos Hermanos. But he really favors the one with the built in cameras.
Thomas Dolby’s “Hyperactive” was in the background, but I didn’t find an exact correlation to events on the screen. But I did laugh.
“Meth cooking and corpse disposal.” – That might make a good slogan, especially if you add something about dry cleaning as well.
“Next time, don’t just stand there. Move your feet and stuff.” – More savvy advice from Mike for staying alive.
“It’s like what you call a rock and a hard place type of deal.” – Jesse to Walt, who I believe has used that exact same line himself, or something close to it, in previous seasons.
Although the fight was epic, Aaron Paul’s pre-fight scene describing what Gus was asking him to do in Mexico – and how the danger in pulling it off was so readily apparent – was another great performance from him. The staccato delivery and confused sense of trying to figure out all the dangers while explaining it – a fantastic scene.
In the end, post-fight, it was a good break-up line from Jesse to Walt: “Can you walk? Then get the fuck out of here and never come back.”
What a fantastic season. Last nights episode was great. Jessie finally arriving as the man he was groomed to be over the course of the season was the highlight for me. Mike shot and Gus half poisoned. Jessie hits it out of the park. Home run. I love this show so much. As soon as those shots were poured I knew it was over, I wondered how Gus was going to avoid dying.
All the scenes in Mexico were so awesome.
^ Nice. Jessie looks like hes been hitting the blue.
latest bastard machine:
Let’s work backward. Jesse’s video game practice has paid off nicely as he takes out essentially the last man standing at Don Eladio’s infamous retreat. Gus will likely survive the crazed but creative plot to poison Don Eladio and all of his capos (and himself, in a show of support – but the pill or the vomiting or a combination of both have likely kept him alive). Mike has been shot. We don’t know how badly, since he was able to utter the words, “Get us out of here, kid.”
First, this is why we love Breaking Bad. When the time is right for tension, action and surprise, it will be delivered. But what of the opportunities at this precise moment: The Mexican cartel is out of the picture. Mike could die. We don’t know what state Gus is in or how long he’ll be in it. As Jesse drives them away, he looks like the hero. He also looks to be one of them – them being Gus and Mike (who have played, just as Walt has, father figures to Jesse).
Certainly when Jesse gets back – when they all get back – the dynamic will be even more changed between Walt and Jesse (more than punching each other in the face and beating the snot out of each other from last episode changed their dynamic). Jesse can cook – in Mexico, under inferior super lab conditions, with immense pressure, a nearly pure product.
Walt is now officially of no value to Gus or Mike, unless Gus still has doubts (as he should) about Jesse’s long-term viability in the role as Top Meth Chef.
But I like this reversed dynamic. I’m wondering if, next episode, Jesse uses the words “Mr. White.” If he doesn’t, watch out.
On the other hand, I don’t think Jesse’s knee-jerk, kill-or-be-killed moment in Mexico makes him any more prone to killing, or having a newfound, bad-assedness about it. As such, he could always forgive Walt and plan an exit strategy with the newly weakened partnership of Gus and Mike.
We should get some hints next week. Or a definitive hammer. One of the two.
If you’re looking for other dangerous loose ends going forward, look no further than the IRS. What Skyler tried to pull with Ted Beneke – an idea so bad that Saul knew it was a disaster from the start – had to be auto-corrected by Skyler in the most dangerous way: telling Ted that the money came from her. That’s a big card to give him. Someone call Mike and mop that shit up.
(I said last week that I’m not liking the Skyler storyline here on the surface – but this week’s events could lead to interesting places and I’m willing to wait to see how that turns out. While I didn’t like the harlot routine in Ep. 9, this phony will thing – Great Aunt Birgit -- was, I believe, meant to be stupid. And Saul’s second-guessing derails and vanishes when he realizes that people will believe anything that’s convenient, especially if they’re desperate. Again, not a favorite story turn, but this week left me less annoyed and more hopeful than last week – because it’s such a spectacularly bad idea that it says a lot about Skyler.)
As much as I loved the ending – it’s vintage Breaking Bad and gives us a number of breathtaking finishes to episodes, perhaps countering, if you need it, the slower episodes earlier on – what happened in the middle of “Salud” was just as satisfying.
This is a series that began when Walter White wanted to do something for his family – to help them, to leave a legacy. Sure, he didn’t think it out as he broke bad. That’s the sublime fallout of it all. But it started with familial love. And the scenes with Walter Jr. talking to his father and reacting to the visceral wounds on his father’s face and psyche, were incredible, subtle and ambitious.
First, it gave Walter Jr. something substantial to do. It raised his profile on the show and put him to good use: he (and Jesse, since Walt still has Jesse on the brain) are bringing the combo package of Walt/Heisenberg back from the brink. If Walt sees Jesse as a surrogate son, he’s certainly understands in these lucid, tear-filled moments that he’s not been a good father figure. I think the notion of perception and memory – which were the ideas wrapped up in Walt’s talk with Walter Jr. – are the forces that allow Walt to see what he’s done to Walter Jr. and, by extension, to Jesse.
What made those scenes of Walt and Walter Jr. so incredible is that they tried to tackle a gigantic, complicated, nuanced area that is almost never explored with depth on television and left, instead, to fiction and memoirs: Walt is concerned about what memories his son will have of him, because his own father lived a kind of artificial life as well. Walt heard mostly grand, detailed stories of his father, but what he saw and what he remembered from those hospital visits are quite different (and they’ve been stronger in their lasting impression).
The damaged goods that Walter Jr. finds when he drives over to his dad’s house (in the PT Cruiser…god I love that detail almost as much as the Aztek) leave him emotionally jolted. He almost called 911 because he was so worried about his father. And Walt even missed his birthday. He finds his dad bloody, bruised, drugged, fragile. These are not the memories Walt wants to leave behind. So that restores some sympathy to him. But the tipping point is not the story about his own father that he tells Walter Jr., but the response to the whole point of that story – this notion of perception and memory – that he hears back from his son. Walter Jr. is essentially saying: I don’t care that you’re a mess. That crying, confused, almost sweet man was “real.” That’s who I want back.
The worst way to remember his father: “The way you’ve been this whole last year.”
I’d like to think that this at least temporarily kick-starts Good Walt. And he will try to make amends with Jesse. Beyond that, who knows?
But I can tell you this – Vince Gilligan and his writers have never given up the notion that Walt is a father. And that means something beyond whatever twisted turns becoming Heisenberg have caused or may cause. You don’t write a scene like that – a father talking about how he wants to be remembered, how thoughts of legacy are intertwined with impending death – unless you understand what it’s like to have children. That is to say that I don’t think Breaking Bad goes out with a gunfight or an action sequence. Whenever it goes out, it will be a closing scene or episode immersed in emotional consequence. Stark, uncomfortable honesty – not bullets.
We can have all the Mexican gunfights we, as viewers and fans, might want at this point. But the only reason Walt “broke bad” in the first place was to protect his family. All the outrageous, adrenaline-fueled episodes in between are fantastic fun, but it’s going to come down to something as simple and tragic as choosing the wrong path when you come upon a fork in the road.
And you know what? That’s awesome. Right now, the two best series on television – Breaking Bad and Mad Men – are on the same channel and they’re both about the same thing: existentialism. Except one’s about existentialism with booze, cigarettes and women. And the other one’s about existentialism with guns, money and meth.
All of the exterior stuff is the hook. It’s mostly why we watch. But Don Draper and Walter White are two very, very messed up people who desperately want to appear as if – and believe themselves – that that’s just not true.
So, yeah, Jesse gunning down the Mexican shooter in the waning seconds -- blood-pumping. But don’t discount Walt’s emotional break-through: “I made a mistake,” he told Walter Jr. through the tears. (Is he talking about Jesse or choosing this life or both?) “It’s my own fault. I had it coming…It’s all my fault. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
We’re going to know precisely how sorry in 19 more episodes, but let’s not get too far ahead. There are three more this season. Let’s see how sorry Walt really is this season, first. You never know when Walt’s id will take over again and Heisenberg will reappear.
*based upon tedious fact checking.
I'm watching the encore, and, of fucking course my cable glitches out at a very inopporune time. what is the exhange between gys and jesse after jesse asks him to spare walt? <-------- question in white for anyone who's watched already.
Fucking A... Wait is fucked.*