Breaking Bad: Walt, the Monster
I failed to mention last week in my recap the meth-shoot-out-blood-fest that occurred at the hand (the very bony and feminine hand) of Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser) because I had a sneaking suspicion the whole ordeal would be coming back real soon. It did. This week's Breaking Bad opened with Todd (Jesse Plemons), Walt's successor in the meth cooking business. Todd regales stories of the infamous train heist to his two accomplices in the meth battle royal. Todd's tale, however, lacks a key detail: he shot a young child.
Photo courtesy of Ursula Coyote/AMC
The scene had a very Tarantino feel to it; it could have been out of Reservoir Dogs. It was Mr. Orange's "amusing anecdote" about a drug deal, a good guy trying to fit in with the bad dudes.
But it is the bad guy who tries to look good that is the star of this episode (and the entire show). Walt proves more than ever to be the master of all manipulation. It is shocking to watch but undeniably brilliant.
The first mind he skillfully maneuver's is his son, Walt Jr.'s. As Walt scrambles to cover up his black and blue eyes, Jr. casually mentions that his Aunt Marie asked him to come over and spend some time. We know that Marie has her sights set on
stealing saving the kids from the evil that is their home life. To dissuade the situation, Walt tells his son in apparent earnestness that his cancer has returned. Jr. should keep a positive attitude. And after your father just told you that his cancer is back, would you go take off to your aunt's for dinner? Yeah, probably not.
Walt and Skyler agree to meet with Hank and Marie for some fajitas and serious conversation. Walt is calm and collected as he tries to explain all of the reasons that Hank should drop all efforts into cracking this case. Think of Walt Jr, for crying out loud, hasn't the kid been through enough? Marie is a fireball of rage, unable to contain her hatred for the couple that not that long ago were her closest companions. But it is Skyler who tries to reason with Hank and explain that everything bad that had happened is behind them. Why cry over spilt milk, right? All in all the dinner was unsuccessful and they never even got to order the house guacamole. As Walt leaves, he slides a DVD on the table for Hank, which we saw him taping earlier.
Rather than taping a true confession, Walt engineers an elaborate story about Hank being the real Heisenberg, forcing a poor dying science teacher into helping him build a meth empire. Walt has done it again and beat Hank at his own game. The additional fact that the Whites paid for Hank's medical bills with drug money is some new information to the DEA that is not welcomed, naturally.
Is Hank totally screwed now? How in the hell do you catch a criminal who has already confessed to a different crime? He can't tell his colleagues; he took meth money. What is supposed to do now?
But there is one more imperative piece to this puzzle that needs some serious massaging: Jesse. Earlier in the episode, Jesse is grilled by Hank who let him know that Walt's guilt is widely known. But Jesse sees through the charade and in a random spot in the desert, he tells Walt that Hank has nothing real on him and that he doubts the rest of the DEA knows anything. But Walt still needs to do something to fizzle Jesse; the kid is live wire ready to blow. Jesse accuses Walt of trying to manipulate him by acting like a loving father when he really just wants him out of the picture, or perhaps Walt really wants Jesse dead. But a sage shape shifter always knows what to do in such situations, and in this one all Jesse really needs is a good hug.
Jesse agrees to take on a new identity and disappear. Saul arranges his entryway into the drug dealers witness protection program, but just as Jesse is about to say, "Later forever bitch," he has an epiphany. It's not 100 percent clear what it is that he realizes while fumbling with his pack of cigarettes and missing lighter, but Breaking Bad fans would come to the conclusion that it must have something to do with the notorious ricin cigarette. It's a light bulb moment, a really scary, oh shit, light bulb moment. We've been waiting for Jesse to figure it all out for a year!
Jesse barges into Saul's office on a rampage. How could Saul have been a part of the ricin/cigarette fiasco that Jesse thought caused little Brock's unexplained illness? Jesse has been like Droopy Dog thus far this season, seeing him flip the hell out is a nice change and kind of scary. Hell hath no fury like an Aaron Paul scorned.
The episode ends with Jesse on the warpath, dousing the Whites home in gasoline. And now things are starting to come together.
Seeing Walt twist and turn every little bit of information that he can is a marvel to witness. How can a person possible keep so many balls in the air while maintaining any sanity? Walt has been described multiple times as a monster, and after watching this episode it would be difficult to argue otherwise. But unlike a monster that you can identify because of its scales or horns or its ability to breath fire, Walt is the monster hiding under your bed. You try to tell people that it's really there and that it wants to kill you, but no one believes you because monsters aren't real. But they are wrong; you can feel this monster waiting for you to let your guard down for just that one second and then it will attack.
This is Walter White. But perhaps, he now has some monsters chasing him?