Breaking Bad 4.4 – My Star, My Perfect Silence

Tonight’s episode opened with a major shoot-‘em-up sequence, offering further proof that what other gunmen need a hail of gunfire to accomplish, Mike only requires one or two well-placed bullets. What can you say? Dude’s a badass, and now being in possession of a slightly damaged right ear doesn’t change that one bit. The only question left by this scene was, who was doing the shooting? Or am I already supposed to know that?

It’s 3:01 AM, and Skyler’s having a restless night’s sleep. Why? Is it because her mind is filled with ideas on how to take advantage of this new business situation in which she’s found herself? No, it’s because she’s so concerned about the web of lies that she’s involved in spinning and wants to be damned sure she can cover her ass at every turn. Take, for instance, the story she told Marie about how Walt made all of these ill-begotten gains through gambling: time to back that up with making Walt attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings and display a mastery of Blackjack. Unfortunately, in addition to his consistent refusal to concede that he’s wrong about anything ever, Walt seems to be getting a trifle annoyed with Skyler’s continual attempts to maintain the reigns of command…though in fairness, it’s hard to imagine anyone not getting annoyed with Skyler, giving how anal she’s being about following the incredible in-depth script she’s composed for the impending fake admission to Hank about Walt’s gambling and the buying of the car wash. Great scene in principle, but it went on so long, with Skyler getting so increasingly specific with her plan, that it’s hard to imagine anyone making it to the end without thinking at least once, “There’s no way everything’s going to go according to plan.” And it didn’t…though it wasn’t because of the script. (Again, a classic case of “Breaking Bad” zigging when any other show would’ve zagged.)

Time for a family dinner at Hank and Marie’s place, and if we hadn’t seen their relationship slowly disintegrating over the past several episodes, it would be easy enough to believe that everything was normal between the two of them. Boy, Hank really got annoyed when Walt unintentionally showed him up by displaying a superior knowledge of rocks…sorry, I meant minerals. Things quickly got heart-pounding, however, when Hank broke out the DVD of Gale singing Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom.” Under normal circumstances, it would’ve been hilarious, but it was hard to laugh knowing how horrified Walt was…so horrified, in fact, that he totally went off-script when they made their great revelation (and you could see that it threw Skyler a bit), excusing himself and running to the restroom. Of course, where he really went was to rifle through Hank’s files. Although he didn’t get busted, Walt did encounter Hank in the hallway, who, bless him, used the moment to remind him that he’s there and, most importantly, that he’s not going anywhere. Yep, looks like the return to work has reinvigorated his spirit. But, damn, it sure felt despicable when Walt’s response was to basically play Hank and get him to show him all of the files. Hell of a scene, though, especially with the funny revelation that Gale was a Walt Whitman aficionado…but that doesn’t mean that W.W. was definitely referring to Mr. Whitman, of course.

Petrified at the thought that Jesse might get caught as a result of having left fingerprints at Gale’s place, Walt rushes over to warn him, only to discover what a rathole Casa de Pinkman has become over the past several…days? Weeks? I’m not quite sure, to be honest. But it’s not terribly relevant at the moment, so let’s move on. However long it’s been, it’s still not long enough for Jesse to want to mentally revisit the event that sent him into denial in the first place, which makes it easily worth $100 to get Walt the hell out of his place. Now that the topic of the casing has been brought up, it makes me wonder if Walt’s onto something…but, again, this is “Breaking Bad,” so I just can’t imagine that they’ll go down that route, as it’s something we’d expect. Still, Walt immediately goes to Saul to see if he’s got any suggestions on how to handle the situation, who tells him not worry, but there’s so much to worry about that Walt can’t possibly accept this as a viable option. Saul eventually concedes, “You do have a little shit-creek action happening,” then mentions that there is a fallback position with a “disappearer.” I can’t see Walt ever disappearing, but I can picture him thinking that’s his only alternative. We’ll see if he takes Saul up on the plan.

Jumping back to Jesse’s pad, I knew the moment we saw the lucid eyes of the guy on the couch, Jesse’s money wasn’t long for the world. I did not, however, expect such a total and utter lack of initial reaction from Jesse, nor did I expect that Mike and Gus’s new associate would turn up, having retrieved the money and tied up, gagged, and blindfolded the gentleman who swiped it. Mike may be right in his threat that Jesse’s on this ice, but it’s growing increasingly clear that Jesse would be quite happy if someone put him out of his psychological misery. Cue the visit to one G. Fring – good to see you onscreen again, Mr. Esposito – but we’re left wondering if Gus has given Mike the go-ahead to take down Jesse, or if he’s just driving him somewhere to get him the hell out of ABQ.

Either’s possible. We’ll see what happens next week, I reckon.

Random closing comments:

* As Walt flipped through Gale’s files, I don’t know which was funnier to see: the “Far Side” comic or the Ron Paul sticker.
* Another one of those tiny but perfect Walt moments: when he corrected Hank’s pronunciation of the word “learned.”
* “Goes after him how? On his Rascal scooter? That, uh, perhaps sounded a bit insensitive…” BWA-HA-HA-HA!
* Also funny: Saul casually querying, “My name never comes up with those guys, does it?”
* The way Walt observed the camera following Jesse, thereby leaving him unwatched, I wonder what plan he’s concocting…


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