On a week to week, episdoe to episode basis, I don’t think there is any doubt that Breaking Bad is a show about men. The decisions they make and the consequences of those decisions. Think about all the things that have happened to these characters over the last 16 months or so. Think about how many times Walt has been in danger of losing his life. How many times Jesse has almost been arrested. What happened in the parking lot to Hank. Jane. Brock. Jane’s father and the passengers on Wayfarer 515. All because Walter White decided to start cooking meth.
I put that forward because of what we were presented with this week. This week the episode was about the women in the world of Breaking Bad (Hank still played a fairly large part of the episode). Buried was about how the women in Walt’s world react to the actions of Walter. What is Skyler going to do now that Hank knows (even if she is unclear what Hank actually knows)? How is Marie going to react when she figures out the involvement of her sister (it really seems like Marie knows a lot more than her DEA ASAC husband, doesn’t it)? And how is Lydia going to handle her Heisenberg retirement problem?
I’d actually like to start with Lydia and her beautiful black Louboutin’s. We were introduced to Lydia in a strange place in her life. When we meet her in season 5A, Gus Fring has just been killed, and the flow of meth and money has stopped, leaving Lydia to figure out “what’s next?” And while her reaction isn’t pleasing to Mike, is it the only reaction she could have had? But here, many months later, we see a more in charge Lydia. She’s still a little antsy and always on edge, but she has much more control now. She has a new problem, a purity problem, and after trying to get Walt back in the game, she knows her next best bet is to get a pupil of Walt cooking. She even attempts to play nice, asking Declan to bring Todd back in to cook with Walt’s recipe. But when Declan refuses, she has no choice but to let the sands of New Mexico match the bottom of her Louboutin’s.
This scene tells us a few interesting things in my mind. It first tells us that we were all incorrect in our assumpition from episode 509 that Todd was the one cooking the low quality meth. And looking forward, I think this situation might also tell us that at some point in the near future, Walt is going to be very sorry he didn’t listen to Mike and let him send her to Belize.
Hank’s desparation also led to one of the best and most intense diner scenes in all of TV (mirrored with the hilarious diner scene in season 5A between Mike and Lydia). Hank is grasping at straws and hoping to confuse Skyler into giving him all the info he doesn’t have, but he doesn’t know Skyler. He doesn’t see how smart she is, and he obviously doesn’t know how deeply she is invovled with Walt’s business. And unless and until Skyler knows exactly what Hank knows, she is not going to talk, and causes a scene to get herself out of a no-win situation (was anyone else reminded of the “shut up” scene with Skyler’s “am I under arrest”).
Then, back at the White house, Hank pulls a smart move and sends in Marie to appeal to her sister and try to get her to rat out Walt for his misdeeds. This again, doesn’t go as Hank had to have hoped or planned, but for interesting reasons. Marie, in those 5 minutes, puts together more of the timeline and Skyler’s involvment (and Walt’s) than Hank has to date.
Marie knows that it is because of Walt that Hank has been through what he’s been through (shooting Tuco, PTSD, the cousins), even if Hank doesn’t. They both realize that as soon as Hank tells Gomie, his career is over (just as ASAC Merkert’s was with Gus). But I’m not sure either has realized that there could be more problems ahead for them if Hank turns in Walt. It was the ill gotten gains of Heisenberg’s criminal enterprise that paid for Hank’s physical therapy after he was shot by the cousins (I’m not positive if Hank knows that, but Marie does), and I find it hard to believe that would sit too well with the DEA. So if Hank does what he is trying to do, is there any chance that Hank could wind up in a cell right next to Walt? Just a thought.
Ah Jesse…These are dark times indeed for Pinkman. We got absolutely no sound from Jesse this week, but we were still told everything we need to know about his state of mind. This is a man living with guilt that he can’t bear the burden of. Think about all the things Jesse has seen, and Jesse has done, then consider there are things that have concerned him, through Mr. White, that he doesn’t even know about (Jane and Brock). Just as Walt should have listened to Mike about Lydia, he was also the voice of reason for Jesse, who should have listened to Mike, and gotten as far away, as fast as possible, from Mr. White. Instead, he’s at the bottom, with no regard for himself, and certainly non for Mr. White, so who knows where Jesse goes from here…
Couple more quick thoughts–
- Marie’s love for petty theft almost worked out for the best for baby Holly. But Hank was right to tell her she couldn’t take the baby, even if it’s for the best.
- After we got a Godfather reference last week, looks like maybe we got a LOST reference this week, with Walt muttering those numbers to himself, much like Hurley used to.
- There has been much discussion about the diner scene with Hank and Skyler and how she could have talked if she wanted to, and right there in that diner, she could have. But, and my memory from Family Law and the bar exam is a little hazy, she couldn’t actually testify against Walt unless Walt waived the marital privilege, correct?