Monday, July 30, 2012

Breaking Down: Breaking Bad, Season 5, Episode 3

 "Hazard Pay" brings us back to the beginning. Yet again, Walt and Jesse devise a scheme to cook methamphetamine. The operation nestles itself in bug infested territory while Team White and Pinkman get back to the good ole days, cuddling and drinking beer. The White family takes in a living room matinee of Scarface and the ongoing saga of Mike versus Walt continues to rear its collective bald head.

Walt & Jesse don patriotic garb at the 2012 Summer Olympics
Stan Earnest: First off, unpopular opinion alert, this is the best episode of Season Five so far. It has a little bit of everything. Walt is a complete mastermind, and he knows it, which causes problems for other people and makes for great television.

Craig Scholes: It’s definitely better than the first episode, but I think last week's was a little better. It’s definitely starting to pick up.

SE: You know Vince and Co. were scouring the internet to figure out what a semi-intelligent-but-under-funded meth lab operation ran like. They have a penchant for real world ideas; I want to find the internet news article for the real life Vamonos Pest. And how many upstart bands are going to name themselves Vamonos Pest? I'll set the over/under at 53. I'm taking the over.

CS: Not gonna lie, I think the mobile bug tent meth lab is freaking brilliant, and, of course, Skinny Pete can shred on the keys.

SE: Badger is so avante-garde.

Whoop whoop, sound the alarm, man battle stations. We have a television series faux pas: solid character from another solid television show (Friday Night Lights) popping up as a new random dude. I'm calling it right now: that guy is an informant.

CS: HOW DARE YOU! Snitches get stitches, and Landry ain't no snitch.

Badger, is a horrible guitar player, combined with a horrible guitar, and a horrible guitar sound. Badger is the inverse of Jack White.

SE: He is like Jimmy Page if Jimmy Page lived in suburban America, practiced five minutes a day, and fashioned his interests after The Offspring.

CS: First you take a shot at Landry, now you are taking a shot at the Offspring; sir, you are teetering on fragile ground.

"Senor Badger, power chords are for Miller 64 drinkers"
SE: I'm just channeling what I would be like if I succumbed to advertising and drank a Miller 64. Dear Miller, your ads are great... if I was 22, hated my job, and didn't know what good beer was supposed to taste like. But, hey, whatever foots the Breaking Bad bill.

CS: Don't forget the token Scarface clip to bring in Mob Week.

SE: I can not believe Gilligan went ahead and threw it in an episode. At first I thought it was absurd and then I realized how genius it is for Walt to reminisce about that movie with Junior, sequester him to the dark side. Second unpopular opinion alert, I'm not a big Scarface fan. There is a lot of dead air in that movie before the big finish. It's good, it just isn't Casino good or Goodfellas good. I can't wait to see what line Walt uses with his Rambo gun. Any guesses?

CS: You know why you aren't a Scarface fan? Because that movie fucking sucks.

SE: But Walt will likely be shooting at fans of Scarface! I hope he screams, “Lung cancer saved my life!”

CS: I have a sneaking suspicion the Rambo gun situation will be similar to Walt watching a guy on a roof with binoculars, which will kind of be a bummer. I fully expected Skyler to lose her mind about the baby and Walt Jr. watching Scarface.

SE: Walt is at the top of his game controlling Skyler through Marie. He spun Marie a few times in the meth lab laundry and hung her out to dry in the desert sun.

CS: Totally, this whole episode is about remembering good guy Walt and then twisting that theme to focus on where Walt is now. He totally mind-fucks Marie, and you remember, oh wait, Walt is a selfish piece of shit. Walt also mind-fucked Jesse with the “atta boy” speech.

SE: Back to advertisements, I love how in the AMC ads they make it clear that the shows are available on cable and satellite, but, "not available on Dish." We are getting Total Recall-ed by AMC. My new favorite thing is to talk to my buddies that are Breaking Bad fans that have Dish and are seeking shelter elsewhere, and inform them that the "second half" of Season Five doesn't start 'til Summer of 2013. The look of horror on their faces is priceless. I truly am a sadist.

CS: I know the feeling, I sent a Dish-subscribing friend the same text I sent you that just said "LANDRY." He proceeded to flood me with a ton of questions and then told me to stop teasing him.

SE: Oh no, Walter White is rubbing off on us. So I've noticed a couple of--what should have been obvious-- things about the first few episodes. The show is looking at Walter White in a whole new way. Instead of getting a glimpse into what Walt is doing the whole time, sometimes the viewer gets the back of his head or just an arm. There is this move towards not showing exactly what Walter is up to at all times, which started with the Lily of the Valley last season. I have a feeling we are going to find out Walt has been awful busy doing dirty work behind the scenes by Episode Seven or Eight. Mike or Hank will find themselves in a precarious situation, and we will be thrown off scent, but it will be Walter pulling the strings.

CS: If this holds true, perhaps Walt will be getting too close to the sun himself.

SE: You know, I really enjoyed the throwback to early Breaking Bad though. Walt and Jesse have to configure their operation from scratch once again. Saul is rock steady. We even get some porno music while Walt and Jesse do their thing to some hi-tech camera work. Perverse and sublime married once and for all.

CS: At any point do you think Mike and Walt won't absolutely hate each other, or is this relationship going to spin completely out of control? The tension between those two is utterly palpable. First Walt essentially vetoes a vote in the car. Then it gets touch and go again when they attempt to split up the money. Mike is going to kick the shit out of Walt again.

SE: Here is the deal with Mike and Walt, one would think they could have it out, come to an understanding, and move on, but that isn't happening because of what has transpired in the past, with Walt getting cock-knocked by Mike at the local watering hole and then eventually coming out on top. Mike had his chance to join Team White a long time ago and denied it. I will say this, Walt has every right to question Mike's handling of the money. How does he know that Mike isn't extorting him? Besides that point, what does Walt care about the men that had their hazard pay yanked? I can definitely see where Walt doesn't think that is his problem.

CS: The funny thing to me is that those guys hate each other so much that they will never be able to have a true conversation about it. Mike just tells him, “Deal with it.” And Walt has this desire to attack anything he doesn't have more than a basic knowledge of. Jesse is going to get an inadvertent butt fucking from those two. Walt, of all people, should have had a grasp on the knowledge that they are making less total, but a higher percent.

SE: Mike is not a man of words, and that helps him in almost every situation, except with Walt. Walt needs to be informed. At this point, he needs to know every nook and cranny of Gus's operation to keep his flight above the clouds. Mike really needs to just put the bitch slap on Walt and tell him how much respect he owes for saving him from the Salamanca twins that were carpet bagging his bedroom.

CS: I guess that is the core of it: Walt really doesn't know as much as he thinks he does, and it shouldn't be that hard for him to realize that his actions will cost him in the future. That, after all, is the very definition of consequence. If Mike's guys start ratting, eventually his ass is going down.

SE: Ever notice that Mike looks a helluva lot like Walt if they were both done up by a sketch artist? If Mike was pinned as Heisenberg, would he rat Walt out?

CS: I don't think Mike would rat on anyone, except for Walt. Mike has no reason not to. He flat out doesn't like the guy, and if Mike ever gets locked up, Walt will be the reason anyhow.

SE: Getting Brock and Walt in the same room was textbook drama. Walt is such a bastard, you know he looks at Brock loafing and playing games on his phone and just thinks, "Loose end."

CS: How did Walt slip Brock the flower? Because I could have sworn Brock shot Walt a look where he was thinking, “Hey, I've seen you before.”

Uncle Tio, in the nursing home, with the bell
SE: I got that vibe too. My guess is Saul, with a Snickers bar, in the family room. Fun fact: Mrs. White was a character in the board game Clue.

CS: Fun Fact: Skyler is losing her fucking mind, and she looks like haggard dog shit too.

SE: Somebody had to tell Marie to shut up.

CS: I've been telling her to for five years, apparently she couldn't hear me.

SE: So we both kind of thought like Walt about why Victor was offed. The problem is Walt is right, but he is wrong too. Victor was seen at the scene of the crime and Walt doesn't know this, but he is in Gus's Italian leather shoes now, and Mike's days are numbered. It is going to be interesting to see how Jesse takes being an employee of Walt's when Mike gets some ricin in his Ensure.

CS: Walt is probably going to be given the ricin in a competition of wits versus a Sicilian.

SE: How great would it be if Walt accidentally ricins himself to end the show?

CS: I don't see how Walt, who pays so much attention to everything, could accidentally do that though. I can see someone finding out that Walt has it, then tricking him into giving it to himself, but I don't think any accidents would be involved.

SE: Maybe the ricin finally gets used by Jesse on Walt and the last scene is a lengthy Jesse monologue about the dastardly life of Walter White while he is slowing dying, and Jesse becomes the new king of thrones.

CS: What if Skyler finds it on accident, then gives it to Walt?

SE: It is fun how Breaking Bad has gone from Walt and Jesse painting themselves into corners and then finding the escape hatch at the last second to them controlling their own fate. The magnet heist wasn't needed for the encrypted laptop, but the reveal of the bank accounts actually helped them out this time. Otherwise, Mike wouldn't be a part of the team.

CS: It’s amazing, the more you break bad the better you get at it.


WordyG said...

The scene where Walt was chillin' with little Brock on the couch was creepy. I didn't know if Walt was going to lean over and eat him in one bite, or if his growing sense of importance was pushing him to tell the kid he was sitting next to the man who almost killed him? Plus, the meth lab blue prints rolled up in his hands looked like a giant version of the ricin cigarette. And did you notice the Three Stooges (I think? I'd have to go back and look for sure, but it was some slapstick bs) playing in the background post-cook when he and Jesse were enjoying Miller time at the bug house. Just as Walt further mind fucks Jesse with some unasked advice about relationships, one of the stooges yanks a ladder out from underneath another. Nice and subtle.

Shane England said...

Gilligan is always pulling stunts like this. I feel like it is somewhat of a tribute to the background television scenes of Pulp Fiction. It definitely adds subtle elements that couldn't otherwise be fit in.

One thing I missed in the 2nd episode was the contrast of the kitchen to the super lab. The German scientists where orchestrating new flavors in a pristine kitchen much in the same way the super lab was ran.

Shane England said...

I also think that the 3 Stooges scene was further proof of how off of his rocker Walt is and will further become. They are just chilling in a nice house where they are leaving remnants of lab work behind, spreading DNA and fingerprints everywhere, while probably lifting beer from the fridge. Mike preached to halt the theft, and there Jesse and Walt are stealing beer, all while the 3 Stooges plays in the background. The 3 Stooges: Mike, Walt, and Jesse.

Josh Duggan said...

The beer was from a small cooler that was on the floor roughly five feet from the couch.

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