Monday, August 6, 2012

Breaking Down: Breaking Bad, Season Five, Episode Four

"Fifty-One" brings the annual Walter White evaluation. Breakfast with Junior? Check. Pontiac Aztek sighting? Check. Walter threatening Skyler to crawl out of his ass? Check. Things change, but in some ways they stay the same. Walter is still evading his DEA brother-in-law, clamoring for Jesse's affection, and trying to sway his son to the dark side, albeit about 50 shades of black darker than Walt's 50th bacon birthday plate. Lydia tries to make her escape from underneath Mike's heavy boot through a ruse, while Skyler succumbs to becoming sticky glue under Walt's loafers. All of the action is directed by Brick, The Brothers Bloom, and Looper auteur Rian Johnson.

Sail swiftly into the mystic Pontiac Aztek, your old soul will be missed.
Stan Earnest: Thirty minutes before the show I sent a text begging for an Aztek return, tell me I didn't call that!

Craig Scholes: Yeah... that car should finally be dead now though. You didn't get your Gus flashback though, but you did get to see a picture of him.

SE: Do you think his mechanic was pulling a Beneke: beating around the bush for a little extra cash?

CS: I don’t think so.

SE: He was being a little ballsy with the talk around Junior, but I think Walt wants that. Walt wants his son to know he is a bad ass and doesn't have to bow down to others like he thought he did for 50 years. And you have to love the wink from Gilligan as the mechanic says, "At least we didn't have to fix the windshield this time."

CS: I got a little bit o’ a chuckle from that. I would have preferred if the mechanic just said, “We couldn't fix it,” and the thing was still mangled, all googly-eyed in the corner of his lot.

SE: Come on man, the Aztek can’t go out with a whimper. The distorted shot of Heisenberg in the rear view was a nice touch. I am not a car guy; tell me what Walt is now driving.

CS: A Chrysler 300, they look very much like a Bentley.

SE: I've seen a thousand of them, but that isn't what they normally look like right?

CS: It’s blacked out. It’s probably not a stock model. Clearly Flynn wanted that Challenger too.

SE: So Chrysler enjoys paying the cheddar for the advertising, but I don't blame Breaking Bad for a second for taking it. As utterly complete and tight-fitting their plots may be, they still pale in comparison to the views The Walking Dead gets. And the car fits the script: it looks like it costs a couple hundred grand until a closer inspection reveals the patented plastic grill.

CS: The only problem I have is, that not in a hundred years could any rational human argue that a Chrysler 300 is a better car than that Challenger SRT.

Daniel Day Lewis drinks your milkshake, Walt eats your bacon.
SE: No human shall ever argue that. I can't wait to see what car Walt decides to drive when he kills half of Albuquerque and moves to Jamaica.

CS: Walt goes on and on about how horsepower isn't the only factor, that drag and suspension are to be accounted for also, nevermind-ing that the Chrysler 300 is one of the heavier cars on the market.

SE: You are talking about the same guy that argued the merits of Boz Scaggs, remember?

CS: Fair point. Walt doesn't seem like the lease type.

SE: Walt is most definitively not a lease guy, and Hank should know this. Walt buys things and keeps them for a half-century and takes pride in repairing them, keeping old things new. Heisenberg loves leases. He loves to lease cars and return them thrashed, hooker saliva still dripping from the dashboard.

CS: How long before Heisenberg starts bringing meth whores home to bang in front of his practically comatose wife?

SE: We are boldly going where...this episode took us. This is a dark, dark episode. It isn't pretty. I am sure a lot of the more excitable fans will have their tighty-whities twisted at the slowness of this episode following the renewed wrecking crew of Walt and Jesse, but I am here to defend this episode. This is reality. If all of the previous episodes had really happened, the screenwriters know what follows. I like how Walter and Skyler swap barbs like a true romantic couple.

CS: That, and Skyler has a real Cameron Frye moment too.

SE: Did that follow the wrecked car commercial where the kid says, "My dad is going to kill me," a la Ferris Bueller's Day Off? If so, that is phenomenal. By the way, I heard a rumor that Matthew Broderick and John Cusack turned down the role of a 40-year-old Walter White; and, thus, Vince Gilligan lobbied for Cranston and rewrote it as a 50-year-old.

CS: Broderick would have been HORRIBLE. Cusack might have been okay, but it would have been a different show. I don't think Broderick has it in him to play a dark character, at least not a Walter-White-type of dark character.

SE: Cusack could have totally done it, but no way I would want anyone other than Cranston. I don't even want to think about it. He is taking super creepy to all new levels. And I can't picture Broderick as anyone other than Abe Froman. Ever wonder what Ferris Bueller's would be like as a coming-of-age indie rom-com?

CS: With Hank getting promoted, the Heisenberg case could really get pushed aside.

SE: Hank does NOT want that job.

CS: I dunno. I think he wants the job, but he wants to finish the Heisenberg case first.

SE: Yeah, that is it, totally. I've heard so many stories about cops that get tangled in cases, intertwining them with their lives and neglecting their families. Hank needs some blue meth to keep up with the Heisenberg case.

CS: Hell, I got sent home early the other day and didn't want to go until I wrapped up what I was doing. Not really the same, but humans have a desire to have closure.

SE: Not to mention our one-track minds. Curiosity didn't kill the cat, tenacity did. Nothing bothers me more than not being able to figure out what is wrong with my computer at any given time.

So clearly it is hinted that the Gus-to-Germany connection doesn't make sense, that something is in between. Couple the Chile connection with Skyler being adamant that her family is in danger and some somewhat-under-the-radar foreshadowing is taking place. Walt's family is in complete danger. I can't decide if he is just mentally blocking this out of his mind or if he is just such a scumbag that he doesn't care.

CS: Oh, he doesn't care. At this point, Walt is in it for Number One. He doesn't care what is good for his family; he only wants his cake and to eat it too.

SE: It is like when you hear a tornado siren. When I was single, I would just sleep those suckers off, but with a family a plan has to be made ahead of time, packing a bag with shoes and flashlights and water and fruit snacks at the top of the stairs, and then gathering everyone up and heading to the storm room at 1:00 a.m. The siren is going off, and Walt is asking his family to ignore it.

The only problem I have with Season Five so far is that--well, it isn't moving too slowly for enjoyment--it is moving too slow for a proper pay-off before the big bang that won't come until Summer of 2013. The wait is so going to suck.

CS: I kinda think the show is following the same format of the previous seasons, but it's just prorating it out over 16 episodes instead of 13 episodes. Shit is about to hit the fan.

SE: Well, we know something fun is about to happen, because they need methylamine. You know what time it is? CAPER TIME! And I ain't talking about those delicious little peas that are great on aged ham. I am talking about Walt and Jesse in fuzzball ski masks heisting a rail car full of methylamine.

CS: Too predictable. That bitch is going to get got, too. I have a feeling Mike kills her anyway. I also think Skyler might off herself. Hell, Walt might kill her.

SE: I don't wonder if Walt hatched a plan to put Lydia away by thieving all of her methylamine and putting her in a precarious situation. But, you did notice the cameras the facility had. Speaking of which, shows like Dexter and Breaking Bad are soon going to be obsolete. Cameras are cheap and they are everywhere. If you are doing something illegal, and you don't have anyone on the inside, you are normally on film somewhere waiting to be got. The public may have to give up a lot of privacy, but it might save them from the rampage Aztek.

CS: Breaking Bad is helped out by the show taking place five years ago. I think it's impossible to have surveillance on everything though, and how much longer before everyone has those Batman camera deactivators.

SE: Who needs them when Mike has wasp spray?

Now that I think about it, Skyler dying would leave Walt to complete free reign, but we cannot underestimate umpteen years of marriage. I believe Walt is still faithful in a lot of ways and knows he has caused this. I think Skyler dies, but not at the hands of Walt. Then we get rampage Walt.

CS: For someone who allegedly cares about his wife, he is sure putting her through the ringer, essentially torturing her. That breakfast scene was awkward.

Shoppers are falling off lab vats to get this limited edition watch.
SE: How about the gift from Jesse? The writers don't miss a chance to drive a point home. That thing ticks and clacks, isn’t stylish--at least not in Walt's vein--and has only one purpose, not to mention watches in general are basically obsolete with the advent of modern cell phone usage, but Walt loves it. He loves that he is being respected. It is in stark contrast with that calculator watch he was rocking out in Season Three.

CS: Oh yeah, and what Walt loved even more was being able to throw it in Skyler’s face. “You think you hate me? This dude stuck a gun in my face, and now he is buying me bling.” I really want to buy myself a swank watch.

SE: We are really programmed to consume aren’t we? I want one too, but it is the most asinine purchase ever. It weighs the wrist down, annoying any movement. It has no purpose, except for looking cool, and when I see someone with one, I just think, “Man, don’t you have a cell phone in your pocket that does more with time than that costly hunk of jewelry?”

CS: I just think watches are classy. It’s really no different than a woman wearing diamonds. I would never have an ear ring or slick my hair, and I’m not talking Rolex (those things are fucking tacky), but something like a Tag Heuer would be nice.

SE: Who are you trying to be? Eli Manning? Are you timing your stop at the rail station? Well, I had a Rambo knife when I was a kid, and I would love to wear one now too, at least that has its uses.

That line to Skyler was uncanny. I really thought Walt was going to just wave the gift in front of her to show her someone else cares about him, but he takes it to another plane, further driving home the message that life is fragile. "Hey Skyler, I know you are scared half to death, and just pulled a Benjamin Braddock on me, but hey, I've had a gun pointed to my head! Can you imagine what it is like to have a gun pointed to your head? What a rush! We should try some role playing with that scenario. You know, Hank and Marie told me role playing saved their marriage..."

CS: I have a feeling Marie is the dominant one in the bedroom, Hank dressed as a french maid, with Marie pegging him.


Josh Duggan said...

So little mention of Rian Johnson? Que pasan, amigos?

Shane England said...

I am not a cultured cosmonaut of the cinematic atmosphere, but mere fire-breathing Breaking Bad heathen.

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