Monday, August 27, 2012

Breaking Down: Breaking Bad, Season Five, Episode Seven

"Say My Name" is a total shot to the gut. Heisenberg makes a deal with a new distributor as Mike executes his exit strategy. Mike's lawyer is caught red-handed by agent Gomez, endangering the anonymity of the operation. Walt thus scrambles to help Mike skip town, but changes his mind.

The Expendables 3 starring Jonathan Banks
Stan Earnest: This episode went places that I didn't even know Breaking Bad was capable of going to. All new levels of already skyscraper-tall heights is what keeps me on the edge of my seat and tap, tap, tapping my leg away wondering what happens next. Before we get to that, how much do you think AMC paid to say "god" followed by "damn?"

Craig Scholes: I don't think AMC has to. They are on late enough and aren't on a major network. South Park gets away with much worse. The really puzzling thing is, why does Netflix edit things?

SE: I just thought GD was off limits though. I know they will cut it later to just "damn". I mean, they already did in the weekly preview last week. I haven't the slightest clue why Netflix edits. I know I make darn sure my kids are in the family section when they select a movie to watch on it. Apparently, the birthday favor Skyler gives Walt in the very first episode is cut for some viewers.

CS: So are the titties in the first episode when Walt goes on the drug bust with Hank.

SE: Thankfully Ridley Scott isn't involved. Walt would be a cyborg with a jet pack.

CS: But that would still have its benefits. There would be aspects that would be very enjoyable. Hell, The Expendables 2 was terrible, but I loved every second of it.

SE: I'm fully sold on this season of Breaking Bad. At first, I was thinking it would have some Gus flashbacks and go over-the-top. But everything has played pretty straight forward. I think that is the key that has kept this season rolling. It's like a M. Night Shyamalan film without the curve ball, and it works.

CS: Without the curveball... so far. You are going to kill yourself when you find out that the goddamn trees that are allergic to water are responsible for the greater Albuquerque area meth pandemic.

SE: What pitch is left to throw is my question?

CS: I guess the only pitch left is the mythical Daisuke gyro ball.

SE: You know what pitch is left to throw? The darkest, nastiest, spit ball you have ever seen. You can see it coming a mile away, but it doesn't matter. Your still going to swing and miss. If Mike Ehrmantraut is forced away from his granddaughter in one of the most emotional scenes this show has ever produced and then left for dead at the hands of un-swallowed pride, where can Walt go? There is no redemption road here.

CS: So you are telling me Walt is going to kill Jesse?

SE: Something interesting of note is that Gilligan talked about the "industry" last week on the Insider podcast. He openly wondered if people come to Hollywood and the place turns them, or if the type of person it takes to make it that far already has that in them. We are all going to wonder, Gilligan included, if Walter White became a monster, or if he was a monster all along. Maybe there was no Mr. Chips. Maybe he was always Scarface.

CS: I would argue that Walt was always the monster. It’s the same thing when you have a dude who becomes a real asshole when he's drunk. He's already an asshole, but drinking gives him the courage to reveal it or at least the lack of giving a shit for how people see him.

SE: I do get tired of the talk about the show not being worthwhile because Walt is irredeemable. Of course Walt is irredeemable. That is the point. He goes up on the Mount Rushmore of irredeemable characters along with George Costanza and... Help me brother.

CS: King Joffrey on Game of Thrones, and fucking Lorie on the Walking Dead.

SE: I don't think anybody knows what they are truly capable of, good or bad. Thankfully, most of us aren't thrown into a situation where there is a newborn on the way and death is imminent. This is experimental TV. None of those aforementioned characters were the main theme of the show like Walter White. Some of us rooted for Walt at different points in the show, and boy are we ashamed now. If a writer can evoke those kind of feelings, that is good television. There was also talk of a well-known director blowing the final episode out into a full-feature, theater-release movie. What would that be like? The last 10 minutes of Scarface expounded over an hour-and-a-half?

CS: I could be talked into a Breaking Bad version of Serenity.

SE: I can be talked into Landry as Walt's new partner in crime. What a match made in hell.

CS: He's kind of an endearing idiot.

SE: Clear eyes. Full heart. Can't lose. Goooooooooo Team Meth!

CS: I love that basically every publication refers to Todd as Landry. If we can somehow get an Adrianne Palicki cameo where Landry is cooking meth to fund their baby I would lose my mind. In a good way.

SE: Please tell me, who was watching The Three Stooges meet up? They sure made it look like Gomez. That was a nice touch. Something unknown is always lingering.

CS: I missed that, I don't remember any Three Stooges in the episode.

SE: Larry, Moe, and Shemp hiding the methylamine. There was a guy hiding behind blinds watching them. He had the obligatory Breaking Bad facial hair as seen from a faint reflection. The writer's toyed with us. We see Gomez looking like he is about to reveal Heisenberg to Hank and then nothing, but we did get a giant Gomey grin. That was a slick move by the writers. I tip a Skyler wine glass to that. Her wine glasses are bigger than King Joffrey's chalices aren't they?

CS: Man, I need to go back to taking notes, I must have blacked out during that. I really don't remember that scene... at all.

SE: I have a note here that says, "Walt has the best and worst timing ever." He shows up at Hank's office just in time for him to gain knowledge that will inevitably lead to his safety, but about 737 more people will die.

CS: Aboard a 737 on the way to a Sandals resort?

SE: I feel like one day there will be an entire course at NYU film school dedicated to the last 5 minutes of this episode. The contrast of the clothes within the backdrop of the scene, the location, the cars kicking up dust, the intrigue as we follow Walt through the weeds, and the sound effects of an out-of-breath Walt, that is perfection.

CS: I love the line where Mike said, "Let me die in peace." What pisses me off though... Mike was holding a gun, and I don't think Walt shot him in the gut. Why wasn't there a second gun shot?

Let me die in peace, scumbag.
SE: That was interesting. There wasn't a second gun shot. Mike and Walt have the same sick relationship that Jesse and Walt have. They both respect each other, yet both want to be in charge of the other. I think Mike was done. He knew if he raised his gun Walt would fire again. In the weirdest way, I think he respects Walt and hates him also. He probably figures Walt can serve a better demise to himself than he ever could. Plus, if he leaves Walt dead, Jesse gets no money.

CS: It sucks that Mike couldn't ride off into the sunset, enjoying his retirement at a Sandals.

SE: The best line of the whole episode was, "I just realized I could have gotten the names from Lydia." It is a painful line. Ego and pride and everything that hides inside are no longer concealed. Walt realizes he isn't "himself" in that instant. He realizes that masterminds don't overlook details. Heisenberg is angry from years of having to listen to Walter White talk--and Boz Skaggs, for that matter--so he intentionally forgets things to enhance the action.

CS: I have a feeling Jesse is going to get fucked sideways with a cactus in the end. Not even the tough-as-a-three-dollar-steak Mike can withstand the wrath of Heisenberg. NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE!

SE: This brings us all back to the opening scene of the season. Would Heisenberg really be in hiding? Is he going to save Jesse from the other meth distributors? Does Lydia have a few tricks up her sleeve?

CS: I still think Walt will be protecting his family from someone. Or it just turns out that Walt is giving Flynn an M60 for his next birthday, tells him good luck firing this sumbitch. Then we get the inevitable character building episode where Walt builds his son a pair of bionic arms.

SE: There is no way that M60 is firing a bullet until Summer of 2013. If you would have told me that immediately after that scene, I would have tarred and feathered myself. But the way things are shaking out, I am now beginning to think the scene is going to stand out as one of the greatest mind-benders ever. It is unprecedented to show something like that, not give the payoff, leave the audience hanging, and have the audience enjoy what just happened. I bought the ticket. I am taking the ride.

CS: Perhaps Walt is going to use the M60 to take a Sandals resort under siege. Does Jamaica have extradition?

SE: If Walt does retire to a Sandals, is he the type that could then change again. Into a sandal-wearing, Hawaiian-shirt-sporting, potbellied beach bum, sipping pina coladas and slapping asses?

CS: Living the Jimmy Buffett life?

SE: Walt clinks daiquiri glasses with Milton from Office Space. End scene.
Boom. Yosted.


Josh Duggan said...

Deaths aside, the most significant thing that may have happened in this episode was the knowing, sympathetic glance between Jesse and Skyler at the car wash.

Also, there is no way that the Mike that Gilligan has built up throughout this series lets Walt get the jump on him in the climax. While the scene at the riverbank works well, the Mike we have been shown would never trust Walt to bring the bag to him, never not have a gun at the ready, and never expect Walt to do anything other than try to kill him.

Despite that, the outcome was completely telegraphed, which is fairly common on the show. I'm on the opposite side of the spectrum and am rarely surprised at anything that happens. Most of what I see is exactly what I expect to happen.

But I'm in the minority on that topic it would seem.

Shane England said...

My response to this comment would be that Mike could have killed Walt at any time and Walt could have killed Mike at anytime. If Walt had plenty of chances to kill Mike before and never did, Mike has to have some trust in Walt. The argument to that would be that Mike was always useful to Walter and at that moment he wouldn't be. I think the plot makes sense. Did Walter not just tip Mike off in the park via burner phone so that he wouldn't get busted. Walt also just made Mike $5 million in retirement. Why would he do that if he were going to kill Mike? There is some trust there, albeit skewed, sick, and twisted. The way I look at the relationship is that they both respected each others games, but I think it is reasonable to think that Walt would at least let an old man live.

The other part to the argument would be that Mike simply doesn't give a damn at this point. I see Mike different than most do. He has been more reckless than he has put off. In Season 4 he popped out of the back of the Pollos truck without a simple sweep to see who was there, and he did go into the chemical plant by himself for Chow. He is no different than Walt in living at the edge. Not only that, he has been had the jump on before when he got gunned down in Mexico, once again through a car window. The greatest thing about that scene was that Heisenberg turned into Walt afterwards, doing the Walt shuffle to chase Mike down and realizing he had acted carelessly out of rage. The mere fact that Walt had not planned on using the gun is proof enough that Walt didn't have the intention of killing Mike until Mike pissed him off.

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