I suppose one of the biggest problems that comes with being a murderous drug lord with a faulty moral compass is that people expect you to be able to break the law at the drop of a hat, as if it were it's no big deal. Like, "Hey, Mr. Big Shot Heisenberg, you killed/hired hit men to kill a whole bunch of other people, what's one more? Throw another shrimp on the barbie, man. What's the big whoop?"
That's what poor, misunderstood Walter White is dealing with in this episode of Breaking Bad. If Jesse is the one thing standing between him and his freedom, what's so difficult about killing just one more guy?
Well, as we've seen throughout the run of the show, Walt's relationship with Jesse is the one thing that keeps him grounded in some sort of moral reality. He talks about his family like they are the most important people on the planet to him, but he really only tolerates his wife at this point and his children have no earthly idea who their father really is. He lies to them constantly. Even Junior knows this, and calls Walt out on it, asking his father to finally tell the truth (thinking that a faulty machine wasn't the reason for the smell in the Whites' house, but that Walt had actually passed out while pumping gas).
Jesse is the one person Walt needs to impress. To Jesse, Walt has always been "Mr. White," the chemistry teacher, the mentor, the one who gave him a chance when no one else would. The small part of Walt that still worries about whether or not he's a decent person is reflected in the way Jesse sees him. Walt believes that if only he could explain to Jesse why he had to poison Brock, Jesse would see the light and know that Walt was just doing what he had to do. He trusts that if he can get Jesse into the same room as him, where Jesse can look in his eyes, Jesse will have no choice but to believe whatever bullshit Walt is serving up that day. They have the second most codependent relationship on TV (after Scandal's Olivia and Fitz, of course).
I think it used to hold true that Jesse, in the past, would've bought whatever can of beans Walt tried to sell him, no questions asked. But since Mike disappeared and since Jesse miraculously figured out the truth about Brock, all bets are off. Walt "sent to Belize" the only other person ever to believe in Jesse, and he poisoned a small child. And thus, Walt has lost the respect of the one person whose opinion truly matters to him. (I mean, I guess he does want Junior's respect, but as their whole relationship is based on lies, how much does Walt respect Junior in return? Walt wants Junior to respect the perfect dad image Walt has tried to create.)
Now Jesse, the rabid dog, is on the loose, running around town, and Walt has to man up and take him down to preserve the house of lies he has built around himself. But what happens to Walt if Jesse does get "Old Yeller'ed" and Walt loses the one person keeping him tethered to some sense of morality? Is there a Walter White without Jesse Pinkman?
Bits and Bobs:
- Jesse says that he will now get Walt where he "really" lives. What do you think this means? And how will Jesse go about "getting" Walt there? I've honestly got nothing, so hit me with your predictions.
- Walt's lies are getting less and less believable. Even Junior is starting to notice when Walt is bullshitting him. That gasoline story was quite a yarn.
- Junior wanted to stay in a "good" hotel. He's really starting to get used to all that sweet, sweet car wash money.
- Line of the night, Saul edition: "I never should've let my dojo membership run out."
- We finally got the Hank/Jesse moment we were waiting for. Of course, Hank sees Jesse as a rabid dog as much as Saul does. Jesse's a person, you meanies!
- Line of the night, Marie's therapist edition: "How's work? Last week you were upset about the new parking rules."
- Walt tells Junior that nothing as pedestrian as lung cancer is going to take him down. This reminded me of the season finale of Grey's Anatomy (which I just watched yesterday, so it's fresh). Meredith mentioned a teacher she had in medical school who was larger than life. The teacher died randomly during a routine surgery. What if neither the cancer nor the Jesse/Hank tandem take down Walt? What if he trips and cracks his head open on a fire hydrant? (Maybe that's why the first shot of this episode was a fire hydrant. Foreshadowing.)
What did you think of this episode of Breaking Bad?
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