WARNING: SPOILERS spoilers SPOILERS spoilers SPOILERS!!!!
Forget the Olympians shown on tape delay Sunday night. “Breaking Bad” took the gold in the TV Olympics. If you’re wondering, AMC’s other show, reality series Small Town Security, failed to make the TV Olympics. That show is to TV what this 11-year-old girl is to National Anthem singers.
“Hazard Pay”, the third episode of “Breaking Bad”‘s fifth season, did not quite match the suspense of its predecessor, “Madrigal”, but it captivated nonetheless, in the way it moved the plot along. Mike is willing to do what it takes to keep his word. Skyler cracks up. And, well, Walt is Walt, the would-be meth kingpin, who never quite controls the chess pieces the way he would like.
Here are my thoughts on “Hazard Pay.” Check it!
A) I am still chewing on the ending where Walt tells Jesse that Victor died in the Season 4 premiere because he got too close to the sun. Jesse’s facial expression indicated he realized something from Walt’s comments, but what? It has to be something more than Walt is a raging egomaniac, right? I am left with questions. I need to see the ending again to determine what happened.
B) “Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!” Wouldn’t you have a nervous breakdown too if Marie was your sister? She just doesn’t know when to cork it. Then again, Skyler’s problems go beyond having an irritating thief of a sister. I predicted Skyler would go farther down the rabbit hole of crime. Instead, she is an absolute mess. Perhaps she has realized, unlike Walt, that she is in way, way over her head. It is also clear she feels powerless around Walt now. Hence, his move back into the house. The balance of power has shifted in their relationship.
C) Did Jesse break up with Andrea because he couldn’t bear to tell her the truth about his life or because he feared he would leave her life in ruins like he did Jane? The show implies the first option but perhaps there is something deeper with Jesse. Either way, he seems to yearn for a simpler, uncomplicated life. For instance, he offers to pay the difference of money owed Mike’s men out of his cut. That would have left him with less than $100,000 from the first batch, but would have ended the bickering between Mike and Walt. What’s driving Jesse at this point? Can he leave cooking meth behind to be in a relationship with Andrea? Will his past let him?
D) Not surprising that Jesse understood the business arrangement with Mike better than Walt, but still interesting. Walt is so petty that he wants to step on Mike’s territory and stomp him out … all to be king. Yet, without Mike, they have no access to the product they need to make the meth. Walt is incredibly short-sighted in that respect. He’s still angry at the world for not recognizing his greatness earlier in life.
E) Show creator Vince Gilligan has said this season the audience sees Walt become Scarface. And this week, we get to see Walt, rather gleefully, watching Scarface with Walt Jr. Perhaps that was a nod to what Gilligan said about Walt. But I took it as product placement, considering this upcoming week is Mob Week on AMC. Bravo to Walt Jr. for nailing the quintessential Tony Montana line, “Say hello to my little friend.”
F) How good is Gilligan? No one I know guessed Walt and Jesse would cook meth in houses being treated for bugs. That’s like picking a No. 16 seed to win your March Madness bracket and then having it happen. Or, more precisely, writing in a team that did not qualify for March Madness, and having them win the tournament. About the new meth “labs”: What happens if one of the families breaks the arrangement and comes back too soon? Could that happen at some point?
G) I was one satisfied ginger to see Landry from “Friday Night Lights” make a cameo on “Breaking Bad” this week. Or was it a cameo? His ability to spot the camera in the house Walt and Jesse cook in makes me think he might play a part in future episodes. Then again, maybe not. Either way, Jesse Plemons, the actor who played Landry, is having a better summer than his former “Friday Night Lights” costar Taylor Kitsch, who has two bombs “John Carter” and “Battleship” to his credit.
H) It was satisfying, as someone who doesn’t like the Marie character, to see Walt use Skyler’s infidelity to outsmart Marie, who had legitimate cause for concern about her sister. Marie’s character should be on the sideline at this point. How much do the viewers have to pay to see Mike end her life? Can we start a Kickstarter site?
I) Speaking of being on the sideline, Hank spent the entire episode off-screen. You’ve got to think he will resume the hunt for Gus Fring’s killer in Episode 4. I wonder if he will get another crack at Mike in the upcoming weeks. That would make for an interesting showdown – two immoveable objects coming to blows. Then again, isn’t this half of the final season setting up for a showdown between Mike and Walt? Or would that be too obvious?
J) The trailer for Episode 4 revealed the possibility for a brilliant Catch 22 situation to unfold. Lydia is seen being brought in for questioning. It will be interesting to see what she gives authorities. My guess is Mike will have to kill her at some point soon, but not before she tells him her source for the chemical to make the meth. She is not dedicated to the cause like Mike’s men.
K) Mike’s loyalty to his men is noble. It’s weird to say that about someone who killed one of his men in a previous episode, and damn near killed Lydia too. Jesse’s loyalty is also noble. Walt’s, on the other hand, is lacking. The show offers a cautionary tale of putting one’s loyalty in the wrong people, although sometimes there is no other way. Life is all about gray areas.
L) One more bit about Episode 4. Walt says in the trailer nothing will stop him, and then we see blood coming down his head while he shaves. Is that meant to imply his cancer has returned? Or that a little blood is not going to get in his way to the top?
M) So now we, the viewers, know why Walt spends his 52nd birthday alone at a diner. Or do we? It seems the birthday Walt would be celebrating would be his 51st, based on comments Gilligan made to Rolling Stone. Either way, that still does not explain why he has the assault weapons in the vehicle’s trunk. Oh, the intrigue!
N) Thanks again to Hollywood Theater in Portland for showing “Breaking Bad” each Sunday!