Warning: Do not read if you haven’t seen Breaking Bad Season 5, Episode 3 – “Hazard Pay”.
“Just because you shot Jesse James don’t make you Jesse James.” – Mike
One thing Breaking Bad has always been brilliant at is creating palpable tension in the opening half of their seasons and building it until the eventual climax. This season the effect is amplified thanks to the knowledge that we are nearing the end. Previously we’ve felt safe knowing there were subsequent seasons to protect the characters we love from meeting their eventual end, but now there is no such insurance. Not everyone is going to make it out of this alive and certainly no one is going to be whole again, no matter what Mike says.
Only three episodes in and everything is so precarious a light wind could knock it all down. Walt would be wise to listen to his own warnings. He related the tale of Icarus to Jesse in relation to Victor getting his throat slit. Victor had shown his hand, he could cook on his own; he was flying too close to the sun and needed to be shown he was dispensable, so he was. Walt’s intention with this story was to plant in Jesse’s head the idea that perhaps Mike was taking a few too many liberties and isn’t he dispensable too? Well no, Walt, he’s not. You are. Jesse proved in Mexico that he can cook on his own, Mike clearly knows how to run the business end and he’s always trusted Jesse much more than Walt. Walt better take off his ego blinders quick, because he’s heading straight into the sun.
Walt’s attempt at manipulation didn’t work in regards to Mike, but he’s still exercising a disgusting amount of control over Jesse’s life. I’d like to believe it was his conscious that caused him to talk Jesse into breaking up with Andrea. Perhaps sitting next to Brock wasn’t something he wanted to repeat. However, he’s too far gone for that. No, he is once again only looking out for himself. Not only is it dangerous if Andrea finds out about their operation, the more she and Brock are around, the more likely the poisoning will be discovered. Since it was clear Brock didn’t recognize Walt, he must have had someone else do the actual poisoning and that pool of candidates is pretty shallow. It’s only a matter of time before Brock sees someone he recognizes and the whole lie unravels.
But even with Brock and Andrea gone (for now), it looks like Jesse’s rose colored glasses are starting to clear. Each time Walt shows his greed and need for absolute power, Jesse is noticing. Walt still sees Jesse as the failing chemistry student, but in the past year Jesse has learned a lot. He has matured and grown and he’s seen enough to recognize evil when it’s sitting next to him watching The Three Stooges. Perhaps it won’t be too long before Jesse figures out who the dispensable one is in this equation.
Or maybe he should just go talk to Skyler because her rose colored glasses have been rolled over by a tank and crushed into dust. She is quite literally trapped; terrified of her husband but even more terrified to kick him out. She’s waking up to gunshots and the fact it’s a movie is no solace. Scarface is in her living room, holding her daughter and commenting that, “everyone dies in this movie, don’t they?” Very reassuring.
It’s hard to tell if Walt is deliberately terrorizing his wife or if he truly is oblivious to her fear. Prior to this week I was leaning towards oblivious, but after Marie told him about Skyler’s meltdown his cold, calculated disclosure of Skyler’s affair proved he knows exactly what he’s doing. He showed no compassion towards his wife and continued to protect only himself, rather than the family he’s supposedly doing all this for.
Walt’s newest tactic may be all about self-preservation, but he’s going at it in the entirely wrong way. There are a handful of people who could destroy his whole life and these are the people he antagonizes. Apparently no one told him you catch more flies with honey. Good thing he’s gotten into the pest control business, maybe someone can pass that along.
– Devin Mainville