Breaking Bad: Business Time

Breaking Bad S05E03: "Hazard Pay"

For the writers of Breaking Bad, part of the fun of making a show about the illegal manufacturing of meth (beside the throat cutting, ATM head-crushing, and wheelchair exploding) is plotting out how they would do it if they were a drug kingpin. And in "Hazard Pay," the writers had a blast.

If "Live Free Or Die" was cleaning up loose ends so they could start business, and "Madrigal" was figuring out a way to get Mike on board so they could start business, then "Hazard Play" was getting down to business. There's no doubt that the team's quest to find a new cook site dragged on a little long, but there's also no doubt that it was a fascinating adventure that spanned box-making companies, tortillerias with bonus perks, and Saul's favorite pastime... LAZER TAG.

But again it was Walter's brilliance and ingenuity that provided a solution to their problems, and the door to their new business model would be opened by cockroaches. The idea of using regular neighborhood houses that are being fumigated as temporary meth kitchens is insane, but as the episode progressed, it started to make a whole lot more sense, didn't it? No one is going to enter that circus tent of death, any weird noises and smells will be associated with the sounds of bugs screaming for their maker to take them away, and the driving time that Walter saves from being centrally located instead of out in the desert will save on gas money and keep the wear and tear on the Aztec down. Those perks aside, the best advantage from house-hopping is the mobility of it all. No stationary meth lab, no tracks constantly left behind, no place for the good guys to stakeout. When you're done with one cook, you're done with the place. Poof! Gone.

The only problem with this system is trust. Last week I talked about how the hardest part of building a drug empire is taking on others that might not be "solid." The fine employees of Vamanos Pest provide a great cover, but they're all degenerate crooks that are always on the lookout for opportunity (even if one of them IS Landry Fields from Friday Night Lights). They're associates of Saul Goodman, for chrissakes, how reliable could they be? Add Lydia, and that's a lot of unknown variables in the equation to account for. If anyone knows the importance of putting the right ingredients together, it should be chemistry wizard Walter.

As long as the end product (cash!) comes out satisfactorily, these unknown variables won't be a problem. But at the end Walter saw his stack of bills whittle down as Mike took out expense after expense, leaving Walter with a fraction of what he started with. And that's when Walter dropped a bomb on Jesse with his thoughts about why Gus really killed Victor. Walter reasoned that Gus killed Victor because Victor cooked meth on his own in Walter's absence. The way Walter saw it, Victor knew too much of the business and the chemistry and that made him a potential threat to Gus. He got "too close to the sun."

The real translation of that, I think, is, "Hey Jesse, let's kill Mike and keep all the cash for ourselves." And when you think about it, Mike coming into the partnership without telling Walter and Jesse about the "hazard pay" is a bit of a dick move. Mike's not going to budge on the business side of things, but he's taking advantage of Walter and Jesse to pay off the debts that Gus owed. The only problem here is that Walter and Jesse could be linked to Gus' mess through Mike, so if Mike's guys aren't paid off and the feds come crashing down on them, it could lead to Mike and it would take a second-and-a-half for Mike to flip on Walter and Jesse. But if Mike is buried in a shallow grave somewhere in the desert...

Skyler "Shut up!" White had quite a scene, didn't she? Already wound up from being married to a murderer, Skyler had to deal with Marie being all Marie and pass judgment until Skyler cracked and spewed enough "shut ups!" to set the record for a single scene in film or television (breaking Arnold Schwarzenegger's record from Kindergarten Cop). It's probably more of a major moment than you think. With Hank back to work, Marie will be sniffing around for something else to dig her nose into a like a hog looking for truffles. Walter did the right thing by telling Marie that it was all about Ted, but that's only going to make Marie dig deeper into that (could Marie talking to Ted somehow drag Hank into the picture?). And what if Walter does go through with killing Ted like we suspected from the first episode of this season? There are tons of possibilities here, and none of them are good for Walter.

The most gorgeous sequence in "Hazard Pay" was the meth-making scene from within the house. Unlike previous gritty cooks, it was romanticized into the perfect job. Billows of toxic fumes dancing like Fred Astaire, chemicals with more syllables than this sentence mingling together and turning into something even more poisonous, and liquid crystal so blue that Esther Williams should be swimming in it. And it was all done against the backdrop of the American dream: a suburban family home. Just like the cockroaches that hide in the cupboards, America's most dangerous drug is being made right under everyone's noses. It was beautiful commentary on a social plague that's hollowing out parts of America.


NOTES

– This isn't the first time Walt Whitman has been brought into Breaking Bad. Walter White has quoted Whitman (name similarity duly noted) before. This particular book that Walt unpacked in this episode, "Leaves of Grass," is noted for its highlighting of the human mind and body, particularly the sense, according to my friend Wikipedia. That makes sense. Walter right now is on a total body high from the rush of power. There's no secret motivation to his actions. He's drunk on power.

– Great talk between Saul and Walter about Mike. Saul: "He gave me the dead mackerel eyes." Walter: "He probably threatened someone before breakfast this morning. It's what he does. Come on. Grow a pair."

– With what Mike has to go through to keep everyone quiet, maybe it is easier to actually kill them instead.

– Skinny Pete! Concert pianist! Who knew?

– Walter had considerably less overt Heisenberg moments this episode as that theme was established in the first two episodes and backed off of to progress the story. But how creepy was the moment with Walter and Brock alone? And what do you make of the look he gave Brock?

– Speaking of Walter's looks, what did you make of Walter's menacing stance in the hallway after he told Marie about Ted and Skyler? It looked like he was going to rage, but instead he went to the kitchen and took a big old chomp on an apple. He's obviously not to happy with Skyler's breakdown.

– I was pretty shocked that Jesse broke up with Andrea after all the positive talk he had with Walter, but I think that is exactly what Walter wanted out of that conversation. On the surface, it's great to see Walter and Jesse friendly enough to have a beer, but Walter is still pulling Jesse's strings. The man is a master manipulator.

– The Scarface bit may have been a bit heavy-handed, but it was still awesome. Sweet audio cut to the counting money, too.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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There is a lot we can learn from Walter White. http://www.getfluid.com/breaking-bad-business-takeaways/
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I'm liking Walt less and less the more I see of his behavior this season. He's become so awful I'm not even rooting for him anymore! At this point I'm just rooting for everyone else to survive the monster that Walt has become, but it ain't lookin good.



I think killing Mike is where Jesse draws the line, and if Walt keeps pushing for that it'll be the breaking point of their partnership. Walt vs Jesse and Mike, Walt vs Hank and the DEA, Walt vs Skylar when she finally leaves him- its gonna get rough! I'm almost looking forward to Walt getting his comeuppance.
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I'm sure that Walter just manipulated Jesse into breaking up with Andrea through that nice talk on the couch, apparently just buddies having a beer and talking about their significant other (well, Jesse, at least, Walter's significant other is a zombie). Especially since in the last scene Jesse tries to reopen the conversation about his "feelings", but Walter is in a not so subtle analogy mood (Victor), now that he got Jesse to break up with the girl (she was a liability, I guess).
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I think Walt will increase production. the money he's getting now isnt enough.

these movable labs will only be the beginning.
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Love the idea of Flynn on meth! (too lazy to find the comment again, but props to whoever mentioned it)



That's how you incite a moral crisis between Heisenberg and Walter White, Walter is truly a loving father and to see his son in the grips of the drug he develops and distributes?!? He has no problem putting other kids in danger (Brock) but what about his own? would be amazing.
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Are people still calling him Flynn? That was stupid.
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IIt was an interesting coincidence that Scarface was the movie playing as AMC advertised it all night for 'Mob Week'. The fact that Skyler was unable to walk over and remove that (10 month old?) baby from that violence told me just how far she's crashed. She called the shots for all the seasons up to almost the end of the last season. Also, it amazed my son and me that everything that has happened since day one is to have happened during a one year period. When Marie pointed that out, it really put things in perspective.

And the look on Jesse's face at the very end after Walt's comment about Gus killing Victor was perfect - to me it read "Here we go again".
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didn't mention anything about when walter biting into the apple after he had talked to Marie kinda like bitng into the forbidden apple of sorts or it was somewhat showing of what kind of power Walter actually has

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Skyler starts smoking again?

What a "nice" opportunity for Walter, if she becomes a threat...
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What a hard fucking plan to cook, but it looks like it will be a very effective way to cook. This show is awesome as always, but I do really miss Gus. I have a feeling things are going to shift more into Walt's favor, and I'm still thinking about the first scene of this season, that "flashforward."
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I think Jesse will kill MiKE... and Walt will kill Jesse...
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Anna Gunn was terrific in this episode though.
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SKYLER SAYS SHUT UP FOR THREE HOURS:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Y3IoBocVZ4
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she actually said "salope" ^^
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Exactly how much money does Mike intend to pay his 9 men? We learned that Mike is taking $351,000 out of the pot for "legacy costs". This means that each of his men will receive $39,000. Mike seemed to imply that these costs will be ongoing for the duration of their partnership.



Perhaps Mike feels that the agreement they have won't last long, but if it does, this means that each of his men had millions of dollars taken from them by the government.



If the trio is able to cook 26 batches, each of Mike's men will receive $1 Million. If they're able to cook 3 batches per week they'll make this amount in just over 2 months.
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I believe it was established in episode 2 that Mike's granddaughter had 2 mill in the bank and all that is gone, I expect very similar amounts for every one of the "legacy" members, so I expect it would take quite a while.



What isn't established is how Mike gets the money to them, with the feds watching him that's what I want to know.
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Though they did mention that no-one else's was anywhere near Mike's
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As was mentioned in this article and stated in comments before me, that transition from Scarface to the money-counter was fantastic. Breaking Bad seems to be the only show that I watch (and I watch a lot) where I truly appreciate the "art" of the technical side of every episode.



I didn't think that the process of the foursome -- Saul needs to go bald, not just to fit in, but because that thinning comb-over is ugly, hehe -- looking for a good cook site went on long. I probably wouldn't have minded it being a little longer, actually. It was fun watching the 4 of them explain the pros and cons of each potential site. It's certainly not logical to the characters, but I'd have loved the site to be Laser Tag -- imagine the scenes the Breaking Bad directors could make with all those shooting lasers!



Using houses-under-fumigation for cooking is pretty damn clever... until they use a site with A LOT of cockroaches which somehow get into the meth as it dries and the crushed up rock has a bunch of bits and pieces of bugs parts.



Finally, Jesse's expression at the end after hearing Walt's interpretation of why Gus killed Victor was really great. Jesse's getting scared/concerned after realizing that Walt is starting to understand / admire / want to replicate Gus' evil side. Uh-oh!
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By the way :

Might be a long shot or just pure crackpot, but did anyone notice how Flynn wasn't eating anything at all saying to Walt "I'm not hungry"? While being on meth, you don't eat at all ...

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Good observation. In previous episodes we learned that his friends convinced him to try to get them beer. Maybe they're now into meth... the pure meth of course. ;)
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Wow) This season is really smooth. Comparing to previous season where writers tried to get themselves out of the corner and half of season was about aftermath season 5 are progressing very quickly, giving us an action, beautiful and interesting episodes one after another. I love four amigos in meth business thing) For now it's time for fun for easy going meth business. Gus Fring main threat is gone so it's very logical that guys are doing fine and having fun moments for a while. Still plenty dark deep moments too. 3 episodes in and I can't decide which one was better. They all awesome)They just getting better and better. How it can be? Best series
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A lot has been said below, so I will simply add this.



Walter White Jr. (Flynn, whatever) seems to be the only person Walt respects anymore. What role will he play in all of this? WW's conscience perhaps? He has played that role before in previous seasons.
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Ahhh ... Breaking Bad ... the coolest series ever. Even the slow, character driven episodes are such a joy to watch.

And the audio cut from the M60 to the counting machine - delicious!
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How long did it take them to create that 50 pound batch of meth? It seemed like they completed it in a day. Assuming that the exterminators are busy and work 3 jobs a week, the three of them would earn $411,000/week & $21,37,2000/year.



Walter is clearly very good at math so even though he feels Mike is ripping him off with the legacy expenses, he must realize how much money he'd make at the end of the year. Even if they're only able to make 1 batch a week, they'd all make $7,124,000/year. Not too shabby.
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The limiting factor isn't time or cook sites, it's methylamine.
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I'll be honest, I almost didn't read this comment because I thought it was one of those spam "earn $X a month doing nothing!" bullshit posts....



The impression I got was they went in early one morning and left the next morning...so about 24 hours...hard to say for sure though....
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Well then, if I was trying to pump a get rich quick scheme it was about making money by selling meth. ;)



At the end, when Mike said "See you tomorrow", does that mean that they're going to begin working on another batch? That would mean that they cooked meth on day 1. Mike exchanged the meth for money on day 2 and they're going to start cooking another batch on day 3.



Therefore, if they keep up with this pace they'll earn $21,37,2000/year each if they cook 3 batches of 50lbs of meth a week. This is way more than Walter was making when he worked for Fring.
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Well, clearly they can only cook when they have a job and when that job is in a house that's suitable...my guess is they'll cook whenever there is a suitable house to work, however using that method they'll will be dry periods. I imagine pest control cycles like other jobs.
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@TressaTurner (I can't reply unfortunately)



I know that's what Saul said, and I also know that's going to be oversimplified. What I'm saying is my guess is tenting homes has up and down seasons like many other professions (like, say, flooring). 3 or 4 houses is - no doubt - going to be an average given the nature of the job there are no guarantees. there will absolutely be weeks where there are no suitable houses, so in averages maybe once a week, but I wouldn't be surprised if some weeks they did more.
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When looking at sites and Walt came up with this, then Saul explained the exterminators, I believe he said something like "at any given week there are 3 or 4 houses that need to be done, you'd pick the one that works best for your needs" which leads me to believe it's one batch a week. Not being happy with over 7 mil a year emphasizes the greed issue which is really a power issue for Walt.
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We need to recruit someone in the pest control business to come here and provide details of their business so that we can come up with more accurate calculations.
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Haha I'm glad I'm not the only one, totally thought scam at a glimpse.



True enough they would earn plenty, and clearly Jesse realises this and isn't so bothered, but as Walter is descending into drug kingpin-dom he is clearly growing an insatiable desire, so to him any lost money is unacceptable.



Great episode, when does Breaking Bad disappoint?
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"Great episode, when does Breaking Bad disappoint?"



"Fly".
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@TressaTurner

It has been a while since I've seen it, but I believe that episode is ONLY Walt & Jessie...and on a show with such a strong ensemble cast I feel you do the fans a disservice to only include 2 of them. There definitely were strong parts of the episode and some of it was great (Walt's - OMG HOW DID THEY FILM THAT - header into one of the vats, The "Flysaber", Walt's confession to Jessie - even if Jessie didn't realize what it meant), but I feel like the story they were trying to tell could have been compacted into about half the time to check in on other storylines and characters.
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I actually enjoyed that episode. I thought the representative writing, esp the action of Walt, was very well thought out.

We just like it when things blow up better!
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It is stronger in hindsight, but when I first saw it I hated it...so it "disappointed" at least initially.
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I thought that was a pretty good episode. If I'm not mistaken, that's when Walter mused that he had lived too long. During this time, he was still not fully consumed by greed and was sick and tired of everything.
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For me the biggest difference is:

The way Skyler acts is more than earned...after Walter slurping away at her last episode and forcing a move in on her (she looked legitimately powerless and afraid to try stop him) I totally buy that she is terrified for her life.
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Trying to be in Walter's head:



Mike is an annoyance because the expenses associated with him are quite high and because of his guys who may link Gus to Mike and therefore Mike to Walter.



Ted is a risk because he may start talking even tho he promised not to.



Andrea and Brook are annoyances because they might interfere with Jesse's focus thus threatening the stability of the business.



Marie is a threat because she is too nosy...



Skyler may become a threat is she looses it...
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Yet the main real threat, Hank, is out of Walter's thoughts?
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Walter doesn't see him as a threat at the moment and I don't think he will be this season... The Feds: yes but not Hank directly. and the Feds are always an eminent threat when you're into criminal activities.

But the Feds/Hank investigation may lead Walter into doing some crazy things and if something happens to the above mentioned, that will definitely be the trigger that will put Hank on Heisenberg's trail but with a Vengeance!!!

I think it will be next season that Hank becomes a real threat to Walt, with maybe (probably) a cliffhanger in that direction at the end of this one.



So, the Feds/Hank's investigation will make the above persons bigger threats which will lead Walt to do some terrible things (this season) which will make Hank go after him like a mad man (next season).



It's like inevitable... but... Vince is a tricky guy...
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This is the last season. 16 episodes (minus the ones already aired) so even the Hank/FBI story has to be wrapped up. They've got a lot of work to do. (The writers, directors, etc.)
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The Network said it would split the 16 ep. into 2 seasons of 8... So there will be only 8 episodes this season.



I'm still amazed that the Network hasn't come back on its decision to end the show... I can't believe that they don't make money with that show.
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I think this episode just strengthened my love for Jesse. He's got such a strong moral core, and he's the only thing really stopping Walt going over an edge. The fact that he's ashamed of what he's done so he dumps Andrea is a stark contrast to how Walt now happily flaunts the things he does to Skyler.
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Let's not get carried away. Someone with a strong moral core doesn't get involved in the drug business. He's a recovering drug addict so he's fully aware of how a drug like meth can ruin people's lives. He doesn't have a strong moral core it just seems that way when you compare him to the people he's doing business with because they're bigger degenerates than he is.
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I mean he's got a strong moral core in the context of the show. He's very different to Walter in that as the show has progressed Walter has taken his transformation in stride, whereas you always see Jesse struggling with the difficult decisions, and he tends to be pushed one way or the other by outside forces.
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1. Jesse Plemons is too famous to play an insignificant character.

2. He's best known for a great performance as a character who had a breakdown because of a guilty conscience.

3. Uh-oh.



(JP was one of the best actors on Friday Night Lights. In this episode, we saw him as one of the exterminator guys. He was the one who warned them about the nanny cam).
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Yep - either he's got some connection to the police - perhaps he is undercover if the Vamonos Pest crowd are suspected of the burglaries they facilitate - or perhaps he'll join Walt's crew
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I agree that he's going to have a bigger role, but he's not that famous or that great an actor. I guess you're right if you're comparing him to the other actors involved in the Vamonos pest business, though.
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Too famous/great performance? I don't know how much of Friday Night Lights you watched but he really wasn't that great. Nor is he all that famous.



But yes, I agree with the fact they wouldn't have brought in a familiar actor for a unimportant role. We will have to wait and see.
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If you mean that there is something more in store for him... I agree.
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I still miss the tension we had in season 4. Don't get me wrong, all of the episodes so far have been great, but I don't get so into the show that I forget to breathe, which I think I did multiple times last season. And despite Walter becoming more and more evil, it doesn't feel like there's a big obstacle like there was in season 4, I'm just waiting to slowly understand what the season is doing, and so far I don't have the slightest idea.
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This is what Breaking Bad does best. The slowness is needed to make the tension and action filled episodes later seem that much more powerful or intense. When I first watched the show as season 1 was first airing, I remember thinking there were too many slow episodes. But I've come to appreciate them for what they provide -- setting up some mind-blowing episodes.
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It has only been three episodes. The season is just in the setup stage yet. Season 3 started out slow too, and then we got episodes like 3x07 "One minute" and 3x12 "Half measures", with incredible tension.
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Last season had a few slow episodes as well, like episode 2 that dealt with Jessie's house party.
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That episode, while fascinating and interesting for about 15 minutes, went on way too long. I could feel myself almost willing it to get moving.
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Don't forget that season 4 was the continuation of season 3 so things were pretty much already setup when it started...



Everything is all setup now for this season and I am sure the pace will accelerate much in the next 5 episodes.
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Lazer Tag!
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Great episode! The audio cut-in from Scarface to money was awesome, thanks for reminding me. One thing, doesn't Walt know that Victor was killed because he was seen at the Gale's murder scene? Figured Jesse would've told him that.
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I don't think anyone knows the reason for sure. What you said seems to be the mostly likely reason, but I don't think there's any evidence of that, other than the fact that Mike asked Victor if he had been seen, and he said yes.
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Gustavo's reaction to Victor after he told him he didn't think anyone spotted him at the crime scene is evidence that Victor got whacked because he got careless.
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It would've been lazy writing had they found a new cooking site right away.
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True, but I can't be the only one who remembers the smashed up warehouse from the promo pictures, I was thinking that's where they were headed (after all the machine gun quickly made an appearance).



Needless to say, pleasantly surprised by Walter's ingenious thinking once again. We don't really do the whole massive house bug bomb thing in the U.K. and a good thing too as now I'd think there were meth cookers in every one of them.
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I am SO glad they didn't go that direction.
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Yeah. Things don't happen magically...

And it did emphasized the meticulous side of Walter.
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Staff
There's always money in Laser Tag.
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Maybe but too many strangers coming and going for a Meth lab...
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Walter's "Heisenberg" side came out when Saul asked him if he's ok with Mike terms about handling the business when he answered, "Mike handles the business and I handle him". Walter must believe that he will be able to control Mike and dictate terms the way he does with Jesse.



Walter's manipulation on Jesse continues unabated as he was able to convince Jesse to break up with Andrea by making him fear the possibility that both her and her son may one day find out everything he's done. Jesse was obviously scared about the possibility of them finding out he killed Gale in cold blood.



I wonder what Walter was really thinking at the end when he talked about Victor. Perhaps he's pondering the possibility of eliminating Mike but even though Walter is unhappy about the expensive legacy costs that go along with doing business with Mike, he needs Mike. Without Mike there is no business. No methylamine. No distribution network. No connections to dealers.



Later on, once they start to have to pay for methylamine, when Walter's cut goes from $117k to less than $100k, perhaps Walter will begin to wonder if eliminating Jesse would make financial sense. Although Jesse is loyal and occasionally contributes a valuable idea, he's emotional and somewhat of a loose cannon, not to mention a recovering drug addict and Walter can manage production without him. One less partner means more money for Walter.
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Walt needs Mike, yes, for now...



I wouldn't be surprised if Walt made a deal with some of the Cartel remnants like:

"I supply the stuff directly to you and you take care of the distribution, and, of the few obstacles or eventual threats that I point out to you."

Bam! No more "cover charge"...
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I loved this episode. The plan to cook in other people's houses was brilliant by the writers. It is hilarious and while it may not be completely ideal with all the moving around, nothing Walt seems to do no seems ideal.

I laughed so hard when Saul showed them the Lazer Tag building. I love how this show pays off humor for its loyal viewers.

Walt meeting Brock was so creepy words cannot describe.

And Skyler's meltdown was scary, funny, and just so revealing. We already knew she was scared of him, but up until now she has kept it in. I agree that I think Marie might pose a problem in the future. She is very nosey.

Skyler's face when she saw Walt watching Scarface was priceless. It was one of the best scenes of this fabulous episode.

Who knew cooking meth could be so peaceful and beautiful? It reminded me of how Jesse told Walt that cooking was art in season 1.

I can't believe we only have 5 episodes left before another ginormous break. I love this show more than anything but it feels like I just got it back and they are going to take it away again.
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I agree with the other comments that Walt will probably kill Mike but they first have to find a way to distribute without Mike, like Gus did.



"It's not because you killed Jesse James, that you are Jesse James"!



I think that this was the trigger... Walt wants to be THE "Jesse James" of the business.



I agree also about episode 6 or 7 for the showdown. This season Walt builds his empire and get rids of Mike (maybe Ted and maybe -tho I hope not- Skyler, and maybe Andrea and Brock).

(the first Scarface principle)



Last episode and next season The Walt and Hank showdown (the second Scarface principle).

Then there's the Cartel which we haven't heard about yet...
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What do you mean by the Scarface principle? Montana didn't kill anyone's wife and child.
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He felt like an invincible "god" and killed everyone who got in his way... or just annoyed him for some reason like his best friend Manny.



Walt's body language, after Marie left, looking towards the bedroom and eating and apple as if nothing happened. The way he looked at Brook and how he manipulated Jesse.



Walt is becoming more and more emotionless. Mesmerized by the gigantic power he can have and is on his way to be a full-time-psychopath... Just like Tony Montana became. He didn't killed anyone's wife and child because there never was any who put is business in jeopardy. I'm sure he would have done it, or have it done, with no remorse towards the end of his reign.

Gus was pretty much the same, actually...



That's why I call it "the scarface principle" because it definitely leads there or they wouldn't survive.
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There's a big difference between Walter White & Tony Montana. Montana was always a psychopath, even when he was a petty criminal. Not only did he not think twice about killing someone, he enjoyed it. Especially if they were Colombian.



On the other hand, Walter lead a normal life and he got into the drug business because he thought it was the only way to provide for his family. But he's done some heinous things, like letting Jesse's girlfriend die of an overdose instead of helping her and although he no longer needs to be in the drug business, he chooses to get more involved in it.



I guess he's become a psychopath and he'd probably eliminate anyone who gets in his way like Montana, as you say. It's weird though; towards the end Montana became miserable and started to hate the rich lifestyle. Walter, who is far more stable than Tony Montana, doesn't realize that things are getting worse instead of better.
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There is definitely a big difference between the two. I was just explaining what I meant by "the Scarface principle".



Montana had a psychopathic personality from the start, I agree, but still had some feeling left for his mother, his sister and Manny (at least) but lost those towards the end becoming a full time psychopath.



Other things, Montana went up the ladder very fast at a younger age, was illiterate and, lets not forget, was using his product contrarily to Walter.



Two very different men with different backgrounds and experiences but the path and endgame may be similar...
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I see a possible suicide by Skyler by the end of the season the way things are shaping up for her. Possibly by the end of this first half of the season...
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I wonder if she's going to go to the feds, she asked Walt to SEVERAL times the past couples seasons.
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Good idea; that would be pretty awesome just for the reaction it may create in Walt. Although she's kind of going down that path, I still don't think she's near that state to abandon her kids like that. It'll take A LOT more mind-f***ing from Walt.
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He started the whole meth thing for his family. I'm thinking it's going to be an ultimate downfall in the end for all of them. Six feet under, perhaps?



I don't want a happy ending because they don't exist.
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To be honest... I absolutely never thought about it. But it could head to that direction. She has kids and family to take care of - but on the other hand that neither stopped Walt to take extreme measures.
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I HOPE, I sure hope the producers don't turn Skyler and Marie into The Shield's equivalent of Corrine Mackey and Mara Vendrell. No two characters were as painfully annoying or incited more hate in me than those two women; frankly, they made that other series almost unbearable at times. I hope Breaking Bad can avoid going that same route.
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Haha, it's been a while since I saw The Shield, but I agree, I remember hating both Corrine and Mara. I've often found Skyler a little annoying, but not enough to be bothered by her. Marie bugs me a lot, though. So I, too, hope that they don't take Skyler down that kind of path and make her painfully annoying... I have trust in BB to not suck in any way, though... :)
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Funny - we've never liked Skyler's character. Until this season when she genuinely seems to be able to convey true terror. Perhaps it's the role she has and not the actress but we used to roll our eyes when she had a scene.
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I've been on a some message boards (prior to this season) that were filled with nothing but hate for Skyler...I don't get it, she's awesome, constantly pulls off things that impress me (but are believable) and is basically the only person to call Walt on his bullshit.

I don't see them taking her the same way as Corrine (which was awful), I trust them to do it right because they have so far.
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I've had no problems with Skyler in prior seasons, so my reaction to Skyler on past seasons would've matched the sentiment reflected on those msg boards. However, Skyler's role in this episode reminded me of Corrine; hence the uneasiness on my part.
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The best scene was when Walter indirectly ordered Jesse to get over with mexican chick. Brilliant.
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One of my favourite things about Breaking Bad has always been the cook scenes. What should usually be a boring montage of two guys working in a lab is transformed -- by way of lighting, music, and slow motion gasses spiralling everywhere -- into a montage of beauty and romance. It's Walt's love of the cook and the chemistry.



I wouldn't say they glamorise meth cooking, but they certainly beautify it, because that's how Walt sees it, and that's exactly why he can't walk away.
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I think I am the only one who had a different thought on what Walt wanted done with Jesse and Andrea, I mean, I thought he was like minorly playing on Jesse's guilt and self flagellation, but I think he was also kind of asking for advice or trying to offer it since he is in a situation he perhaps wants a perspective on with Skyler. I also was creeped out by the reference to Victor and Jesse's reaction, not only because of the threat it posed, but I really think until then, Jesse kind of thought Walt's thinking of Gus as a bad guy was a little overblown. But then, Victor who not only did the cooking stuff, but was also getting very comfortable with Walt and Jesse, that was the first time Jesse thought that Gus was evil. Now Walt is thinking along the same lines? Also, as Walt introduced himself as Walt to Andrea and Brock, is Jesse going to start calling him Walt?
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Much as I love the show, I can't get through this Walt has no money thing. He was out, what ?$1.2m what with the car wash and Ted Beneker. How could that clean him out. It makes no sense.
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When you consider that we're only now coming up on the one year since the first episode (from the show's perspective) and you consider all the ticky tack exspenses like being extorted on that glass door or the charger he did donuts in and exploded "just cause", I think it makes fine sense math wise.



How much money do you think he should have?
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They did a calculation. There's the carwash purchase, there's the 600k to Beneky, Saul's fees, Hank's treatment, etc. Walt had about 300k left over from 5ish million.
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Yes, and that was only an estimate. It seems to have overestimated the cost of some things (like Walt's apartment), and left out other things (like paying a fake Heisenberg to go to prison). It's definitely plausible that he's broke.
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Staff
http://www.tv.com/news/breaking-bad-how-much-money-does-walt-have-left-infographic-29058/
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I believe that Walter eating that apple after the conservation with Marie was a sign that he wasn't bothered about the situation at all. (When you're really nervous or angry about something, food isn't usually your first thought.) Walter feels he's in control of the situation at all times and nothing phases him anymore.
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Walt was happy with how Skyler broke down. It is what he wanted. He knows now she definitely fears him.
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Nice interpretation!

That scene definitely had some "lines in between" (When I see someone eating a red apple like that my first thoughts are always about biblical analogies). I also tend to think that Walter might have been concerned initially for 2 seconds (looking at the door) but then Heisenberg took over saying "everything's under control".
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I only disagree with one part of the review:

"There's no doubt that the team's quest to find a new cook site dragged on a little long"



I can't agree, I think it's awesome that they put so much thought into where to set up shop next...and not have it be easy or appear to fall in their laps.



Saul came up with some excellent choices and they had excellent reasons not to go with them. I loved seeing the decision process.
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yeah, i really think it would be better for walt and better for the show if they killed mike. just like in their drug empire, in the show mike seems to have lived up to his usefulness. but they'll probably drag this out til episode 8 for them to pull the trigger on mike. but i think it would be a lot better if they killed mike now. not every season break has to end with a big shock. but if mike dies in the part 1 season finale, then i guess that would be more dramatic. but, i think overall, they shouldn't drag this out longer, unless their really is a purpose. and there probably is, and i'll look back at this post in shame ;)
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While I agree that killing Mike sooner is better than later, I don't feel they've effectively established that they don't need him yet...I - too - think we're heading for an episode 8 showdown with mike ending up dead, but I think the time spent from now until then will be (and NEEDS to be) about Walt and Jesse figuring out how to run the business part without him.



Still I'll be rooting for an episode 6 killing of Mike to leave the big reveal for episode 8 either being Jesse finds out Walt Poisoned Broc or Hank revealing to Walt that he's known for a few episodes that he's Heisenberg. Maybe both. We'll see...
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How is everyone rooting for Mike being killed? He is the best character on the show sanz WW, he is a retired Cop, badass gun for hire, can talk down the Feds, who does it all for his grand daughter? Whats not to like?
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I've never been a big fan of Mike. While Walter is a more intelligent manipulator, Mike has manipulated Jesse in the past. When Gustavo wanted to build up Jesse's confidence, he instructed Mike to carry out his plans and Mike knew exactly why he was asked to escort Jesse around during that time. Not to mention the fake attack that made Jesse believe he was a hero.



Mike is a guy who follows the chain of command without asking questions. When Gustavo killed Victor in front of him he didn't say a word even though it was clear he was horrified by the murder. But, the murderer was his boss so he kept his mouth shut.



While Mike isn't the worst character on the show, he's far from the best. So what if he's doing this for his grand daughter? When you think about what he's doing; helping run a drug business that ruins thousands of families and causes death and grief to thousands of their "customers", his actions don't seem too harmless and if/when he bites the dust not many people would care.
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I for one will care Mike is awesome. Addressing the not needing him bit where the hell are Walter and Jesse going to get the methylamine without him? and get the product out to the dealers since the dealers and mules are also mikes connections. If they go digging into Mike's business to attain these much needed assets I do not believe Mike would be so naive as to not figure it out and possibly confront or kill Walt himself. Will be fun to see it unfold however.
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First of all - Hank is the best character on the show. He has the most interesting arc, unlike Mike who basically hasn't changed at all from his first appearance...unless you count "becoming more bad ass" as a change...

Mike is fun to watch (and is my second favorite character), but between Hank's PTSD, his different obsessions and his great detective work Hank is just much more fascinating to watch. He fell so far, and - IMO - will ultimately end up on top.



That said, like others have mentioned: I guess I'm not rooting for it as much as I don't see things going down any other way. If they DON'T kill Mike THAT would be some masterful subterfuge as everything is pointing in that direction.
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You counted every reason to kill him off.

If Walt kills Mike, he will move further away from the audiences' sympathies which is exactly what Gilligan et al want.
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Rooting for it? It is inevitable, just a matter of when is best for the story.
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Best episode of the season so far. This one had so many of the Epic Moments of Awesome that the first 2 episodes lacked (the cook sequence, Walt and Brock on the couch, Saul's return to comedy, the return of Marie in all her glory, and Mike's Jesse James line).
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You didn't think that the Mike and Hank scene was epic? To me it was the best scene in the season thus far.
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It was great, but it wasn't great for Hank being Hank or Mike being Mike. It was just great dramatic television. No Epic Moment of Awesome in that scene though.
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what about the electricity problem? How would a regular house have enough juice for the meth lab?
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As noted at the end of the episode they only were able to cook 50 pounds compared to 200 at Gus' lab...that explains the lack of power source = less meth...
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That's interesting!

We know Gus' lab needed a big power source...but their first lab was in the back of an RV (as well as a cook in Jessie's basement) with not much in the way of power needed...I imagine they scaled the size of the equipment and the batches they can cook to address that issue (it certainly felt like smaller equipment than Gus' setup).

We also know the batches in the super lab were, like, 3 and a half times bigger, right? Based on the weights discussed...
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The Scarface bit I felt was an analogy on how Skyler sees Walt right now. Like she sees him as this terrifying drug lord sitting atop a mountain of drugs, money and dead bodies.
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Jesse Plemons was Landry Clarke, not Landry Fields.
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The Scarface part was amazing the look on Skylers face as she sees her son watching the violent movie with her murder husband and she was defiantly thinking Walter was enjoying it in a bad way
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Felt weird that AMC is promoting Mob week this week and Scarface is on all their commercials...coincidence?
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