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Breaking Bad "Say My Name" Review: Down By the River

Breaking Bad S05E07: "Say My Name"

There are a few different ways to watch Breaking Bad, and all of them are completely legitimate. There's plot-watching, where the main story points are hit and discussed by everyone all week, and "Say My Name" featured one of the biggest events of the series since a wheelchair bomb blew half of Gus Fring's face off. And then there's the show that's full of such beautiful artistic nuance that it should be framed and hung in the Louvre.

"Say My Name" was direct and in-your-face, matching the hubris of Heisenberg, rather than calculated and careful like that wimp Walter White. The episode had to be more brash not only to keep up with Walter's bravado, but because Breaking Bad is feeling the crunch of an 8-episode mini-season, and that means a lot of the drawn-out subtlety was lost.

Something felt off about this episode for the first half (but it did conclude masterfully), and I use this metaphor lightly, but it's almost as if Breaking Bad fans were in charge of this one. It certainly was Breaking Bad; all the characters and trademark cinematography were there. But it lacked the master hand that turns good to great. To put it in Walter's terms, it was like someone else was trying to make Classic Coke. It was 70-percent pure Breaking Bad. "Say My Name" was both jarring and dull at points, hurried and overly-deliberate at others, and put together in a way that reminded me of the ocean of films that copy-catted Pulp Fiction after its release. Those films were concerned with getting the cool shot (lawyer wrist cam in the safe-deposit box?), the tough-guy dialogue, and the shocking scenes, but were never able to tie them together as beautifully as the original.

I'll admit that just might be the point (but I'm not enthused about it). Breaking Bad's tone has always been an extension of the character of Walter White, and his transformation into Heisenberg is accelerating at an increased rate. "Say My Name" was Walter White at his most dickish and dictator-ish, whether he's telling some bitches from Arizona to say his name or trying to guilt trip Jesse into staying in the business by alternating between enthusiastic boss (you deserve it!) and angry father figure (you're wasting your talent on those damn video games!) and juvenile debate-team member (you want this blood money?). That scene, in which Walter was convincing Jesse to stay with him, was Walter at his most unhinged. Though normally so calculated in everything he does, Walter just threw the kitchen sink at Jesse in hopes that something would work. But it backfired, and all Walt accomplished was coming off like a desperate lunatic and pushing Jesse away even further.

But it wasn't just Jesse who was shoved, I also found myself looking for the door as Walt continued to become the monster we all know he's headed for. The hardest and best part of the conceit of Breaking Bad–a nice guy breaks very, very bad over the course of a series–is seeing a man we all rooted for go beyond that point of no return. As I said before, that point happened for me in "Madrigal," the second episode of this season. But after his actions in that episode–manipulating Jesse, terrorizing Skyler–Walter had been relatively tame until now. Heck, I even cheered when he came home with not one, but two new cars, and unleashed all the horses under the hood with some gangsta revs. Last night? He was the worst he's ever been. It's an interesting reaction that creator Vince Gilligan must have known all along. From an artistic standpoint, it's groundbreaking and the end result will be well worth it. But from the week-to-week perspective of the audience, it's incredibly difficult to watch. We don't have loyalty to Walter like we did before, and we don't really have anyone else to root for because Walter is the heavy focal point of the series. As of now, we just want Jesse to survive while Walter goes all Godzilla on everything around him, and we wouldn't mind Walter Jr. to have access to unlimited bacon breakfasts. But Walter is turning everything around him into waste, and Breaking Bad has no intentions of sugarcoating it.

Mike certainly noticed that Walter was in the scorched Earth business, and had been angling to get the F out, and did. Sort of! I don't think anyone was surprised that Mike was killed by Walter, as Mike was the odds-on favorite Breaking Bad character to not make it out of Season 5.1 because he was frequently at odds with Walter, he was still a Fring supporter, had tons of baggage, and he was the most expendable member of the meth-making group. And once he declared himself out of the business and his responsibility of distribution was solved by handing that over to Declan, we were all just waiting for it to happen.

It was obvious Mike was a goner once the DEA fell into pursuit, but it should have been more obvious it would happen in this episode before that. Once Mike stashed a fat stack of cash in a safe deposit box for his granddaughter, it was effectively the end of his character arc. Mike was very conscious of his mortality and knew the sun was fading on his life, and all he wanted at that point was to take care of Kaylee. And when Walt volunteered to deliver Mike's "go bag" to him, that was it. (Other than conveniently setting up a scene where Walter could meet Mike in a private place, why was it okay with Mike that Walter deliver the bag instead of Jesse? He had to have known that his chances of making it out of that scenario weren't that good if crazy-ass Walter was handing over the bag.)

The killing scene was surprisingly not intense because the results were preordained, but it was still gorgeous and, given how he had prepared beforehand, a fitting end to Mike. However, it wasn't even about Mike. With all apologies to him and the wonderful series-long performance by Jonathan Banks, once again that scene belonged to Walter and Bryan Cranston. Walter's faces before (gritted teeth, animalistic) and after (shocked and possibly full of regret) he pulled the trigger summed up the character's past and present perfectly. Taunted and blamed, Walter yielded to Heisenberg who rushed to Mike and pulled the trigger. But pulling a trigger is an act that can never be undone and can change someone forever (just ask Jesse, re: Gale). And in squeezing the trigger and hearing the BLAM, it slapped Walter upside the head and for the first time in a long time we saw the face of the man we met in Season 1. The same pantsless man who was fumbling around with a video camera leaving a goodbye video for his family as sirens approached.

Even Walter seemed to be shocked by his own actions. I'm not sure he regretted killing Mike, after all, Mike was the big connection between the meth operation and him and Mike had outlasted his usefulness to the business. But the sobering instance of killing a one-time partner in the heat of the moment because Mike said this whole mess was Walter's fault definitely woke up a part of him that had been hibernating until the Game of Thrones-long winter of Heisenberg ended.

From the flashforward that opened this season, we know that Walter spends some time across the country for a year, probably waiting for some heat to die down and letting his hair grow back in. Mike's last words of advice to Walter (well, before "Shut the fuck up, and let me die in peace") were to leave town. Could this be the moment that spurs Walter to finally listen to Mike? Could standing there on the tranquil bank of a New Mexico river while his associate dies, by his hand, and the ensuing pressure from the DEA be enough to send Walter away?

There's something in that face that we haven't seen in such a long time. There was Walter still rationalizing his actions to Mike ("I just realized Lydia has the names, I can get them from her.") and saying "this whole situation could have been avoided if..." because he still couldn't swallow his pride. But his face, a full 180-degree turn from the opening scene, was saying something different. His face said he went too far, and that's something Walter hasn't thought about for a long time.


NOTES

– Unfortunately, I have a previous engagement (emphasis on "engagement") to take care of this weekend so I won't be available to write up next Sunday's season finale immediately. Price Peterson will step in, and I'll share my thoughts later that week. Sorry!

Breaking Bad loves to mount cameras on things, but lawyer wrist-cam in the safe deposit box area was overkill. This was the first directing stint for writer Thomas Schnauz, and I wasn't too happy with a lot of his choices. But again, I think a lot of it had to do with the episode needing to do too much from a lack of time.

– If there's one thing I'm concerned about, it's a lack of focus for the "finale" next week. After this penultimate episode, what exactly are we looking forward to? How Jesse reacts to Mike's death? Will there be pressure from the DEA? Declan and the Arizona peeps don't appear to be a problem any more. There's not a lot to hold onto as we move towards the final episode. It's completely open, which can be good and bad.

– The scene with Walter and Todd cooking was particularly interesting. It was, in a sense, the second half a two-parter with the scene of Jesse and Walter cooking meth in a fumigated house from a few episodes ago the first part. But I think the tone was all wrong, and that goes along with what I said early in this article about something feeling off. The "Hazard Pay" scene was romanticized as a triumphant return to business and gorgeously shot. This episode's attempted a similar tone, with an upbeat ditty providing the soundtrack, but Walter cooking with Todd couldn't be more depressing. It signals the end of so many things that I think the scene would have been better served shot differently and with a more somber music selection. This was practically a funeral, but instead it soullessly replicated the feeling of the first. Sorry! I love these meth-making scenes so I'm extra picky!

– Another part that seemed out of place was the scene at the carwash where Walt hid the methylamine. Was that included just to give Skyler some screen time, and if so, what did it accomplish?

– Bacon cookies! Bacon cookies! BACON COOKIES!


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

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""Say My Name" was Walter White at his most dickish and dictator-ish"



Well, I kind of have to disagree here.

He was definetely at his most dickish in this (completely inofficial and unauthorized) director's cut version of this episode's final scene (spoiler alert, obviously):



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVsUILlPG3c
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This is perhaps the darkest Breaking Bad episode ever, I felt so uneasy, but also, it was perfect. One of the best episodes of this season imo.



Walt had no other option but to kill Mike because became a loose end. So it was not only about the names. As someone said it here before, that Skyler scene is probably a key one, Breaking Bad never had meaningless scenes until now and I doubt this is about to change.
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This review was spot on for me. There has been something a little off about this season but until now I've never been disappointed by this show the 'damn right' made me think of a square parent trying to be cool and the only thing that could pop into his head was the theme from Shaft. I also agree about the writers not being able to take their time but I also think that Cranston's decision to play Walt as 'pure evil' is one of the reasons it's just not working. The short sweet glimpses of Heisenberg were far more satisfying than nonstop Heisenberg.
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And these words will be eaten by the time we're done with the show.
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During the scene where hank is having a meeting, they mention that they have increased the budget for electronic surveillance and later on when Walter comes to retrieve the bug, we see an aerial shot of the room from the same position as that of a cctv camera.



Also, Walter is visibly hurt by Jesse's rejection, as stressed by a lot of his actions, including the hiring of Todd (I did not believe he did it for an extra hand. He coulda done it himself)



Walt is rewired now. He has faced moments that have reconfigured his survival mechanism. Now he'll only do what he wants. At first what he wanted was protection for his family, but now that family's almost gone, he wants to keep fighting for his pride.



The irony here is that if the family actually gets back to him under the condition that he decides to stop, he might even stand a chance. But that's not gonna happen.
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" Another part that seemed out of place was the scene at the carwash where Walt hid the methylamine. Was that included just to give Skyler some screen time, and if so, what did it accomplish?"





I don't want to spoil it for you Tim, but I think that scene was key. Pretty damn sure you'll find out why next week.
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I agree that there wasn't as much art in this episode, but it was still intense as always.



Mike's death was made even sadder by the fact that it was not glamorous. It was real and it was quiet and it was hard to watch. Really brutal stuff, made even more brutal by the fact that this is the first time Walt has ever killed without any real justification. He killed Mike because of his pride, and nothing more. Power corrupts. He crossed a big line that episode, going from somebody who did things to survive, to somebody who does things for no real reason other than pride and emotion, like Tony Soprano.



Also, Aaron Paul was MAGICAL in this episode. His expressions were PERFECT. I just can't go on enough about how good he was!
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Damnit TV.com, I can't even drop my paragraphs down with your weird formatting.
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The two best parts of this episode:



1) Walt (foolishly) trying to bring Jessie back to cooking claims no one else has to die, they can be sure of it...then less than 20 minutes later - MAJOR CHARACTER DEATH at the hands of Walt...Not that we needed any more proof that Walter is completely diluted and crazy and that Skyler is TOTALLY right about the kids but we got it in spades in this episode.



2) Walter kills Mike and then realizes it didn't even have to happen...that's not something I've ever seen done on television...especially where the killer vocally acknowledges as much to his victim and tries to apologize even...

Simply.

Amazing.

"Hey, Mike, remember that time that I shot you for no real reason and you totally died? Sorry about that, man." Walt is such a dick.
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I'm not sure I understood the part about possibly getting the information from Lydia. Was that a pro or a con for letting Mike die? Because he didn't seem to shoot Mike just to make him disclose the names, it was impulsive, his ego had suffered. To me, the moment you are referring to is when he realized that Mike is no longer of any use, now that Walter understood that he can always "ask" (an in torture or threaten, now that he's such a bad-ass) Lydia. It could have been more like a rationalization. He did doubt what happened, sort of, but without any consequence, it was just his humanity rolling in its grave, but, just like when he let Jane die, he can't be bothered, he's a bad-ass now.
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Short answer is that I think Walt killed Mike for pride, but partly because he wouldn't give up the names (though also tied in with pride). Walt was just making excuses at the end for his rage.
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Well, let me start by saying this: I totally thought he was just going to kill Mike all cold blooded and shit right away without Mike even being able to react at all. The fact that he didn't was a surprise (though it was really telegraphed - to me - that Mike was dying as soon as that scene started).



With that said let me address your comment: To me it was clear that Walt didn't want to kill Mike in that scene. Mike accusing Walter of being the reason they were in that position was a total trigger for Walt. THAT is what pushed Walter over the edge. In Walt's mind he's not at all culpable for their situation. He still believes Gus was after him all along (which I complete disagree with and - you'll note in this very episode - Mike disagrees and brings up as well), but Walt's diluted himself enough to truly believe he is simply SO AWESOME that he can never do anything wrong, that he is SO SMART that he'll just think his way out of any situation.



So what we're left with is an exchange that ONLY HAPPENED because Walt wanted the names and Mike is totally super loyal and would NEVER give up "his guys", we're left with an exchange that eventually triggers Walt. If Walt realized sooner that he could get the names from Lydia I honestly don't think he would've shot Mike. He only took the gun because he was paranoid Mike might use it on him. I believe he would have let Mike run.
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I don't think Walter planned to kill Mike either. He may have taken Mike's gun fearing the possibility Mike might use it on him. Or, to use as protection and leverage in case Mike refused to give up the names of his nine guys. I think what triggered Walt, was that Mike never really showed him any respect (except for the "I got to hand it to you Walter" comment after the successful deal making with Declan). Mike would have been the muscle that was going to kill him and Jesse, which forced them to kill Gale to survive. Mike beat the crap out of Walter when he confronted him in the bar looking for a way to get to Gus. Mike's held a gun to his head a number of times, chained him to a radiator, and then simply walks up to Walter and snatches the bag from his hand when Walter tries to take a stand for the names. A big part of Walter's psychology is that he's had a taste of standing up for himself, and now finds it highly intolerable taking crap from people. On top of that, Mike lays the blame for the Fring operation unraveling entirely at Walter's feet. Also, I think he was envious of the bond between Mike and Jesse. We see him peering out at Mike and Jesse saying goodbye with a handshake.



I don't see how you can think Gus wasn't planning to eliminate Walter. He dragged him out in the desert and threatened him and his family. Walter was living on borrowed time after he ran over the kid killer drug dealer employee of Gus's to save Jesse. If Gus wasn't planning to kill him, he was certainly smart enough to realize how paranoid he was making Walter, and should have anticipated he might act on it.
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Your first paragraph is amazing...really good. Thumbs up for it.



Your second paragraph on the other hand...ugh...I know Gus wasn't planning to eliminate Walter early seaosn 4 because It's spelled out for us...it's very clear.



Even the very scene you refer to was a bluff. AND it only got that to that point because Hank was snooping around the lab. The point of that scene was Gus trying to fire Walter (like Jesse asked), but Walter wouldn't walk away. Walter forced Gus to go to those lengths. If Walter lets things go and accepts that he won after boxcutter it would have been him going down to Mexico not Jesse. They only didn't take Walter because - as they stated - they couldn't trust him. That's totally on Walter.



Furthermore Mike tells him twice that he wasn't in danger. Once in S4E2 and once just this past episode.



Here is my question for you, if Gus really was planning to take out Walt, why do you think Mike lied about it? Twice? Especially this past week, what purpose did it serve?
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I think he took the gun because he was already considering the option of killing him. This was only a short time after Saul reminded him that they'd be in a lot of trouble if the police catches up with Mike and gets him to talk.
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I agree Walt already considered it (but he still has his own gun, right?), but if he wasn't pushed into it we would have just let Mike go.
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THIS. Yes, it was not really about the names.
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This episode was Incredibleeeeee.



Relevant Coca-Cola/BrBa Mashup T-shirt:

http://www.redbubble.com/people/urhos/works/9282904-enjoy-heisenberg-blue



Enjoy!



RIP Mike
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I agree with the positive things in this review, and disagree with the negative things in this review.



Not gonna pick it apart piece by piece, but I would like to at least point out that the scene at the car wash was set up for the two-second moment at the end when Skyler and Jesse look at each other in a silent moment of shared desperation, and they are now both prisoners of Walt's psychosis. A key scene, a wonderful scene, and about as far from "out of place" as you can get.

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There are two sides to the ability of a showrunner "writing for the end" of the show. On the one side, you have Lost. When it began, the creators had in mind a 5 season arc totaling 120 episodes. In the end, even before the finale aired, many felt it was dragging on longer than it should have. We're witnessing the opposite of that with Breaking Bad. Until this season, Vince et al were taking everything season to season as AMC renewed the show. Then the debacle with Mad Men's negotiations (common sense dictates they had an effect on Breaking Bad and the other AMC shows, regardless of what their press releases state) and they were restricted to 16 episodes to conclude their show.



The pressure of fitting everything in is showing. Every story beat in every episode this season, like those that came before, have been completely and utterly necessary. There is still no fat on this steak we're eating. The problem seems to be the feel between the story beats. Where before we felt breathing room, now we feel suffocated. I choose to think that this will, in retrospect, be seen as one of the many "happy accidents" that Vince et al have been handed. If the viewers feel a lack of oxygen, what about the characters?



The fact is, they have given us everything we've been asking for in the final trasition from Walter White to Heisenberg. We're simply feeling the crunch of only having 9 episodes left to enjoy in the show's run, the same crunch I'm sure the writers are feeling.



The writers no longer have the luxury of taking their time with things as they had in the first 4 seasons, and this should be considered before passing any judgment on how well they are doing. Breaking Bad is still head and shoulders above most other content out there.
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What you're saying about Lost is obviously wrong. They had planned the beginning and the ending, and had some ideas about a struggle between two brothers on the Island. Then they just made shit up as they went along, always trying to make every scene as cool as possible, with no regard for what made sense in a larger context. That's why the "story" made absolutely no sense.
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Given that the creators of the show are the sources of the information I used in my post, I don't think that I was "obviously wrong". While they did use misinformation to keep everyone guessing when the show was on the air, they have been consistent in their statements about their development of the show. As such, I stand by what I wrote.



FYI, J.J. Abrams stated in interviews that he, Lindelof, and Cuse created a bible for the show that contained many of the story beats they envisioned playing out over the course of 5 seasons. Lindelof also stated as much regarding the length of the show in interviews. Here is an excerpt from an interview Lindelof/Cuse gave to EW:



EW: How does not knowing when Lost could end affect your current storytelling choices?



Lindelof: We're proceeding as if they are going to allow us to do what we plan, which is a four- or five-season arc with potentially a movie to wrap it up. My guess is they'll realize that the endgame is in play when major characters start getting bumped off.



Before you accuse someone of being wrong with their facts, it's best that you be right with your own.



Besides, your post didn't even bother to address the main thesis of my post, which was entirely to do with Breaking Bad.
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Please see my response to this below...you're miss reading the statements of the creators...those specific comments are not based off the story they had to tell, they're based off the economic drivers of television.
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I'm not sure where you're getting that about Lost...everything I've read was about lots of changes of writers early one and complete changes about many aspects in the early goings. For example, they originally had Michael Keaton signed on to play Jack and he was going to die in the pilot...once they decided to expand the role Keaton left and Fox filled the void...



It's very clear to me when watching Lost nothing was planned out until quite a way through...they just kept adding twists and questions hoping to come back to them later.
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I also read that Lost was planned as 4 seasons.
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Even if that is the case, then they are still terrible planners because they had at most 3 seasons of material.
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Lost went on for too long, I agree.
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I read the last several seasons were planned, but not out of the chute, do you happen to have an article on that?
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I say "shooting for 5 episodes" below and I mean 5 seasons.
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@burke426 (I can't reply directly to you): did you read that article you just linked? There's talks of a rough outline and "leaps of faith" and that the show would end how it began and that's it...



On the other side of the argument they talk about how many things change including Jack dying at the beginning and Kate not being the "convict".



Furthermore, this bit "Lindelof: We're proceeding as if they are going to allow us to do what we plan, which is a four- or five-season arc with potentially a movie to wrap it up." isn't based off a specific story...it's based off of the typical TV philosophy of "get this show to 100 episodes so we can make more money in syndication"



Abrams even specifically says "It's because there's an economic model that says the show must go on for five years." It couldn't be more clear they were only shooting for 5 episodes because of syndication and not because they had a specific story they needed to tell.



Thank you for bringing this interview to my attention. It's even more clear to me after reading it how little of Lost was planned upfront.
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My information came direct from the horse's mouth, in this case the show's creators. See my reply to tnetennba above where I cite my source for my original post, including the relevant part of the interview. The whole interview is available here:



http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1562722,00.html
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Tim i love your reviews.

Kinda sad you'll not revewing the end of this 1st half season.



OMG after Sunday only in 2013 Breaking Bad will be back to conclude :(
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Sorry Tim, don't agree with you. I almost got a female h**d on during the first sequence when Walter said "You're god damn right!". This show is so GREAT in every way that at the end of each episode I have to inhale fresh oxygen. There's no bad scenes, there's just great and fantastic.
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I want to ask.. In season 4 gus's plan was to kill walter and produce just a great cook in form of Gale. So why did Mike said that It's ruined everything because of walter?. Walter was just trying to save himself then. Can anybody provide inputs?
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In Season 3 gus' plan was to kill Walter and make gale cook for him. Season 4 Walt THINKS Gus is after him, but he's not. Watch early season 4 again, Gus is not plotting against Walt...we never see anything like that, not until the end of the season when it's clear Walt won't stop trying to take out Gus. Only then is Gus FORCED into trying to take out Walter. Watch the first few episodes of season 4 again. There is a scene where Walter tries to get Mike to turn on Gus in that bar (right before Mike beats the shit out of him) Mike makes it very clear that Walter "won" I believe he even says specifically "Walter you need to learn to take 'yes' for an answer".



If Walter had just let things be after "Box Cutter" I think it's very clear that Gus would have just let him cook until he died of cancer.



It's also one of the reasons they not only bring Jesse in, but trust him enough to take him down to Mexico, early season 4 Jesse was off the rails and needed to bring him back around before he self distructed, but Gus proves that the end of Season 3 was basically "all forgiven" if they'd just let it go. Except Walter was too paranoid and crazy to let that happen and that's why we're at where we are now.
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When I read Tim saying that "something felt off" I thought he meant something like that. Mike's reaction didn't make any sense. He was the one that nearly killed Walt that night and had to back away since Gale was about to get shot. Walt did what he had to to come out of that situation, so while Mike's life went to a less safe place because of Walt's actions, he can't quite blame the man for fighting for himself...
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i think honk is getting really close to finding out about the true walter senior. lets just hope flynn doesnt hank at honk when he drives that fast new car of his.



i have a funny feeling marie might leave honk since he is spending all these hours going after michael.



i would love to see a spin off of this show called, "hank if you love honk" its basically about honk when he leaves the DEA and becomes a traffic cop.



HONK!
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Haha. This comment was definitely Classic Coke.
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lol, what?!
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This is the strangest Breaking Bad comment I've ever seen.
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I don't know if I'm allowed to link to other sites, but this is funny:

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/breaking_bad_hair

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I agree. The wrist scene-the emphasis was not needed, it looked mannerist. The car wash scene was too long. The "say my name" ("cos I'm one tough motherfucker, me and my bitches we're coming for you, enemies beware, when I'm passing in my shiny car, shake your..." or other bad hip hop lyrics) scene was awkward and only made our contempt for Walter White go deeper.

I'm getting tired, actually, of this bad-ass bit the writers seem to be so fond of this season. I won't be making a t-shirt anytime soon. I know the show is supposed to challenge my taste and the laziness of writing about beautiful, essentially good people getting happy endings, but I don't even think that someone could have taken Walter seriously with his "say my name" speech. It was silly and not bad ass material. Walter is out of control, but not only because he is getting more violent or more dangerous ("I'm the danger"), but because of his megalomania. I liked Heisenberg at first. Now he's a caricature
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Revealing himself as Heisenberg and Gus Fring's killer helped seal the deal with Declan and his crew, and also bought him some street cred. On the other hand, if Declan or any of his crew pass that info along, it's likely to be heard by the Cartel or friends of Gus's that would like to avenge him. Or simply kill him to save face.



A great part of the show's appeal, was watching a downtrodden mild mannered intellectual grow a pair, and man up under extreme circumstances. Who didn't cheer when he put that big bully on his backside for making fun of his disabled son when he was trying on a pair of jeans? Or when he weasled his way into Tuco's lair, and suckered him with a bag of crystal, that turned out to be a highly explosive substance that blew up on impact? He walked out of there with a deal, and some pay back for the beating Jesse took (which got them even deeper in the shit..but it was a victory at the moment :p)



He's waaaayyy out there now, and has lost sight of what was all important to him in the first place. Keeping his family provided for and safe and close. If only he'd agreed to sell the methylamine and gotten out. Although...in light of this episode, the payments to Mike's nine guys in prison are cut off. So, even had they taken the deal, they'd have to find another way to pay those guys off, or use Todd's connections to get all nine shivved in the shower somehow. They'd need to off them all at the same time, or they'll get put in solitary with extra guards.
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I thought this was a great episode, from start to finish. I think that this season has done a great job with showing what Walt has turned into. Over the course of the first 4 seasons, we had been viewing Heisenberg through Walt's eyes, glorifying him and his actions, despite a few moments which were hard to rationalize. But now that the Walt from the beginning of the series is almost completely gone, we're no longer seeing Heisenberg through Walt's eyes, we're seeing him for the slimeball he truly is. And while it really makes me hate Walt, and want to see him dead by the end of the series, I love every moment of it. This episode handled this aspect very well IMO, especially with Walt trying to avoid giving Jesse the money to leave, the whole argument between those two, and of course the ending. Him shooting Mike wasn't about the list of names. Nobody can disrespect Walt like that and get away with it. I was honestly expecting him to do something similar to Jesse during their argument. And speaking of Jesse, I think that Walt will still try to convince him to come back. In Walt's words, Todd is a generic-brand soda, and Jesse is Coke. I think that Walt will want to try to get him back, and will be desperate to do so. In his desperation, he'll start talking to Jesse about all the things he did to keep them together, and to keep them safe throughout the past year, and let the truth about Jane's death and Brock's poisoning come out. He'll do this out of both a desperation to get Jesse back, and his egotistical attitude, thinking he should be rewarded for all his efforts. But obviously it will have the exact opposite effect. Obviously this is just speculation, and they could take things in a very different direction. Anyway, I can't wait for the MID-SEASON finale next week. :P
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i need a t-shirt made that has heisenberg saying "Say my name" and jesse saying "BITCH!"



HA
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"Another part that seemed out of place was the scene at the carwash where Walt hid the methylamine. Was that included just to give Skyler some screen time, and if so, what did it accomplish? "



well he had to hide it somewhere and we didnt know where, so that's about all it accomplished.
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I think the carwash scene was made also to show the look Skylar and Jesse switched. I don't know why, but I think these two will work together in the future to stop Walter's madness.
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"why was it okay with Mike that Walter deliver the bag instead of Jesse? He had to have known that his chances of making it out of that scenario weren't that good if crazy-ass Walter was handing over the bag"



i agree. that was kinda dumb. not sure why he let that happen
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i agree with MarieH11...i think mike was protecting Jessie, he knew the DEA were in pursuit and he could be caught at any time...having Jessie out of harms way was showing real respect, compassion and love from Mike "doing a solid" for Jessie. If Walt were caught, on the other hand, it would be the end for the both Mike and Walt (thus ending the empire that was heisenberg)...you know Mike would never rat out Jessie if caught.
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Well, it was dumb, but I guess he wanted to protect Jesse, by refusing to expose him to the risk somehow. Or he began trusting Walter a bit after he let him know that the DEA was coming to get him. Or he simply didn't think Walter would go that far. Well, we all saw it coming, anyway. And it was beautifully acted.
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yeah gonna miss Mike, he was great (even if he was a killer and drug trafficer he had heart...and got nothing on tony sophrano)
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tim, is u trying to tell us u got engaged? congratulations!



the meth cooking scene was very off, with the upbeat music and everything, and i believe this was exactly the point -> they made us all feel this is wrong! and did it with happy and pleasant music which is masterful (will todd's criminal family, or todd himself, try dispose of walter as soon as todd learns everything)



disagree on having no one to root for, but i have been rooting for jesse from day one, and walter was always putting me off: he was disgustingly pathetically weak when we met him, always so condescending and calculated, and his heisenberg alter ego is just a monster - a monster which hit puberty this season... so for the finale i would like to see 'jesse lives' and walter monster crossing over into maturity/adulthood



also, high hopes for jesse and skyler teaming up, which i think was teh point of the car wash scene. also isn't the car wash super logical solution for walter to hide methylamine in a rush. it made perfect sense to me.



cake balls on a stick!! with faces! i want that! (bacon banana cookies sound a bit yuck)
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Am I the only one who doesn't try to predict what will happen next? It makes the show so much better to live in the moment. I was surprised to see Mike die. It was great.
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What a shame ...with a few tweaks this ep could have been a stunning season finale ...picking up the script after mike crashes the car, walt goes into the reeds with gun to finish the job ...cut to a distant view of the sunset at riverside with silence for a min or so. The last thing to hear is an off-camera gunshot as the screen fades to black and we would have had twelve months of "is mike dead??" speculation : )
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Character death cliffhangers are lame...



While it was clear to most that Gale bought it at the end of Season 3, some people thought it was ambiguous and you could claim they've already done it. Why do it again?
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Yeeeeah....this show isn't about Mike...
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Jake9154764: Not to start a flame war, but rather just to inject my own opinion on the matter: I understand where Tim is coming from. This episode was pretty predictable, if you're heavy into writing, (or even if you're just particularly invested) you start watching the show from a different perspective. I agree with you that BB has been a wildly unpredictable, surprising show, but when you start to dissect story arcs, character arcs, really take the tone of every scene into consideration, you can start to make predictions about where the episode, or even the story (in the case of shows that may not be as well written as BB) is going. You won't always be right, but often times you won't be wrong either. For example predicting Mike's death was basically a given, due to the way the episode closed out his character arc, the music choices, the cinematography, and it was pretty easy to tell early on that Mike wasn't coming out of this episode alive. I'm not saying (nor do I believe tim was either) that I know what the writers are going to write before they do, or that I'm somehow able to get inside their heads. But when you combine all the storytelling elements together, sometimes they give away what's coming next, whether that's done on purpose or not, depends entirely on the director.
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Joeyvenom: Thanks for the reply. I watched one episode of this show about three years ago and I was so impressed that I decided to download the whole series and watch it from the begining and boy was I treated to a great ride. Now before every new season starts, I watch the show from the bigining and I never tire of it. The reason I'm telling you this is because I am no stranger to the show. I did the same thing with the Sopranos. I do not always agree with the writers, but it is thier story to tell. Now when you say this episode was pridictable as in Mike being taken out. I do not agree. The seen could have gone several ways, such as Mike could have unsuccessfully tried to take Walter out and justified Walters action, or maybe they become tight and work together. There are so many other ways it could have gone if you think about it, but no matter how the scene went, the reviewer plus many others, would have said "I knew that was going to happen" We must accept the show as the writers wrote it, unless it is just such a big mistke that it ruins th show. Such as the last episode of the Sopranos, but I don't want to get into that. Thanks again for the reply.
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i hear what you're saying. Lets hope Vince and the team of writers don't drop the ball the way The Sopranos did on their last episode. That episode ruined what was otherwise an incredible series for me. I mean, what the hell kind of ending was that? An open ended, metaphoric ending? That may have been acceptable if it didn't clash with the show's FIVE YEAR long established style. The Sopranos was always straight forward, in your face, and used mobster logic. Then all of a sudden the last episode was SO aesthetically different. It's like they gave Vincent Gallo an 8 ball and said "here, write the final episode of The Sopranos."
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i hear what you're saying. Lets hope Vince and the team of writers don't drop the ball the way The Sopranos did on their last episode. That episode ruined what was otherwise an incredible series for me. I mean, what the hell kind of ending was that? An open ended, metaphoric ending? That may have been acceptable if it didn't clash with the show's FIVE YEAR long established style. The Sopranos was always straight forward, in your face, and used mobster logic. Then all of a sudden the last episode was SO aesthetically different. It's like they gave Vincent Gallo an 8 ball and said "here, write the final episode of The Sopranos."
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i hear what you're saying. Lets hope Vince and the team of writers don't drop the ball the way The Sopranos did on their last episode. That episode ruined what was otherwise an incredible series for me. I mean, what the hell kind of ending was that? An open ended, metaphoric ending? That may have been acceptable if it didn't clash with the show's FIVE YEAR long established style. The Sopranos was always straight forward, in your face, and used mobster logic. Then all of a sudden the last episode was SO aesthetically different. It's like they gave Vincent Gallo an 8 ball and said "here, write the final episode of The Sopranos."
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The final Sopranos episode was the best episode of all. You need to look up the hidden meanings in the final scene, it's truly magical.
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Ok, I went to the website and I will admit I did not read entirely, But I did read the intire last scene of the last episode and all it really says that Tony died via POV lens and that the last ten seconds of a black screen was Tony dead to the world. I am not saying I don't buy it. If Chase said he diliberately did it that way, then I would take him at his word if he actually said he planned it that way. But to me, although I like the Tony character, Tony dying or not dying was not really a difinative ending. To me since the writer says Tony is dead, it only answers how and when, it does not answer who or why, it also does not answer if the family got hit or not. If the author of that website answered those questions maybe it would be difinative, but he did'nt. I also read several comments and boy are we Americans gullable, it was not great art, and it was not in keeping with way The Sopranos had been presented for the past seasons. The ending just did not deliver.
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MooncalfReviews Thanks for the reply I will check it out and get back to you, but I am skeptical
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It wont let me reply to you Jake so I'll reply to myself. You should read this:



http://masterofsopranos.wordpress.com/the-sopranos-definitive-explanation-of-the-end/



Basically the entire show was to set up this one scene, from the very start. The scene sets up each camera angle and person entering with the intention to show you that Tony Soprano is shot before he hears anything. There's a ton more to it that that, but we've given Tony's perspective a lot through the final season just so that we can see what it's like to be him when he's put down.
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As I have been saying before, Everyone that says they get the final scene, can not explain it. They go on say it was great or truly magical (above) but they can never explain it. I have yet to meet one that can. As far as hidden meanings, all that means is whatever you want it to mean, give me a break people. But if you get twenty people to explain it you get twenty different answers.
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The last episode of The Sopranos was a beautiful thing to witness and then reflect on. Breaking Bad is on point, I think you just have bad predictions, and perhaps taste.
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I am not sure what you mean by bad taste, I think the Sopranos was the best TV drama ever made untill Breaking Bad came along. How can that be bad taste. But as far as the Soprano's last episode, what was so beautiful about it. I hear it all the time something like oh I get it now, or I didn't understand but now I get it. The thing is they never reveal what they get. I htink David Chase the Soprano creator just did not know how to end it. and as far as making pridictions goes, I am pretty much above average on that.

My disagreement wih the reviewer is that he does not make predictions before the show airs, what he does is tell us that he knew what was going to happen after he has seen the episode. That is not predicting that is just self serving
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Skylar's had a few breakdowns seemingly to embarrass Walt in some way. So now that something Walt covets (methlamine) is in her care, she could use it to really get back at him, maybe with a witness-protection deal. Didn't she do something similar with his hidden money?
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Personally, I do not like your reviews of Breaking Bad. I have only read two of them and it seems as though nothing really surprises you about the show. It is always like I knew this was going to happen and I knew that was going to happen. Almost like if you were giving the writers the ideas of how to write the show. What makes this show excellent, besides the writing and the acting, it's that it never fails to surprise you in an unpredictable way sorta like the ideas that come into Walter's head when it is crunch time. By the way you sure are chatty after you have seen the episode, so why not tell us what is going happen in the next episode. But you can't, why because you do not know untill you have seen the episode and then it is like I knew that was going to happen. As far as Mike blaming Walter for ruining a good thing, he was wrong Gus was as much at fault as Walter. They were two of kind.
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Sad to see Mike go, especially at the hands of Mr. White, but knew it was coming as they had to eliminate as well the problem of connection to Walter.
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It wasnt a perfect episode but an 8.0 score is way to low, i gave it a 9.5
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WALT, YOU FRIGGIN' MORON!!! "I just remembered, Lydia has the names." Can you blame Skyler for banishing the kids? Walt must be the stupidest genius on TV-EVER!

LOVED the look on Gomee's face when he catches Wachsberg in the act-cat that's just about to eat the canary...
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I'm wondering if Todds prison connection is one of Mikes nine associates that Walter is going to go after to silence. Something about Todds character suggests hes got a major play in why we find Walt on the run. I thought the opening desert scene was one of the best of the entire Breaking Bad series...Say my name....Heisenberg.....damn right it is! Absolutely bad-ass!
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I thought most of the episode was rather boring, but the end kind of saved the episode for me, personally. Jeez, that end. Walt has officially gone off the deep end. Although it seemed premeditated (by Walt taking Mike's gun from his bag), the look of surprise and shock on his face right after he shot then looked for Mike was pretty awesome. It's as if Walt is surprised by his own transformation into Heisenberg... of course, he tunes that out as quick as he can and gets back to being the badass he wants to be.



Bye Mike. You were the grouchiest dirty-work hit-man type person I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing. You'll be missed.
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I should have seen it coming, but I did not. I was rooting so much for Mike to disappear safely that I was absolutely shocked by Walter shooting him. I stared at the TV for a good 5 minutes before I was able to move after that final scene. I agree that Walter has gone too far and our loyalty to him was compromised beyond repair probably. I was very depressed after this episode. I don't know how this show can rap up after everything if not with Walter dead or in jail, and that saddens me because the concern for his safety and Jesse's was the reason I watched Breaking Bad. Sad, very sad.
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Walter had nothing to gain by killing Mike. Apparently he did it because "Heisenberg" couldn't let Mike ride off into the sunset in defiance of his demand for the nine names, and for laying the blame for their downward spiral at his feet.



Mike was right on the money about Walter's pride and ego being out of control, but Walter had little choice but to eliminate Gus, simply to ensure the survival of his family and himself, and possibly Jesse as well. When Jesse decided to avenge the death of his girl friend's cousin (the kid they used as a drug dealer and then killed), Walter arrived in the nick of time to save Jesse by running the kid killer down with his car. From that point on, Gus gave Walter every reason to believe that he intended to replace Walter with Jesse, and then kill him. Even before that, when Gus brought in Gale, Walter had his reasons to believe his days were numbered. Gus made it necessary for them to kill Gale, and then Gus cut that guy's throat in front of them to send his message. Walter clearly had more cause to kill Gus then merely pride and ego and the desire to "be the man".
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Not sure I completely agree with Tim here. Perhaps the POV cams were overkill, but it's certainly been a staple of the series, and if they want to mess around with it, by all means! I laughed and had fun with it. It didn't detract from the story in ANY substantial way.



As far as the ambiguous 5.1 season finale goes, how is this any different? Every season's penultimate episode is generally a vague cliffhanger. I have full confidence that the writers have chosen the best possible place to leave us until the final 8 episodes, and commenting on whether or not it was a good place is similar to wasting air. Let's hold our tongues until we see where this goes.



The music during the meth-cooking scene was fantastic. Everyone knows it's coming to an end, but this is very much a show from Walter's perspective. He's happy to be cooking, so for him, it's an up-beat experience. We have the 4th wall perspective, so you're supposed to feel somber. I'm glad they chose that music instead of some dirge. Then the art would be lost for that scene.
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Everyone keeps commenting on how the music for that scene was so upbeat. But did anybody listen to the lyrics? They're not so upbeat. They're about somebody who's jumped off a bridge. They're "going down" the river, and will probably drown. I'm sure the song choice was deliberate to add extra meaning via the lyrics.



http://www.lyricsfreak.com/m/monkees/goin+down_20095521.html
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I couldn't disagree more, Tim. This is was one of the best episodes of the season.
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The second time during this season that I felt a tear in the corner of my eye. That "let me die in piece", said by Mike with that look and in that gorgeous silence, will stay with me engraved for a long time. As the scene in which he looks at his niece, knowing that he couldn't do nothing but leave her alone and run. This may sound surprising but I really felt pity toward Walt scene after scene and I know that I was on the verge of hating him during this fifth season: when Jesse leaves him and Walter calls his name in such a desperate way; when he has to turn to Todd to cook meth; when he searches for a dialogue with Skyler hopelessly; when he realizes that he could have ask the names to Lydia and that therefore his action came, by instinct, from his heart of darkness; when the same Mike spits him in face with the truth and that it was because of his ego and his arrogance that they all came in that hell of a situation. Here, in all that moments, I have felt a strong compassion for him, and therefore also empathy. And he doesn't deserve it. Maybe it's Bryan Cranston's magic trick or the writing. I just don't know. These tones, that are those that I waited for a long time besides, contribute to not make everything white or everything black. They create that grey zone that makes the difference between a good story and a very great one. We all felt terrible for Mike and he was basically a criminal too. These strange situations happen to me after an episode of OZ (or The Wire). I'm waiting for Jesse's turn now and I believe that it will come soon. The relationship among him and Mike has been treated very well according to me, even if it doesn't obviously reach the relationship between him and Mr. White: a very fatherly jealousy towards his "son" is one of the secret motivs that has turned on the anger and the blind fury of Walt. He can't have his children, his wife, his pupil and his empire all together and this makes him more lonely than the desert. The quote about Coca Cola then... classic.
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"Price Peterson will step in" NO! The guy has no taste at all, he likes The Vampire Diaries and MTV's Inbetweeners! Please don't let him step in. I'd rather wait for your review than read his crap.
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Oh, no, not Price! I completely agree about Price's tastes.
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What!?! Price is the best.
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price is awesome, but is breaking bad his cup of tea? not sure..
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He did awesome reviewing True Blood. Almost liked his reviews better than Lily's.
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How can you miss the most awesome part of the cooking scene; the background music of a great but relatively unknown "Monkees" cover - one of the best Micky Dolenz vocals on "Going Down". Made my day.
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This is a great review the plot was great and necessary and so was Walt killing Mike, but the soundtrack and camera-play was slightly off. I also thought it was odd to have upbeat the situation of Walt cooking with a child killer.

The IGN review was terrible. The reviewer wrote that he couldn't give "Say my Name" , a score higher than 9 because he was upset over Mike dying and even said lol in the review - how unprofessional is that?

I've never held IGN in high regard ever since they gave Silent hill Downpour a 4 out of 10 just for being slightly laggy.
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HEISENGBERG!!! I was repeating it over and over until the Arizona dude said it and it was brilliant LOL!!!! I have no idea what will happen on the season finale. No idea whatsoever.. And I like it!
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Curious if the remark about killing Gus at the beginning, which Mike shook his head to, will lead to word getting back to Gus's buddies.
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"Say My Name"...Awesome episode, Mike was a great character, i'll miss him, well, as the end of the 1st half of the season approaches, i couldn't help but think skylar will eventually spill the beans, as much a silence means defeat, i know she'll crack, jesse may also spill the beans, if walt tells him about mike, cause he's an emotional cookie, perhaps that's how it will end next year....can't wait for sunday's the finale....
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Noooooooooo, Miiiiiikkkkkeee! My favourite character. Deaded. Beautiful way to go of course, but they could have at least given him one big last gun fight, Person of Interest style.



Todd is terrifying. So placid, calm and helpful. Until he shoots a kid.
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" Another part that seemed out of place was the scene at the carwash where Walt hid the methylamine. Was that included just to give Skyler some screen time, and if so, what did it accomplish?"

I think the reason for this scene was to show us Jesse's reaction to Skyler. Now that Jesse has realized that there's no way for him to get away from Walter, he'll remember what Walter said about Skyler counting the days for his cancer to come back to kill him. And he'll team up with her to get rid of him. They'll find some way to either kill him, or get him the hell away, without anyone finding out he ever was Heisenberg (Skyler wouldn't want that).

Jesse'll get his money, start his own cookinglab, and Skyler'll pretend to be in mourning, and move away to a new place.



It'll go something like this:

Walter: Jesse. that the hell are you doing?

Jesse: You think cooking was the only thing you learned me? I learned a trick or two from watching the Heisenberg.

Walter: What are you gonna do? The cops are gonna find out.

Jesse: We got a plan, don't you worry about us.

Walter: But we're partners, we're friends!

Jesse: Yeah, just like you and your wife. And she really loves you, enough to help me get my money back, if I kill you.

Walter: But can you really do it? Can you kill me?

Jesse: I got nothing left to lose, just die. *kills Walter*.



Yeah, something like that :p
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I had a slight theory about this during the dinner scene, but after this episode and reading your comment, I agree with you about Jesse + Skyler. I think the dinner scene at the White house, and now the thingy at the car wash, is a way to have Jesse and Skyler interact with each other in some way... paving a possible way for them to team up against Walt.
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Great episode, very good review - I had a strange feeling for the first 25 min and I realized the attempted coolness in the bank and in the cooking scene too - but the final moments were superb and for me it was still thrilling (the open door and Mike gone).

Still, there are a lot of things I can't wrap my head around:

1. Why did the lawyer come back to the vault? Because for the payment of the "silent" sources? Terribly handled to say the least ...

2. Why did Mike leave - not at all but why NOW? From my understanding he could have disposed the weapons and the laptop. After the DEA left with nothing HE WAS IN THE CLEAR FOR GOOD. He then could have heard it with his own ears because Hank's office is still bugged(reconnect via smartphone,laptop,PC,etc.)! And no need to rush things with the SAME LAWYER of the silent sources ... Mike was maybe too worried for his grandaughter?

3. Do any of the people Mike paid even know Jesse or Walter? Wasn't that the reason Walter didn't want to pay his share? So with Mike out of the picture why do Walt and Jesse have to leave at all?
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It seems like you're watching a totally different show than I am because I don't really understand why you have any of these questions but here are the answers.

1. He has to pay them every week (or month) and that's one of the most anonymous way of paying people large sums of cash without a paper trail. It's established the lawyer goes there a lot by his rapport with the bank employee.

2. He had to leave right now because his lawyer got arrested and was going to turn on him. Granted I don't know exactly what laws they could hold the lawyer on much less what actual proof they would have on Mike but that's the reason he was on the run.

3. Walt and Jesse don't have to leave. Jesse is upset that the kid got shot so he wants out but Walter is just trying to build an empire now.
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SAY MY NAME!!!!!!!!!!!!



All hail King Heisenberg!
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The scene at the car wash served to show Jesse how abusive Walt is. It's hard to see when someone is abusive to you in a relationship; it's much easier to recognize how that person is abusive to someone else.
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Phew, I just don't know. I think the comments made have a lot of weight. Perhaps the requirement to split the narrative into two consecutive streams, this year and next, are just stretching credibility too far.And I'm not all convinced that it made sense to re-establish the "year on" time frame That said, the individual performances by the actors in each given episode stand alone as the best thing US culture has produced in ages.
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-We will miss you, have fun.

-I, too, thought this scene was sometimes odd and overplayed.

-I think we will find out what the finale will be about next week, and I don't think we will be disappointed. I happen to think that Jesse and Skyler conspire together to kill Walt. I think the general consensus is that Jesse won't find out about Mike's murder, but I think he will find out. I think Walt will tell him.

-Seeing Todd cook with Walt was just odd. I wish they would have left that out entirely.

-I thought the reason for this scene was to show the longing looks between Skyler and Jesse. See above for why.



R.I.P. Mike, Kaylee will make you proud.
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Eh, midway through this episode I realized that not only is this season a fairly large step down from season 4, (still great, the season just doesn't do it for me overall) Breaking Bad may not be my favorite still airing show anymore. I was looking forwards to seeing Black Dynamite afterwards, and then even more to seeing the final episode of The Newsroom.



That's not to say every episode this season hasn't been near perfect, it's just that I don't see a overarching story worth caring about, things are just moving along, when Walter couldn't keep Jesse, he just moved on to the next possibility, no worries. And the only thing that can really change that is Hank finding out about him, which I expect will happen in the next episode, but then it's too late, the season is largely pointless.
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The Newsroom? ugh...what drek.
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"I don't see a overarching story worth caring about" what about the rise and fall, and inevitable death of Walter White?
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Sure, but that's been going on for four seasons now, it being the only thing left makes it feel like nothing.
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That's because it's all Walter has left. It's to make you feel hollow, and a little bit ashamed for rooting for him for all this time. We wanted Hiezenberg, well here he is.



I agree that the overarching story isn't quite as captivating, but each episode has been masterful this season. I'd just like to see more happen now, because we've only got 9 episode left.
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Eh, to each his own.
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I'm not quite sure Jesse will even get to know about Mike's death, since he was supposedly leaving the country and all trace of them...
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