Breaking Bad: Time Out

Breaking Bad S05E04: "Fifty-One"

Good gravy, that was an intense episode of Breaking Bad. I was perusing comments on the site the other day and someone said Breaking Bad was overrated. Well, to you sir, whoever you may be, I say click over to somewhere else because I'm about to virtually dry hump "Fifty-One," the best episode of Season 5 so far.

It's a year after the series' pilot in Breaking Bad time, and, accordingly, the concept of time was a huge theme in "Fifty-One." Time passing. Reflecting on old times. Running out of time. Breaking Bad has been so good with time, something other TV series take for granted and mold to fit their needs. It's only been a year since Walter White was diagnosed with terminal cancer. 365 days since he was in his underwear in the desert. One puppy calendar since he made a decision that would change his life and the lives of his family, friends, and strangers forever. One year ago was a very different time.

Now, Walter's having good times. Walter's in a pretty comfortable place at the moment with Gus out of the way, the meth business starting to pick back up, and the Benjis rolling in. He sat at the head of the table during his particularly unspectacular birthday party thinking about what a year it's been. There were times he was "sure [he] was done for," and of course he's talking about Tuco, Crazy 8, Gus, and any other despicable dealer who tried to bump him, but something or someone always got him out of the jam. Walt's speech was self-congratulating internally, but it was more of an appreciation of a team effort to his audience, one member of which was slowly dipping her toes into the meth-blue water of the White family's swimming pool.

What a gorgeous scene, a showcase for the whole Breaking Bad crew. Even before Skyler sank like a Scottie in the pool, our eyes couldn't help but dart back and forth between Walter talking about his near-misses and Skyler shifting in the background. As Walter turned his story to how supportive Skyler had been through his whole ordeal, the perspective shifted to Skyler's face and the cerulean shimmer of the water-filled metaphor reflecting off her face with Dave Porter's excellent keyboard pads filling in the empty space and putting a score to her despair. Skyler's expression was more than a blank stare; it was a look of hopelessness and regret, of letting this thing get out of control, of being part of something she can't escape, of not picking up on things earlier. As Walter recounted the past year of his life in a positive light, Skyler was running through her own account in her head... and it was light years away from Walter's take. It's all about reflection: Walter's dream has become Skyler's nightmare. So she went for one of those fully clothed mental-collape swimming breakdowns (I totally agree with Hank, there's no way that was anything close to a suicide attempt). You bet Skyler wishes she hadn't fought the cancer as hard as she did.

In another fantastic scene, this one controlled by the fantastic performances of Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston, Skyler found the strength to stand up to Walter after her dunk/baptism. This was Skyler's last stand, and it was all about protecting her family. Breaking Bad is incredible at shifting power on a dime, and Skyler had it for just a second in thinking she could use the kids against Walter, a continuation of their conversation earlier. Hey, at least they're talking now! I'll give her credit, she stood up to Walter for much longer than I could have. But then Heisenberg showed up and growled, "What are you going to do to stop it?" and struck down every desperate plan Skyler came up with. "What else you got?" Heisenberg barked indignantly. The body language in this scene was fantastic, too. Skyler got backed down into sitting on the bed, with just one plan left. She's waiting... for the cancer to come back, and was a brutal declaration. Yep, this marriage is hosed and beyond repair.

Next shot: Walter shaving his head, trickling blood, and eating breakfast alone.

Time again came into play when Jesse gave Walter a watch for his birthday. Walter told Skyler, "See, this guy wanted me dead but he knows I'm still okay. He gave me a watch!" If you listen to that scene closely with bitchin' 5.1 Dolby surround sound, you can hear a clock ticking in the living room. Tick, tick, tick. Next, Walter places his new watch on the bedside table, and the ticking is faster. There's nothing subtle here; Walter's time is limited, and Skyler's plan is to wait it out. But you might want to ease up on the cigarettes, girl, you don't want to get cancer too.

"Fifty-One" brought things back to the homefront for some great domestic revelations, but the business was still churning and ironing things out. Walter's expanding empire relies on others, and Lydia, who reminds me of a scared purse-dog, was quaking in her mismatched shoes. She's not exactly a model employee, and with Hank breathing down her neck she came up with a plan to get out. Well, at least Mike thinks she did. If Mike is correct, Lydia faked a GPS unit on a tub of methylamine to encourage Walter to look elsewhere for hard-to-get chemicals. Mike's solution: "Okay, she's dead." Mike, I love you, don't ever change. Jesse is still a softy (or sexist, as Mike says) when it comes to murder, and wanted to come up with a less murder-y plan. Apparently Walter did come up with a plan, but we don't know what it is. Given that methylamine isn't available at the local Safeway and is a bitch to get, I would think the plan somehow involves figuring out whether Lydia is telling the truth or not. If she is, they'll part ways until the heat dies down. If she isn't, maybe Mike will filet her and hire some lackey to wear her skin so they can keep using that source of methylamine.

As Mike said last week, Walter is a time bomb tick-tick-ticking. The walls on his newly built empire are paper-thin, but he refuses to believe that because he's used to finding some loophole to scamper out of when trouble confronts him. There are more ways that his business can go wrong than there aren't, and it's only a matter of time before one of them does him in. Tick, tick, tick...



NOTES

– The opening scene with Walt and the cars was amazing. The old Heisenberg hat is back! As was the Aztek, at least for a moment. No respectable drug kingpin (or rather, no drug kingpin who is feeling comfortable) would ride around in anything less than a Chrysler 300 SRT8. And Walter Jr.'s reaction was priceless. He shook his hand as if to say, "It's okay, but you know what would be really great?" And then he's pulling up in a Challenger. UPGRADES FOR EVERYONE! Then the pair, as father and son, let the kittens under their respective hoods roar as Walter gunned it in park. Walter is the one who pushes limits, turning the magnet dial all the way up and slamming the accelerator to the ground. No half measures anymore.

– Congratulations to Hank for getting the promotion! But is he really going to pull himself off this case? Will being able to look at ALL the cases help him connect things better?

– Imagery overload, in a great way. The pool (Skyler lost in a sea of blue meth), the loose thread on Heisenberg's hat (Lydia being a potential loose end), the watch (Walter's ticking clock)...

– How did Mike know Hank would be showing up at Madrigal in Houston to talk to Lydia? Could the DEA actually have bugged the methylamine then?

– Last week, Walter and Walter Jr. were having a blast watching Scarface together. This week, they chummed up over new cars and racing. Walter Jr.'s love for his dad has to be at an all-time high. I loved their chat about doing donuts.


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

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What a great episode, and an equally great review. Worth the hard work looking for every review after I watched the episode. Btw, in the show Community pages, there should be an easy click link to tv.com reviews.
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I enjoyed each and every word. you're brilliant!
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I think a point has been missed here. Survival rates for advanced stage lung cancers of diagnosis after 1.5 years are less than 29%. The meth business has always been a metaphor for the cancer. Statistically speaking, Walt will most likely be killed by cancer. One of the few episodes where he and Walt Jr. shared a vulnerable moment was after he had been beat up last season. His son said it was the first time his father had been "real" in a year. At that time, Walt told a story to his son about when his father was sick. His last memory was of a sick man with a twisted body in the hospital bed and he did not want to be remembered like that. It is Walt's fear and a fitting end. This is the plot device used to introduce the character and would be appropo for his demise.
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Regarding the flash forward of Walt's 52nd birthday, I think that will be the final showdown of the story. Scarface-like.



I agree with the idea that Walt Jr will die in a car crash. Not sure what will happen with Skyler.



What I do think right now is that someone close to Gus, someone from his time in Chili, will take revenge. That would be the reason for Walt to run away and buy the machine gun.

Live free or die!



Great tension in season 5, really looking forward to watch the next episode!
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I understood the "Live free or die" reference more like: prison or death...

So the showdown must be with cops rather than with mobsters.
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[off topic]



TV.com, There should definitely be an edit button on the comments pages.

Pleeeeeeeease!
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I'm maybe way off base here, but I don't see how Lydia could have planted the bug herself. Just look at how rotten she as at turning lights on in the warehouse, I can't see her working a fork-lift. That said, well acted by Laura Fraser. Who grew up 26 miles from my house. My only claim to fame, I fully intend to get out more...
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There has never been a better TV on the air, and it'll be a long time before it's matched, if ever. But I have one little cavil that makes me nuts every time I see it. That baby is eight months old... at least six months too old to still be wearing a hat indoors! PLEASE, wardrobe...give that kid's head some air already!
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Hey Tim, thanks for the shout out! I'm pretty sure I'm the one that said Breaking Bad is overrated :) I still quite enjoy the show, but it's definitely not perfect. That being said I quite enjoyed this episode, and I love how the writers have redeemed Skyler's character substantially in my eyes.
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You're right that it's not perfect. No show can be. But it's definitely the greatest series television has ever had on it. What's been better? Certainly not The Wire, which had many episodes that were slow and never built to anything substantial (Though, I do consider it my second favorite show ever). The Sopranos? Please, a great show, but immensely flawed, especially in its last season. Its only competitor is Mad Men, and while I enjoy that show a great deal, it still doesn't build like Breaking Bad. No show is better, now, or ever.
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"The Shield"!

Maybe not necessarily better but definitely as Great.



"Sons of Anarchy": great show also.

"24" was also amazing.



(And I have very hight hope with "Vegas": Denis Quaid - Carrie-Anne Moss - Michael Chiklis - Lennny Citrano)
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The first 4 seasons of the Shield had it on pace to maybe be the best ever...but the last couple seasons dragged a bit.



Sons of Anarchy has never done it for me. I like it, but I don't consider it "can't miss" television and I particularly hate last season's ending. It was cheap and undercut all the great tension built up over the course of the season. It would have been better it if didn't get renewed.



Lastly...24...ugh...Too many amnesia plots, kidnappings and cougar traps (and yes, ONE is TOO MANY), to even think about putting that inconsistent melodrama in the running. That's not to mention the forced - nearly yearly - mole plots which got old quick and the KEPT DOING IT. 24 was entertaining (especially the early seasons), but it had too much filler and bad red herrings...
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Well obviously it comes down to personal taste, and what each individual prefers watching, but I enjoy Damages a lot more than Breaking Bad.
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Well, it really seems that by Walt's 52nd birthday things will be much different to him, most probably worse. But I can't believe all we've seen of Breaking Bad so far fits only in one year of story time. That means a lot can still happen, and Walter can expand his drug empire exponentially before his eventual downfall.



Meanwhile, Walter has to be concerned about increasing his meth production because as we've seen in the last episode, the way things are now leaves them with a very low profit margin. Yet, he doesn't seem to be making any steps to improve that.



I love the new character, Lydia. Laura Fraser is a beautiful woman, and neurotic Lydia is a potential loose cannon. Mike is right to want to finish her off, but I hope he doesn't succeed in doing it.
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Skylar definitely knew that they would not let her die... Why would Hank or Mary do that?

She is not suicidal, she is desperate.



Skylar will NEVER kill herself. Everybody seem to forget that she is a strong woman. Remember how she handle the money laundering situation?

She is a strong woman in a desperate situation. That was not a weak moment: That was an as coldly calculated moment as Heisenberg himself would have laid.



The only glitch in her plan to keep the kids away from Walter is that she is giving him a very good alibi if she is ever found dead.

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I'll never be able to watch the innocent 'Ratatouille' in the same way after Walt mentioned it...
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The best show on air delivers again; the suspension of this episode sent chills down my spine. The character growth of Walt from season 1 to now is probably the scariest, best, most unique tv has ever offered. I agree with some rational people here, without Skyler the show wouldn't be the same; so I hope she somehow makes it (however unlikely that may seem now) Great job AMC! Best epsiode of the season thus far
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" I though you were the danger?"
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The Bedroom scene... (YEAH...BEDROOMS .... Mr. White!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXrQlaleLKI

Being honest, that was one of the best scenes of the whole show. I couldn't believe it wasn't the ending scene of the episode.

BB... still making look lame every other show or movie on 2012.
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Skyler is going to end smoking the ricin cigarrete.
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Maybe not in cigarette form, but I was thinking Walt's going to use the ricin on Skyler, too.
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Recall that the ricin was never put into a cigarette to be smoked. A glass vial of it was hidden in a hollowed out cigarette so that Jesse could carry it around, and Walt has since hidden that vial behind an electrical outlet at the White's home. Things can obviously change, but right now there's no ricin cigarette around.
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I thought he put it behind a wall plug cover? If not, what did he put there? or did he take something out of there?
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Walter took it out of the cigarette, but someone is gonna get the ricin
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I just watched this episode for a second time, then watched the first scene of Live Free or Die, Walt's 52nd birthday. Lot's of interesting stuff there, like Walt's cough returning and his Scarface gun-Walt and Junior were just watching it last episode.
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Yeah this is the best TV show I have ever seen.

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As Damon Lindelof said in an interview: The Wire is the best show ever made but that's just because Breaking Bad is not done yet..
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Who's idea was it to cancel this great show anyway? The Network or Gilligan?
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The show is not being "cancelled", it's being end-of-lifed. It has run it's course, it's told all the story it needs to tell, it's going out on top in it's own terms. The way it should be done. Epically.
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Answer to AyeDub's post (which doesn't have a reply button):



They wanted to do a final season. AMC wanted the next season to be short, but were willing to do more than one. What they got was a final season of 16 episodes split over two years. So it looks like they got MORE episodes than they originally wanted. (A typical episode has 13 episodes).
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In a way it is being cancelled...they got less episodes than they wanted and had to fight (They shopped the final season around to other networks for leverage against AMC - http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/08/01/breaking-bad-renewal-talks/ ) to get what they got. While they have time to plan for the end, the show is not exactly going out on its own terms.
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Well... My consolation is that I'm sure Gilligan as something else up his sleeve.
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A good show, maybe the best on TV at the moment, but still no where near the complexity or craft of The Wire.
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I think The Wire is currently the best show ever made, and while Breaking Bad will never match The Wire's realism (because much of it is based off real events), I do feel it rivals the complexity and planning involved in The Wire.



The only aspect I don't like of Breaking Bad - BB's portrayal of street level distributors - I don't like because the Wire did it SO well.
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Couldn't agree more!!!

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Pure art, breathtaking and beautiful.
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This was by far one of the best episodes! The vivid imagery reminiscent of cult classics was awesome! The characters are intense and real! I loved every thing!
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I for one dont think Walt will kill Skyler, not because the show doesnt have the balls to go there but because i see Skyler making it to the end. My take on the flashforward it that as we are seeing now the mariage is over and he will loose them for good but they will live
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I also tend to wish that.
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Another INTENSE episode ...



Wouldn't it be fun if the M60 from the teaser at the beginning of this season isn't meant for Mike, Jesse, Hank or any villain - but for his wife? I know marriage is a bitch but seriously the Whites have issues!
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There is a much subtle way for Walt to kill his wife that wouldn't raise as much suspicion as a M60 bullet. Anyway... who buys an M60 and 2 boxes of tracer bullets to kill only one person?
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Maybe if she's in a safe house, to shoot through walls and to set the whole thing on fire? I don't know, wasn't THAT serious about the specifics - but you think Walter is going to kill her too, aren't you?
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I didn't think of that, the safe house, and it would make sense, then (and the 30 miles drive, and the birthday-bacon scene as a link).

But that means he would kill his whole family 'cause the kids must live there also. Some kind of murder-suicide thing.

That would be a spectacular but very sad ending.



I think he might kill her but I really hope not. I think she's been part of the success of the series as much as Walter and Jesse.
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I've always had the feeling Walt Jr. would die, his death being the event that pushes Skylar over the edge to leave or commit suicide. A car accident is starting to seem likely.
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Back when Gus threatened to kill Walt's entire family, I thought that he was going to kill Holly, and that was going to be the event that turned Walt into Heisenberg permanently. Glad to say I was wrong!
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I think he becomes addicted to blue meth.
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Wouldn't that sort of come out of the blue?

(no pun intended)
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Perhaps not. Junior has gotten into trouble before for trying to score some beer, back in Season 1. It's not inconceivable that he could try some "harmless" crystal to be with the crowd and to get a buzz.
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If that happens, I doubt both will die.

That would be the worst ending for the series.
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This show is so f'n good.
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Can we just give applause to Anna Gunn? Without her, Walter/Heisenberg wouldn't seem half as frightening. I am in awe of how her character, who was strong and somewhat authorative before, is now shaking in a corner. For me, it's the change in Walt and Skylar's relationship that is the most striking evidence of Heisenberg taking over Walt. Damn this show! Such good acting, such good writing.
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She is amazing.
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Yeah, she was too amazing in that fight scene.
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The scenes with Walt talking to Skylar and she doesn't reply were unbearable. I was shouting at the screen to move on to the next scene!



I thought her chain smoking at the end was her way of trying to give him cancer quicker...
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Another stellar show from BB. This was incredibly intense episode. I was glued from beginning to the end. It reminded me somehow by its imagery (especially scene when Walt talking and Skylar looking at the pool) and tense domestic scenes and dialogues (Walt and Skylar horrific talk and Walt and Hank and Mary conversation after Skylar incident) excellent 70s 80s movies with its dark tone and rough scenes. I like that BB always has different kinds of episodes everytime. They have different approach and theme and even structured differently. And it's amazing quality. It suprises everytime. So far the beginning of this season is way tense and wasting no time and frame.
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Bryan Cranston scares me..

Each episode of this show ends with my intestines all cramped up from tension. And I love it!!
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Skylar didnt say the most obvious thing to threaten Walt with during their fight: "I'll tell Hank the truth."
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Well, she did say something like "I can't go to the cops" because she's been complicit with Walt by laundering his dirty money. She may get a shortened sentence for cooperating, but she'll still go to jail and/or lose her kids.
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I don't think it's that, she just likes the money. If Walt goes to jail the money is gone. She was the driving force behind laundering the money because she's so greedy. Walts death is her only way out.
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Great episode!! I love this show!!!
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The final tick of the clock was actually a gun cocking. It was slightly different.
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That was the minute hand advancing.
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Theory time! Obviously Skylar's life is in danger (either by herself or Walter).

By the looks of the 1-year foreshadowing in the first episode they seemed seperated a year from now (why else wouldn't he celebrate his birthday with his family). So either Skylar is really dead or Walt did leave them for good.

There is one issue though: Jr. and baby Holly. If Skylar dies, what happens to them? Walter can't be a single father/widower running a meth buisiness with such aggressivity (he was obviously gonna use the MG).



Ok I thought about this and I'm gonna throw this theory (don't read if any realization could spoil it for you):

- Skylar dies. Maybe Walt kills her, maybe it's herself doing it.

- Walter fakes his own death (hence the new car, beard, hair and identity in the preview).

- Due to his assumed death his kids are taken care of by Hank and Marie.

- Walter = Heisenberg = Scarface. Nothing else in life left for him.



If you think of it, it makes perfect sense. Especially the kids being at Hank/Marie this episode - it's simple foreshadowing. With Skylar's death, Walt loses his family and everything he once hold dear and the only purpose left in life for him is his meth buisiness. A man who has got nothing to lose, which was the impression I got from the previewed Walter a year from now. And it even could be that Walter himself kills Skylar - that would be his final transition step as someone mentioned down below.
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I was just piecing a few things together that I thought of, and somebody else I know online mentioned to me, and basically came to the same conclusion as you did. However, there's one thing I'd like to add. All of those points will be the way things are at the end of this half of the season. Then we'll get a kind of epilogue in the second half of the season, in which Hank gets a lead on Walt and/or "Heisenberg," and starts tracking him down, and it leads to a confrontation between the two of them. This might be what we saw hinted at in the flashforward, with Walt buying the gun.
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I agree that the Hank/Walt showdown will be the final chapter. Not sure when the time jump will occur considering we've got only 3 episodes left for this half of the season. But on the other hand the character development is going pretty fast this season so it could very well be that those events will take place in episode 8. Whatever happens, I think there is still a huge space left for surprises, especially for next year.
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I think it's 4 episodes left. But I think you may be right. It could be a bit early for a jump in time like that. I didn't think of how many episodes we had left, but I thought the mid-season split would be a good place to make that jump. Or maybe they could have a few more flashforward scenes to fill in some of the story while keeping the story in the present time for the majority of the second half of the season, and then have an episode or two at the end dealing with the final confrontation. Either way, I do think that's the direction they're taking the story.
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@FF: Of course we can't rule out several small time jumps but I think more than 2 in 8 left episodes would be basically "fastforwarding" which would destroy the slow pace of the show it had for 5 seasons and create some controversy. As I said, I think there is one thing we can rely on, which is that the writers around Gilligan won't use a time jump for convenience and to cut out important character development. So when I look as to how the seasons in BB generally have been shaped (character development - conflict buildup - escalation) I think we can expect a bang at the end of this (half-)season which can very well lead to a smaller time jump, depending on the bang. I think the bigger it is the less likely it is for a jump to be a bigger one or to happen at all. Namely because of above stated reason - they wouldn't flashforward important character development which always follows the season finales' bangs.



I'm really not sure how Walter will die in the end but I tend to say he will. Maybe like in the movie Layer Cake? Or by Jesse, Hank, his son. I think everything is possible and I love that.
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@XY

@HH

@DT



Guys, I just want to start off by saying this thread is magnificent. Seriously top notch stuff.



Okay, has anyone considered an even progression of time throughout the remaining episodes? ... No? You're right, that's pretty unlikely.



Although, it's definitely possible there might not be ONE big time jump, but a few smaller ones



I think there WILL be a time jump between the eighth and ninth episodes. But I'm not sure if that jump will take us all the way to the mysterious diner and Walt acquiring the M-60. For some reason I have a hunch the opening scene of season 5 is very near the end of BB's timeline.



So, my theory is we'll get a jump at the end of season 5, and the first 5-7 episodes of season 6 will progress to the Bacon 52 and the M-60. I could be wrong, but the BFG seems like endgame shit to me.



CLOSING QUESTION: Does anybody think Walter will die by the end of the show?
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Oh yeah, sure there's 4 left. My bad.

I think considering the usual pace of Breaking Bad the latter seems more probable, i.e. longer build up (for about the next 8-10 episodes) with occasional flashforwards and then an epilogue with 2-4 episodes where the time jump occurs. I mean besides the Skylar-development we also have to consider that before any time jump the buisiness building storyline has to finish (including Mike's speculated demise, Hank's promotion, more Jesse character development etc.) because these writers would never use a time jump to avoid writing difficult scenes.
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What we do know for sure is that so far it's taken 50 episodes to cover 1 year in the show's timeline - from Walt's 50th to 51st birthdays - and then we've seen the flash-forward to his 52nd birthday. At some point in the 12 episodes that remain, the pace is going to have to change dramatically, or we skip forward.
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We should try to point out the dominant recurring colors in each episode. Each season seems to do this with the colors. This episode seems to really have a lot of clothes and objects predominantly red and blue. Anybody want to interpret what they mean, besides blue being Walt's meth?
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Red and blue usually signify royalty. All hail the king.
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I thought that was purple. All hail Marie.
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I called it. Last week I said that Skyler would try committing suicide sooner or later, I just didn't think it would progress this far this fast. I absolutely loved the scenes dealing with Walt and Skyler's marriage, especially the pool scene, the confrontation in the bedroom, and Walt coming back after getting the watch. This episode made me think that the main threat this season wouldn't be Hank, and while Lydia will obviously be a problem, she won't be the big threat of the season either. It's Skyler. All she wants now is for Walt to be gone from her life, and for her and her children to be safe from his influence. She doesn't care how it happens. She's do anything to make it happen, and if she can't think of a solution, she'll wait for the cancer to take him. I think it will come to a point where Walt will have to take her down if he wants to prevent her from taking him down. And then he won't be able to hide behind the "doing it for my family" excuse anymore... And on another note, I've once again got to say how much I love Mike. "That's what I get for being sexist." :D
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I don't particularly like when people say "I called it", especially when they're wrong. Skylar didn't try to commit suicide. Hank knew her pool stunt wasn't a suicide attempt. Not with all of them there. It was made to look like a cry for help, but we and Walt know that wasn't what it was either. It was a calculated move on Skylar's part to get her kids away from Walt. She said so herself, every minute the kids are away from him she considers to be a victory. She is a mother afraid for herself and her children. The last thing on her mind is killing herself and leaving her kids in the hands of someone she now thinks is dangerous.



No offence intended. I just don't think you "called" anything ...



Now I sound like a dick.
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Yes, she did say that she did it to get the kids away from Walt, and to be fair, that almost certainly was a factor in what she did. I guess I should have worded my post differently, so I do apologize. However, I did come out of that scene with a very different interpretation than you did, which admittedly could be wrong. While I don't think it wasn't neccessarily her wish to commit suicide like I said, I also don't think that she would have really minded if they hadn't pulled her out of the pool and let her die. At least then she would be free of Walt. Yes, that would have also meant that she would leave the kids with Walt, who she views as a monster, but she would be free from him, and for a moment she let at least part of herself wish for this. I think the main reason why I feel this is the case is the look on her face as she entered the pool, and then when she was under the water. As I said, this is simply an interpretation I had from watching that scene, and I could be wrong. However, after she got out of the pool, I do think that part of her died (if it was there at all), so I don't think she'll do anything like that again. She will undoubtedly cause Walt trouble, but she'll be more careful about it so that her children won't end up being raised by Walt.
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The look on her face was not about freeing herself from Walter but about finding a solution (albeit temporary) to have the kids moved away from Walter.
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Now I really feel like a dick. I call you out, and you apologize. You're a good guy, HH. (And I'd be remiss if I didn't say your interpretation could very well be right. Opinions and stuff.)
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No, that's alright. I kind of hate when people say "called it" myself, so I don't know why I said it there. I just couldn't help myself. :P
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I have a feeling that Skyler is the loose end, not Lydia.



They need to kill Skyler. Or more accurately, Walt needs to kill Skyler. It's like his final transition scene, like Anakin Skywalker killing all those Jedi children to become Darth Vader. Only with a lot more grey involved, because Skyler is annoying, and she will no doubt go to the police if Walt doesn't do something.
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It could be Ted...frankly Walt is starting to accumulate more than a few loose ends...Also see my reply to the Skyler discussion below...
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if he kills skyler it's game over... it's not a simple move.
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And that's why this is the last season.
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Skylar, please, just kill yourself already!!
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What a fabulous episode. They at the Aztek back but it had been in the repair shop. Am I not remembering something from Season 4 where he busted it up? Sometimes this show is so complex you have to go back and rewatch things.



I noticed Skyler with the bacon forming the 51 on Walt's Eggs, the first episode opened with him doing that to his eggs with the 52.

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There were three scenes like that in the series. The first episode of the series had Skyler happily making the bacon into a 50. This episode had her reluctantly making the 51. And the first episode of the season had him make the 52 himself. Such a great way to represent the deterioration of their marriage over those two years. Now we just have to see how she gets out of the picture between now and the flashforward scene at Denny's.
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Yeah he crashed it on purpose to throw Hank off the car wash scent.
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Walt was trying to keep Hank away from the laundry where the super lab was
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Few things I noticed:

-BreakingBad loves to foreshadow...this episode sealed for the fact that Walt Jr. will die due to a car crash, episodes "Slow Down", "Never", and "Fifty-One" shove it in our faces.

- Skylar is smoking in the house because she wants Walt's cancer to return. Just her sitting in that chair, blowing smoke at him while he talked. Also putting her butts in his 51 mug.

-The flash-forward scene where Walt was back to his lovable loser self with an LMG machine gun connects beautifully with that scene with Walt and Walt Jr. watching with Scarface makes me think thats the way Walt wants to go out. Either way, I love this freaking show!
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Dude, you just blew my mind. Your foreshadowing theory is incredible. I never even considered the titles might be a pattern/hint for some future event, but now that I've read your comment, it makes an eerie sort of sense. ESPECIALLY given the fact in this episode Hank implored Walt Jr. to "slow down" and his response was "never". Now I just blew my mind.
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I thought the exavt same thing about Skylar smoking. It's the ultimate f**k you to anyone with lung cancer.
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loved that camera play with the cars, totally matched the dubstep.
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There has always been a ticking sound in the lounge room of that house... such a subtle way to add tension. Also, I may be going mad, but the final tick on Walter's watch as the second hand reached twelve sounded like a gun being cocked. (also that second hand changed from black to red as we got into macro mode)
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Well, he had his cancer diagnosed a day after his 50th birthday. I think this was the way of showing - "it's the day of his 51st birthday, some rough things are going to happen"
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I really do not understand all of this Skyler hate. No one has ever come up with a convincing argument as to why she is useless.



Great episode. The scene between Walt and Skyler was so intense.



Forgive Mike for being sexist.
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Totally on board.
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The natural state of a character is useless (consider her character at inception, with just a role - wife/mother). The writers have to make them worthwhile. I have yet to see a convincing argument as to why she is worthwhile. If you are taking on the writers' job, the burden of proof is on you, not the Skyler haters.
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The burden is on me huh? Okay fine. Give me your argument and i will rebut.
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Actually, that didn't make any sense. Just humor me. Tell ne why you don't like Skyler.
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I actually don't have strong feelings one way or the other about her. I just feel that each character in any story needs to justify their existence, so the argument needn't be made why a character is worthless, but why a character is worthy of inclusion in a story.
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The show would be something else completely if Walt wasn't married.
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The reason why Skyler is worthwhile?



If her character did nothing the show would be boring. If throughout the first three seasons, for example, she didn't question what Walter was up to the only tension involved in the show would revolve around the meth game, and season's 1-3 would be half the length if there was nothing going on in Walt's home life.



The only reason all you people "hate" on Skyler is because she goes up against the hero of the show. You're not meant to like her necesserily, but I gaurantee things will be a lot more boring if Walt, for example, decided to give her the Ricin in episode 8...



She's worthwhile because there'd be no show without her. What would Walt do in his spare time if it was just him living by himself, not a lot, I think.
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You hit the nail on the head.
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Whether anyone agrees with it, Walt loves her. That's her purpose. This is a very important aspect of Walt's life, as well as his metamorphosis. The writer's couldn't give two #&*#! whether you like her or not...this is Walt's story. This is Walt's woman. And she's defecting.
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No way. If that were true, we would not be exploring the evolution of her character and her relationship with Walt.
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I would even go further and say that SHE is the only thing in this series showing the audience how Walter not only destroys his own life but also that of his family's. Without Skylar Walt wouldn't have as much to lose, destroy and regret. She serves an important purpose and is about to fulfill what she's been destined/written to do - the ultimate breakdown and downfall resulting in Walt to lose his family for good.



So try to see the bigger picture. And have some empathy with that woman!
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Without Skylar, Walt would have to be more involved with his family. I'd argue that she allows the writers to avoid the central conflict, because the caregiver role is delegated to her. In that way, she actually detracts from the drama. If you look at it from the perspective of "what would the show be like without Skylar" I think the logical conclusion to draw is that beyond adding nothing to the show, she actually subtracts from the show. I've never really cared one way or the other, but your argument just put me on the anti-Skylar side. I now hope she dies so we can see the real conflict between Walt's job and family.
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was i the only who heard a gun in the last second?
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nope... as i was watching the episode and it come to end, i was half-expecting there to be a *BANG* admist the ticking... No bangs, but that last click/tick was somewhat the sound of a gun being loaded.



Walter telling Skyler about Jesse pointing a gun at his face and wanting to kill him... but then, Skylar is frickin' scared of Walter! Don't really see her pulling a gun on him but then perhaps not on him but herself? though she wants to keep her kids away from Walter and if she's out of the picture, that doesn't happen...



DAMN! Why isn't there a promo for episode 5 on youtube!?!
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The way the scene was shot, and Skyler being silent just smoking one after another and he told her about the Jessie pointing a gun to him, I was like "Dude, how's that making things better?!"



But like "MarcinZakrzew" says below, it could be the date being changed, and if it is, i never heard my (or any) wrist clock make any noise in that action.



It would fun start the "Dead Freight" episode with Skyler pointing a gun to Walt's head to see if she would change her mind like Jessie did :)
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I think the gun sound was a metaphor and there was no real gun loading in the room. However, if you consider that the watch is a gift from Jesse - you can interpret this gun sound as foreshadowing.
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it could be just date changing in his watch, you know. I mean this showed that "today is the day after his 51st birthday", if you know what i mean
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another excellent episode.



Skyler needs to die though.
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"Lydia, who reminds me of a scared purse-dog..."



Best line in any review I've ever read on this site. Bravo!
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I kind of felt like this was a Breaking Bad version of a clip show. Obviously, a typical clip show wouldn't work, not only because this isn't a sitcom, but even if it was, Breaking Bad is too awesome for one (I just giggled at the idea of a Breaking Bad sitcom). But this felt like their attempt at referring to all the best moments of the previous seasons intertwined with some amazing character work and some serious as shit drama. They even used a clip show staple by setting it up with a birthday.



Just a few of the references in this episode to some of the most memorable moments of this series: Crawl Space (the last scene, in particular); Walt's second cell-phone; Walt doing donuts with the Challenger (then blowing it up); Hank getting shot; Walt using the Aztek to run over the gang-bangers; and of course, Walt's infamous "I AM THE DANGER" line. Oh, and the cancer too.



Believing this to be a version of a clip show didn't negatively effect my love for this episode. I love that Skyler is starting to try and fight back, and her attempt to manipulate the situation (as Walt is known to do) as best as she could by having a faux-episode in the pool was great. Really, I love every moment of this episode.
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Fantastic observation man, usually clip shows are really easy to catch. If episode 5 is as insane as Cranston and Gilligan make it out to be, then they intended to make this episode "slow" before things ramp up. They did they same with the episode "Fly" where things calm down before things explode. Can't wait for next week.
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Skyler should just do us all a favor and kill herself. She was always almost unbearable to watch, but with the role this season - helping us getting bored to death - it's too much. Just kill her already. Ohh, lmao, she just went into the pool as I was writing this. xD
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Just because a character goes off track and falls short of your expectations doesn't mean it's time for them to get knocked out.



Skylar has been, surprisingly, one of the many strong characters of this series and she still remains to be. This season's episodes have been painting her in a completely different direction than before, and if you think about it, her behaviour is perfectly aligned with her character.



Jesse Pinkman went through massive changes in his character after his gf overdosed and then after he killed Gale... how awesome was the Go-Kart scene?!?



Skyler on the other hand; she didn't kill anyone, but she's the sort of person who is not wired to do so and wouldn't expect such from the ones she loves. She was still getting down with the idea of Walter being a cook and her laundering his money for her - she was definitely taken back when she realized how much it was!



And then... The whole Ted Benekey situation, someone gunning for her family - Walter and Hank!, and topped off by the realization that her husband is a killer, and not just a killer, but someone who is willing to blow up a bomb in a retirement home killing not just the intended target but more and not breaking a sweat about it... now that, that totally justifies what's going on with her at present!



Last night's episode was simply epic and Anna Gunn did a terrific job. Kudos to her and the writers!
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What are you talking about? She was unbearable to watch - but in a good way. Gunn's performance was incredible and they are taking her character deeper than ever before.
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This is exactly the sort of comment I was referring to in the comments to last week's episode when I talked about how I never will understand all the Skyler hate...



Prior to this season she's been consistently amazing.
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I agree. There are actually times she has gotten on my nerves, but the same is true for Walt and Jesse (Walt was pretty unbearable to me in the first half of season 3). But as a character, she's actually a very deep one, who can be very interesting to watch. And I do love where they're taking her character this season, now that she's seen his true colors.
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For me it's her inconsistency. She's a hardass bitch one moment and then a scared kitten the next. In season 1 and 2 she had it so together all the time, and then last season she was like a mafia bosses wife (which I found an interesting development) and now she's this loopy unpredictable thing that switches randomly between self-pity, familial protection, and terrified of her husband, who only killed a guy because he was being hunted himself.



She's also a hypocrite. For a whole season she not only put up with the meth dealing, but she helped with it, and she even welcomed Walt back into her bed (gladly it would seem). She was so scared of losing him, and now that he actually saved his own life, she hates him again. What?
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She's terrified because the delusion is gone. Skyler the previous seasons reminded me of just what you said, a mafia wife. I recall watching a Starz documentary on mob movies and the portrayal of the mob in movies. I forget what actor it was (may have been Chaz Palminteri) who said that to be a mob wife, you have to have some measure of delusion. Its the only way a smart, self respecting woman would stay in such a situation. I feel that Skyler was just that in her compliance with Walt's "business": delusional.



And it was justified for her to be until the danger nearly made its way to her doorstep. Call her a hypocrite, a moron, just plain stupid for putting her family (along with Walt) in that situation. It takes even more balls, IMO, to reverse course and admit that what is going on is crazy. Heck, she sat there and saw her husband lose his damn mind after finding out the 600 grand was gone.



And then for him to declare he "won" when the threat was gone. Of all things to say in a situation like that, the best he could come up with was "I won." Your kids are about to be executed and that is the first thing on your mind.......She isn't perfect. She went along with Walt. For a moment, she chose her husband and money over her children. But to me, she has said "enough is enough". She might not be the most likeable character. But she is clearly not the wrong on in this situation
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@Mooncalf (since you couldn't reply to my reply) - It's one thing to know your husband is involved in Meth, it's another thing to put a "face" on those activities - See what I did there? Gus doesn't have a FACE. HAHA! ANYWAY, moving on...To put it simply Walt was involved in the detonation of a bomb that killed 3 people in a NURSING HOME (and could have killed more - btw). Once it was done, he didn't bother to say "I did what I had to" or "No one innocent died" he simply said "I won". That's not the reaction a normal person should have. I think she is scared shitless that she doesn't know what he's capable of anymore. How far he'll go, and to be fair HE DID ALSO POISON A CHILD. Not that she knows that, but it's totally founded.



Also, I think there's Ted to factor in...not only does she feel terrible about what happened there she's afraid Walt will kill Ted (she basically said as much in the season premier - it was implied).



As for the previous seasons I guess I'd need some examples of what you felt were inconsistent because it's possible I'm just not remembering them.
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I also said it last week but this week even Skylar indirectly adressed it: It's not only fear from Walter but also the "unknowing". Walter took down one of the biggest drug kingpins. Who's to say that noone will target an amateur like Walt (he is only in the buisiness since a year) and his family? Also Hank was threatened and she never got told what that was about. She lost all control of her life and everyone she holds dear to the actions of a man who lost sight of the terrifying nature of his actions. She is not only terrified, she is lost.
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She's scared of him, because she's seeing his true colors now. Yes, when she found out about the meth business, she knew that he was not the person she knew, but she could justify it by him trying to provide for his family, and thought there would come a time when he would leave the business. Now she sees how he really feels about it. Yes, his family is a big part of why he does what he does, but he also enjoys it. His statement of "I am the danger" showed her that he was power hungry, and him saying "I won," and the tone he said it, made it seem like more than just killing the guy who was after his family. In other words, before now she was seeing Walter, who believed he was doing good even if his choices were wrong, while now she's seeing Heisenberg in all his glory. Granted, part of that was her fault for allowing herself to see things that way, but I do think it's understandable.
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Why is she so terrified though? He killed a guy who was going to kill him. She knew what he was cooking before this season, and she jumped in bed with him in more ways than one.



Plus I just don't think she's been consistent prior to this season. Though maybe that could just be her hypocracy shining through.
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hrm...I would say the opposite:

very consistent prior to this season - this season she's been 100% terrified of Walt/borderline going crazy trying to figure out what to do next.
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... the imagery. BB is not just amazing, it's beautiful!
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Has there ever been a dinner-party on this show that hasn't ended awkwardly? When will they learn.
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I wonder if there is any foreshadowing intended with the mentioning of going to France. Walt mentions this while arguing with Skylar about where she intends to flee from him. There's also a mention of the White kids watching Ratatouille while at Hank and Marie's house, which also takes place in France. Just a coincidence I guess?



Also, I love the symbolism of the watch given to Walt as a gift. In Chinese culture its bad to gift someone any device that keeps track of time (like a clock). It's a way of saying "your time is up/running out."
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