Breaking Bad: Walt Gets Dealt a Bad Hand

This week's "listen to while reading" soundtrack is especially amazing—don't miss the video at the bottom of the page!


As a man who's been known to sit at the Blackjack tables in Las Vegas until 6am (seriously, the best hours for 21 are between 3am and 7am), I loved the conversation about gambling in Sunday's Breaking Bad that took place between Skyler and Walt. Walt was learning how to game the system (or at least how to pretend to game the system) in order sell a lie to Hank, Marie, and Walter, Jr., but as we all know, in this game of cards, the house always wins.

After losing several hands in their practice rounds, Walt explained to Skyler that you win by playing a volume of hands, and that statistically, losing four or five in a row isn't just probable—it's inevitable. And that's pretty much what is happening to Walt right now. Lately we've seen Walter lose hand after hand in the game of drug-manufacturing, and he's not even getting any free drinks. But when things go bad for gamblers (as Walt grumbled to Saul about everything that's going wrong), they tend to want to break free from a bad streak in a big way, by taking a huge risk. So I say it's time for Walt to head over to the metaphorical ATM machine and kill Gus.

And potentially speeding up Walt's decision to go after Gus is holy crap! Mike and Gus stole Jesse! And really, who can blame them? Jesse is currently about as useful to the meth-making operation as a banner over the front door reading "Murder, Meth and Beyond." He's already been connected to the blue meth, and he's not exactly in the mental state you want a business partner to be in. I love Jesse (and Aaron Paul), but at this point, something has got to happen; Jesse's already used up all his luck, and Breaking Bad can't continue to let him off by the skin of his teeth if it wants to maintain its street cred.

Meanwhile, Skyler has quite a thorough idea of what their plan should be; she even wrote a script for Walt to follow. Walt of course thought this was ridiculous; he knows enough about both science and the real world to know that things don't always go according to plan. He knows that you can prepare for weeks, but that the most important part of being a master criminal is having the ability to think on the fly. At some point, Skyler fastidiousness is going to backfire on Walter, and he'll have to pull some Houdini-type trickery to weasel away.

Walt now has to figure out what to do about Hank, who is starting to get a little too close to his business. There was even a split second last night when Hank appeared to legitimately suspect that Walter was the "W.W." mentioned in the inscription in Gale's notebook. Hank knows that Walter is a smart guy—a really smart guy. He also knows that Walt is a chemistry whiz. And now he knows that Walter has come into a lot of money. There comes a point when Hank just can't ignore the evidence, and we're inching closer to that.

In fact, "Bullet Points" closed the vice around Walter in heavier increments than any of the previous three episodes. Every single problem, every single danger from the first three episodes is encroaching on Walter, simultaneously moving in from every direction. Some people have been complaining that Season 4 is moving too slow, but it's really not. Season 4 has been every bit as suspenseful and slow-burning as any other part of the series so far.


Notes:
... Mike definitely deserves a raise. Does anyone work harder than he does? "Hey Mike, go into that warehouse that's been taken over by cartel members and rescue that guy they're holding hostage." "Hey Mike, I know you had plans this weekend, but I'm going to need you to sit in the back of a truck in case it gets hijacked by the Mexican Mafia." And on top of all that he lost a piece of his ear. I'd be a little grumpy too if I had his job.

... Instead of seeing Jesse being taken, we learned that it'd happened the same way Walt did, which is much more effective and gave me about thirteen heart attacks.

... Saul: "Goes after him how, on his Rascal scooter?"

... Can we please give it up for David Constabile and his fantastic Arabic Thai (correct me if I'm wrong thanks, Dprasad123 and smithinjapan!) karaoke version of Peter Schilling's "Major Tom"? Constabile has been nothing short an amazing sport as Gale, and it was great to see him reappear in Season 4 even though he took one in the eye.


Bonus: AMC has posted Gale's karaoke video in its entirety!



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

Comments (37)
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How can you talk about the music for this episode and NOT mention El-P? He's the artist that was playing when Walt visited Jesse's place. He started underground hip hop (away from the sell-outs, away from the club/gangsta crap or the songs for ladies that mainstream hip hop had dissolved into) when he formed Definitive Jux - some of the best music available, until it closed last year, anyway. His album "I'll Sleep When You're Dead" is one of the best hip hop albums I've ever heard, sonically, at least
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I don't see Mike dropping Jesse in a hole. More like a little tuff love rehab. Those lab notes WILL be Gus' undoing!! And Hank's return to glory. There is now a destroyed truck closeby presumably with traces of blue meth that can tie GUS to the lab!!
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There's no way Mike left the truck to be found.
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People said it was moving slow?? We're only 4 episodes in and already so much has happened. Plus sometimes the threat of violence is even greater than violence itself.
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One minor point that I thought was interesting was the whole mineral scene. Of course, Walt showing off his knowledge probably helped contribute towards Hank's suspicion when showing off the case, as Arch_Angel88 mentioned. Though looking at it on a more personal level for Hank, this is supposed to be Hank's special interest. The thing that he can put himself into while he couldn't do his job. And yet Walt is totally one-upping him with his knowledge of the subject. I couldn't help noticing a bit of annoyance, and even some shame, when he said "Yeah, what Walt said. Whatever that all means..." (or something along those lines). I love little touches like that.
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Hank may be disabled, but he was a very observant and intelligent DEA agent. The evidence is indeed mounting, and Walt was all too eager to learn about any "casework" that Hank may have been working on. Also, the chemical genius Walt displayed while Hank was showing off his minerals probably didn't help. After Hank inevitably discovers Gail is not Heisenberg, he is going to put all the pieces together and will start considering Walt as a serious suspect. With the Cartel closing in, Jesse being driven out into the desert, and Mike's growing dissatisfaction with his job, this season is nicely rounding into form. And the suspenseful slow-burn is smoldering so sweetly.
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Just when I thought this would end up being another episode based around slower character moments (which isn't neccessarily a bad thing), it really started to pick up, and had a few very intense moments, promising a very interesting direction for future episodes. I loved this one. Can't wait to see what happens with Jesse. I'm not sure if he'd be killed this early into it, though I won't rule out the possibility of his death coming sooner or later.
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Jesse is not going to die. Sorry, but this isn't Game of Thrones with oodles of characters to pull from lol. Aaron Paul just got his first nod in the Emmy boat last year. It would be suicide for the show to kill him off. This will change the dynamic between Gus and Walter for good though. Jesse is Walter's metaphorical fixer project. He will work out a deal, or back-stab Gus by connecting with the Cartel who are trying to destabilize Gus' hold on New Mexico. Then he will finally be the Don Juan of NM's meth trade. My guess is that Mike and Gus will be the characters to die this season. Remember Hank getting smoked is kind of like Walter getting smoked. That was his blight.
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this show is different and is known for being daring - so when you think about it, you don't really know whether Jesse will die or not... it could actually happen. it's the last thing in my mind right now, but if it did happen - it would be surprising and that would certainly be not what i was expecting.
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I liked the symbolism behind Jesse shaving his head. Now that he's truly facing death he loses his hair, just like Walt did with the cancer. I'm sure he'll survive for now, but like Walter, for how long?



Jesse just becomes more and more like Walter. He's the real Walter Jr. here.
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When will Hank walk again? Walt Jr. needs to get a J.O.B. if he wants a new car. Marie is annoying sometimes. Same with Skylar. Walter, we know you can grow your hair back, do it. Mike is a stone cold killer, a hard working one to boot. Jesse, sweet sound system...pick better music. Sal, continue to be awesome.
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It wasn't an intervention. The part they implied was how much he lost (also, there was that whole "his family falling apart" thing). Gamblers occasionally win ... it doesn't make gambling any less of a problem.
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So is everyone on this show bald now? Walt, Jesse, Mike, Hank, Gus. I'm starting to think the writers hate guys with hair. Jesse was even shaving the heads of random meth-heads in the episode.
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Larry David would be proud of the equal opportunity lol. Plus it is realistic. 70% of men have Male Pattern Baldness. A show with more than 30% of the actors having a full head of hair is extremely unbelievable. Kudos to Gilligan.
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The subbed language in Gale's video is Thai not Arabic
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@Mundoin- You said it!
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This was a great episode and Gale's video was hilarious! I can't wait to see what happens!
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got to love the show, how could one not
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I found myself giggling throughout the scene between Walt and Skyler preparing for their dinner with Hank and Marie -- Skyler being so lame, and Walt sulking and pouting; reminded me of the scene earlier this season when Skyler was trying to negotiate with the car wash owner and Walt kept throwing his hands up. But, yes, I do think something's going to happen in the plot where Skyler's lame thorough preparedness is going to screw things up for them/Walt. As for Jesse, I really thought they were going to end the episode on Walt's talk with the camera, and not show us until next week whether Jesse was killed or not. I love Aaron Paul and Jesse's character, but he's become really stupid this season (for reasonable reasons, of course), and considering a lot of people think season 5 will be BB's last, I can kind of see Jesse being killed off this season.
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I think Jesse might bite the bullet next season. If AMC were smart (which they aren't) BB would have more than 5 seasons. Hell they're already trying to cut the budget/# of episodes for next season. They're also trying this with the Walking Dead. Idiots
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Actually, I don't think the show is built for more than 5 (6 at absolute max) seasons. I would respect AMC more for giving the show it's run and letting it come to a timely conclusion, than trying to eke out more than the beautiful writing, acting and production of this show call for. I do LOVE this show. But I think what the story its telling is, can only be told for so long until it's told all the way. I feel like Walt (and possibly Jesse) has to die. And then the show should end.
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Of course it's moving too slow, Tim. If anything this episode showed that. Because it was the first episode of the season with the standard pacing from last season. Things finally move forward, this episode showed just how lame the first three were.



The whole intervention thing was stupid. Yeah, I'm terribly, terribly ashamed that I made a ton of money by playing cards. Who wouldn't be?
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Jesse, Jesse, jesee..... what are we going to do with you?....



Can't kill him but seriously in his state right now he's no use to walt or himself....
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The subtitles are Thai, not arabic. And yes, Mike definitely deserves a raise.
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Mike totally deserves a raise
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Goes after him how, on his Rascal scooter? ........... best line they used in this show.



and I miss Gale...that was incredible with karaoke.

at least someone offer new job to David Constabile
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No idea. :)
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"so... gale was *** right?"



AHEM , different lifestyle, likes guys, drives on the other lane, belongs to the other team i mean. (can't believe the word g.a.y. is banned, it's not an insult or anything...)
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so... gale was gay right?
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I thought the scene with Mike in the truck was excellent counterpoint to Walt whining about how no one else was approaching this as a business. On some level, Walt does get to hang out in a lab in a nice white coat (what he was complaining was Skyler's misconception), while Mike and Gus have a lot more skin in this little operation. Whereas Jesse all but gave up after the boxcutter. This was going to be his life anyway, if he was cooking Chili P in his aunt's basement or cooking up million dollar blue -- just a loud, cool party ... right up til the end.
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Just wanted to let you know that the writing in the Karaoke video isn't Arabic. I don't know what it is, but it definitely isn't Arabic.
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A great episode! I wonder when Walt is forced to "take care" of Hank..
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I was legitimately terrified when Hank showed Walt the W.W. He definitely looked like he was considering Walt for a second. Luckily Walt was able to cover his @$$. This show is amazing at building suspense.
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He's getting too old for this s#*t!

Mike is becoming a top favorite character because of how awesome he is, just behind Gale 'Major Tom' Boetticher of course for his delightful and now historic piece of tv/pop culture.

Jesse; he's being a jackass and doesn't mind about even dying never mind anything else. He'll be given some kind of opportunity from being taken. I just know the writers are smart enough and will give Aaron great character redemption to work with, and remind us why Aaron won that Emmy.

Same goes for Hank; I'm certain we will get to see another huge Hank development, hopefully something as redeeming and jaw-dropping as in "One Minute". He's kinda onto Walt! Yes!

Gus didn't steal the scene this week, which honestly was a bit of disappointment for me. He's at his finest when he firmly means business, not as boring old non-box-cutter-wielding Owner & CEO.

Is it just me or is anyone else feeling more attracted to crime? Skylar with her thoroughness and money laundering, it's making me want to do something awful and Break Bad.

Walk is probably thinking "That guy did not cook the purest meth, I DO. But thank my lucky criminal stars that Hank assumes Heisenberg is dead.

"There's a guy who can make it happen. They call him a disappearer." - Saul - I wonder if we'll get more familiar with this guy!

"Where is the 'I slept with my boss' bullet point? I can't seem to find that anywhere."

Yet the season just started! Anything can happen suddenly and in your face. That's Breaking Bad in 1 word: Unpredictable.
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lol, the suspense was awesome in this ep... the music totally got me freaked out at those important points.
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i loved that fact that he was so pissed about using the "terribly, terribly ashamed" and came up with his own line - yet STILL he used the written line.
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I agree with you on the show letting us find out that Jesse has been taken at the same time as Walter. It was very suspencful. I was on the edge of my seat half expecting Walter to find Jesse's lifeless body in his bedroom but I knew the show couldn't just end it like that.

Will Jesse ultimately be executed? Makes sense from Gus' perspective. It's nothing personal, just business right? Or will the show throw a surprise twist and have Jesse fight back and end up killing Mike?

Can't... wait... 'til.... next... week!!
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