It pains me to say this, but the show continues to slip in quality in its final season. From the pretentious music playing during the cooking scene, to Mike being at the forefront yet again, Breaking Bad's attempt at creating "art" is hurting its ability to tell their final story in an entertaining way.
I liked the scene with the money distribution, that was raw and what this show has always been about, but just did not like the majority of tonight's episode to be perfectly blunt.
Mike takes it upon himself to visit the former employees of Gus who have had all of their assets frozen by the DEA and promises the first one that what happened to Chow was a mistake and nothing further will happen. The man expresses his concern about the others talking and Mike tells him that he has his word that his family will be taken care of. Mike has a really straight forward negotiating way of talking that make him trustworthy. Saul then takes Mike, Jesse, and Walt window shopping on new places to set up a lab but none are good without contaminating things around them or raising suspicion with the smell. Walt has a genius idea to team up with an exterminator crew who moonlight as thieves and make extra keys of the homes they fumigate and sell them off to other crews. Their plan is to cook inside a pavillion tent and have a mobile lab set up in band equipment carriers on the first day of fumigation and then when they're done nobody ever notices the smell. They all go along with it. Skinny Pete and Badger reapppear and buy the band carrying equipment engraved with "Vamanos Exterminators" on the side. Mike's pitch to the four who run Vamanos about Walt and Jesse only being "yes sir" and "no sir" was an authoritative and necessary to compartmentalize the new business. Also telling them to no longer steal from houses that they cook in to avoid raising suspicion was awesome. Jonathan Banks really knows how to run things as Mike and Walt and his butting heads, especially when Mike is cutting their cuts for Saul, the exterminators, the "legacy pay" as the payments going to Gus's former employees to not implicate them and something about 20% of their proceeds going to people moving their product onto the street lead Walt to refusing to pay it and Jesse to relieve the tension and give up his cut instead but Walt caves. Jesse spends more time with Andrea and Brock while Walt is over, showing the symbolism of Walt sitting next to a kid he nearly had killed to further his own agenda and betraying Jesse's trust. Jesse and Walt have a nice moment post-cook disucssing that if he wants to be with Andrea and Brock he will have to honest with her about it and the scene where he just sits there immobile, unable to tell her the truth show that Jesse isn't ready for such a thing and he breaks things off with her although he will still pay her rent and whatnot. Skyler, eating lunch at work, breaks down after a conversation with Marie, and Anna Gunn shows off her acting chops to the motormouth that is Marie with an ever-flowing stream of "Shut up, Shut up, Shut up!" at her. Marie goes to the Whites' house and confront Walt about why Skyler is so upset and asks if he's been gambling again and he says that her duress is caused by what happened to Ted Beneke and about his affair with Skyler and he urges her, cleverly, not to tell anyone (even Hank) because he doesn't want anyone thinking less of her. My heart really goes out to Skyler especially in the scene where she sees Walt as he is moving his things back in the sheer dread and fear on her. Especially all of that climaxing symbolically when she hears Scarface being played and Walt. Jr. and Walt and Holly watching it and inviting her to watch with them was eery. Especially since Vince Gilligan has always said that Breaking Bad has been about turning a super white milquetoast guy into Scarface over the course of the series. All of this capped by an excellent pondering of why Gus cut Victor's throat last season and how he may have been "flying too close to the sun," maybe the cooking isn't meant to be handled in the way they're doing it and what if Gus's message via Victor's death was more just a show of "I can do whatever I want to you anytime." And also finally seeing Saul sleaze it up with his showing of the places to potentially cook was nice since he's more often than not in his office talking to Walt or something, and his fear of Mike coming in when he had threatened to break his legs two seasons ago was funny how scared he was, although somewhat justifiably. We need to see more of Saul in action, which is why if Gilligan truly wants to launch a show solely about Saul after BB wraps, all the better.
Hazard Pay was a perfect and very entertaining episode of Breaking Bad and I really enjoyed watching as Walt, Jesse, Mike and Saul put their business together. There was a lot of great character and plot development with some awesome scenes. Skylar breaks down in front of Marie causing her to question Walt who handles her perfectly. I love how thorough Mike is and it is interesting to see Walt becoming another person, becoming more greedy it seems. I liked the ending where Jesse was left with a look of concern and question about Walt. I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!
I know it's early, but a 6.7 average?? SIX POINT SEVEN??? I will forgive you, if -- IF -- you can properly raise that average to a million point a million. If you didn't love this episode, this... this may not be the show for you.