Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 4 It seems we have our primary conflict for this half-season of Breaking Bad‘s final run. Walt has clearly become the antagonist, and while Mike is no saint, he lives by a moral code that puts him well above Walt in the high-horse department.
Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 4 If nothing else, this episode paints a portrait of two men who must coexist in the present, but who just won’t be able to do so for terribly long. Criminals are as combustible as the elements used to cook their product, and twice as volatile when mishandled. “[Mike] handles business,” Walt tells Saul Goodman, “and I handle him.”
Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 4 Hell of a job you’re doing there, Walt. In the cold open, Mike (Jonathan Banks) is visiting prisons in order to meet with each of his “guys,” reaffirm their loyalty, and put their minds at ease. After last week’s debacle with Lydia and how effectively she was able to turn one of Mike’s own men against him, it’s not hard to see why Mike would be cautious. Of course, Mike is among the most thorough men on the show, to the point that I wonder if it wasn’t his personality that rubbed off on Gustavo Fring and made him the fastidious, detail-oriented man he had been.
Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 4 Through these prison meetings, and really throughout the episode, we come to a more intimate understanding of Mike’s code. The only thing the man seems to treasure more than his granddaughter is loyalty. Keep your mouth shut, and you’ll be “made whole,” as Mike puts it. It’s his principle of compensating a good soldier for services rendered in perpetuity. We saw last week what happens when an associate forgets his loyalty.
Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 4 But this is only the jumping off point for the episode, as Walt (Bryan Cranston) gets his new operation going with a pretty ingenious bug-bombing front as the method for creating a moving laboratory. The bug bombing company, named Vamonos Pest, is legitimate, but they’re fronting Heisenberg’s operation in a way that avoids drawing any undue attention. Walt and Jesse (Aaron Paul), for their part, seem to enjoy the unquestioned respect of the exterminators, smirking as Mike instructs the associates that if they need to think of a name by which to address Walt and Jesse, it’s simply “yes, sir” or “no, sir.” This all leads to another classic Breaking Bad montage, this time set to Was A Bee’s cover of the classic showtune “On A Clear Day (I Can See Forever).”
Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 4 The cook is considerably less than the two-hundred pound hauls of the Fring administration, but the boys are back in the lab, and that seems to be all that matters in that moment. And hey, Walt and Jesse seem to be getting on better than perhaps at any point in the show’s history, communicating the genuine warmth of friendship. In one particular scene, Walt tells Jesse that he has to take into consideration what secrets he’s going to withhold from Andrea, should he become more serious with her. “Secrets create barriers between people,” Walt says. “Speaking from experience, believe me.” It takes on a darker meaning when factoring in just how many secrets exist between Walt and Jesse. I know I’m not the only one anxiously awaiting/dreading the day Jesse finds out about Walt’s complicity in Jane’s death or, worse, in Brock’s poisoning.
Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 4 On that front, we have an even more chilling sequence that undercuts the integrity of Walt’s friendship with Jesse, as Walt pretends not to know Brock upon being introduced to him at Jesse’s house. As Jesse and Andrea adjoin to the kitchen, Walt remains in the living room with Brock, where the two share a silent moment.
Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 4 We can only guess at what the stare down implies. Does Brock know it was Walt who poisoned him? If so, is he remaining silent under threat? Or is it simply that Walt was probing with his eyes, trying to ascertain what the boy knows? It’s a rich sequence in which so much is communicated through so little. We still don’t know exactly how Walt was able to poison Brock, but it’s all simply a matter of logistics leading towards the same conclusion: Walter White is irredeemably lost.