Breaking Bad S05E04: Mr. Hat’s Got His Hat On Again
Uh. So. I really hated the cold open this week! It’s frustrating, because I do like the idea that Walt bought Walt Jr. the car that Skyler made him return the first time around — further proving (as if we need it) that she is too afraid of him now and he is too much of a jerk for her to have any say in any matter. That is a fine (not great since no doy we get it, but fine) idea to present in the cold open. But, my goodness, did it have to be presented in such a ridiculous way? From the beginning to end! DUBSTEP? Walt being SO EXCITED about the cars, pounding on the wheel? Selling the car to the guy for $50 and seeing the stupid hat in the backseat and looking at himself in the mirror with the stupid hat on? (Also, why was the hat in the backseat? You just left your hat in the backseat when you dropped off your car at the mechanics? WHAT IF YOU NEEDED IT?) Well, actually, those are two different kinds of annoying. The part where he looked at himself in the window with the hat on is in the same kind of comic book tone that I hated last season (and that you guys LOVED, apparently) when Gus walked out of the room without half a face before collapsing. You jerks (just kidding you’re the best!) defended it by saying that Breaking Bad has always had a somewhat comic book-like tone and probably Vince Gilligan said in an interview at one point that he loves comic books or whatever, but TO ME what is nice about Breaking Bad is that, for the most part, the character’s intentions are reasonable and when crazy stuff happens there is a clear, basically realistic path to that crazy stuff, and it doesn’t make you so mad to watch. Walt having a hat that he wears when taking on his even crazier alter-ego is unnecessarily fantastic, and taints the idea of watching a real human’s descent into the crazy, mixed up world of drug dealing. That is why that is annoying — it just feels lazy and inconsistent. (Also another annoying thing was the mechanic saying whatever he said about how “free is always nice.” OK WE GET IT NOW.) Why buying the cars was annoying is because it just doesn’t make any sense. If Walt’s main objective right now is to surpass Gus Fring in becoming World’s Best Meth Kingpin, why would he do the opposite of what allowed Gus Fring to meth under the radar for so long? Like. What? (I guess the point would be to show that he is so smart that he doesn’t even have to drive a Volvo or whatever and he can still not raise any suspicion. But that is also dumb. Dumb plan for a dummy.) Isn’t he supposed to be smart? Even if he is crazy, it’s just not believable that his desire to WIN WIN WIN at the drug game wouldn’t surpass his apparent boner for cars. And, ugh, the dubstep. So maddening. UGH. But anyway, let’s talk about the rest of it. The rest of it wasn’t as upsetting.
We open on Ms. Anxious Lady, who has two different shoes on:
Women be anxious! Mike tells her that we’ve got company, and then in walk Hank and the rest of the DEA guys with their mad, suspicious faces. She shows them to the warehouse or whatever, and they take away “her guy” — Ron. It was a little hard to pay attention to this part because I was still REELING from that cold open, but later she tells Mike about it on the phone, so worried, and he tells her that he’ll send a new guy. I do not like this woman character, I have to say. How did she ever even get into this business, if she’s so particular and anxious and crime-dumb all the time? How could she have ever been sure enough that she wouldn’t get caught to be able to function in daily life? Why would anyone ask someone like her to get in on it? WHAT’S THIS LADY’S STORY? Why is she so dumb?
Skyler comes back and sees the cars in the driveway, then has a silent, helpless dinner with her husband and son while they talk about doing donuts and Walt Jr. says a curse word.
Then she goes into the bathroom and DOES THIS HORRIBLE NIGHTMARE OF A THING:
STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP! This was Black Swan Natalie Portman-peeling-off-her-skin level bad. Awful. Can we just stop here and go to bed? I’ve already had enough. No? I have to keep talking for at least 14,000 more words? Fine. So after the floss nightmare, Skyler and Walt go to bed. The lucky ducks. There Skyler suggests sending Walt Jr. to boarding school, making the mistake of revealing that her motivation is to “get the kids out of this environment.” “What’s wrong with their environment?” Walt asks, because he doesn’t even have a brain at all anymore. What follows is medium-level Walt intimidation, insisting that their environment has never been safer or better, and then he asks Skyler to throw him a party and make him a chocolate cake for his birthday while he rubs her arm like a creep. Mmm mmm mm, chocolate cake! Yummy yum yum. I hope we’re all invited!
The next morning, Skyler only makes Walt’s bacon into his age after being pressured by Walt Jr. It’s almost like she doesn’t even love him at all anymore!
At the DEA house, Hank and buddies talk about Gus. “Six feet under and half a face and he’s still screwing with us,” says Hank. They talk about Ms. Lady — her different shoes lead Hank to believe that she is not together enough to be a part of this meth ring “not to mention her vagina,” haha, just kidding, he didn’t say that part, but then he does say: “This may be unrelated, but blue meth is making a comeback.” Doyoyoy. “This may be unrelated, but my brother in law started wearing his horrible fedora again.” He says it’s either old supply leaking out, or someone has taken up the business. (If it is revealed that Hank knew about Walt this whole time — from seeing the tapes — this little bit is going to be frustrating. Does he want them to find them or what? What’s your motivation, Hank? What’s going on?) A man in a suit — the guy who has temporarily taken over for Merkert, the ASAC that was fired in the other episode — basically tells Hank to shhh shhh shhhhhhh about all of it, because Fring’s cooks are already dead and shhhhhhh shhh hush now, the baby is sleeping. He asks Hank’s partner to leave the room and then offers Hank the job of ASAC of the Albuquerque district office, which would take him off of the Fring case. It’s nice how that worked out! Huh! Good think Hank is a DEA genius and now he’s off the Fring case and probably it’ll be closed soon. PHEW!
Walt leaves work early, telling Jesse that it’s his birthday and he thinks there’s a party waiting for him at home. “Why wasn’t I invited,” Jesse says quietly to himself. “I just thought…” The scene closes focused on Jesse’s face, tears welling up in his eyes.
JK. But Walt leaves early, and comes home to an empty house.
AWWWWWW, POOR BABY! Who among us hasn’t been there, right? Despite your better judgement you’ve set your birthday hopes high, just to have them dashed by the people you care about most. Poor guy. So sorry, Walt. But at least Skyler invited over Hank and Marie, and AT LEAST she made him a chocolate cake “as requested.” Heartless woman! BIRTHDAYS ONLY COME ONCE A YEAR, AND HE WAS SO EXCITED FOR THIS ONE! While Hank and Marie drive to the non-party, Marie spills the beans about Skyler’s infidelity.
Elsewhere, the new guy shows up at Ms. Lady’s warehouse and it’s Jesse! Awww! Hi, Jesse!
She is suspicious of him at first, but then he makes eyes at her and her heart melts to the floor and she shows him where the barrel is. But uh-oh! Look what’s clearly on the barrel in a way that is just so obvious that no one actually trying to track anything would ever do it, I don’t even!
While sitting outside at the non-party, Walt Jr. talks about his car for a while and then leaves and then Walt begins a long, annoying monologue about how difficult this last year has been. “Caner, surgery, Hank being shot — so many dark days.” IF THEY ONLY KNEW! While he goes on and on, Skyler gets up and stands facing the pool.
Then, after what feels like hours of Walt talking and talking, Skyler slowly walks into the pool. “Skyler, isn’t that freezing?” asks Marie. Then when Skyler is underwater Marie asks, “She’s going to come up right? She has to.” Haha. All very good questions, Marie. “Do you think she’s killing herself? Will she stop? If she does die, will she go to Heaven? Will I go to Heaven, do you think?” Eventually Walt jumps in to pull her out, and when we return to the group they’ve put Skyler to bed and begin to talk about her mental wellbeing.
Marie suggests both having her talk to a therapist and that she and Hank take the kids for a day or two, to allow Walt and Skyler to work out things with each other. (Generally problems that cause a woman to walk wordlessly underwater are solved in 24-48 hours, every book says that.) Walt asks Marie if that was her idea and she confesses that no, it was Skyler’s. Walt doesn’t want the kids to be taken for any amount of time, but eventually agrees to an overnight stay. He gives Skyler this news, while she lies in bed with a scared face on.
Walt asks her what that was all about and she replies, “I don’t want my children here anymore; it’s not safe.” Walt tells her, again, that it has never been more safe. He says that he killed Gus Fring — “He was the threat, he was the danger.” Then Skyler, and everyone watching at home, says “I thought YOU were the danger.” YOU STUPID JERK. Oh, I hate this guy so much. I actually really liked this scene between the two of them. Walt’s demand for a plan that he knew Skyler wouldn’t have, and Skyler’s admission that although she does not have a plan — she’s not like him — she is not going to give up, and that every moment they are away from the house will be a small victory — that was all great, I thought! I don’t really have a counterpoint to that. It was just good! And realistic that a mother’s concern would lie with her children and not with herself — it became clear here that Skyler, as some may have thought, will not be killing herself this season, because she does not want to leave her children alone with Walt. She is just a normal, fairly powerless human trying to protect her kids from their abusive husband father. It was great! Liked it a lot. “All I can do is wait, that’s it.” “Wait for what, what are you waiting for?” “For the cancer to come back.” Boom. I hope it comes back, Skyler! I’m with ya, grrrrl!
The next scene is this other horrible thing:
With the blood dripping down? Terrible. NO THX DO NOT WANT 2 WATCH THAT. After that Walt gets a call and says, “Ok, ok. Relax, I’m coming.” As it turns out it was Jesse, who was with Mike, freaking out about the tracker being on the methylamine, and not having a methylamine supplier anymore. Mike is not so worried, though. “Even by cop standards, this is sloppy,” he says, looking at a photo of the tracker on Jesse’s phone. He figures that Ms. Lady put the tracker on herself so she wouldn’t have to deal with them anymore, fooling them into thinking that her supply is being watched. Dumb lady. I mean, unnecessarily dumb lady. Why would this lady think that this obviously placed device would fool anyone? WHY IS THIS LADY SO DUMB? I mean, we know Jesse is so dumb, but why is this lady so dumb? In any case, Mike decides that he’s going to have to kill her, which, whatever, but adorable Jesse suggests that maybe they just tell her, “Cut the crap and keep the methylamine coming.” Hahaha. What a sweetheart. Mike tells him he’s being sexist and that she deserves to die as much as any man ever has, which is fair enough, but then Jesse demands they leave it up to a vote. Mr. Hat fiddles with a loose thread on his had before he responds, which annoyed me so much.
There has been a lot of very obvious imagery in this season, which I have — up until this episode — largely given the benefit of the doubt, but my patience with it all is kind of wearing thin. A loose thread on his stupid Heisenberg hat? WHAT COULD IT MEAN?! Anyway, Walt says, “The methlamene keeps flowing no matter what. We are not slowing down, we’re just getting started. Nothing stops this train. Nothing.” So, whatever. There we are. On his way out, Jesse stops him to give him a birthday present, because Jesse is adorable.
What a nice kid! So sweet. Get outta the biz, ur too sweet for it!
After receiving the watch, Walt drives home and acts like everything is fine when he finds Skyler in the living room, smoking. “So. Are you coming to bed?” he asks. She doesn’t respond and he walks away, coming back into the room to tell her that somebody who wanted to murder him a few weeks ago gave him a watch today. “He changed his mind about me Skyler, and so will you.” Yuck. This guy.
Before turning out the light, Walt glances over at the watch.
After the watch ticks so loudly past 50, the episode cuts to black. AHHHH, WHAT DOES IT MEAN AGAIN?! To be honest, it’s hard to tell if Breaking Bad is, as Gabe said last night, “breaking a little bad,” or if Walt’s ridiculous escapades, and the show’s too on-the-nose imagery, will turn around into something clever as the season progresses. I still have hope! This episode made me mad a bunch of times, but I do still have hope. We’ll see.
NEXT WEEK: Walt returns the watch for something more his taste?!