Breaking Bad – Season 4, Episode 3: Open House

4 Sep

(A few weeks ago, I started these Breaking Bad recaps, and then fell a bit behind.  Not one to give up without a fight, they’re still coming, just a tiny bit late.  I’m going to dump a few of them today, so read them if you wish, and if you don’t watch Breaking Bad, turn off your computer and start it today)

Plenty to unpack here as usual.  First, the car wash.  This whole situation highlights Walt’s flaws, and that Skyler is everything that Walt’s not.  Where Walt is bold and impetuous, Skyler is patient, shrewd and detail oriented.  It’s almost comical watching Walt decide Skyler’s plan is a failure after waiting five hours without a call, hopping up and down next to the phone like an anxious middle school girl, and then decide even faster that Skyler’s negotiating tactics have failed after she intentionally lowballs the car wash owner.  Walt is unconcerned that his grand gesture of buying a ludicrously expensive bottle of champagne might look out of place for an unemployed school teacher because after all, he paid cash.  Walt has had his fair share of victories in the show due to his willingness to be bold and act quickly and aggressively, but that’s also a path to getting himself arrested or killed.  He would never have come up with as intricate a plan as reporting a false EPA violation.  It’s great to see Saul again as well, mocking Skyler’s stated intentions to buy the car wash, and send a message, but just without hurting anyway, openly, and yet she figures out a way.

Marie gets a big chunk of plot this episode as well – she begins to lose a little bit of the sympathy she was gaining, as she turns back to her own shoplifting ways. She goes to open houses, inventing new lives for herself, and takes personal items each time.  Luckily, she has a DEA husband with connections in law enforcement to get her off.  She’s immature, certainly, and enjoying her flights of fantasy and escape from Hank being, well, simply mean to her.  Getting on her case because she confused Fritos and Cheetos?  Harsh.  Pretty immature of Hank as well.  Maybe she’s back to her shoplifting because she wants to get arrested for attention like a teenager and wants Hank to notice or take care of her.

Jesse wants to go og-carting with Walt after work, but Walt takes a raincheck.  Walt at least does him the courtesy of pretending to consider it, but go-carting is below him.  Jesse is at heart still interested in the simple pleasures of Go-carting; he’s just a kid.  He’s not getting what he wants to out of the go-carting, though. He can’t seem to enjoy it.  Either it’s because he’s still devastated over killing Gale, or was so thrown for a loop by being nearly killed and watching Gus kill Victor, or probably both, but just the like in the last episode, he’s dealing, but with a new strategy.  He tried to hang with friends in a non-stop party last episode but it only worked for so long.  Now he’s at a drug den, giving money away.  Blood money, perhaps?  While Walt has become a master of rationalizing away anything he does,  Jesse can’t even justify the things he did that were actually necessary.  He’s punishing himself. While Walt thinks he’s always the good guy even as he breaks increasingly bad, Jesse always sees himself as the bad guy, even when he’s not.

We get the return of Gale’s notebook in this episode.  Clearly foreshadowed in the first episode, we knew it was only a matter of time until it came into play, continuing the set up of Walt being squeezed by both Gus and the police.  That’s about it for the notebook for now though, as a fellow detective puts it into Hank’s hands, but its importance is unquestioned.

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