Breaking Bad pulled off another amazing episode, and I think so many emotions are still running through my body that I'm not sure where to begin. I think I found it interesting that from the events leading up to this point and the previews, I thought the episode was going to revolve much more around the "deal" that Walt made with the new distributor than it did. I was very wrong about that, and that was only a very small part of the opening scene. However, the interaction did set up the rest of the episode and clued us in to how Walt plans to run his business without Mike and Jesse, and was very important as it was the first time that he has publicly declared himself to be Heisenberg. Until this moment, it was only a select few people that knew his real identity and to the rest of the drug world Heisenberg was some man that hid in a lab somewhere cooking perfect blue meth. It also was the first time that outside of the "brain trust" Walter actually admitted that he was the one that killed Gus Fring. I'm not sure if he did this to get the deal done, or if his ego wanted to earn the respect of being the man that was able to kill the drug lord (and there was probably a little bit of both) but either way I feel like in this short period he has revealed in public a lot more than he probably should have. It was also funny that in true Walter White fashion, he didn't just kind of indicate that he was Heisenberg, but he had to make it a big production and asking him to "say my name", and when he finally does responds by saying – "You're goddamned right I am." The opening sequence was also interesting, because it was set up as a showdown as the two sides stood across from each other in the desert, but we really got the ultimate showdown at the end of the episode, which I will get to in a moment.
I also thought this episode was great for the dynamic we saw play out between Walter and Jesse and the fact that as hard as Walter tried, for the first time he was not actually able to manipulate Jesse. In last week's episode, Jesse declared that he would be leaving and getting out of the business with Mike. However, I don't know that Walt actually believed he would go through with it. In fact, he caught himself in the middle of his little speech and made sure to include the fact that "he AND Jesse" would be the best cooks they could find. At this point, I'm not sure if Walter was actually trying to rope Jesse back in, or just couldn't fathom the fact that he would actually want to be done with the business.
However, don't worry, soon we truly got to see Walt's manipulative ways come back when he realized Jesse really was going to leave. Walt begins the interaction by trying to give Jesse more power and giving him his own lab. The craziest part is that from the look on his face, it seemed as if he actually believed that is what Jesse would want. It was his way of giving him a "gold star" and thanking him for his hard work. He reacts in complete and utter disbelief when Jesse says he just wants to get his money and get out. Yet again, Walter can't handle or believe that Jesse would not want to work with the almighty Heisenberg. He begins by trying to give him fatherly advice, but then quickly shifts in to putting Jesse down for who he is and his lifestyle, which Walter knows is how to hurt him, because his parents were never proud of him either. I really wanted Jesse to reveal that he heard Walt whistling and really knows that he was completely lying and not torn up by the death of the little boy at all. However, possibly the most poignant part of this conversation, is Jesse's frustration that they keep having to kill people, but Walt assures him that because they are now in control that will never happen again. Too bad, that by the end of this episode he has already gone against this and made it not true. Walt keeps claiming and that he is in control, but clearly at every twist and turn we see how out of control he actually is.
I was so proud of Jesse when he finally walked out of the room that I think I cheered. Just the fact that he turned around and walked away without saying a word was like saying, "Fuck You, Walt. I'm not going to fight you for my money if you are going to try to control me with it." Walt was less than happy with this and you could see the anger in his face as he yelled. So, what did he do? He brought in the person to replace Jesse that would probably upset him the most. Todd is the guy that caused the most recent problems between Walt and Jesse (by shooting an innocent child,) and really is the reason that Jesse wants out of the business. Walt acts like a child in this way sometimes. When he doesn't get his way, he just looks for any way that he can punish someone and sticks that knife in and turns it, just as he did by bring Todd in to his operation.
One thing that I must mention, that I could not stop laughing at, was the fact that Walt and Skyler are sitting at the dinner table eating microwaveable tv dinners. After Jesse's rant last week about "Whatever happened to truth in advertising?" and how the picture on tv dinners always makes food look more appetizing than it is….we now see Walt and Skyler enjoying two of these said dinners, during another of their awful and awkward encounters that really keep showing the degradation of their relationship.
Now, we will get to the most influential and important, we must discuss the really disturbing storyline of this episode, and that is anything relating to Mike Ehrmantraut. When the episode started I found myself getting nervous, because I realized that Mike really was preparing to eave the business and this might mean that he wouldn't be around anymore. I didn't like this at all and I found myself, wanting to yell at the screen, "please don’t go, Mike. Stay, stay with us." Having this feeling in the beginning made where his story actually ended up so much worse and I think I am still in disbelief. As I mentioned before, the episode set up the idea of a showdown, but it really ended up with a showdown between Mike and Walt. It feels like this has been building throughout the whole season as Mike and Walt operate and run things with such opposing styles. Walt is over-the-top and egotistical and likes to exert his power. Mike, on the other hand, is quiet and stoic and likes to live a very private existence without giving any indication that he is involved in this dangerous business. In fact, it always seems as if the meth business just happened to be Mike's job, and he doesn't get any power or even joy from it, but it simply is his line of works, as if he worked in construction or something. Therefore, the fact that Walter is so opposite of this, made it hard for the two to interact and co-exist in a partnership. They never understood each other, which means they couldn't function together, and while Mike thought he was going to get out clean….that is the opposite of what happened.
Mike made a big mistake in trusting a lawyer that obviously he should not have put his faith in to. This is interesting because for so long he was surrounded by men that wouldn't turn against him – even the police were astounded none of them had turned. However, I wasn't surprised, because that's how good Mike usually was at his job. He knew how to take care for people and knew what to do to keep them quiet. However, he trusted the wrong man to handle this, and the one bad decision that he made, sadly led to his ultimate demise. This did show that Mike was human, and he did make mistakes. He has been the quiet superhero that would come in and clean up messes, and always knew what he was doing and never made a wrong move….until now, and he paid for it. It also is interesting because Walter seems to make bad decision after bad decision, but as of yet, he has never really had to pay for any of them.
Mike and Walt's final meeting in the woods was a fascinating moment, because Mike truly and completely calls Walt out on how he has screwed everything up. When Fring was around, they had a lab, they had distribution and they didn't have to worry about building a business from scratch. Now, the DEA has been looking in to all of Fring's connections, which led them to Mike. Had Walt never killed Fring, he could have gone on making a lot of money. However, as he revealed in last weeks episode when talking to Jesse about Gray Matter, Walt feels like he needs to make up for all that he lost in that deal and will not settle until he builds an empire. Mike always understood this about Walt, which is one of the reasons he was reluctant to be in business with him. It also is probably one of the reasons he still stands up for himself and will not give Walt the names of his men. Walt then gets so angry and upset that he goes after Mike and shoots him – however, I'm not sure if it is because he actually wants the names or if he was so angry at being called out that he just had to do something. On the other hand, Walt actually does seem to panic for the first time when he realizes he could have gotten the names from Lydia and didn't really need to kill Mike after all. He could have let him go, but his blind panic clouded his mind, which made him kill yet another person, which is so very fucked up.
The setting of this scene was so important because Mike died in a completely opposite way than Gus Fring. Gus's death was brutal and violent and the last image we saw of him was with half of a face. Mike died in a beautiful setting, sitting on the side of a river, and there almost seeemed to be an angelic glow to the whole setting. Could this be a reference to Walt's earlier statement about how he and Jesse are already on their way to hell. Was Mike able to escape that as he laid down and died in peace next to this beautiful location? I'm not sure, but the complete contrast in these two deaths can not be ignored.
I know I say this every week, but I am so curious, and actually now anxious as to where this is going. I'm sure he will try to hid it from him, but if Jesse were to ever find out that Walt killed Mike (who he had become very close to), it will absolutely be the end of their relationship. It will also be interesting to see what happens, because as far as anyone knows Mike was about to disappear, so no one that knows that Walt was going to meet him is likely to wonder where he is. I'm sure the DEA will be looking for him, but probably will also assume that he has just disappeared out from under them. He was one of my characters, and I know this show is not afraid of killing of major characters, but this is one I was not prepared to say goodbye to and I will truly and completely miss.