Lots of pride and impotence in this week’s episode, but based on the episode’s title and the final scene, it looks as though Walt might finally be back in the meth game. Hell, by the end of “Green Light” we’re left wondering what his other options are at this point. He’s obliterated all his other outlets and relationships, so making some sweet meth money could be just the shot in the arm his life needs. Probably not, but a guy can dream, can’t he?
Walt’s pathetic-levels are at an all-time high as he tries to balance the domestic scales, first by trying to start some shit with Skyler’s boss and then by coming on to the assistant principal. It’s some sad, uncomfortable shit, dear reader, Walt’s ineffectuality driven home in both scenes. He wants to get in a confrontation with Skyler’s lover, yet he can barely hoist the potted plant with which to smash through the glass. He wants to hurt Skyler and prove to himself he still has some virility, yet the only thing that could even possibly gain him access to the assistant principal’s pants would be sheer pity.
But immediately following that sad display (which results in Walt being put on an “indeterminate sabbatical”), he comes across the one person who he can throw down some weight on: Jesse. Jesse proudly presents Walt the fruit of his labors, asking if Walt will put in a word for him with Gus. Walt, looking to prove he has some sack left (and possibly out of genuine professional pride), says Jesse can’t use his recipe, much less his connection. But this is a new Mr. Pinkman, one with the confidence to tell Walt to fuck himself before driving off (hilariously smashing Walt’s box of shame in the melee) and, you know, calling Saul.
Saul rightly assumes that Gus won’t work with Pinkman because he’s a junkie, but when the P.I. (who proves to be a fucking awesome character this episode) talks to Gus about the situation, Gus decides to take Jesse on, but on the condition that Walt gets half the money for the product. At one point in their conversation, the P.I. asks what we’ve all been thinking: Why doesn’t Gus just tell Walt that he owes him for saving his life? Gus says it’s because he would rather have happy workers than fearful ones, but think about it: Gus knows he’s gonna have to let the cousins loose eventually, and if Walt knew about the situation he’d figure it the same way soon enough. That’s a dangerous hand to play, and Gus won’t use it unless he has absolutely to. When Walt, tellingly at an intersection at the time, gets a lapful of cash that he didn’t even earn at the episode’s close, it’s looks like he can sit on that hand a while longer.
Because Walt has no job, a cheating wife, and a baby he’s not even allowed to babysit. What else is he gonna do? You can only skim the pool so many times a day before you decide to just go ahead and drown in it.
But throwing his hat in the ring for a pathetic-off with Walt is Hank, who finds an excuse to avoid going to scary ol’ El Paso with the reappearance of the blue meth. He’s acting like an asshole (even to Gomez!) in an effort to make it look like like he’s totally ready for the jump to El Paso, and to further stall the inevitable he throws himself into the Heisenberg case. Granted, he does some good police work and scores some shots of Jesse’s camper (through the ATM camera, in a shot that is the ultimate pay-off to all those bottom-of-the-cooking-pot/-dryer/-trunk/-hiding place POV shots), but in the end he still has to admit to his C.O. in a painful scene that he can’t hack it at El Paso. I can’t tell if the C.O. is trying to bring him down a peg or two or if he thinks it’s good therapy or something for Hank, but Hank definitely feels a sting in that scene. He is forced to face the sobering fact that he is fallible and human and goddamn does it kill him inside.
On the fun and games front of this episode, we got a great cold open with Jesse schmoozing some meth into a cashier’s hand in payment for gassing up the camper, cop standing behind him in line be damned. Saul had tons of great gags, the best of which being the big box of neckbraces he had on hand behind his desk (the line about Skyler “sneaking off the reservation” that earned him some a beatdown from a particularly testy Walt was pretty great too). Coolest moment of the episode was hands-down Walt chastising the P.I. about his choice of profession (ha!) and the P.I. just casually taking it, not even bothering to mention that Walt would be dead right now if it wasn’t for his snooping. Dude is ice cold awesomeness.
So it looks like next week we’re back where we were, as far as the crime story part of the show, anyway. Walt and Jesse making meth for Gus, and Hank trying to bring them all down. Just like old times…only now there’s a couple of badass mutes ready to bring the ax down any moment.