Halfway through tonight’s episode, Walt gives a monologue to Skyler, Marie and Walt Jr. about the time they hit all the green lights on the way to his surgery, pointing out it was the one time he can remember wanting to be stuck in traffic, if only for the purpose of having some more time with his family before his possibly fatal procedure. It’s a powerful speech that, on the one hand, helps illustrate that Walt can still provide a sense of stability for his family when they need it most, but also serves as a comment on the episode itself. Though it was called “I See You” (isn’t that the main line from that three hour turd about blue giants?), tonight’s episode was also about waiting. It’s almost like the writers are saying to the viewers, “all right, it’s been nothing but green lights for a while now, so let’s have you sit through a few reds for an episode.”
Like I said up top, Walt comes through as a brilliant presence in the waiting room, able to calm his family down as they all stress over Hank’s condition following last week’s shooting. But while he’s keeping up a strong front, he’s screaming inside as the vice keeps tightening every second he’s away from the lab. Jesse, whose dicking around in the lab provided for the funniest waiting (but whose actions this episode also didn’t really have a pay off in the slightest), is feeling cocky after seeing Hank rolled into the emergency room in the reliably awesome cold open (“Then roll me further, bitch!”). He keeps calling Walt and bugging him about keeping on schedule with production, even threatening to start cooking on his own (“There’s got to be manual somewhere – I can read,”). Eventually, Gus’ man takes notice of the situation as well, forcing Walt to make up a bullshit excuse to Gus.
Walt’s predicament also provides for some confusing issues with Skyler, from first being wary that Skyler might be moved to say something about Walt’s business in light of events, then surprised at being praised in front of the group by her, then given the evil eye even before he can lie about who he was talking to on the phone, and then to ultimately have Skyler sleeping with her head on his shoulder near the close of the episode. Are they setting us up for a possible reconciliation sometime soon?
But though there was lots of waiting, there was certainly a lot seeing as well. Gale sees through Walt’s bullshit firing excuse. Skyler sees through Walt’s lie. The remaining cousin sees Walt, gets inspired to drag his bloody stumps across the floor toward him, end-of-The-Terminator-style. Walt sees his family is in danger. Walt sees Gus for the far-reaching mega-influence that he is (how Walt thought he could hide Hank’s profession from Fring is beyond me, though). Gus sees through Walt’s bullshit. Their conversation in the middle of a herd of DEA agents, wherein it finally dawns on Walt how much bigger than him the whole operation is, has the telling we’re-not-so-different-you-and-I-style exchange about how they both hide in plain sight. The DEA agents standing all around them drive it home, how no one even looks twice – it’s just the nice entrepeneur who gave us free lunch and Hank’s chemistry dork brother-in-law Walt, the guy whose face was on the charity jar at the office a while back, certainly not two of the the most notorious figures in the local meth trade.
What threw me about tonight’s episode is how quickly they wrapped up potential long-running storylines before the episode’s close. Walt finally figures out that Tuco’s cousins are out for him as well, but then the remaining cousin is murdered as promised by Gus toot-fucking-sweet (with a blink or you’ll miss it reveal of the hitman: Gus’ ever-dependable private eye). Gus looks like he’s trouble with Juan over clearly giving the cousins the go-ahead on Hank, but then Juan is murdered even before Gus hangs up on him. If they’re willing to drop those excitingly volatile plot possibilities before they even begin, it makes you wonder the threat will be for the rest of the season.
Because it really does appear that the “vengeance for Tuco” storyline has been wrapped up completely at this point. What are the threats against Walt and Jesse now? Hank will be out of commission for a few episodes, but it’s doubtful that he’s going to back off of Jesse. Jesse has a pretty solid alibi for any involvement in Hank’s shooting, but shit, maybe the DEA will start looking into who visited Jesse in the hospital, who he took phone calls from. Skyler could end up making some connections between Walt and Hank’s shooting(s) somehow.
Maybe Jesse’s over-confidence will be the true new enemy, maybe he’ll fuck up in the lab and then he and Walt will owe the all-powerful Gus some insane debt. I mean, there were a lot of scenes of Jesse just putzing around the lab – that could be foreshadowing for a major fuck up to come. Maybe Jesse’s drug addiction will come back into play (that’s what I was waiting on as the pay off when Jesse was bored out of his mind, for him to use again). Hell, maybe I’m straight -up wrong about the storyline being done for and somebody else from Tuco’s family will come after them for triple revenge or some shit like that (I vote for a wheelchair-bound Don Salamanca to be the appointed hitman).
Guess I’ll just have to “wait” and “see.” Yes, I just typed that and yes, I am ashamed of myself.