Breaking Bad – “Abiquiu” – Review

Tonight’s episode opened with a flashback that referenced Jane’s lipstick-stained cigarette that we saw last week in Jesse’s car ashtray, but the scene also holds the key to all the action that follows it in “Abiquiu.”  The cold open showed Jesse and Jane visiting a Georgia O’Keeffe (who spent a great deal of her life in Abiquiu, New Mexico, according to wikipedia) exhibit that centered around not (much to Jesse’s dismay) vaguely vaginal flowers but…doors.  Jesse’s opinion on O’Keeffe’s door period was that she worked at painting the doors over and over until it was perfect, while Jane thought that O’Keeffe was merely exploring the door to her heart’s content.  Both Jesse and Skyler take the do-over method to heart while Walt, a bit of a pushover all through “Abiquiu,” gets some schooling from another master at his trade: Gus Fring.

I didn’t realize until now that Skinny Pete and Badger selling at Jesse’s NA meetings was literally their only slinging strategy, a fact that makes Jesse’s second stab at dealer status even more retarded than I first imagined.  Not only is it a lame idea, it turns out that not only do Badger and Skinny Pete think it’s creepy to sell to recovering addicts (“Like shooting a baby in the face,” says Badger), but they’re also working the program and staying clean!  Jesse tries to show them how it’s done by forming a relationship with a newbie to the program named Andrea, but instead of selling to her he falls for her and her son, Brock.  This is Jesse’s relationship do-over, his attempt to have a healthy, clean relationship with a fellow damaged person, one that he’s banking on not ending as poorly as things did with Jane.

Then he finds out Andrea’s little brother Tomas was the one who shot Combo last season, and his kingpin do-over seems to take a darker turn.  Up until now the strategy has obviously been to keep it small and keep it off the corners, lessons Jesse learned last season via Combo and fan-favorite Spooge’s demise.  When Andrea soliloquizes about Tomas murdering Combo as part of his gang initiation, it clearly hits something deep within him.  The end of the episode finds Jesse casing the scene of the murder, possibly to get some payback at a later date.  If that’s the plan, I don’t think this particular run at the dealing business is going to be the perfect one.

Skyler is now finally embracing Walt’s drug business, the impetus being that she kind of has to if she wants to help Marie take care of Hank.  Skyler starts getting up in Walt’s shit about how well the money is being laundered, even insists on meeting with Saul (the shot of the two of them in Saul’s redneck-packed waiting room was fucking priceless).  She tries to shit on Saul’s idea for Walt’s front business (“Wait for it…lazer tag!”), insisting that Walt buy the old car wash he worked for at the beginning of season one.  Saul pokes holes in her idea, saying that what they don’t have at the car wash is “a Danny,” i.e. someone to run the place and look the other way while illegal shit is going on around them.  When Skyler fires back with the suggestion that she herself run the car wash, Walt reminds her that they’re not married anymore, then fucking boom! – Skyler says she never turned in the divorce papers.  Looks like Skyler wants a do-over on their whole marriage, maybe this time if they’re both implicit in the wrong-doing it could work out for them.

Walt might have considered it, I mean, last week he was telling Jesse how he sometimes believes that if he could just explain what he’s done in a certain way to Skyler she would take him back – not exactly the words of a dude who is over his ex.  But after the revelation that no, they’re not divorced, Walt gets a call at the office from the boss, asking Walt if he’ll join him at his home for dinner.  Walt is rightfully fucking disturbed by the whole notion, and the dinner itself is pretty weird until it comes out that Gus wants to give Walt advice on how to be rich, to serve as a mentor of sorts (okay, that’s still kinda weird).  Thing is, his first piece of advice is, naturally, “Don’t make the same mistake twice.”  Gus obviously has his shit together and Walt has even said in the past that he admires him (said so when he found out that Gus ordered the hit on Hank that is…), so we’ll see if that sinks in for Walt, whether or not he lets Skyler back in his life and, more importantly, further into the drug business.

Hank even manages to shed some light on his own personal philosophy in the episode via his heated argument with Marie.  Marie says that Hank is cleared to go back home, a remark that immediately upsets him.  She assures him that they’ll do physical therapy in their home, that she even got him a hospital bed for their bedroom.  Hank says he wants that fucking bed out of his bedroom toot-fucking-sweet and that he won’t be leaving the hospital until he can do so on his feet, fuck you very much.  Though immediately before the shooting Hank was able to be rational and open about his internal struggles with Marie, now he wants to ensure that this moment of his life was just a phase, wants no  traces of it in his house or in his near future.  Once he’s out of that hospital, it’s in the murky past.  Sounds like classic Hank to me.

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but now I think I’m getting a clearer picture of what is to come in the next couple weeks, nay fucking possibly next season.  Looks like Jesse will do something even more stupid than what he’s already doing with his dealer enterprise, though who in particular he wants to take out is a mystery at this point.  But while that looks to be the immediate conflict, do you think next season will be all about Skyler and Walt building up an empire together (her experience with book-cooking at her current job means she could be taking over Saul’s role soon as well) at the car wash?  Or, with Walt being firmly taken under Gus’ wing, will it just be about Walt becoming the new Gus?  Shit, will Jesse even be alive for next season?

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Nerd of Noir

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4 comments for “Breaking Bad – “Abiquiu” – Review

  1. Xavier Ninnis
    May 31, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    First, I’d be more inclined to think that Gus’s advice about “not making the same mistake twice” might have to do with partnering up with Jessie than with trying to make a go of it with Sky; and second, why in the name of all that is holy hasn’t Uncle “ding-ding” Salamanca” died of “old age” as yet? IMHO, it’s hugely improbable to believe that Gus, a man portrayed as always thinking at least three steps ahead of everyone else, should allow the continuing possibility of “Tio” stirring things up, more than they already are, with the Cartel.

  2. May 31, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Right, getting rid of Jesse was no doubt the intended meaning of “don’t make the same mistake twice,” (though Gus has ins with Saul and also, you know, knows fucking everything, so it IS possible that he meant getting back with Skyler) but I was speaking more thematically through the whole article than directly toward the plot. I should have addressed the true meaning up front though, you’re right.

    And I hadn’t thought of that – Salamanca should be fucking dead by now. That is a rather ridiculous over-sight by Gus. Not like it would take much, after all.

  3. John
    June 1, 2010 at 7:09 am

    My feeling is that Gus knows that Jesse took some of the product to sell. He is telling Walt not to repeat the same mistake when he gets a new lab assistant. Two episodes left and no doubt the tension is going to be unbearable.

  4. June 1, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Jesse seems to be again getting a wakeup call that the crystal meth biz brings nothing but bad. He had this realization before, after Jane died and the plane crashed, but then he returned to being the same jerk he was before,only sober. Skinny Pete and Badger working the N.A. 12 steps may lead to them decide they don’t want to deal anymore. Jesse is horrified that Andrea is willing to do meth in front of her kid. Jesse is horrified when visiting where Combo was shot and seeing his young murderer. Both underscore the depths people will sink because of drugs. After Walter and Jesse complete Gus’s order, maybe Jesse decides he’s through with the business.

    But it may be too late. Gus is trying to nudge Walter to decide for himself that Jesse is too great a risk. When Skyler finds out that Walter is splitting $3 million with Jesse (and she will, Walter will confess)… fuggedabboutit. These last episodes show Jesse deconstructing. I’m thinking The Sopranos’ Christoper Moltasanti and Tony Soprano. Tony loved him like a son, but…

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