Turns out that the world was not turned upside down by Walt’s double murder in last week’s episode, thanks mainly to Fring’s icy pragmatism. Things are heating up between Fring and the Cartel, and meth production cannot stop if he wants to keep his place of power in the market, hence making Walt worth more alive than dead. For now. After a flashback to simpler times that shows that even nearly two decades ago Walt was uncompromisingly ambitious, we get Walt waiting for a meet up with Fring, the scene bringing to mind the opening scene of Once Upon a Time in the West, where a band of bad motherfuckers are all waiting for a train to arrive.
But instead of a shootout, Walt makes some demands (he’s got his infamous Heisenberg Hat on to give him some heft in the ballsack) and, surprisingly, finds them met. When faced with the option of either killing Walt immediately or regarding the incident as a “hiccup” in an otherwise fruitful relationship, Gus seems to accept the hiccup. Walt also assures Gus that Jesse is “time zones” away, so why waste energy trying to find him? Walt returns to work and is paired off again with the super-accomodating Gale, a welcome surprise indeed. Less welcome is his new constant tail and lab babysitter, not to mention the fact that his key no longer works in the lab either.
We soon learn that Gus is not just leery of Walt, but planning on replacing him toot-fucking-sweet. Fring approaches Gale and asks him how long it will take for him to have Walt’s methods down cold, to be able to continue production without him. Then Mike goes and threatens a beatdown on Saul unless he tells him where Jesse is hiding out. Saul at first plays it tough, but then with just the tiniest threat of violence, Mike gets him to squeal like a pig in a typically Saul-like manner. But Saul surprises us by actually misleading Mike, covering for Jesse, who is hiding out in the abandoned lazer tag storefront Saul earlier wanted Walt to embezzle through (whether Saul will be retaliated against for fucking around with Mike remains to be seen). Jesse and Walt discuss their options and decide that Jesse will find out where Gale lives and that Walt will break away from his tail and kill him, making it look like an accident – a move that will no doubt be the hugest (completely direct, anyway) trangression Walt has made to date.
But when Walt goes to make that shit happen he gets picked up and brought to the lab where he will most definitely get killed by Mike. In a move that echoes Saul’s earlier surprising scene, Walter begs for his life and says he’ll give up Jesse right now if they let him live. Mike agrees and tells Walt to call and set up a meet, but instead Walt tells Jesse to kill Gale fucking immediately for the sake of both their lives before being cut-off by a very pissed Mike. The final scene shows Jesse blowing away Gale – cut to black.
Last week Walt saved Jesse’s life and now Jesse has returned the favor, but all is clearly not fucking well. The boys are gonna have to figure out a way next season to keep themselves useful to Fring, as his only motivation for not killing them at this point is his lack of skilled chemists and the amount of territory he is currently trying to provide meth for. If Fring ever gets ahead in the trade, Walt and Jesse are no doubt dead. How they will maneuver their way into relative stability remains to be seen.
Whereas last season ended on a pointedly definitive note with the revelation of just what all those flash-forwards with the pink teddy bear were all about, this season has a pretty big cliffhanger to cap shit off. The early episodes of this season were excellent slow burn character episodes where Walt and Jesse were dealing with their grief, but I’m guessing in season four we’re gonna get be pretty plot-heavy in the beginning. What is going to happen in terms of plot to keep these guys alive I have no fucking clue, but that’s the beauty of Breaking Bad, ain’t it?
While the new lows reached by Jesse and Walt were the darkest the show’s gone to date, and the situation they find themselves in presently is especially intense, it still doesn’t beat the airplane finale of season two. The teddy bear revelation was the most shocking, out-of-the-blue and totally fucked thing I can remember seeing on television, and I doubt the show can ever top it. That said, I think season three is easily their best season to date. The plot just kept getting more ingeniously twisted and the character work more complex and Sopranistic, if you will. Here’s hoping next year gets only more bleak, more challenging.
Speaking of bleak, it’s kind of depressing to see the show go, to know that it’ll be most likely another nine months until the next chapter is revealed to us. I mean, say what you will about network television (I’ll say this: their dramas all suck), but at least your shows are only on hiatus for the summer. Then again, I wouldn’t get to see Mike blow away motherfucker after motherfucker with blood flying everywhere if this shit were on CBS, much less get to watch the second lead in the series blow away a nice guy (for a meth cook, anyway) like Gale in the last scene of the season.
Hope you all have enjoyed the coverage this season. Personally, I found writing about BB some of the most rewarding review work I’ve done to date. Your input in the comments has made it even more so. Thanks all (the Nerd apologizes for being a sappy-as-fuck lame-ass in the previous passage).