Breaking Bad – “Thirty-eight Snub” – review

The reason for the title of this week’s episode, “Thirty-eight Snub,” was made evident from the start with the kick-ass cold open.  Jim Beaver, the fucking fantastic character actor who played Ellsworth in Deadwood and Vietnam Joe in John From Cincinnati, knocked it out the park as a gun-dealer hooking Walt up with a thirty-eight snub sans serial numbers.  Walt is taking action, getting strapped so he can shoot Fring, who revealed himself in last week’s episode to be not quite as reasonable as Walt first thought.

But as stupid as his plan may have been, Walt at least is stepping up and doing something about his new circumstances unlike Jesse.  Jesse, after putting lead through Gale’s mug, is doing whatever he can to keep distracted, even buying an insane sound system for his sweet digs and bringing fan favorites Skinny Pete and Badger over to snort his top-notch shit, their new found sobriety be damned.  But not even those loud dumbasses will keep the guilt at bay, forcing Jesse to throw a huge party and keep it going, buying more booze, drugs and even breakfast for the revelers in hopes that it’ll still be raging when he gets off work.  But all parties end no matter how accommodating the host is, leaving Jesse alone and sobbing in front of one of his deafening speakers.

Hank is similarly keeping his mind off things with his mineral collecting, a habit that seems to be getting out of control as dozens of packages stack up in the living room.  But as passionate as he is about the rocks (though don’t let Hank hear you call them that) his first love at the moment seems to be slamming his despairing wife Marie.  The harder Marie tries to connect with him the more he pushes her away, his need for help with even the most basic tasks (we once again are reminded that Hank craps in a bedpan, in case we’d somehow forgotten) no doubt weighing on his self-defining machismo.  Shit attitude aside, though, he seems to be doing a helluva job with the physical therapy.

Skyler is taking action in arguably the most healthy way by doggedly pursuing the purchase of the car wash Walt used to work for, even taking notes on the business’ day-to-day operations through spying across the street in her car.  When she approaches the owner she seems to have the guy down cold, offering him a very fair price and keeping it professional, but the guy counter-offers with a ridiculously inflated price.  He remembers the way he and Walt left things at the beginning of the series and is apparently the type to hold a massive grudge.  Will Skyler resort to some shady shit with Saul in the future to get her hands on the business?

But naturally the big story of the week was Walt’s strides toward a Fring-free future.  He practices his draw, he brings his piece to work – even goes to Fring’s house to get the job done only to be thwarted at every turn.  It’s a desperate plan but it’s clearly eating away at him, such to the point that he goes to see Mike at his favorite, a place we’ve seen him previously in the episode looking generally dissatisfied with life.  Mike even hilariously drops the fact that Walt is making a lot more than he does when Walt offers to buy him a drink, just to put a bow on the possibilities.  But when Walt pops the question, when he proposes that Mike help him “just get in a room” with Fring, Mike lays him out, hopefully knocking some sense into Walt’s head.  But then again, that wasn’t the reaction he could have had had he been hugely loyal to Fring…

So now that “Thirty-eight Snub” added some more dimension to the various situations our characters have found themselves in as the season gets going, any ideas on where their journeys will take them?  Could Mike and Walt take over Fring’s business?  Are we going to see Skyler go dark pretty soon?  Is Jesse going to do anything more with that girl and her son Brock or were they just wrapping up her story with that scene?  How are you liking the season so far?  Umm…what else…that tasteless commercial with Saul pretty great, wasn’t it?

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Nerd of Noir

I love crime/noir fiction, comics and movies. I think my opinions are web-worthy. Then again, what asshole doesn't think that their opinions deserve a blog?

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About Nerd of Noir

I love crime/noir fiction, comics and movies. I think my opinions are web-worthy. Then again, what asshole doesn't think that their opinions deserve a blog?

11 Replies to “Breaking Bad – “Thirty-eight Snub” – review”

  1. The DEA brother in law storyline slows the series down for me. I know he’s got to recover, but it’s not exciting watching the process. Of course, I did pick up on the fact that his wife is going to start itching for some real attention pretty soon. Always a good idea to step out with the wife of a law enforcement official…

  2. This is what I said a few hours ago on Twitter: If Walt kidnaps Mike’s granddaughter to force him to kill Gus then I’ll shit my pants.

  3. I’m standing by my prediction that Marie is going Break in some unexpected way. To Walter, might be a longshot, but still a possibility until Walter and Skylar resume conjugal visits.

    #402 was about as stupid as Walter has looked in the series in a long time. Just lots of moves that don’t jibe with his usual process. Usually he is thinking with a greater amount of leverage.

    Roomba cam was absolute genius.

  4. Alec – Yeah, an affair could definitely be the direction that storyline’s taking. I find it interesting that this season I’m less annoyed by Marie’s presence, probably just b/c I feel bad for her having to put up w/ Hank being a dick.

    Brian – Totally down for Walt forcing Mike’s hand.

    Boden – Indeed, this was Walt at his most ridiculously dumb. He’s totally consumed by killing Gus, not helping Skyler or looking out for Jesse or anything. Loved the Roomba stuff too. The classic Breaking Bad “characters looking down at the camera” shot was nicely employed in the uncut pizza perspective too.

  5. Having not yet watched the series, I must say I am in no hurry. These sound like some of the worst people EVER. WTF am I missing?

  6. Jack –

    If you keep up with it from the beginning and see where they started, how normal they were in the beginning only to become embroiled in some horrible shit and do horrible things the deeper they get into the drug business, then you reall empathize with the characters. Then again, I am the number one fan of The Sopranos and loved Tony and the gang from scene one.

    Also like The Sopranos the show is often very funny and filled with middle-class details that you just don’t see represented elsewhere on television.

    That and this shit is just agonizingly suspenseful.

  7. Comment from Chris (that is stubbornly stuck in the pending section) reprinted here:

    “I started reading your reviews last year, and its the best read because you are actually a fan, and it comes thru in your writing.

    Thats why your reviews are the ones I look for week in and out.

    Wife and I have been watching since day 1.

    Thanks for the great work.

    So sad when I heard this show will likely run 5 seasons, but you can only burn gas so long.”

  8. Jack, Breaking Bad is really an incredible exploration of the human spirit. Now, some people might scoff at me when I say that, but if you go back to the beginning, this is a story about a man who’s at the point he should have a mid-life crisis. He’s got a son with disabilities, a big mortgage, is brilliant but hasn’t done anything profound with his life, and he finds out he’s got cancer and it’s terminal.

    To make matters worse, his wife is pregnant.

    Some people would throw a pity party and feel sorry for themselves, but when the dust settles, Walt fights back. And hard. But he’s a realist. He sees the medical bills and the expenses, and he’s overcome with the reality that he has a son with disabilities, a wife, and another child on the way, and he won’t be around to provide for them forever. He acts out of desperation, but it’s a desperation born out of selflessness.

    The thing is, once you start going down certain paths, how far will you go? Secrets turn into lies, and the mind’s ability to justify things it would have once never excused is incredible.

    It’s truly a brilliant character study, and all of the characters have a pretty significant arc in terms of development. It’s incredibly well written. I think my favorite has to be the start of season 3, and the bad-ass Mexican brothers. That’s top-notch writing and acting. If those two said more than 24 words altogether in all the episodes they were in, combined, I’d be shocked. And yet they are a presence that’s undeniable. Genius writing, and amazing acting. On the level of Omar.

  9. Another comment from the pending folder from Nathan Pettigrew:

    Don’t let Hank fool you or slow down the show for you -he’s on to something: That “blue” mineral he was looking at 2 o’clock in the morning? He’s ordering minerals, studying minerals, learning chemistry and the periodic table of elements. If he can’t use his “body” to fight or outsmart Heisenberg, he’ll learn to use his “mind.” He’s not obsessed with minerals. He’s obsessed with Heisenberg, and he wants to gain the same knowledge of the chemist who’s manufacturing the meth. I say that Season 4 wraps up the whole Gus vs. Walt situation, with Walt coming out on top by a hair -and then Season 5 will have Hank vs. Heisenberg with Hank finally figuring out that it’s Walt.