Breaking Bad – “Open House” – review

August 1, 2011
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Walt and Jesse are getting out of their work clothes, knocking off for the day. Jesse asks Walt if he’d like to go go-kart racing with him.  Walt gives him a look and asks “if there’s anything we need to talk about?”  Jesse counters by asking Walt about his black-eye, asks if perhaps that’s something they should talk about.  Both men have a vague idea of what the other’s problems may be, but for their own benefit they both refuse to talk about it or help one another out.

Breaking Bad has always been about characters having secrets and putting up brave faces for the rest of the world, but the main offender in that regard has naturally been Walt over the years.  “Open House” underlines that Walt is not the only one suffering in silence at the moment.

Jesse is still fighting his guilt any way he can, keeping himself distracted while off the clock with some endless go-karting the non-stop party at home, not caring what happens to his stuff or home, so long as there’s action, sex, music and drugs going down.  He may be able to keep it together at work right now, but something’s gotta snap him out of it soon.  I mean, shit, how does his seemingly well-to-do neighbors put up with the junkie traffic, at the very least.  Then there was that mysterious shot of the cop looking at Jesse’s house following Jesse’s “making it rain” for his transient buddies, unless I misread that, anyway.

Marie, whose habit of going to open houses gives this episode its title, is up to her old klepto tricks once again.  But more than just the compulsive stealing is her need to reinvent herself for strangers, to create elaborate fantasy lives for herself and explain them to a captive audience, i.e. the real estate agent or homeowner hoping to sell to her.  The gig is up abruptly and it’s back to reality, Hank giving her shit no matter how hard she tries, his resentment only growing larger now knowing that she’s back out there stealing.  

But Marie’s arrest does bring some good into Hank’s life in the form of the murder police who pulled some strings for Hank looking for Hank’s input on Gale’s notes.  Luckily, the notes are too detailed for the cop to do anything with but Hank, who some are theorizing is secretly (there it is again!) using the mineral collecting hobby to learn more about chemistry and pursue the Heisenberg blue meth, might just be able to crack the code.

But though Hank picking up the notes was the final shot of the episode and no doubt the most exciting development, the main story this week was Skyler stepping up efforts to get the car wash front under way.  Always the most forward character in the series, Skyler is dipping her toes into criminality and relishing it more than she thinks she does.  When she, Walt and Saul are throwing out ways to get the guy to sell to them, she keeps shooting down Saul’s more devious ideas, only to come up with a pretty mean-spirited plan herself.  (Awesome to see the great comic Bill Burr sporting a beard and some nice low-key acting chops as the dude on the other end of Skyler’s one-sided phone convo.)  The satisfaction she took in shitting on the Romanian was funny but also a little scary.  Sure, she needs assurances that Walt’s black-eye had nothing to do with business now (and her immediate response being that he should turn himself in was hilariously naive), but I’m pretty pumped to see where she’ll be at morally by the end of the season, to see if maybe she’s hiding as much as our other characters by then.

After last week’s stupidity Walt took the backseat this week, let his wife take the wheel and get his mind off killing Fring for a bit.  He even seemed a little genuinely proud of her when they celebrated at the end of the episode (after being condescending towards her when it looked like her plan initially failed, anyway), even looked like he and Skyler were going to put penis to vagina for a bit there until she got on his ass about the champagne, proving she’s far less naive than we thought at the beginning of the episode.

So what’s next, folks?  Jesse’s house gonna get busted?  What will the new business add to the story?  Maybe some more characters?  More chances for Hank to get suspicious of his brother-in-law?  Is Bill Burr gonna be back?

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Nerd of Noir

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3 Responses to Breaking Bad – “Open House” – review

  1. Alec Cizak on August 1, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    I missed that connection between the minerals and chemistry. Good observation. This week was a little more interesting than last week. Hank’s wife making up stories and stealing useless things was hilarious.

  2. Brian Lindenmuth on August 2, 2011 at 6:01 am

    We usually wind up watching the episodes twice and have only seen this one once so far but I don’t think the guy in the car watching Jessie’s house was the cop. Remember last episode when Walt was getting dressed at the end of the shift and heard footsteps above him, on the catwalk, coming into the lab, and he thought it was Gus but it turned out to be the new guy doing the pick up instead (who made them weigh the meth again). That’s who I think was in the car.

    Also, and I can only assume that it has to do with the new camera in the lab, but the lockers are now in a different location.

  3. Sandra Ruttan on August 6, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    Okay, she might be less naive… and yet the contradictions are mind-blowing. They’re paying Hank’s medical bills, and they just bought a car wash business for $800,000… and Walt has that second house, and she’s worried about a bottle of champagne? I mean, come on now. Get a grip. It’s already so blown it isn’t even funny. And who couldn’t explain away the champagne as a celebration for the car wash purchase?

    If the preview is any indication, and next week is going to be ‘practice the story’, I think it could be pretty weak. And irritating. But we’ll see.