Breaking Bad – “Bullet Points” – review

Been hearing some folks bitch (not on this site, though, because you’re all fuckin’ lovely, naturally) about the slowness of season four thus far, talking about how decidedly un-suspenseful shit’s been lately.  I guess I can see that, but personally I don’t feel that way at all.  If you want a fucking action scene every episode howsabout you just wait a fucking month and scope whatever new bullshit procedural comes out on CBS, TNT, ABC, USA, Lifetime – wherever.  I like how Breaking Bad takes its time (I’m a Sopranos and Mad Men guy, after all), I like getting into the heads of our tortured characters, see the dark rhythms of their harrowing, despairing existences.  Plus, when you get a couple “character” episodes in a row, a fucking plot-heavy beast like “Bullet Points” hits all the harder.

After the ridiculously badass cold open (nice Blood Simple reference with the bullet holes) illustrating that shit’s not a hundred-percent stable in the drug business at the moment,  we get Skyler coaching a very surly Walt in how to explain away the car wash purchase to Hank.  Type-A all the way, Skyler’s got a script, full of dialogue that…doesn’t quite capture Walt’s voice, let’s say. (Could use a quick doctor-job by Richard Price, I’d say, pepper it up a bit.)  Great moment in their rehearsal happens when Walt seems to legitimately apologize to Skyler for his formerly secret life, affecting her deeply, then shits on her heart when it’s clear that he was just talking about the script.

The revelation dinner goes about as well as could be expected, with Walt apparently fooling Hank to the degree that Walt’s allowed a peek at Gale’s notes.  (Of course Gale was a Ron Paul guy!)  Hank apparently believes that Heisenberg is actually Gale, that his white whale is regrettably dead (love how Hank mis-remembers The French Connection’s bleak conclusion), leading me to wonder what else we need to see happen before Hank’s outta this grouchy funk and back to chomping at the bit to catch the baddies.

The news that Hank knows Gale has something to do with blue meth leads Walt directly over to Jesse’s junkie den, though Jesse (who, like every other male in the show at this point, now also has a bald-ish head) could really give a shit – if they thought it was him, Hank would have made sure they brought him in already.  When Walt tries to make him relive the murder to see if he could have left any prints anywhere Jesse offers a hundred bucks to any junkie that’ll carry Walt’s ass outta there.  

Then Walt sees Saul about his options, lays out his worries to the one guy in his life he can be straight with.  He’s been too fucked up about where the stakes are at these days to think of Skyler’s diligent work on the front business as anything but a pipe dream, the IRS being the least of their problems at the moment.  (Loved his line about how he’s the only one being professional in the drug biz these days, bringing to mind Stringer Bell’s journey on The Wire.)  Saul has no answers outside of a guy he knows who can take Walt and his family completely off-the-grid for a steep price, making me fantasize about the lamest ending to the series imaginable.

But while Walt cares to the point of being crippled lately, Jesse could give a fuck, not even when his cash stash is robbed does he stop the party.  When Mike (with his fucked-up ear thankfully bandaged) shows up with the thief and the guy we saw outside of Jesse’s house last week (I speculated he was a cop), Jesse just takes the money back with barely a thanks, knowing Mike won’t kill the guy on account of dude’s blind-folded.  (Sharp eye, Pinkman!)

But it looks like Jesse’s death wish might just come true as we see Mike talk to Fring about Jesse’s behavior, watch Walt freak about Jesse not showing up for work, then see Jesse being driven by Mike into the desert, a puss on Jesse’s face – cut to black.  Main question this week is how’s Walt going to save his boy now?  Or is there some other solution to the problem other than Pinkman’s death that Mike and Fring would fuck around with at this point?  Theories, my Broke Baddies, do youse have ‘em?

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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?

3 Replies to “Breaking Bad – “Bullet Points” – review”

  1. Best moment: Walter having to explain away the W.W. in his notes.
    *Walter must first absorb that he could have been Gayle’s hero.
    *He must then keep his composure right in front of Hank, by not only swallowing how close it all comes to him, but by also showcasing how good he can be under pressure.
    *Walter must then process quickly the call back (genius call back) to the poetry Gayle once recited to him, and then…
    *bring it all back to Walt Whitman.

    All that in the course of about twenty seconds. Breaking Bad at its best.

    Who knows where they are taking Jesse. Assuming Jesse is going to pitch into the story arc, I’d make the guess that he is going to be given a test of loyalty, and I’m going to assume it involves some cartel ugliness. Choose between a suicide mission or a bullet in the head? That’s an odd step of motivation (unless Walter’s continued work is enough), so I’m missing something. Maybe it’s just a kidnapping or something that spins Walter into action.

  2. I thought this was a terrific episode from start to finish. Watching Skyler come up with their back story was a high point. The whole thing was a high point. Inside their heads is the best place IMHO.