For all the suspense of last week’s cliffhanger ending and the high intensity sequences that opened this week’s Breaking Bad, “Shotgun” eventually ended up being about two of our characters finding their purpose again. Yes, the mystery of what the fuck Mike had in store for Jesse on their never-ending pick up run hung over the proceedings heavily, but really it was about Jesse and Hank moving on while Walt feels more trapped and unfulfilled than ever.
Jesse pals around with Mike all day, first showing signs of a will to live when Mike pulls off to a field to make the first cash pick up. Later he feels like he gets it, that he’s Mike’s guy and at the very least he should have a gun, but then Mike assures him that Jesse is indeed not his guy, that his guy is dead and Jesse is a poor substitute. (Box-cutting victim Victor is also brought up in Hank’s storyline as his face is the composite witnesses came up with at Gale’s murder scene.) Then the staged robbery happens and Jesse thwarts it handily, feeling good about the guts he showed under pressure, also probably enjoying the transfer of his daddy issues from Walt over to the much cooler Mike. Now Jesse feels more grounded, more a part of the organization, even brags about his new gig to a very worried Walt, treating Walt like shit.
But of course this is all some sort of plan masterminded by Fring, the scene between him and Mike illustrating that not even Mike knows why Fring is putting so much time into the Pinkman situation. As they’ve done previously this season, Fring again reminds Walt just how not special or essential they are to cooking by sending over a guy to fill in for Jesse’s role in the lab, the guy apparently plenty capable. So what Fring has to gain by keeping Walt alive (and not only keeping Jesse alive but giving him, a junkie, more responsibilities) is the tantalizing question at this point.
That question is certainly eating at Walt lately, as he’s finding that every minute he knows less and has less control of his life. Nobody tells him anything anymore and he has no say. He just blindly goes along with signing the car wash papers before falling into bed with his wife over a message she misinterpreted on her answering machine. But instead of just getting laid for his trouble he finds out that he’s now apparently moving back home Tuesday, according to what Skyler told Walter Jr, anyway.
When Jesse goes missing he loses his fucking mind, even tries to bust in on Gus at Los Pollos Hermanos with his favorite new toy, the cameras that box him in at work staring him down at the restaurant as well. Then when Jesse does show the little shit plays it cool, like, “Of course I’m fine and have another use in the operation, don’t you?” Basically, he’s finding himself in a similar situation to where he was in the beginning of the series, with an unpredictable yet inevitable axe over his head (back then cancer, now Fring), working at a car wash and living with his wife and kids with huge secrets estranging him from them. So when he’s at dinner with Hank and Marie, he gets drunk (he’s never good drunk – remember when he made Walt Jr. barf in the pool?) and takes back a little power for himself by calling Gale’s chemistry “genius” into question.
And if he hadn’t pulled that stupid shit, it looked like Hank was ready to hang up his fucking spurs. At the beginning of “Shotgun” we see Hank telling his murder police pal that he feels closure now that Heisenberg’s dead, that he’s done working cases. But once Walt retardedly suggests that Gale was just “copying someone else’s homework,” Hank’s back into action. His first question about Gale’s murder: Why does a vegan have a bag from Los Pollos Hermanos? Walt has given Hank a purpose but he may have also assured himself some decent jail time in the near future for his drunken trouble.
Main question this week is obvious: Why does Fring continue to let Walt and Jesse breathe and why doesn’t even Mike get to know what the plan is? (I would have thought Mike would have been the merciful one toward Pinkman but was pleasantly surprised to be wrong.) Anything I missed, Broke Badasses? You know you wanna show my dumb ass up something terrible…