Breaking Bad – “Shotgun” – review

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…

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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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7 comments for “Breaking Bad – “Shotgun” – review

  1. August 16, 2011 at 12:14 am

    Noir Nerd, you got it all, in my view. Was getting bored with Jesse circling the drain the past couple of episodes. Walt’s drunken ego provoking Hank’s further investigation into Gale’s murder was priceless. Classic Walker White.

  2. August 16, 2011 at 6:13 am

    I can’t believe that they will continue to play Walter as ineffective and flaccid as he’s been in most of the season, so, at some point, he’s bound to make a power play.

    I’m sort-of surprised that he’s never whipped up another batch of explosives, as it served him so well in the first season. You would think that would be a smart start.

    No idea what Gus has in mind with the Jesse play, but that holds a lot of promise.

    If the Gayle clue leads to Gus, things are bound to finally start getting more interesting for the season.

  3. Brian Lindenmuth
    August 17, 2011 at 9:22 am

    From Nathan Pettigrew:

    Gus cannot kill Walt until he finds a chemist to replace him. Victor knew the steps, but not the chemistry. Jesse, however, does. And while keeping Jesse busy with Mike keeps him out of trouble, not to mention on a path of division from Walt, Jesse’s not “there” yet to where he can be manipulated into taking over for Walt if Gus kills Walt. Gus needs him around, a Little longer. Not to mention that Gus has other worries right now, namely the Cartel making moves. Granted, he’s an excellent multi-tasker, but… He needs Mike for the Cartel and right now Mike’s stretched thin between babysitting Jesse and playing shootout with the boys from below the border. But what’s really exciting, like someone already mentioned with the explosives, is that Walt usually stops being a buffoon and gets to making a big power move when he feels like he has absolutely No control over his life -as we’ve seen in previous seasons -or when he feels boxed in by life, so to speak. And right now he’s getting there… He’s getting there.

  4. August 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    I think Walt will figure a way to frame Gus for Gayle’s murder, using his brother in law to “plant” some kind of evidence that will lead to Gus…this could end the season with Walt taking over the market and Gus planning his revenge from behind bars, plus a huge scandal about Pollos being a drug front. I cannot see how Walt can go on working for Gus when he knows eventually Gus will off him and Jesse. Maybe they frame Mike too, or Mike takes over as honcho, who knows, but it looks like Gus has to go down.

  5. Patti Abbott
    August 18, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Walt’s current ennui is puzzling. Just as he regains his wife, he loses his spirit. Does he have a death wish? Is that why he lures Hank back to the investigation? Still love every frame of this show but I am less sure of where this is headed than ever.

  6. August 18, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Patti –

    Like folks above have been saying, I agree that it’s all about Walt not feeling any control, like he’s being boxed in. Walt would probably be more up for having his old domesticated life back with Skyler if she wasn’t imposing herself all over him. Just assuming that he’ll move back in after sex, telling Walt Jr that his dad is moving in w/o consulting Walt himself – just bad form all around. Walt’s feeling trapped at “work” and now at home and, like Boden said and Pettigrew co-signed, when Walt feels trapped, something big is gonna go down.

  7. Brian Lindenmuth
    August 20, 2011 at 7:32 am

    My fear while watching this episode was that it was going to turn into a Mike & Jessie bottle episode. I’m glad it didn’t.

    From Michael Hemmingson:

    “I think Walt will figure a way to frame Gus for Gayle’s murder, using his brother in law to “plant” some kind of evidence that will lead to Gus…this could end the season with Walt taking over the market and Gus planning his revenge from behind bars, plus a huge scandal about Pollos being a drug front. I cannot see how Walt can go on working for Gus when he knows eventually Gus will off him and Jesse. Maybe they frame Mike too, or Mike takes over as honcho, who knows, but it looks like Gus has to go down.”

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