Breaking Bad – “Cornered” – review

“Someone has to protect this family from the man who protects this family.”  Thus is the closing line and ultimate decision of Skyler in “Cornered.”  After putting together Walt’s “I love you” call and drunken rant from last week’s episode, Skyler finally realizes the stakes of the game her husband has joined.  Naturally, Walt impotently claims that he’s too much of a badass to be in mortal danger, but Skyler sees through his bullshit finally.  After an existential journey with the baby to the Four Corners Monument, she comes back home ready to take charge of the home front and, well, the fucking drug front that is the car wash.

Speaking of the car wash and Walt’s impotence (These are the segues, folks) this is about as shitty a version of Walt as we’ve seen in a while.  Playing big man for the wife then fucking with his ex-boss at the car wash (though that guy was being a real douche) then getting three Honduran laundry employees deported (in the best case scenario, anyway – they could be dead for all we know) over a lame on-camera tantrum for Fring’s benefit?  Some childish shit right there.  Then, of course, there’s the buying of Walt Jr.’s love and support with that fucking tasteless Challenger (that soulless reboot of a classic makes me madder than talk of Tony Scott remaking The Wild Bunch, though it is almost funnier than Walt’s ugly-ass Aztek), a painfully stupid and dickish move.

But Walt’s being cornered does lead to one smart moment this week in that he’s able to see through Fring’s decision to make Jesse Mike’s new guy, even calls bullshit on Jesse’s hero moment from last week in a shockingly accurate way.  But Walt ending his confrontation with Jesse by saying that it’s all about him probably wasn’t the wisest way to explain the situation.

To make matters worse, Jesse is actually kinda good at Mike’s wet work, handling the blue meth-dealing house situation with some decent smarts – love the digging detail.  (That whole scene plus the cold open were pretty masterfully handled this week, very smart suspense sequences both.)  Add to that a word of encouragement from Fring and a debt owed to Mike for helping him clean up again and yeah, Walt, I’d say that wedge is getting pretty fucking snug.

So no Hank and Marie stuff this week, just watching Walt flail, Jesse be duped, and Skyler wake up, but lots of stuff on the border war with Fring and the Cartel.  We saw that the Cartel has just been trying to get a sit-down with Fring and that Mike wants to soldier up while Fring wants to keep it cold along the battle lines.  I’m guessing we’ll see what happens at the meeting next week, but until then, what do you all think of how shit’s been shaping up?  Think this war could land in Skyler’s lap sooner than even she thought possible?  Also, not a lot of laughs this episode, probably coulda used more Saul so…that’s not a question…

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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?

6 Replies to “Breaking Bad – “Cornered” – review”

  1. I thought this was a brilliant episode. This is the biggest source of friction between my husband and me. He just doesn’t get this show. How can he like Justified and not this?

  2. From Nathan Pettigrew:

    “Stellar review as always. One of the best on the net for Breaking Bad. Wanted to first chime in on Patti Abbott’s comment about Justified -Watch Season 2. It’s a different show from that first season and it’s really great now. Became one of my favorites as well. Talk about a show finding its groove…

    Now as far as the question about how shit’s shaping up so far with Breaking Bad… Okay, so now that we’re six episodes into Season 4, I’m afraid I’m left feeling like I enjoyed Season 3 more. I do like Season 4 -it’s too good not to enjoy, but Season 3, it ain’t, unless of course there’s some crazy shit ahead. And I’m sure there is -this is Breaking Bad, after all. Right?

    But it sure is taking its time this year and there’s no immediate threat to Walt the way there was with the twins or even Gus. Because Gus this season is tied up with the Cartel, and while he’s put a distance between himself and Walt, that’s part of why I loved Season 3 -that Constant Tension between Walt and Gus when they shared scenes and weren’t actually doing anything more than having sitdowns of all things. It was great, but you never see them interact this season. It’s just a bunch of games so far and like Nerd of Noir pointed out, Walt’s not exactly likeable right now. There’s no immediate threat to him, and the he’s not likeable, so that’s throwing things off for me.

    I know I”m losing my patience, and it is some stellar character stuff going on, but really, here’s hoping that episode seven kicks Season 4 into high gear.”

  3. See, I don’t much care if nothing happens. That’s my trouble and why my husband doesn’t get it. I like these characters and I am willing to have them just be–hell, they can just go to the diner and order eggs and black coffee and I will watch them. Good thing I am not a Nielsonite.

  4. Patti –

    I think the rewards of Justified are more immediately recognizable than those of Breaking Bad. Zippy dialogue, swift pace, solid characters, strong throwaway episodes with a solid overarching season-length narrative as well. It’s just an easier pill to swallow.

    Breaking Bad asks more of an audience with its non-hand-holding visual storytelling and erratic, often unlikeable and sometimes cryptically complex characters. You’re also not guaranteed a big suspense or action set-piece every episode. It requires time to grow on some viewers, but this is just a wild guess as to why the hubster’s not a fan – I was invested from episode one on.

    Nathan –

    I agree that shit hasn’t been as propulsive as season two or three so far but I’m okay with that. I heard an episode of the AV Club’s Reasonable Discussions podcast when Breaking Bad season four premiered where they compared this season to season four of Sopranos, where it was more about the dreary domestic reality of Tony’s life more than his mob life. So far this season has been more about the bleak existence of our characters day to day than about them struggling to survive in the criminal world and I have so far welcomed the change of pace. But then some of my favorite episodes of the series so far have been completely character-based, and the same is true of my experience with The Sopranos.

  5. From Nathan Pettigrew (sorry Nathan, the site is a bit buggy at the moment):

    Great comparison to The Sopranos -yeah I certainly don’t mind character based episodes and stories. Those have been some my favorites as well -I brought up Season 3 but some of the best episodes and scenes from that season are actually the Hospital scenes when the family comes together for Hank, or when they’re waiting around together and interacting with each other. In fact I think they actually did have eggs and coffee in one scene there in the hospital cafeteria -ahaha Great stuff. Yeah I don’t need balls out action but I guess what I”m missing this season is the Suspense and Tension factors that Breaking Bad sets up so well. Then again, I know I need to just enjoy the ride and not be impatient because Breaking Bad’s number one strength is building up their characters before bringing them to impossible situations. But it’s also Character reasons: I didn’t expect Walt to be such an unlikeable wine baby. I think that’s the number one thing -He’s still the smartest character on that show and able to figure things out before everyone, but I guess when they say “Walt’s no longer the danger. He Is the danger.” -They mean him acting on impulse and kind of like an idiot. We need Heisenberg! ahaha