When I saw the title of this episode I instantly thought of “Fly,” the hugely divisive “bottle” episode from season three where Walt nearly spills the beans to Jesse regarding his part in Jane’s O.D. from season two. Though there is no insect involved in “Bug” like the fly that drives Walt bat-shit in “Fly,” the title referring instead to the GPS trackers that Hank and eventually Walt use to spy on Gus and Jesse’s commutes, “Bug” is indeed very much related to “Fly” nonetheless.
Where “Fly” teased us with the possibility of Jesse and Walt parting ways (at the very least) over a major secret Walt nearly letting slip, “Bug” has Walt and Jesse both finding out minor secrets (comparatively, anyway) about one another, having a brutal brawl in Jesse’s house, then Jesse telling Walt that, yes, they are now fucking officially finished. Walt learns through the GPS that Jesse has most likely had ample opportunity to kill Gus like they’ve planned (“Two hours and eighteen minutes!”) and, from Walt’s specificity about Jesse’s visit, Jesse figures out that Walt still doesn’t trust him “after all he’s done for us,” to paraphrase his pre-face-pelting cry. (Jesus, all my sentences are fucking paragraph-length in this piece so far – apologies all around!)
With the way the show set up the climactic bloody fight, doing their patented “Confusing Yet Tantalizing Flash Forward Cold Open” showing Walt’s goofy moccasins, busted glasses, and hand covered in blood, a deathless climax was kind of underwhelming. But though we didn’t get to see Walt kill Gus, Hank, Mike, Jesse, or other, this is still a pretty big event that pushes the possibilities of where the show’s going into even more interesting areas. But before the Nerd gets to the questions and predictions portion, lets get into what else happened in “Bug.”
We start the show with Walt thinking that his telling Gus about Hank’s GPS tracker did the trick, the record recorded on the piece showing that Gus went nowhere all week but home and work. Then Walt gets a phone call from Hank (in a great scene of Walt being really, really shitty at lying yet Hank being oblivious all the same) where it turns out Hank hasn’t given up, gets the right idea about Gus’ factory property and needs Walt to help him stake it out. Walt gets the message to Gus quick enough but Hank’s looking a little too competent to keep alive much longer, suspicious as his death may look.
Then there’s Jesse’s journey in the episode, nearly getting picked off by a Cartel sniper (big save by Mike, who gets a limp for his trouble) one minute then having a sit-down with Gus the next. No shit gave me chills when Jesse told off Gus, showing his allegiance to Walt by saying that to kill Walt they’ll have to kill him – fucking fantastic moment. But turns out that’s not the score at all (as far as we know), that Gus wants Jesse to help settle the Cartel beef by giving them the recipe and teaching it down it Mexico while Gus hangs on to Walt for the time being. But, if like Walt assumes, Gus is bullshitting Jesse with his reason for asking if Jesse can make the blue meth by his lonesome, then it would indeed seem Jesse’s just cut off Walt at the knees, taking away what little leverage he’s got left.
Skyler’s subplot this week got pretty interesting with the return of Ted, her old boss who she helped cook the books for last season (and who she also, you know, boned down with). Ted’s got a summons that, if he goes down, will leave him doing time and bring on a larger investigation that will no doubt eventually draw scrutinous eyes toward Skyler’s car wash front. She saves the day by showing up at the appointment in “I’m dumb but hot and fucking my boss” gear, making it seem like the book discrepancies were egregious mistakes, not criminal acts.
It was a goofy scene that mildly annoyed me (and I’m sure enraged others) but I was also kind of charmed by it too. My annoyance subsided some once it became clear that the problem did not yet go away, that Ted doesn’t have the money to be able to pay what he owes the IRS and that Skyler might have to take a chunk from the shrink-wrapped stash under the house to keep shit on the level. Now Skyler’s *really* getting in over her head with the secrets and criminality, making the same kind of desperate choices Walt had to back a few seasons ago.
Think that about covers what I wanted to talk about. What do you guys think? Is Gus being on the level about the Cartel arrangement or do you think it’s just a ploy to get rid of Walt and Hank? Is there another solution to the Hank situation other than killing him? How soon – if at all – will we get some sweet “Jesse in Mexico” shit going down? And most importantly, how awesome was Walt’s “cool teacher sitting the backwards way on a chair” moment where he joined Jesse for a very awkward-looking smoke?