Breaking Bad – “Bug” – review

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?

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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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3 comments for “Breaking Bad – “Bug” – review

  1. September 12, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Both Sktlar and Walter are cooks. She’s cooking the books and he’s cooking the meth.

  2. Patti Abbott
    September 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Yeah, the Skyler scene really didn’t work for me–seemed like it had been written by another team entirely. But the rest was aces. Damn, what a series. Four years into it and no letup in tension or talent.

  3. Brian Lindenmuth
    September 14, 2011 at 8:49 am

    From Nathan:

    The cold and quick opening definitely recalls The Fly’s opening -almost exactly -and here we are with Jesse and Walt in splitsville. I can’t say that I was underwhelmed by the ending, though, because initially I thought the blood was from his nose or throat or urine because of cancer. I suspect his cancer is back, based on the way he’s been behaving since his check-up (and why do they even show it or remind us of it?). But back to the point, I thought it was leading up to that -a reveal of him getting sick again -so once it was actual violence leading to what might be it for those two, yeah that was dramatic and worked for me because I didn’t see it coming. That was an actual Fight which was really well done. I liked that scene alot.

    Another cool thing about openings -the opening for episode 9 in Season 3 was a Los Pollos commerical. Then it flashes to Jesse and Walt making the blue meth. But before they show that, during the commerical part, it says “Los Pollos Hermanos, Inc. is a registered trademark of Madrigal Electromotive” at the bottom of the screen.

    This year in season 4 when Hank started looking at Gus and goes to see his boss and Gomez, he brings up how he’s been checking out the parts that Gale ordered through “Madrigal Electromotive.” -Just something cool that proves that part of the puzzle was thought out in advance and not made up as they went.

    Anyway, I think Gus, more or less, is on the level about the Cartel arrangement -he’s too tied up with this Cartel mess to be overly concerned with Walter. Hank’s another story, and a real problem, but for now, Jesse is the only leverage that Walt had, and Gus has Jesse where he wants him -he doesn’t need to kill Walt, doesn’t need to plan it either. It may be in the back of his head for way down the road somewhere, but Jesse gave it to him straight and Gus heard him loud and clear. He loses Walt, he loses his cooks. But he’s not about to mess with his own business -I do think he’s focused on other things like the Cartel and Hank.

    This whole season was hyped as a chess match between Walt and Gus, and what’s become clear to me after the last few episodes is how Jesse is that chess board. Gus saw the value in Jesse once Jesse proved that he would kill for Walt, and the irony of this whole season is that while Walt has been extremely stressed out about Gus killing him the whole, Gus hasn’t been trying to or even plotting it. Think about it: Gus didn’t cook up a plan to win Jesse over until Mike went to Gus about how things were getting out of control at Jesse’s house. I think Jesse’s been right from day one, or since episode one during that last scene in the diner when he said that Walt’s now too valuable and Gus has no plans to terminate him. He called it. He’s just going make Walt “wish he were dead.” By cutting him off from contact, from out of the loop, having him monitored every step of the way, watched and followed, treated as less than every other employee -all that.

    I think with Gus, he’s occupied with the Cartel. He sees Jesse IS valuable, more and more just meaning I think he’s now planning to Really bring Jesse into the inner circle vs. as only a means to keep him busy and against Walt like before.

    The one thing that thows me, though -is when Mike asked Jesse during cleanup, if he would have a problem “if something happened to the man.” Does that mean Walt or Hank? I’m assuming Hank, but… Why would Mike even be asking that unless Gus alluded to something -Mike doesn’t ask shit. He does what he’s told. That’s his thing -do the job and do it professionally without questions or hassle. So his whole question threw me and I’m not sure who he meant or what that implies for what’s ahead.

    By the way, Brian’s comment “She’s cooking the books and Walt’s cooking the meth.” -Right On! ahaha -That’s the Best Comment Yet. They’re not crooks -they’re Cooks. ahahaha

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