Breaking Bad – “Dead Freight” – review

Goddamnit, broke badasses, was tonight’s episode of Breaking Bad terrific or what?  It had plenty of particularly dark turns and a season-one-or-two-style caper in it that was on par with the best of their capers, followed by a truly fucked up ending.  All it needed was a sprinkling of Saul or Badger and it’d be about as perfect an episode as we could ever hope for.

So you’ve got the cold open with the kid on a dirt bike putting a tarantula in a jar (dude, every kid knows that, to paraphrase the old Mitch Hedberg joke, you gotta put a stick and a leaf  in there to recreate what he’s used to) while a train goes by in distance.  Then we we see Hank’s new office and watch Walt pay him a visit under the pretense that he wants to visit the kids and discuss with Hank Skyler thinking he’s a bad father.  When he’s made Skyler out to be the bad guy enough and has squirted out a few tears to make Hank uncomfortable, he quickly bugs Hank’s office and fucks with his computer.  (Think there’ll be a scene of Hank dropping the picture and recalling Walt fucking with it?)

We find out that Lydia is still alive against Mike’s wishes and that this is all a way to get the truth out of her.  In a very chilling scene they handcuff her to a table and force her to report her discovery of the tracking device to Hank, then wait on what he does next.  Turns out that no, Hank doesn’t have any idea what a tracking device is doing on the methylamine and by pointing this out to Hank they’ve blown Madrigal as a source.  Right when Mike and Walt have agreed that Lydia has to die, she’s saved by Hank making a call to the DEA in Houston who have apparently struck out on their own and really shit the bed in the process.

Mike still wants to kill Lydia because she’s all kinds of trouble, Walt and Jesse learning about her putting a hit out on Mike and in turn learning why the gravy train cannot stop for Mike, namely that Mike refuses to kill all the Cayman Island account people and therefore needs to continue to pay them.  Lydia says that if they keep her alive she’ll tell them how to get “an ocean” of methylamine.  Turns out a train carrying a whole tanker of the shit hits a dead zone for a couple miles right in the New Mexico countryside.  Jesse, who came up with the main idea of the last caper with the magnets in episode one of this season, comes up with the plan this time too.

Before heist goes down we see some scenes of Hank and Marie keeping an eye on the baby and a very surly Walter Junior (back to annoyingly wishing to be called “Flynn” *shudder*) and also get an idea of how this arrangement is working out.  Junior is very confused and angry about the lack of answers he’s getting as to why he can’t come home and Skyler is still set on keeping the kids out of her house.  She says she’ll be the best mob wife Walt ever knew as long as the kids are away from them until, you know, Walt dies.  How they can keep this charade up remains a mystery to me, but Walt’s working up some good lies to keep Hank from thinking too hard about it.

So the heist involves stalling the train in the dead zone with a big truck on the tracks (driven by good ol’ Bill Burr’s character, whose new comedy special premieres on netflix watch instantly this Thursday) and then siphoning off a bunch of methylamine into underground tanks and then replacing it with water, leaving no one the wiser and the Chinese taking the blame.  It gets harry when a good Samaritan offers to push Burr’s truck off the tracks, giving them less time than they anticipated, but they pull it off regardless, getting every last drop of methylamine that they wanted.  Todd and Jesse do a great job at the heavy lifting and celebrate loudly after they pull it off…only to then notice they have a visitor.  The kid from the cold open.

Before Jesse can stop him Todd blasts a hole in the kid – cut to black.  We shoulda known Todd wouldn’t fuck around as he’s played by Jesse Plemons, the actor who played Landry on Friday Night Lights, who bewilderingly was given a storyline wherein he was murdering motherfuckers in the small Texas town.  Todd probably made the right call, but this dude is even colder than Mike when it comes to icing folks.  It’s a great moment, especially coming off the high of a successful caper where no one was hurt only to have the episode end with – sin of sins – a dead kid.

Not sure if this development will fuck with the crew’s plans but it certainly will eat at their souls.  If I had to guess I’d say that Jesse is probably headed for another downward spiral and Todd will either be given a promotion or a beatdown from Mike.  Aside from that there aren’t a lot of mysteries out there this season so far, events are fairly contained and explained as we go along.  Do you think Walt’s gonna be calm about this or are we gonna see some humanity out of him at long last?  Is Jesse gonna try and quit the gang?  Does his cold-blooded-ness make Todd an asset or a liability?  Are they gonna “disappear” the kid and then we’ll see him on milk cartons in future episodes?

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Jack Getze

Spinetingler's Fiction Editor is a former newspaper reporter and author of five crime novels from Down and Out Books. His short fiction has been published on the web at BEAT TO A PULP, A TWIST OF NOIR and THE BIG ADIOS.

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About Jack Getze

Spinetingler's Fiction Editor is a former newspaper reporter and author of five crime novels from Down and Out Books. His short fiction has been published on the web at BEAT TO A PULP, A TWIST OF NOIR and THE BIG ADIOS.

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