After an insane Season 4 Premiere, we move on to Episode 2 of Breaking Bad Season 4 (or Episode 1 P.S.G.T-C.S. – Post Super Gross Throat-Cutting Scene). The episode opens with Walt purchasing an illegal serial-number-free firearm from an apparent philosophy professor turned gun-runner:
The dealer tells Walt that if the gun is strictly for defense, he’d be better off just buying a legal firearm, but Walt declines the advice and insists “It’s for defense. ON OPPOSITE DAY! Not on opposite day. Ignore that. Yayyy defense.”
Walt’s blatant lying clues us in on two aspects of where his mind is right now:
1) Walt’s entire existence is so wrapped up in lies, he’s practically incapable of telling the truth even in noncrucial interactions.
2) Walt has so thoroughly convinced himself that all of his actions are motivated by self-defense, he has completely pre-excused himself from the consequences of even his most violent future actions.
Fortunately, Vengeance Walt still manages to keep the mood light:
As Walt acquaints himself with the gun, however, it becomes clear that the whole “just for defense” thing that sounded like a total lie was actually a total lie. Walt practices his draw over and over again, and seemingly begins to start deriving perverse satisfaction from his new toy:
Walt brings the gun to the lab and holsters it under his lab gear, though at this point, it’s still unclear whether he plans to ambush Gus in the lab or if he’s simply preparing himself should Gus, say, pick up a geometry compass and silently circle him. The lab door opens and in walks the man himself… PSYCHENAWWWWW it’s Gus’ new assistant Russ (or he should’ve been named Russ), who is also a shorthaired black guy who walks creepily slowly and remains initially silent. Haha! Good one, Gus:
Walt asks Mike “Hey where’s Gus?” Mike’s like, “Why?” Walt’s like, “Cause I really want to, you know, have salad with him at his house like I did that one time.” Mike’s like, “Yeah that’s what I thought, you’re never going to see Gus ever again.”
With his paranoia reaching a breaking (BAD – titular line!) point, Walt takes a wildly out-of-character turn for the illogical-er and drives to Gus’ home equipped with his new fungun and classic Stevie Ray Vaughan hat. Given that Gus has been one murder-step ahead of everyone throughout this entire series, this seems like an exceptionally poor idea, but the conflict dissolves bloodlessly with one crazily-timed, ultra-cryptic phone call:
It’s actually Gus simply saying “Go home, Walt” and hanging up. And Walt obliges. Is the Gus actor being paid by the line this season? (CORRECTION: Mike made the phone call, actually – thanks for the heads up, @dylanbiles. Though that does ruin my excellent “paid by the line” joke. DAMMIT.)
Elsewhere in New Methxico, Jesse is home alone and still shaken by the recent brutal murders he’s done/watched, and when his friends stop by for a visit, he immediately launches into a massive plan to take his mind off everything:
Jesse pulls out some drugs, gets his friends to invite a bunch of people over, and attempts to fill the distant void in his shattered head by turning his apartment into a Smirnoff Ice commercial. If anything, though, Jesse’s inability to lose himself in the party just re-proves how many problems he’s got on his party-platter at the moment:
Jesse’s “No Guilt” themed party is super-interrupted by Andrea — basically a walking personification of his guilt — who shows up to ask Jesse about the giant envelope of cash he anonymously dropped off with her after he and Walt killed the gang members who killed her little brother (so much killing! What is this, The Killing? Thank God it is not.)
Jesse’s like, “oops kinda”:
Realizing he’s still incapable of re-inserting himself into the problem-tastic real world, Jesse insists on keeping the party going nonstop, though eventually, even his close friends are burnt out and have to leave. By the end of the episode, Jesse isn’t left with a whole lot of options:
Perhaps Jesse’s poor Roomba confronted with the torn-up apartment is a metaphor for how far in over his head and unable to fix things Jesse is? A discussion for future Roomba episodes.
Let’s check in on Hank and Marie:
Yikes! I know we all can’t stand Marie either, but Hank has taken an exceptionally bitter turn, treating his wife and caretaker with aggressive disrespect. He’s also super into minerals now, which may be foreshadowing the ultimate Chemistry vs. Geology showdown between him and Walt in the series finale. This has to happen now, right? Or is Vince Gilligan gonna be like the Lost guys and deliberately avoid doing stuff that bloggers predicted? FINE, Breaking Bad, I GUESS you don’t have to have that sciencefight. But you should.
Skyler, following up on her and Walt’s money laundering scheme from last season, is scouting the car wash Walt used to work at. The show throws in a couple conspicuous camera shots of their baby, possibly teasing an animated spin-off show?
Skyler assembles some cash and approaches the owner to make an offer to buy the car wash, but unfortunately, the owner watched this week’s “Previously On Breaking Bad” segment and was like, “Oh yeah, I totally forgot Walt quit and flipped me off and grabbed his crotch!” and decides he has no interest in selling to Walt’s namesake.
When Skyler offers him $876,000, the owner delights himself with a topical Dr. Evil impression:
In the episode’s climax, Walter tails Mike to a bar to have the conversation we’ve all been sorta hoping they’d have after they both watched Gus’ insanity in the premiere episode. Walter explains to Mike that killing Gale was purely out of self defense, and adds that he completely understands that Mike was simply following orders when he planned to kill Walt. He tells Mike they’re both in the same boat and spells out, “Just get me in a room with Gus and I’ll do the rest.” Or, in other words, “I’m sane, you’re sane, Gus is clearly not sane – there’s only one course of action we can take here.”
Mike responds the only way Mike knows how to respond:
Mike roughs Walt up and leaves, saying “thanks for the drink.” BUT – While Mike doesn’t outright agree with Walt by, like, yelling “let’s DOOOO EEEEET!” and high-fiving him and “Fat Lip” by Sum 41 starts playing, we know that Walt is on to something here. Mike responded violently because of the position Walt put him in — regardless of what Walt and Mike said to one another, if Gus were to find out that Mike and Walt had secretly met, he’d have to kill both of them.
That being said, when Walt approaches Mike in the bar, Mike makes a reference to the exact location of Walt’s hidden gun, which Mike says he noticed back at the lab. So Mike knew that Walt was armed, and knew that Walt almost certainly planned to kill Gus, and yet, Mike continues to let Walt live and, quite possibly, hasn’t told Gus about the gun? We remember that Mike was just as shocked by the Victor throat-slitting as Walt and Jesse were, plus Walt’s proposition does make logical sense, but Mike understandably isn’t rushing to change loyalties against an employer who literally just bled a subordinate to death with his bare hands. I don’t think Mike’s violent initial reaction to Walt’s proposition is truly representative of how Mike feels about the situation, and in time, I think he and Walt are gonna work something out to overthrow Gus. Hopefully involving some cool chemistry-murder, cause they haven’t done that in a while.
Also, when I checked the Breaking Bad website this morning, I really thought this said “Mike Gives Walt A MASSAGE”, which would’ve been way different (though equally entertaining):
Treachery! Guilt! Money Laundering! Murder! Minerals! This show’s got it all. Can’t wait to see where these plotlines go as Season 4 unfolds, especially the minerals one. WHICH MINERALS IS HANK GONNA ORDER??? Man this show’s addictive.
Season 4 Episode 2 reactions? Comments? Stuff we missed? Predictions for the rest of Season 4? Leave ‘em in the comments.
(pics via AMCtv.com)