We’re almost at the halfway point: it’s Breaking Bad Season 4, Episode 6, entitled “Cornered”. If we’re continuing the pattern of the last few titles, “Cornered” will end up referring to both a literal and figurative “Corner” — perhaps Walt will feel “cornered” by Gus when Gus forces him to fold the corner of his The Corner DVD while eating candy corn on his after-school talk show “Corner’s Korner.” And wouldn’t you know it? THAT’S LITERALLY WHAT HAPPENS.
Also, we meet this guy, aka Mayor MethCheese:
Generally speaking, “Cornered” was a pretty standard mid-season episode: We get detailed, drawn-out character moments on both the Walt and Jesse sides of the coin (and there’s a thrilling literal-coin scene! Two coin meanings! They should’ve called the episode “Coinered” and gone for the octuple pun!) But there aren’t any story-shattering developments, and the plot only advances very slightly from the week before.
Also Hank dies. OHCRAP! Should’ve put that after the jump…
The episode opens with a throwback “cold breath in the truck” shot from Episode 4, with another one of Gus’ drug-trafficking Pollos trucks getting held up by cartel goons. This time, however, instead of Mike guarding the truck, it’s two nameless Star Trek ensigns, so their fate is a lot more grim — instead of riddling the truck with a solar system’s supply of bullets, the cartel guys seal the compartment and recirculate the truck’s exhaust to suffocate the GusGuys, allowing them to snack on Doritos in the meantime (just when you thought Doritos couldn’t get more EXTREME).
Meanwhile in New Mexico, Walt wakes up from his figurative drunken-lampshade performance at Hank and Marie’s and is instantly confronted by Skyler, who — as we expected last week — now realizes that the “I love you” voicemail Walt left was a sign of the extreme danger he’s constantly in. She realizes that she’s turned a blind eye to the gruesome aspect of their new criminal enterprise, and asks Walt the totally out-of-line question, “Do you think cooking 8 trillion pounds of meth for a phantasmal, psychotic mass murderer who’s in competition with a merciless Mexican drug cartel might be dangerous?”
Walt pulls a Walt and gets angry:
He confidently shoots back that Gus can’t kill him because it would cause “a company big enough to be on the NASDAQ” to suddenly vanish. Once again, even though this makes logical sense, Walt’s aggressive insistence of this mindset smacks of his need to psyche himself up more than something he actually believes. If Gus really can’t kill you, Walt, then why the constant .38 fingering, huh? HUH?? You are a (breaking) BAD liar.
Skyler suddenly decides it’s time to cross the Four Corners off her bucket list and storms off, leaving Walt to explain their friction to Walter Jr. Walt fails, and after several fruitless seconds of trying to win his son over, Walt decides to veer an eeeentsy bit off Skyler’s new “never spend money” plan and buy Walter Jr. a new car:
Walt then shows up at the lab for work and is greeted by Jesse, and they have another one of their Classique Sarcastic Exchanges. Walt, for all his recent poor decisions, has completely figured out that Jesse’s “foiled robbery” was staged by Gus to make him feel heroic and widen the Walt/Jesse gap, but of course, Jesse reacts to Walt’s revelation by being insulted that Walt can’t accept that he actually did something productive, thus widening the gap further. If the gap continues to widen, who KNOWS what’s gonna fall in there? MARIE? Probably Marie.
In the middle of the lab session, Jesse is suddenly summoned by Notgus to accompany Mike on another mission, leaving Walt to clean up the lab himself. Walt takes offense to this, of course, and takes a shot back at Gus by paying immigrant ladies from the upstairs laundromat to come down and clean the lab for him, saluting the cameras all the while:
If Gus really wanted to humiliate Walt, it’d be funny if all those lab cameras were fake and Gus has actual tiny cameras hidden in the floor to film Walt constantly thinking he’s being cool towards the fake cameras. Just a thought though – he’s the methlord, I’m just a blogger for Methprankz.gov.
As expected, Notgus shows up and tells Walt that he’s shipping the ladies on a bus back to Honduras. Good move, Walt! Other than figuring out the Jesse robbery thing, Walt’s been operating at an”FBI Agents In Movie About Local Cops” rate of being right about stuff.
Sidenote: Walt does get a million points for that carwash takeover scene, though – Walt telling his ex-boss that they get the car wash “as is” when the guy tries to take his first dollar off the wall then using the dollar in a Coke machine was the most brutally funny moment of the season. Not counting this, of course.
Jesse, meanwhile, is sitting in a car with his new pal Mike keeping surveillance on a house that’s reportedly selling the bucket of meth that was taken from the Pollos truck at the beginning of the episode. Jesse gets tired of waiting for the guys to come out, and after failing to talk himself into the house, he tricks the shy methhead Tucker with this classic Jesse methmove:
THE OL’ SARASOTA SHOVEL-ME-DO! If there’s a finer short-con this side of the Mississip’ I ain’t seen it!
As Tucker shovels, Jesse sneaks into the house and encounters Tucker’s companion, this Walking Dead crossover character:
Is he one of the Walking Dead humans or one of the zombies? Guess we’ll have to tune in October 16th.
Jesse tries to buy some blue meth from the guy but instead gets a shotgun held to his head, because apparently, when it comes to logic and reasoning, methheads aren’t exactly Bertrand Russell:
Jesse manages to smash the shotgun guy in the face and subdue him, and he and Mike re-acquire the stolen meth. While Mike might’ve initially taken Jesse along with him because of Gus’ elaborate plan, he’s finally developing a genuine respect for Jesse’s can-do spirit:
Mike meets with Gus back at their diner and explains that the cartel only took one container of product so they could send a message, and suggests that Gus round up as many hands as he can for a pre-emptive strike. Gus is like, “Patience, friend, there’s still like seven episodes left this season.” On his way out, Gus throws Jesse another ego-stroking compliment:
While all this is going on, and before she even knows about the car Walt bought, Skyler has taken her baby to the Four Corners — the joint border of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado, with each state representing one of the classical elements, if the U.S. were a fantasy book series — to apparently determine where she’ll escape to start a new life. Seems like a miiiiiighty rash move for a random midseason episode, eh Sky? But you NAILED the episode title.
She flips a coin in the center of the Four Corners…
…and it lands on “Colorado” twice in a row. She pauses for a second, takes one long look at her baby…
…and finally decides to slide the coin back to New Mexico and resume her life. Kind of like a Ouija Board when you want it to say anything (she also finds out that David Cassidy does have a crush on her.)
Skyler returns home to see Walter Jr’s new car, and calmly confronts Walt about their heated discussion from earlier. Walt half-assedly apologizes and attempts to reaffirm for the billionth time, “Everything I do, everything I do, I do it for youuuuuu. Meaning, the family.”
Skyler, like us viewers at home, knows that stopped being true like two seasons ago:
She shoots back, “Everything I do is to protect this family from you protecting this family.” Then Walt’s like, “Oh yeah? Well everything I do is ALSO to protect this family from you protecting this family from me protecting this family QUITSIES DOUBLE STAMPIES NO TALKBACKS.”
Breaking Bad is obviously paying homage to the Simpsons’ “Catburglar” episode:
Lisa: But if you’re the police, who will police the police?
Homer: Ionknow. Coast Guard?
The episode concludes with one final, symbolic-ass shot:
Welcome to the Dark Side, Skyler! I’m sure you’ll agree that the red lightsabers are just way cooler looking.
“Cornered” episode thoughts? Favorite / least favorite parts? Stuff we missed (NEVVAAARRR!!!)? Predictions? Leave ‘em in the comments.
Also – I’m going on vacation so there won’t be a Breaking Bad Recap next Monday. Sorry! Feel free to Tweet at me if you’re experiencing dangerous withdrawal of screengrabs with speech bubbles Photoshopped into them so it looks like Jesse is saying “I pooped my pants!”