'Breaking Bad': Every life comes with a death sentence
September 5th, 2011
11:38 AM ET

'Breaking Bad': Every life comes with a death sentence

Like a family sized bucket from Los Pollos Hermanos, there was lots to digest in the latest episode of “Breaking Bad.”

Flashbacks, the reappearance of cancer talk, the return of Jesse’s girlfriend and her adorable son, and some incredibly tense scenes were just some of the meaty bits served up.

After the open, we were presented with the now uncommon sight of Walter White wearing a hospital gown.

A newly diagnosed cancer patient tried to allay some of his worries by talking it out with Walt, seasoned cancer patient, but Walt could hardly hold back his irritation. In a salty moment, he told the guy (in what must have sounded incredibly poignant and manly to Walt himself) that the key to living with cancer was to never relinquish control.

“Who’s in charge? Me,” Walt declared. Yeah, not so much.

Earlier this season, Walter White was running in place, but he has devolved to the point where he’s now flailing and stumbling and wheezing in place. Sure, he’s expended lots of energy boisterously complaining and scheming and throwing others under the bus, so it always SEEMS like he’s the busy puppet master. But he’s pulling strings with nothing on the other end.

If he really were in charge, would Jesse keep lying to him with no repercussions? (Speaking of Jesse: How amazing/awful was his shirt, which was apparently vomited on by a unicorn? Even The Situation would probably think twice before touching that bit of sartorial afterbirth.)

If Walt were in charge, would he so meekly have to take orders from Hank and Gus? Would he have to grovel into a security camera? And of course there was his bumbling display in the car with Hank. A man in control holds it together under that kind of pressure.

It’s exactly the kind of pressure a drug kingpin might face while being interrogated by the DEA. Gus has always been the smooth operator, the anti-Walt, and during last night’s interrogation he swatted away questions like Bill Russell to the point where Hank even admitted (momentary) defeat.

But we learned Gus wasn’t always so unflappable. In a lengthy flashback, we saw a younger, nervous Gus fidgeting before his big meeting with the Mexican cartel’s don (Manny from “Scarface,” where have you been all these years!).

In addition to revealing how much of a crusty bastard Hector is, the scene showed us the bad blood between Gus and the cartel began after they capped Gus’ longtime partner. But we still didn’t find out who Gustavo Fring was back in Chile and why the DEA mustn’t find out.

In that pressure cooker of a scene, the grand question was asked: If the other guy’s the cook, and the product sells itself, who needs the businessman? Especially when said businessman strays from his impeccable business sense, as Gus is doing now. He knows the perfect storm is approaching (think Hurricane Irene, but the opposite), but he still took the time to gloat in the face of his nemesis Hector.

Rather than throw the cartel a bone, Gus will risk life and loot in the name of vengeance. Apparently he has more in common with Heisenberg than just that menacing face he flashed in the elevator.

And so it appears Gus is content to play the violin as his Titanic sinks, while Walt is the jerk pushing women and children out of the way to save his own hide.

Early in last night’s episode Walt said, “Every life comes with a death sentence.” Will it be the cartel, Hank or Jesse’s lucky cigarette that puts a period at the end of Gus' life? And as Bogdan asked a few weeks ago, does Walt have what it takes to step in as boss?

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Filed under: Breaking Bad • TV recaps

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. cancer bracelet

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    July 19, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
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    July 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mona from Tulsa

    My guess: Jesse will use the Riacin on the head of the Mexican cartel saving everyone in the process; Gus will ultimately be found out as part of the 1973 Chilean cop detat and will "disappear" once again with his millions and family intact, The DEA is stonewalled by a"black ops" branch of the Fed Gov, and the case will be closed, permanently. Walt's cancer returns and his family remains secure financially. Jesse becomes the new leader. "The student will become the teacher and the teacher the student."

    September 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kisa Kisa

    This show IS THE BEST SHOW ON TELEVISION RIGHT NOW, HANDS DOWN, PERIOD...

    Just my opinion!

    September 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Richard

    Great review. Yes, love this show. Even though Walt has made some horrible choices, its still sad to see him realizing hes kind of being abandoned by Jesse. It's actually annoying, Jesse, don't have any loyalties to Mike. It's like, you and Walt have your ups and downs, but in the end, he proves that he cares about you, and he has your back. What, is Mike just cooler? Does he somehow make you feel more important, and part of the group? I mean, I get it Walt made him kill somebody, and thats been haunting him. But its not as though Mike wont make you kill somebody down the line probably? So im not really sure on his thinking here.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. John

    The show as I see it, is about a good man catching a bad break and falling from "grace" so to speak and then tranforming himself.
    You are watching Walt's journey as he turns into something else, and I think it is just a matter of time before the audience will get to see him as Heisenberg.

    September 6, 2011 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. Chris

    There are certain scenes in tv and movies that grab you...glad you wrote an article about this scene, it was one of those scenes. As far as Jesse's shirt, every detail in the show has a purpose. The Aztec is still missing a hubcap isn't it? Jesse's more gaudy than usual shirt shows he's cleaning up, feeling better about himself.

    September 6, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  8. bbmt

    Walt is so not in control. If he was, he wouldn't be pleading and running around trying to see gus- bursting into ph like a crazy man- running straight for the camera to explain to gus what is going on. That is not a man in control. He's not quite a pawn, more of an annoying- he's a good employee but has too much baggage kind of guy. Jesse is more in control now. Don't get me wrong- I love the character of walt- but that speech he gave to skylar about being the danger- the danger only if he can get jesse to do what he wants. And jesse- that guy's life is in shambles and he doesn't care- the monologue he had with walt after hank beat him up is so true.

    September 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kate

    I love this show. The cast of "Breaking Bad" has earned many nominations. Let them wear what they want- you see, in very sublime ways, Jesse's shirt was an insight to his building arrogance. Jesse will be more annoying and in your face for the next few episodes, then, who knows?!?!?

    September 5, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. WalterWhite-

    I Wholeheartedly Dissagree with Your Synopsis, In Regards to Walt. Keep In Mind, This Man Went from Healthy Highschool Chemistry Teacher to Getting Diagnosed With Cancer and Manufatuturing Crystal for a Cartel...
    Walt Has Been Through Alot, And Gone Through Many Different Changes Throughout the seasons, and Yes At The Momemnt Hes Somwhat at The Mercy Of Hank, Mike, Gus and Even Jesse Whos Become in SomeSense a Mach Memeber of Gus's Crew.. But Walt as Always Come Out On Top, Unfortunatly His Partner Seems Blinded By "The Light" That Is Gus And His Entire Scene.. Walt Is Not, Nor Has He In Any Episode, Pushed "Women or Children" In The Path of Danger, In Fact Quite the Contrary, hes Kept he family Safe Considering His Occupation... Keep In Mind The People Walt Is "Plotting Against" Are The Ones Who are Planning To Kill him.. "Theres No Honor To Be Expected, From Drug Distributors, and I Think Walt Realizes That And Hes Well Veresed (Ie. Tuko) On How To play the Dope game
    "Theres No Reason Why Walt Should Be Ridiculed... If AnyThing "GUS" should be mocked Due To him "Slipping" From Power As The Cartels Put The Squeeze on Him!!!
    All in all Season 4 Has Been AWESOME! And It Stays true to What The Franchise Started On

    September 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. itsamemario

    manny from scarface= steven bauer. act like you know, cnn.

    September 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeepers

    Jesse's shirt was pretty distracting. It looked like something a chick from Jersey Shores would wear.

    September 5, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Affan

      hahah yes i totally agree with you. when i saw it was like, "woah someone went a little crazy with the bedazzler"

      September 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |

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