'Breaking Bad': Jesse bugs out
September 12th, 2011
01:03 PM ET

'Breaking Bad': Jesse bugs out

After focusing so much on pulling the threads of the figurative (chemistry teacher) sweater to reveal what was underneath, the past few weeks on "Breaking Bad" have been violent.

That’s not to say last night was light on the storytelling. For one, we finally found out the cartel’s question: Will you give us your meth recipe? Before deciding to give them the math behind the meth, though, Gus made a grand spectacle in the middle of a firefight to prove he was no folding coward.

With the reckless abandon of season 1-era Walter White, Gus walked straight into the cartel’s sniper fire. In the face of such badassery, the gunman flashed a respectful smirk and disengaged, natch. Though Gus was unscathed physically, his pride surely took a hit when he decided it was time to share that secret Pollos Hermanos recipe.

Gus may have been calm throughout the shootout, but Jesse still isn’t used to this whole “violence” thing. His afternoon began with a colleague’s head getting blown off and ended with the all-too-familiar barrel o’ goo, so he was understandably spooked.

Subsequently, he requested face time with the boss, and over a meticulously prepared dinner (which Jesse decided NOT to taint with ricin), Gus explained the situation to Jesse, who then explained it to Walt (and the viewers) the next day. The gist: In order to avoid full-scale war, Jesse and the crew will be going to Mexico to teach the cartel the ways of the blue meth, while Walt holds down the fort and keeps cooking stateside.

Speaking of Walt, he thinks he’s ahead of the curve by playing chess. Only problem is, everyone else is using the other side of the board to play backgammon. Case in point: he’s fixated on the idea that Gus is out to kill him, not realizing Gus is taking the “dance with the girl you brought” approach, since a sniveling cook is the least of his worries now.

Walt’s biggest error in this stretch of the series has been using Jesse like a pawn, forgetting that he’s a human and not actually a tiny, carved piece of wood with a little nubbin on top that can only move one square at a time.

The deeper Walt sinks into his Vast Chicken Wing Conspiracy, the further he pushes away his only supporter in Jesse. And that brings us to last night’s gut-wrenching face-off between the two. Jesse came to Walt seeking guidance, legitimately terrified at the prospect of going to Mexico. Yet Walt ignored his pleas and belittled him in the process (what else is new?).

Rather than increase Jesse’s chances of survival in Mexico (and thus the survival of the entire business), Walt fed his own machinations. Rather than pay attention to the oodles of inside information Jesse was spouting, Walt was convinced he saw the “big picture,” even if said picture is an ink blot of his own making.

As a result, Walt revealed he had bugged Jesse’s car, resulting in Jesse giving Walt a UFC-style beatdown. In a matter of hours, Jesse went from telling Gus “You kill Mr. White, you’re gonna have to kill me” to telling Walt (in much harsher phrasing) “Get out and never come back.” So now, like Alan in “The Hangover,” Walt is a one-man wolf pack. I miss the good old days when Walt was running over people for Jesse and Jesse was shooting people in the face for Walt. The days when they would frolic in the desert together and turn bodies into acid goo (cue: “Memory”).

While the dynamic duo fell apart, Skyler got a visit from Ted Beneke, the man with whom she cheated on corporate taxes (and her husband), because he was being audited. Realizing this minor bit of book-cooking could bring an end to her husband’s lucrative meth-cooking, Al Capone style, Skyler swooped in and pulled the ol’ “slutty, vacuous accountant” bit (think Kitty from “Arrested Development”). Is it me, or was that sequence a little too…sitcom-y?

Anyway, Skyler’s ruse worked, but Ted insisted he still wouldn’t be able to pay the back taxes. I got the sense Ted is going to commit suicide before Skyler has a chance to bail him out with meth money. I hope I’m wrong, because I cannot WAIT to see how Walt reacts when he inevitably finds out his hard-earned cash is going to the man who slept with his wife.

And I can’t wait to see next week’s Mexico trip. The bar has been set pretty high for destination episodes, like “The Brady Bunch” going to Hawaii or “Saved by the Bell” at Malibu Sands. Can “Breaking Bad” eclipse those gems?

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Filed under: Breaking Bad • television • TV recaps

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. meme

    CRACKED HEADS snort snort

    September 18, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Anna Mary

    This is an amazing show. I think now Gus will finish the cartel with the help of Jesse & Walt's raisins. Hank's investigation will go deeper into Gus's business with some uncomfortable questions for Walt. Also one important thing to notice is that Walt is indirectly killing all the dealers, he's helping the police ;).

    September 14, 2011 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. iamtuco

    This is a great show. With Hank now interested in Gus distribution center, I expect Gus to respond by suddenly hosting a "take a tour of Pollos Hermanos" in which he extends an invitation to members of the police force,politicians and their families to see how he produces his fantastic food. Hank will attend along with Walt and will find nothing. On the cartel front, I think Gus anticipates the cartel will likely kill Jesse, just as they did the last time he visited them. When Jesse learns of his certain demise, we will see a panicked Jesse place ricin in the food which ALL of the siting cartel members will eat.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mona in Tulsa

      You are absolutely correct about the use of the Riacin...Jesse will use it, save the business and Gus's life. He eventually will walk off into the sunset with his millions and family safe and intact; (I believe the reason they can't find out anything about him is because he was part of the 1973 coup in Chile which the Black Ops of the GOV eventually got involved with...he could have protected status at that level.) Walt's cancer will return, Jesse will become the new king pin; "the teacher becomes the student and the student becomes the teacher..."

      September 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. R DANGER

    After his beat down from Jesse, Walt will never be the same. Every season of BB has had its own theme, the theme for season four, the transformation of Walt to become Heisenberg. So I say good by Walter White, thanks for the memorys, I also say hello Heisenberg and look out Ted Beneke because your next!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nypeach

    Love it that the writers are always willing to put the characters through pure hell. ONe thing for sure, Walt's life will never, ever go back to normal. I wonder what they're gonna do about Hank and his nosy little visits? THey can't just keep moving the meth lab everytime he decides to poke around. and he WILL keep poking around.

    September 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ali

    I agree JJ. I don't like the two fighting, but if you look at previous seasons, this is likely only a small arc which will be mended after Jesse sees that eventhough he doesn't always agree with Mr. White, Mr. White still has his best interest at hand over Gus Fring and his boys.

    Or the show could just be Walt VS Jessie facing off, which I think would draw more viewers, but take away from where I want the show to be, which is seeing Jesse and Walt finish this turbulent and exciting ride they started several seasons ago.

    September 12, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evel Knievel

      The finish to the ride is not going to be pretty, but that's what makes the show enthralling. "Breaking Bad" has never taken the easy way out, which means that the piper will be paid before it's all over. Not sure what that means, but Walter won't be going back to his bucolic life.

      September 12, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jj

    I don't like it when Walt and Jesse are mad at each other..... : ( but great episode!

    September 12, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mae

    My husband and I really Love the show Spartacus. The actor of Spartacus will be greatly missed.Hats off to the producers this is a great show.

    September 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |

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