Breaking Bad

Episode Report Card
Joe R: A- | 3 USERS: A-
Oh Danny Girl

After the break, we get the same kind of POV shot that we got with Jesse staring down at the sheet of meth. Only this time it's Skyler staring down at a pot of water. She dumps in some pasta (into non-boiling water? Girl, that shit's gonna be mushy!) and goes about the rest of her dinner prep. Flynn sees an extra place setting and asks if Marie's coming to dinner. Skyler says no, Walt is. And despite Flynn's recent cold-shoulderings towards Walt, he seems happy to hear it. Unlike the more awkward recent family get-togethers, this one feels like old times for the Whites. Flynn jokes with Walt about boring baby Holly to sleep, or about the car he wants to get now that he's eligible for a provisional license (he wants a 'Stang!); Walt suggests something with bicycle cards in the spokes. The smile on Skyler's face as she watches the three of them getting along so well goes a long way towards making you understand why she does what she does this week.

After Flynn heads off to his room, Walt hands Skyler the check for Marie's first bill. Skyler looks at it and asks who "Ice Station Zebra Associates" are. Walt tells her it's a loan-out and not to worry about it. But Skyler clearly wants to worry about it. "I have a guy," Walt tells her. "My guy is a top guy." Skyler is somehow not convinced (I know!) and starts talking about New Mexico tax code and such. Already, you can see Skyler investing herself in this enterprise. She's bringing her finance expertise to the table. She wants to participate. But Walt doesn't even want to give her Saul's name. "This money has to be unimpeachable when it reaches Marie and Hank," Skyler stresses. Walt says it is ... or it will be. When Skyler is somehow still not convinced after that confidence-inspiring statement, Walt plays what he thinks is a trump card, asking her, "Do you really want to know?" The look on Skyler's face says she does.

So it's off to the truly horrifying waiting room outside Saul's office. Take all the places you least like to wait for service -- the emergency room, the DMV, the unemployment office -- and combine them into one. Crying babies, cholos with bleeding head wounds, hookers, coughing. I just took an antibiotic simply having to watch that scene.

The interaction between Saul and Skyler is like watching a slow-moving car wreck, or one animal devouring another in the wild. She clearly hates him regardless, while he keeps trying to win her over with flattery. Well, Saul-brand flattery ("Clearly, Walt's taste in women is the same as his taste in lawyers: only the very best...with just the right amount of dirty."). Skyler wants to get right down to business. After telling Saul she knows how money laundering works (putting the kibosh on one of his awesome jelly bean-based teaching examples), she asks about specifics. "Where are we saying this money came from?" Saul says Walt came up with this great story about gambling winnings, actually. Walt is forced to interject that it was actually Skyler's story. For the only time in this scene, it's Skyler who looks abashed, while Saul fawns over her with praise for her deceitful mind. Saul then says that the "gambling winnings" will then be used as seed money for a small business. And what is this business? Laser tag! You know, with the lasers? And the kids? And the ... you know, vests? Skyler knows what laser tag is. She just finds it somewhat laughable as a business for Walter. "Do you even know Walt?" Skyler asks, a question with more implications than even she realizes. Saul knows one Walt. The drug kingpin. The angry, petty criminal. Heisenberg. Saul knows Heisenberg. He doesn't know Walt the schoolteacher; the husband and father. Skyler is rapidly waking up to the former. Saul's still totally in the dark about the latter. Anyway, Skyler says laser tag just doesn't add up. "It adds up perfectly," Saul insists. "Walt's a scientist. Scientists love lasers." Saul Goodman, don't ever change. Skyler's not nearly convinced. "'Hey, everybody!'" Skyler begins, with mock enthusiasm, "'Walt suddenly decided to invest in laser tag!' Really? That's what we're supposed to tell our family? Our friends? The government?" Not surprisingly, Skyler's approaching this from a PR perspective. How are they going to make this look to their family and friends? How good a story can Skyler come up with so she doesn't have to always think of how big a lie it is. We saw her spin that gambling story last week. More than the security of not wanting to get caught, Skyler is looking for the security of a narrative that makes sense. Ask your nearest philandering politician. Or Survivor jury. Or recovering drug addict. The narrative is important.

At this point, Saul is pretty fed up. He's not about to take this kind of abuse from some Blondie Come Lately who hasn't been shepherding criminals for the past however many years like he has. "You," he says, pointing right at Skyler, "don't need to be involved." He stands and insincerely thanks them for stopping by, clearly expecting Walt to back him up and back Skyler off. The helpless look on Walt's face tells him that's probably not what's going to happen.

Jesse's at Andrea's house, on her couch, using that tried and true sales technique: letting his sexy lips do the talking. Um, metaphorical talking. When they come up for air, Jesse lays on the libertarian angle pretty thick, wondering why alcohol is perfectly legal while...other things...are not. Andrea is reluctant, so Jesse then wonders why they have to keep fighting urges to feel good. And also, has she heard of this blue meth the kids keep talking about? Andrea keeps stressing that she can't get caught using again; Jesse whispers that the trick is not to get caught. It really seems like he's wearing her down ... until an adorable little grade-schooler comes bounding through the front door. Sucka! Jesse's balls travel all the way up to his lungs, as Andrea tries to discreetly button up. She also tries to convince her grandma -- who was watching young Brock here -- that Jesse is a friend from her rehab group. A "sponsor," really. Grandma just mumbles her disapproval in Spanish and leaves. Latina grandmothers, will you ever stop to see how your words affect others??

So Jesse meets Brock, who's too young to get weird about this guy who was just a minute ago crawling up on his mom. Jesse, as we may recall from last year's adventure with Spooge and Skank, is really adorable with kids, and he fist-bumps Brock to prove it. Still, Andrea leads him to his room, so she and Jesse can talk around the issue of methamphetamine some more, perhaps.

Skyler and Walt are driving home; she's still amazed at what a wad Saul was, while Walt admits he's clownish, but Skyler really should not be involved in this anyway. But Skyler says she's in. "This is what happens when you decide to pay our bills with drug money." As either an attempt to scare Skyler off, or just in the interest of full disclosure, Walt tells her his involvement in the drug game is ongoing. He's got a contract-like situation with a guy. It's all very safe and professional, of course! (Safe! Professional!) But he can't simply quit. If this is a surprise to Skyler, she doesn't register it. Instead, she drives the car into a parking lot. As she and Walt stare at the establishment just outside our range of vision, she tells him this is the way to launder his money right. And then we see they're at a car wash. The car wash Walt used to work at, no less. This gives him a personal connection to the front business, and more importantly (at least for Skyler), it's a narrative that makes sense. "This is what we buy," Skyler says. She immediately corrects herself -- "You. This is what you buy." -- but I'm not sure if anybody believes she wasn't right the first time.

Back outside the church where the NA meeting just let out, Jesse smokes and waits for Bandon and Peter. They ask him if he "did the deed" with Andrea yet, and Jesse acts annoyed by the question, which is how you know he hasn't. "The deed" being selling to her, of course. He asks why Badger and Skinny are even here, since they "can't get [their] nut up to sell." Skinny looks right at him and goes, "I'm on Step 5!" Brandon flashes a pair of fingers and goes, "Deuce, yo." HAHAHA. Man, I loved that. Jesse can't even respond, and brushes past them when Andrea exits the church. It doesn't look like Jesse even attended this meeting. Just smoked and waited for his target. They put their arms around each other as they walk away. And Skinny remarks to Badger that "Dude needs to come into the fold.

At Taco Sal (Jesse must be really committed to pissing Gus off if he's even eschewing El Pollo Knockoffo), Jesse dines with Andrea and Brock, and tries to impress the kid with rudimentary "magic tricks." I will say, dripping the soda on the crumpled straw paper and making it "grow" is a pretty good one. Brock is similarly impressed. "It's science and stuff, made it do that!" beams Jesse. I like the mirroring of Saul's equally simplistic view of "science," thou

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Breaking Bad




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