Breaking Bad
Box Cutter

Episode Report Card
Joe R: A- | 7 USERS: A-
YOU GRADE IT
Taking One for the Team

Victor barely suppresses a smile as he acknowledges the boss -- kind of a "Look at me! Look what I learned to do!" grin. What follows is a maddeningly -- almost hilariously -- meticulous scene where Gus silently enters the lab, his no-doubt expensive shoes on the pristine lab floor echoing with great menace. He stares down Walter for a moment, then silently crosses the lab, Victor's scowl-smile pretty much telling the tale of how fantastically Gus is going to murder Walt and Jesse. Gus arrives at the rack of hazmat suits and begins changing clothes. Walt, cornered, does that thing he does: He starts talking, urgently, frantically, about Gale. About how he didn't deserve to die, but when faced with the same choice: Gale or Walt? Gale or Jesse? Walt says he'd make the same choice again. And since it was Gus who set those options in front of Walt in the first place, well... whose fault is this, really? "Gale's death is on YOU," Walt says, pointing for emphasis. Gus doesn't see that part, though, because he's still meticulously removing his suit clothes and hanging them neatly on hangers. Look, just because he's preparing for wetwork doesn't mean he has to be messy about it. Walt continues to rant about how Gus backed him into a corner, forced him to defend his own life. Jesse, still staring at the floor, closes his eyes for a moment, hit with another memory of what defending his and Walt's lives meant for him tonight.

Gus dons the bright-orange hip waders, and Walt moves on to Phase 2 of his argument: if Gus kills them right now, he has NO ONE to make product for him. He turns to Victor all, "Yeah, I said it!" Victor calmly says he's been watching Walt for weeks and knows every step to his cook. This offends Walt on a level deeper than simply arguing for his life, of course. He nearly stands up to get in Victor's face before Mike (a hilarious "WHAT do you think you're doing?" expression on his face) sits him back down. Walt begins firing off a hurricane of chemical questions, contingency plans, worst-case scenarios, all sorts of arenas where Victor's well-observed copycat routine would ultimately fail him. Victor is following a recipe, says Walt. Gus needs an actual chemist if he wants to keep the product at its current level of quality. By this point, Gus is finishing the snaps on his poncho. It's almost time. He crosses back to the four men, pulls open a drawer -- Walt and Victor still hollering at each other about recipe vs. expertise -- and produces Chekhov's Box Cutter. Obviously. Victor scowl-smirks -- something I really wish we'd seen more of last season, because it's terribly effective -- and Walt starts to beg. Jesse, in a detail I just fucking LOVE, has finally taken his eyes off the floor and is now fixated on the box-cutter blade as Gus snakes around both him and Walter. "You kill me, you have nothing!" Walt begs. "You kill Jesse, you don't have me." And I know under the circumstances, Walt hasn't earned this in the slightest, but my heart was kinda warmed by that last statement.

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Breaking Bad

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