Breaking Bad
Fifty-One

Episode Report Card
Joe R: A- | 9 USERS: A
YOU GRADE IT
The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

After a brilliant cut to a close-up of Skyler wrapping dental floss around her index finger -- from this close, it almost looks like a self-harming gesture -- she and Walt share the bathroom as they prepare for bed. Walt yammers on, justifying his auto purchases for the Disapproving Skyler he knows is lurking underneath all that silence. None of this is actual justification -- as everything in their marriage has been this season, this is Walter going through the motions of domesticity almost as a way to demonstrate to Skyler how things are going to be from now on. He explains, she accepts. He then drops $20,000 in cash on the sink counter as proof that they can afford such expenditures and she breaks her silence to confirm that Walt's back at the drug trade. He doesn't miss a chance to stick it to her, saying that he needed to make up that $600,000 they gave away to Beneke, for starters.

In the bedroom, Walt reads, Skyler moisturizes, and then she gingerly broaches the topic of perhaps sending Junior to boarding school in Arizona. He laughs her off and wonders why she's asking (he knows), and she downplays it as just thinking he might be better off outside this "environment" (she knows he knows). Walt seizes on "environment" and demands to know what's wrong with the environment at home (he knows she knows he knows), and she immediately backs down (she knows she's powerless). She lies down and Walt once again uses marital affection to intimidate her again, caressing her arm and kissing her shoulder and softly requesting/demanding that she plan a nice celebration for his birthday. "I don't know what you have planned," he asks (we know from last week that it was nothing), but maybe a party? And chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Oh no. You're not going to ruin chocolate cake with chocolate icing for me, you monster.

The next morning, Skyler serves bacon and eggs for breakfast and Junior starts bitching when she plunks Walt's plate in front of him without doing their family's traditional "spell the bacon like the numbers of his age" thing. And, look, I know his heart's in the right place and that he's ignorant of the gravity of what's happening between his parents, but Junior is working my very last nerve this week with all the ways he's co-signing and reinforcing his father's awfulness. That said, I am somewhat encouraged that Skyler has gravitated from looking blank and checked-out all the time to looking silently perturbed at Walt as he faux-demurs that, well, it IS tradition. Goddamn Junior's all up in Skyler's business for leaving the 1 in 51 so puny. So she swaps out the puny piece for one of Junior's whole strips. Hey now! Showing some fire again!

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Breaking Bad

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