Previously on Breaking Bad, Jesse and Jane made kind of an adorable couple, until they ruined each other with their drug addictions. Jane's dad tried to save her, but he got frustrated with her backsliding and drowned his sorrows at a bar, where he met Walt. By freaky TV coincidence, that was the same night Walt went to bring Jesse his half of the money, and he saw Jane choking on her own vomit and let her die. Also, Jesse's started skimming off the top of his and Walt's meth batches.
This week's cold open, while usually an intricate short film of (mostly) grim despair is instead a very brief series of microscopic close-ups of a housefly. Seriously, up close, those things are the grossest. As Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis could tell you. Also, there's a shot where it looks like the fly has giant buck teeth. That'll haunt me. Anyway, none of this makes sense, but it will in a few minutes.
Walt hasn't been getting much sleep lately, as the shot of him staring at the smoke detector on the ceiling at 2AM could tell you. So when the alarm rings at 6, it's a grim situation. Here's where I shout out the director of this episode, Rian Johnson, who has directed two of my favorite movies of the last ten years, Brick and The Brothers Bloom. There's a lot of brilliant directorly stuff in this episode, but with this part right here, Johnson really gets across that feeling where you're up for work and inhumanly tired. Walt's staring at the floor, willing himself to move, barely alive much less awake. I know that feeling. I hate that feeling.
Jesse arrives at El Pollo Laundro to find Walt vegged out in his car. (Another awesome directorly moment, as Jesse's on the far side of his car, then passes out of the frame and about a second and a half later is knocking on Walt's window. Time jumps like that when you're barely fighting off sleep.) Down in America's Meth Kitchen, Walt's cleaning equipment, prepping for the next day's cook, while Jesse blabbers on about some Nat Geo thing he saw about dominant hyenas and the subordinates who have to lick their balls. Then he complains that they don't have any subordinates to make do the cleaning for them. Walt does his best not to engage him on any level. I love Jesse, but... yeah, for the best.
Later, Walt's checking the supply numbers against the output and muses aloud that they don't add up. Jesse tries to get him to blow it off, and when he can't he gently prods as to how far they're off. "It's not negligible," says Walt, which is probably the opposite of what Jesse was hoping. Around a quarter pound for this last batch. Jesse starts rattling off possible explanations. Spillage? Evaporation? Condensation? Each one gets dismissed by Walt. Then Jesse mentions the "vestiges," i.e. the gunk they scrape out of the tanks afterwards. At this, Walt grabs his clipboard and starts obsessing checking figures. He ignores Jesse -- who's all "Yup! That's it! That's gotta be it!" and the takes off for the night. Before he does, he asks Walt if he's feeling all right. Walt: "Yeah, why?" Jesse doesn't say, "Because you're behaving like Rain Man and A Beautiful Mind put together." He takes off. Walt's gonna stick around for a bit.