Walt notices that security cameras have been installed in the lab, and, already in a terrible mood from the shiner Mike gave him, flips them -- and whoever's watching their feed -- the bird. I can only imagine, then, what he'd do if he knew New Victor was staking him out when he's out of the lab. Skyler comes to bother Walt about the car wash, but gets freaked out when she sees his eye and tries to get him to go to the police, an idea he hates more than the punch that caused her to suggest it. He tells her a typically lie-ridden version of what happened, but the kernel of truth inside is that he views the ass-kicking he took as a positive thing, as he wisely seems to have backed off the idea of trying to kill Gus (for now).
Hank is watching porn when Marie arrives home, and, possibly because she interrupted him getting his rocks (or is that minerals?) off, he responds to all the nice shopping she did for him with more nasty attitude. Understandably looking for some way to blow off steam, Marie goes to an open house and drinks white wine while spinning yarns about being divorced and having a son she's going to home-school and NASA and hand modeling and all sorts of amusing stuff. However, her old habit soon rears its ugly head as she steals a commemorative spoon (don't ask) right off the wall. The broker on watch tracks her down and, after a scuffle outside another house, rips her bag open and exposes more evidence of her thievery; when she calls Hank, he's hella pissed at first, but calms down enough to help the situation, regardless, when faced with the prospect of returning home, Marie COMPLETELY breaks down. Sniff.
Jesse, still apparently having issues with being alone, adorably invites Walt to go ride go-carts with him, but even though Walt turns him down, the bond between them is in one of its waxing phases. And Walt wasn't blowing Jesse off -- it's just that he has a meeting with Saul, who tries to pitch him and Skyler on a nail salon as a money-laundering option [Note: Too bad Jesse didn't take it before! He would have friends and nice feet. -- RS]. Skyler, however, suggests they figure out a way to gain an "attitude adjustment" from Bogdan, and anyone who read the look on her face when she left their meeting last week as "This is NOT over" was absolutely right. Meanwhile, Jesse doesn't let Walt's other plans get in the way of a little primal scream therapy at the go-cart track; then, when he returns home, instead of the Kids of last week he finds something more like Fight Club happening, although the first rule does at least seem to be not to break the stereo equipment. For her part, Skyler comes up with the idea of falsely convincing Bogdan that the water on his property is contaminated due to his filtration system, which would cost around two hundred grand to replace. Not only does her ruse work, but Skyler manages to get the place for eight hundred grand even, seventy-nine thousand less than she offered last week. Screw Walt -- she's going to be bringing home the real bacon soon.
Finally, Hank's cop buddy who helped out with the Marie situation asks in return for his help on a case -- Gale's murder. But even with the prospect of a huge meth connection, Hank barely agrees -- until a bout of insomnia prompts him to pick up the copy of Gale's lab notes, and at that point you can be pretty sure that it is ON. Joe R will be back to tell you all about it in the full recap.
-- Couch Baron
Previously on Breaking Bad: Couch Baron did a fantastic job filling in for me and managed not to throw himself at Jesse Pinkman as shamelessly as I've been. Kudos! Also, Mike told Walt he'd likely never see Gus again, before punching him in the face to emphasize his point. Jesse began the process of bottoming out by turning his house into a 24/7 meth free-for-all. Skyler tried and failed to purchase the car wash from Walt's (justifiably) bitter ex-employer. And Hank's miserable excuse for an existence has really been doing a number on Marie's quality of life.
Walt shows up for work at America's Meth Kitchen and pours himself a cup of coffee from Gale's super elaborate laboratory coffee-maker. I'm smiling at the thought of Gale's nerdy pride in this contraption, and I like that the show lets Walter do the same without drawing a whole lot of lines to what's behind it. If we've been watching all this time, we probably know. We watch as Walt's face reflects the mental journey from Gale's invention to Gale's ultimate end. Moment of mirth: over. But as Walt heads over to flip some switches and begins today's cooking process, he notes a heretofore unheard buzzing sound. No, this isn't going to be another overpraised fly-hunting episode. What Walt hears, he discovers, is the sound of the security camera following him around the lab. This can't possibly be a surprise to him, but it enrages him nonetheless. Not least of which because it's the latest reminder of Gus being possibly permanently out of Walt's reach. He growls and grumbles and walks right up under the camera, then shoots it a very angry, very impotent middle finger. Which kind of sums up the entirety of Walt's post-diagnosis life.
Speaking of fingers, the next one we see is Skyler's as it insistently rings Walt's doorbell. She knows he's there and proves it by ringing his phone, but when Walt finally does answer the door, it's only a crack, and he tries to keep the left side of his face -- the one with the black eye, courtesy of Mike -- hidden. Skyler wants to talk about the car wash, and Walt's been avoiding her. Of course, once she gets a look at the rest of Walt's face, she wants to talk about THAT. And of course stubborn ol' Walter makes things worse for himself by digging his heels in on principle, rather than just making up a quick lie. Skyler wants Walt to tell her if he's not safe -- she suggests going to the police as an option if his life is truly in danger. Here's a good example of the show reminding us that while Skyler may know the "truth" about Walt's chosen method of making a living, she is by no means fully informed. Walt, of course, wants no part of any deal with the cops, and he high-hats the hell out of Skyler about it. Just give her an explanation for the black eye, you stubborn asshole! He eventually does -- a half-truth involving a scuffle with a "much-older" co-worker -- but not before calling her "passive aggressive," which is both true and hilariously pot-kettle-ish. The explanation calms her down enough that she starts scouring his freezer for frozen peas to put on his face, but he doesn't even have ice in there. In a moment of honest concern, unadorned with the ulterior motives these two seem to be swimming in lately, Skyler just asks him to promise to tell her if he's in any real danger. He does, which is of course a lie, but a well-intentioned one, which is what passes for virtue when it comes to Walt. Finally, they get to talking about the car wash.