Boy, was this episode ever streamlined. I’ll probably be able to sum up the plot in one paragraph. Or probably not. There is a certain standard I’m expected to uphold here, of course. Much like the standard of crystal meth that Todd manages to approach (76 percent pure!) but not quite attain (it’s not blue). Lucky for Todd, Walt needs a favor (kill Jesse), and Todd has a price (come back for another cook). So Todd’s Uncle Nazi and his guys are commissioned to take Jesse out, nice and humane-like. Of course, Walt’s plan to draw Jesse out of hiding by approaching Andrea and having her call Jesse (i.e. the “I got your lady, kid” gambit) gets sniffed out by Hank immediately.Meanwhile, Jesse's plan to hit Walt where he really lives means going after his money. To do this, Hank and Gomez fake Jesse's death in order to convince Huell that Walt's tying up loose ends. Huell gives up the intel about the rental van that Walt returned all dirty and full of shovels. Bad news: no GPS on those vans (thanks a LOT, ACLU). Good news: Hank and Jesse fake a photo of a barrel of money dug up from the dirt, which gets Walt to speed the fuck out to the desert in order to keep Jesse from burning it. When he gets there, he realizes he's been fooled and that he led Hank, Jesse and Gomez right to the money.
Hank finally has his man, arrests Walt and calls Marie to let her know he got Walt and that he loves her. Justice served! Yeah, except Walt had earlier commissioned Todd and his uncle to take out Jesse, and when he found himself cornered in the desert, he called them with the coordinates. And despite the fact that once Walt saw Hank was with Jesse, he told Uncle Nazi to forget about it, Uncle Nazi always follows through on a job. So the Nazi gang shows up before Hank and Gomez can even call any authorities, and we have a standoff. Handcuffed in Hank's car, Walt screams to Uncle Nazi that the job is off. Imagine our great surprise, then, that Uncle Nazi and the Nazettes open fire, and the episode ends with a gunfight that I can't imagine too many people will be walking away from.
Previously: Hank kept Jesse from burning Walt's house down, and the two unlikely allies powered up on Marie's lasagna while devising a plan to get Walt's confession on tape. Jesse's paranoia got the better of him, though, and he bailed, assuring Hank that he's got an even better plan. Meanwhile, he threatened Walt again, which led Walt to call up Todd with a job for his uncle.
Speaking of whom, we begin this week at the new meth lab, which appears to be located in an airplane hangar. Todd, his Uncle Jack and the cartoon character that Kevin Rankin is playing are joined by Queen Regent of New Mexico, Lydia Rodarte-Quayle. Only Todd and Lydia have the sense to be wearing their hazmat suits and breathing masks. Uncle Jack's rationale when Todd informs him of the toxic fumes? "Let me worry about what I breathe, kid." Lydia's here, it seems, to see if the purity on this batch is an improvement over Declan's subpar meth. Indeed, Todd has been able to use his Heisenberg-Lite technique to up the purity to 76%, which is certainly a move in the right direction. But Lydia wants to know why it's not blue. Does that come later? Todd knows he's fucked up, but he tries to talk his way past it. Certainly, Uncle Jack and Herc are more than willing to squint at the same and pretend there's a "blue-ish" hue to it. They also make the argument that it's purity she wants, and they got her that. Lydia now has to explain to these barely-developed morons the concept of branding. Her buyers know what good product is because it's blue. That's the visual they associate with a quality product. The purity being "marginally" improved (oooooh!) is nice and all, but without the blue, they don't have their branding. It's a Crystal Pepsi thing all over again. Team Nazi doesn't really care about standards or branding, and their offers to food-color the batch ("like farm-raised salmon!") reveals them to be just as uninterested in excellence as Declan was. This season is really dedicated to the idea that Walter White was a better class of criminal because he cared more, huh?
After the meeting, Lydia is re-grouping in the outer hangar, while some kind soul decided to put "Oh Sherrie" on in the background. Uncle Jack and Herc have pissed off by now, so it's just Todd, and he seems genuinely chagrined and apologetic about overcooking the batch (his conclusion as to how the blue didn't happen). He's brought her tea, too, and she tells him to call her Lydia. She's nice to him, tells him she appreciates his effort. So Todd I guess decides this is his moment. He puts a hand on Lydia's shoulder and says the sexiest thing he can think of: "I can have my uncle talk to your buyers if you want." Suddenly, with Steve Perry belting out "Love Theme for Todd and Lydia," this scene isn't so much a business conversation as it is an occasion for Todd to stare moonily at a woman whom he couldn't begin to handle. She turns him down, in as nice a way as she can manage. But she's also smart enough to press any advantage she can get, so she breathily asks him to make her happy and make the cook better. He promises. With his eyes.