Breaking Bad: Shotgun Episode Review

24 Aug


While previous Breaking Bad episodes this season tended to be Walt-centric, this episode is more about Jesse.  Don’t be fooled by Walt’s actions and the fair amount of time he has in the story because this is about how Jesse will come out of his funk and gain confidence.

We might start the episode with Walt driving like a maniac to confront Gus about Jesse’s whereabouts, and we might think Walt is finally going to pull the trigger and ice Gus.  But no.  Walt wants a confrontation but it doesn’t happen.  In fact, he looks almost ridiculous when Mike calls him on his cell phone asking him what he thinks he’s doing.  As soon as he’s determined (sort of) that Jesse’s alive for the time being, he agrees to go do the cook alone.  He’s not happy though.  His carefully order world is not functioning as smoothly as it did before.  If you disagree, re-watch the scene as Walt does the cook alone.  We are forced to endure his POV, heaving chemicals up into giant vats, hitting buttons that look like they might stop a nuclear meltdown.  He breathes heavily (I’d almost forgotten he had lung cancer), and by the time he’s finished the first part of the cook, he looks like he’s ready to collapse.  He also notices the camera watching constantly.  It adds another dimension of stress and uneasiness to his existence.  This is a different Walt.  Not calm, cool and collected like so many times before.  This Walt is unraveling.  And Jesse’s ambiguous position in the organization is helping this emotional and mental crisis along.  It’s clear Mike will play a Walt substitute, what isn’t clear is how Walt will ultimately react to being replaced as Jesse’s mentor and keeper.

Essentially, Gus is having Mike reprogram Jesse.  He’s being taught that he can be useful and possibly valued in an organization that just recently was going to have him killed.  As we suffer with Jesse, through his point-of-view (almost constantly in the drop scenes), we must feel the apprehension, terror (who hasn’t thought they may have to use their car keys against an attacker?  Jesse must have seen that episode on Oprah), mind-numbing boredom and restlessness.  Soon Jesse assumes he is there for another reason if Mike isn’t going to kill him.  He believes he is there to guard Mike and the money.  His attitude starts to change.  He begins to take pride in his work.  This leads to the moment of truth.  When Jesse sees two assailants that he believes have come to rob Mike of the drop cash.  One is carrying a shotgun.  Jesse makes his move to protect the money, using Mike’s car as a weapon.  He gets away and finds Mike then becomes a hero, at least in his own eyes.  Suddenly Jesse isn’t a loser, he’s an asset to the organization.  This is illustrated when Walt later finds Jesse breaking up the ‘meth ice’ and Jesse says that he’s taking care of business and Walt should as well.  Then Jesse announces he’s working with Mike later.  Walt is losing his power.  And he doesn’t like it.  Not one bit.

It isn’t only Jesse that Walt is losing power with.  It is Skyler as well.  Not only is Skyler going to control the drug money laundering through the new car wash business she will run, she’s controlling their relationship.  They end up sleeping together and suddenly she has him moving back in the house, determining the day it will be, telling Walt Junior before she even tells Walt himself.  Walt doesn’t look pleased that he’s returning home because that means losing a bit more autonomy.

All of Walt’s action in this particular story tend to be a reaction to Jesse.  He is not himself.  He is Jesse’s friend and mentor who is losing his place in Jesse’s life.  While Jesse is enjoying being needed, Walt is getting angrier being discounted by his own brilliant contribution to the meth landscape of New Mexico.  Even in death, Gale is reaching out, stealing Walt’s glory.  As Walt gets drunk at dinner at Hank and Marie’s he starts to poke holes in Hank’s assessment of Gale’s greatness and suggests that Hank’s Heisenberg is still out there on the loose.  Enough so that Hank gets back all the files he’s returned and re-examines the crime scene photos.  He notices a Los Pollos Hermanos bag in the evidence photos and realizes Gale is a vegan who wouldn’t eat fried chicken.  Walt got his wish.  The chase is on.

Watch AMC’s Inside the Series for this episode.

Watch my Vlog Review on YouTube.

2 Responses to “Breaking Bad: Shotgun Episode Review”

  1. hotshot bald cop August 31, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    My ideas exactly!


  1. REVIEW: Breaking Bad – “Shotgun” | Squarise - August 28, 2011

    […] Breaking Bad: Shotgun Episode Review ( […]

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