Breaking Bad: Cornered Episode Review

29 Aug

SPOILER ALERT:

Breaking Bad “Cornered” starts off almost exactly like the earlier episode “Bullet Points”.  Only this time, it isn’t Mike hiding in the truck, it’s two guards employed by Gus.  The truck is once again hijacked by the Mexican drug cartel wanting to muscle in on Gus’s trade.  This time, though, the two guards are killed when the cartel men funnel deadly exhaust fumes into the trailer of the truck and lock the guys in so they can’t escape.  A completely different tone than when Mike gets part of his ear shot off.  Once again, “Cornered” means two things, it refers to the teaser when the guards are cornered in the truck and it refers to Walt’s feelings about his life, his loss of control over how people perceive him and the role he has to play through half his life, the role of a docile former chemistry teacher who is a cancer survivor but isn’t that exciting while only Jesse, Walt and the audience realizes the real Walt, the one who is capable of being ruthless and fearless.

Walt’s interactions with Skyler take a turn for the worse when she realizes he didn’t want to actually get back together with her.  This realization leads to Skyler confronting him, thinking he’s crying out for help, which is an insult to all Walt stands for at this point in his life.  He stopped crying out for help in the Pilot episode and it’s been a non-stop ride as Walt becomes a fearless individual that only the threat of death could inspire him to become.  So as Skyler tries to comfort Walt, he gets increasingly agitated as what he really wants is respect for his actions.  Hence, his speech about why everyone should fear him.  “… don’t think of me in danger – I am danger.”  Skyler’s response is to take the baby and go.  Walt doesn’t seem to worry; after all, he’s gone beyond just being a dependable husband and father.  This is highlighted in his discussion with Skyler about how much money he makes.  He’s completely changed his relationship to money and power, both of which have replaced personal relationships in Walt’s world.  As Skyler says to him at the end of the episode, “Someone has to protect this family from the man who protects this family.”

Walt is also forced to confront the former car wash owner,  Bogdan, who talks down to him and tells him to be a boss, he must be tough.  Walt takes the lecture in stride, putting up with the recurring line that he must accept the car wash ‘as-is’ which Walt uses against him, taking the framed dollar from the first sale of the car wash during Bogdan’s tenure as owner.  And after Bogdan leaves, Walt smashes the frame, takes the dollar and puts it in the coke machine and buys a coke.  Yes another illustration of Walt’s new arrogance with money, and for some reason, it’s rather empowering but somehow unsettling as well.

Money comes up again when Walt buys Walt, Jr. a brand new sports car.  He was going to follow Skyler’s rules and buy Walt, Jr. a used car but when Junior says, “If you’re gonna buy me, buy me,” Walt takes it as a resounding endorsement of his new financial prowess, the male equivalent to strutting like a peacock.  The irony of the situation is that Walt started to earn the money for his family but it’s what is driving a wedge in all his relationships.  This is illustrated by the confrontation between Skyler and Walt right before the end of the episode when she demands he return the car because it will raise red flags everywhere and he blames her cautious behavior for creating problems for him with Junior.  Walt has missed that his ego is what is causing the actual problems.

Jesse and Walt have a fight about Gus’s and Mike’s intention with the new found relationship being established.  Walt is right that it is to sabotage him but that doesn’t help his frustration when Jesse is called away to ‘help’ Mike to retrieve the stolen meth.  Jesse surprises Mike by effectively dealing with the two meth-heads and Mike does give Jesse credit with Gus.  And while it seems like Jesse is gaining some self-respect through action, Walt once again relies on money to solve his problems.  When Jesse is called away, Walt decides that he’s not going to clean the lab alone (he believes it is beneath him and also he’s lost some authority as Jesse was called out to do something more important than help clean the lab and Jesse’s just a glorified assistant).  He must lash out and fight back.  He does this by hiring three women who are working in the laundry facility that is a front to hide the lab.  He pays them generously and sits back, arrogantly sipping his coffee.  He’s reminded his cavalier actions have consequences though, as the three women get carted off by one of Gus’s thugs.  He claims they are going back on a bus somewhere but that seems a bit too optimistic.  It’s getting dangerous to even interact with Walt these days.  But he doesn’t seem to mind.

It will be fascinating to see the relationship between Walt, his money and his increasing arrogance as his life continues to slowly unravel.  No matter what, we know the consequences to Walt’s actions are always steep.  That’s what makes the show so compelling to watch.

Watch “Inside Breaking Bad:  Cornered”

My Vlog Review of the episode.

One Response to “Breaking Bad: Cornered Episode Review”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. REVIEW: Breaking Bad – “Cornered” | Squarise - August 29, 2011

    […] Breaking Bad: Cornered Episode Review (romisreviews.com) […]

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