Breaking Bad: Hermanos episode review

11 Sep

SPOILER ALERT:

The stakes are raising as we barrel down toward the end of the season.  Things are beginning to look bad for both Gus and Walt.  As we open, in yet another signature Breaking Bad style disorienting shot, we figure things are probably going to go wrong somewhere in this episode.  First we see greenish water in what is most likely a swimming pool – but where does this swimming pool exist?  I know I’m both anxious and weary to discover why a swimming pool is involved in a flashback.  The last time they featured a swimming pool on Breaking Bad, a plane crashed in it.  And yes, this swimming pool also will represent death.  In the opening scene/flashback of “Hermanos,” Walt and Gus discuss Hank’s attack from the previous season, which we see from Gus’s POV (point of view).  So, the swimming pool must be Gus’s flashback as well.  We watch at Gus has yet another flashback discussing Hank’s arranged attack between Gus and Hector (formerly known to us as Tio) in what appears to be a nursing home.  Confused?  I believe you are supposed to be.  Because we are now entering the mind of Gus for the first time.  And, well, a lot is going on.  You’ll see soon enough.

In the meantime, Walt gets a scan to see how his cancer is doing.  Yes, I know they had to address it sometime but it just didn’t feel organic in the story.  We haven’t seen any medical stuff surrounding his cancer all season so it feels like more of an after-thought.  Now, I will agree there is a great speech about not letting the cancer being in control and Walt taking control of his life, it was just that, honestly, that scene felt forced.  Then, to drive home that Walter is not in control, later we see him being watched by Gus’s surveillance camera.

While Walt is dealing with cancer and rousing speeches, Gus is called into the DEA to discuss why his fingerprints are at Gale’s apartment.  He manages to talk his way out of everything, explaining that he sponsored Gale through a scholarship for college and that’s their connection.  Then he claimed Gale contacted him because he needed to borrow money.  Everyone buys the story but Hank.

Saul takes money to Andrea, Jesse’s old girlfriend, to make sure she can afford the new home she’s renting.  She asks about Jesse.  Saul awkwardly makes an excuse for him.  Later, when Saul gets back to the car, Jesse asks about Andrea.  Saul suggests he go check on them himself.

Skyler finally figures out how to solve her problem although I’m not actually buying it.  She stores the money in air-tight clothing bags then attempts to hang them back up in the closet.  The hanger rod snaps under the weight so she stores everything under the crawl space of the house.  I’m just wondering what she’s going to do in case there’s a fire.  She might as well bury the money in the backyard.  I’m not impressed with her problem solving ability and think at this point she would be a bit more clever.  I’m wondering if this is going to serve as a later plot point.  Otherwise, that narrative trajectory has become disappointing.

Hank asks Walt to drive him to a Gem & Mineral show.  On the way there he explains that was a cover so the family doesn’t know what he’s really up to.  He has Walt take him to Los Pollos Hermanos as Walt becomes increasingly unnerved.  Hanks informs Walt of his suspicions regarding Gus and asks Hank to plant a tracking device on Walt’s car.  Hank pretends to, goes inside the restaurant, let’s Gus know that he didn’t do it but Gus tells him to go ahead.

Later, Walt goes to Jesse’s place and demands Jesse kill Gus as soon as possible, explaining the situation.  Jesse claims he hasn’t seen Gus.  A bit later, he receives a text message from Mike while he’s gone to the restroom and Walt reads it – letting Jesse know that the meeting is postponed.  Obviously he has access to Gus and he’s lying.  Now Walt has confirmed he has another problem on his hands.

Mike calls Gus to let him know that Hank is only suspicious.   The rest of the group who questioned him seems to believe Gus’s answers check out.  Hank’s the lone holdout.  Gus then goes to visit Hector/Tio in his nursing home.  Gus asks Hector, “Is today the day?”  I hate it when they are that cryptic.  It’s just annoying.  We enter another flashback.  We discover much more about Gus’s past.  We discover a much younger Hector – at least 20 years younger.  Gus and his then partner/cook Max wait to meet Don Eladio, head of the Mexican drug cartel.  Gus wants to be in business with him to distribute the crystal meth that Max has cooked up.  Don Eladio is angry with both of them and Max, worried that Gus will be killed, attempts to verbally defend why Gus is an asset and while he does this, Don Eladio gives Hector the okay to kill Max.  One second he’s talking, the next, Gus’s face is splattered in Max’s blood that is spurting out of the hole in his head.  Don Eladio tells Gus the only reason he isn’t dead as well is because he knows “who he is” (okay who the hell is he?) but he needs to remember that “he’s not in Chile anymore.”  He’s warned to keep cooking his chicken and stay out of the drug business – certainly in Mexico.  At least now we see why there is an escalating war between Gus and the Mexican Cartel.

All I keep wondering is:  who will get to Gus first, the cartel or Walt?

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