Breaking Bad: Bug Episode Review

18 Sep


Even the strongest relationships are tested at points by misunderstandings, selfishness and betrayals.  Good people often fail in relationships but people who have less than stellar personal morals make the test of a strong relationship more daunting.  The real question is:  how important are these two people to each other?  Do they need one another to survive and flourish?  Can they be torn apart?  What came between them?  A third party (or parties) deliberately entering into the equation to wreck havoc on what was a flourishing friendship and relationship for both individuals?  Did the ‘couple’ work better together rather than separately?  Did they understand and anticipate each other’s needs?  While this might sound like a bunch of questions of couple’s therapy, these are questions that any smart writer asks themselves when exploring a relationship between two characters.  Okay, they are also the questions anybody in a relationship should consider…

Once again, Breaking Bad begins with disorienting close-ups, this time of shoes, broken glasses (obviously Walt’s) and dripping blood.  Walt’s been injured.  How and why?  Has he been betrayed or did he cause this altercation.  We move into a flashback to find out how he got into this state.  This, by the way, is a perfect example of what I like to call TV Noir.  Just like film noir, there are shows that deal with crime, anti-heroes/doomed protagonists, cops on the edge, wives on the edge, or even some level of femmes fatales.  I’m waiting to see who is going to cause somebody’s death first, Skyler or Marie.  I’m fairly certain the way this show is going that one of these women will end up somehow being responsible for someone’s demise on the show.  When we see that Walt has been injured, that the violence has already happened, we know that we are too late.  Something bad has happened.  We aren’t sure how bad.  It feels significant though.  How do we realize it feels significant?  The close ups.  The distorted shorts.  The disorienting feel of time and space through the editing and sound.  Something is wrong.  And we are going to find out what it is and how it happened when we go into our flashback.

Now, if you think you are wrong and things aren’t bad, the one sign we get is that one of the first shots in the opening flashback is Walt’s clean shoes.   His clean shoes are signs/indicators that this is the moment where it all went from being relatively okay (since Walt is under great stress at the moment) to fairly rotten.  Now we get to go on that journey with Walt. That journey starts with Walt picking Hank up to go on a reconnaissance mission to Los Pollos Hermanos and retrieve the tracking device, which is quite a disappointment for Hank as it only shows that Gus drove between home and his one shop.  This raises a red flag for Hank since he knows Gus has other shops and a warehouse distribution center.  Hank’s greatest line of the episode:  A guy this clean’s got to be dirty.  Walt begins to panic.  He calls Mike to warn him that Hank knows about the distribution center.  Mike hangs up on him.

Jesse and Walt see each other at work.  Jesse claims he has not had a chance to kill Gus yet.  Walt asks what he does with his spare time and Jesse claims to watch Ice Road Truckers.  Walt is not amused.  Later, Skyler talks to Walt on the phone and informs him they should think about buying Walt, Jr. a car and Walt defers to her.  She also informs him business is good, they’re about to start turning a profit so he should start thinking about an exit strategy.  Walt’s grip on his life and circumstances are slipping further out of his control every week.

Ted, Skyler’s old “boss” shows up at the car wash to let her know he’s going to be audited the next day.  Since she’s the accountant on record, she realizes she could be in trouble as well.  Skyler’s version of damage control is brilliant as she shows up at the audit late, flashing her breasts, alluding to the fact that the only reason she had the job was that she was sleeping with Ted, and the best part, for anyone who has worked in finance or accounting, is when she claims she did all the books for the company on Quicken.  After this performance, I’m beginning to truly wonder what she and Walt could accomplish if they could just see past their differences and team up.  In any case, Skyler is proving to be an increasingly competent outlaw.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Walt died at the end of the show/series and they had Skyler taking control of the new family business.  It’s just a thought.  Of course, who knows if Skyler will live after we see her contemplating loaning Ted the money Walt has earned.

While Skyler is doing damage control, Jesse is working with Mike to clean up old blood spatter since Hank might have law enforcement nosing around the distribution center.  Jesse goes outside just in time to see some guy get blown away in front of him, then a barrage of bullets go flying and just as the gunman has Jesse in his crosshairs, Mike grabs him as the hitman (it’s actually the ‘negotiator’ from the cartel) pulls the trigger.  Jesse and Mike watch as Gus appears and walks defiantly toward the flying bullets until the gunman stops.  Mike explains it was just another message to Gus and that the cartel won’t kill him because they need him alive. Shortly after, Jesse and Mike show up with the dead body from the shootout to dispose of him in one of the barrels filled with chemicals from the superlab.  Walt rants on about more casualties.  Later, Jesse asks Mike exactly what the situation is.  Mike tells Jesse to go ask Gus himself.  Which he does.  Jesse has the chance to poison Gus but he doesn’t and Gus proposes Jesse go to Mexico to teach the cartel how to cook the meth.

The next day at the superlab, things are tense between Jesse and Walt.  As Walt leaves, he grabs a tracker like Hank’s from Jesse’s car.  He gets home and discovers Jesse has been lying and that he was at Gus’s the previous night.  Walt goes to Jesse’s house and confronts him.  Jesse claims he didn’t have any chance to put the poison in Gus’s food but it is a bit hard to believe him.  It’s clear Jesse likes being needed even though he doesn’t realize he is actually a pawn for Gus and Mike.  Jesse explains to Walt that he’s stressed because he must go to Mexico to teach the cartel how to cook Walt’s recipe.  To say Walt is enraged at this point is putting it mildly.   All the tension that has been building between the two explodes in a violent fight and Walt’s glasses break, blood goes flying and we see how Walt ended up beaten and now is fully estranged from Jesse.  Now Walt has two broken relationships, one he had with Skyler and one he had with Jesse.  The question is:  how will he fare without Jesse on his side and Skyler doing more and more for herself and her interests rather than their interests as a couple?

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