This episode set up the massive showdown that had already concluded at the start of the last one I watched, and it confirmed a few of my guesses while completely undoing some others. One of the interesting things about this episode is that it took place the same day as the other, finishing exactly where the next one picks up. I imagine it would’ve been a more powerful narrative technique if I were watching the show in chronological order like a normal person.
What I’m looking forward to the most at this point is when I know enough that I recognize all the characters. I learned Saul’s name in this one, and met Huell Babineaux, whose name was extremely difficult for me parse out until I punched it into Google. I’ve begun permitting myself extremely limited Google searches when I want to know a character’s name after I learned that Todd’s the only guy with the last name of Alquist, which I had been spelling wrong besides attributing the same name to the rest of the people in Jack’s gang. I’m only typing in names to see the preview snippets on the first page of Google, to confirm spellings and basic affiliations. I can’t imagine how I’d have parsed out Huell Babineaux’s name without that crutch.
I got to learn a little more about Hank in this episode. Just from the two or three lines he had before he was offed in the last one I gleaned that he was a principled and smart guy, and this one showed exactly how good he was at his job. Do they set Hank up as sort of a foil to Walt? Like a guy who’s just as smart but in a different sort of way, who is on the enforcement side of the law rather than the violation side? It seems to me he’s been trying to bust Walt for a while, and maybe that he was a little bitter about it. There was a trace of “Screw you, man” when he shows Walt the doctored photo of the cash barrel, reminding him that it was taken in the backyard where they used to barbecue. So there’s the familial betrayal angle, of course Walt’s activities would be a shame to Hank as a law enforcement officer, whose brother in law is a powerful meth dealer, besides the revelation in this episode that Walt has had lots of people killed and killed some himself.
Watching Walt have a totally amicable meeting with Jack and the rest of the nazis was a huge shift from the sort of relationship I’d have imagined them having, based on my only seeing the final three episodes of the series. Not only was he (sorrowfully) trying to put a hit on Jessie, but he alluded to some previous hits he’d put on guys who were already in prison. And in his phone call with Jessie he mentions he ran over some gang bangers, besides killing some guys named Gus, Emilio, and Crazy-8. I guessed from the finale that Walt is reasonably comfortable killing people, and maybe all these people he killed deserved it, but then they started alluding to him poisoning a child.
During Walt’s visit to Andrea (again, what is she, Jessie’s girlfriend? Is Brock his son?) Brock freezes right up when sees Walt, and Jessie later confirms that Walt poisoned him, besides Hank and Steve alluding to it in their talk with Huell. Now Walt says some stuff about how he knew exactly how much of a dose to give to Brock, and Walt’s pretty bright so I’m sure he was careful about poisoning him, but holy crap I hope that he had a really good reason to poison/kind of half poison the kid because right now I’m having a hard time thinking of justifications for why that had to happen. Maybe he had to fake the kid’s death? Maybe he just wanted to send Jessie and Andrea a really strong warning? This is the second episode in a row that alluded to/explicitly demonstrated Walt’s disregard for the well being of children, and I hope for his sake that that’s just the kind of crap he pulls when he’s pushed into a corner.
Look at me worrying about Walt’s karma when I learned what ultimately happens to him the first time I ever sat down and watched an episode.
The person I want to know more about right now is Lydia. We see a lot of her in beginning, where they drum the viewer over the head with her really particular tea order, besides showing her being a little reluctant to buy Todd’s less-than-blue meth. In the previous episodes I saw Todd kind of having to negotiate with her. Does this mean Walt was her previous supplier? Is that why he kills Lydia in the last episode? Because he just lumps her in with Jack’s gang for continuing to sell his stuff after he disappeared?
Which segues into another question, how does Walt feel about meth? When Jack offers to kill Jessie for free if Walt will just give Todd some cooking lessons, he haggles down to just cooking one batch. Is this Walt’s final statement that he’s done? That he’s made plenty of money and wants out, and really disapproves of the idea of more drugs being made? He knows these guys will keep making this stuff with or without his consent, so does he just feel like his high-gravity meth is worse than the garden variety stuff?
I wrote in my notes that Todd apparently learned how to cook meth from Walt, and also that he calls him “Mr. White.” So apparently those two have a preexisting relation, which I supposed I should’ve already gleaned from watching Walt set up a hit via Jack, besides discussing previous murders.
My other big thing here is that Walt tells Jessie his cancer “is back.” Did it go into remission at some point, so he was planning on just going back to his life, and having the cash buried in the desert in case of an emergency? Before the cancer went away, was his plan just to keep making money until he died, and like, revealing just enough on his deathbed to get the money to Skyler?
Walt…Walt’s not a nazi, right? I thought maybe the shaved head was a chemo thing, but he still has his little beard. Is it just his personal grooming choice or did he become a skinhead to get in good with the nazis?
What’s Saul’s deal? He looks to me like a live-action drama version of Lionel Hutz, but his sleazy suit, slogan, and car interior covered in cocaine make him seem kind of two ways, like maybe he is kind of funny, but he’s also helping some genuinely horrible people?
Flynn mentions a smell at the house while working at the car wash, what happened there?
Todd is the kind of guy who downloads and assigns funny ringtones to each of his contacts