RECAP: Breaking Bad Holds Steady

Warning: Spoilers ahead, also the show deals with drugs and violence, so proceed accordingly.

Episode 2: Thirty-Eight Snub

This episode opens with Walt in some sort of seedy motel, buying a handgun: .38 special, snub-nose.  The shady salesman gleefully announces that you “Can’t get more dependable than a wheel gun.”   This guy is vaguely suspicious as to why such an amateur wants an illegal gun when a legal one will do just fine, and obviously has very little respect for Walt, but is filled with sage vim and vigor, dispensing wisdom left and right.  This show gets so many details right, like the mirror in the motel room being filled with fingerprints instead of being sparking clean.

Jesse is at home with some kind of ridiculous sound system, all colored lights and pulsing beats, oh and a gently circulating Roomba.  His idiot friends show up, Skinny Pete and Badger.  They dance for a few moments in the twinkling lights and it’s nice to see Jesse happy if only for about three seconds. Desperate to find more happiness, he cuts up a few lines for everyone, like any good host would, and though Skinny Pete makes a weak attempt to deny himself, addicts are addicts.

A manic discussion of video games follows, fueled of course by the drugs, as usual Jesse is trying to keep from hating his life completely but these morons are just depressing him further. All the coke in the world isn’t gonna make these fools more interesting, so he does what he does best and multiplies both the potential for disappointment as well as happiness, and invites over about a hundred other people. A huge party ensues, but it doesn’t necessarily help anything.

Walt takes the advice of the wise illegal handgun salesman, and sits down to some target practice, awkwardly pulling the gun out a few times and doing his best to pretend to shoot at the chair across from him.  This isn’t the first time Walt’s shot a gun, but it still looks sort of quaint.

Hank is pretty much where we left him last episode, still in bed, still fondling rocks, sorry, minerals, and is still surly and hateful towards poor Marie. Marie is doing her best to be loving and supportive and Hank is a total jerk towards her, offering helpfully that she go sleep somewhere else in the house if she’s bothered by him being awake at 2 in the morning.  Marie is being a pretty good sport about the amount of abuse she’s suffering, but I can’t help but think it’s a matter of time before one of those rocks, sorry, minerals goes straight through Hank’s skull.

Walt packs himself a little lunch and loads his tiny gun, all ready for a day at the lab! Skyler calls to talk business, and Walt freaks out that she’s leaving messages about the car wash on his answering machine.  Skyler doesn’t understand what the big deal is, but she’s also only been through like a tiny smidgeon of the insane scenarios that Walt has, so I’m gonna side with him on this one.  No incriminating messages, henceforth.

The next morning, Jesse’s Roomba makes its way around the party where tons of people have passed out.  Point of view of the Roomba, zipping around the room, so cute!  Someone is methodically throwing a ball against the wall.  This party is not so fun anymore.  Jesse throws down some cash before he leaves for work and tells Skinny Pete and Badger to keep the rager going.  They seem hesitant.  Now, if your drug-addled and idiotic friends seem to think you’re making a bad decision, well…

Skyler, with baby in tow, stalks the car wash, writing down what services everyone is getting, very happily proceeding with her money laundering scheme and ignoring Walt’s command that he will take care of it.

Hank’s physical therapy seems to be run by a very enthusiastic sort, and Marie latches on to that enthusiasm much to the annoyance of Hank, who seems less and less able to look at her as the days go on.  As soon as the physical therapist leaves, it’s back to cruelty and mourning as Hank tells Marie to get out of his room. Her face is a cascade of nothingness but she leaves.

Jesse’s house number is 322 and Walt and Skyler’s house is 308.  I don’t know if that means anything, but file it away for future reference.  Jesse has a fairly pointless conversation with that girl he was sleeping with, the sister of the 11-year-old who died.  He admits he left some money for her, blah blah blah, feelings, and she finally leaves.  Jesse walks back into his house, defeated, probably musing on the insane number of murders that have happened in the past few days, and his involvement with most of them.

Later that evening, Walt and his snub-nosed .38 pistol show up at Gus’s home and advance on the house like a determined plague, only to be interrupted by his own cheery ring tone.  It’s Gus, like a ghost all around him, telling Walt to go home.  Walt whips around but no one is there.  That he’s even surprised that Gus knew Walt would try to kill him means Walt hasn’t been paying attention over the past few months. Gus knows everything.

Marie signs for a shipment of rocks, sorry I mean minerals. Hank is freaking out off screen, wanting to make sure they’re all perfect and it’s all Marie can do not to break everything around her in anger.

Going through the car wash, man, there are some excellent point of view shots in this episode.  Skyler White, Business Lady approaches the car wash owner and makes an offer based on her creepy surveillance and number crunching abilities.  Unfortunately for Skyler, the guy remembers that she’s Walter White’s wife and won’t sell the car wash to Walter White because he hates him.  Fair enough.

In a musty bar, Mike is watching Bob Odenkirk’s Soul Goodman commercial with something between mild disgust and total nonchalance. It looks like something straight out of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! as it mainly focuses on airplane related tragedy lawsuits, and is desperately cheesy. Walter waltzes in and buys some drinks, trying to make things right, but there’s too much that’s gone wrong as he sums it up succinctly “Hell of a last coupla weeks.”  Yes, Walt, it really has been, what with the endless number of murders.  It’s almost more shocking if someone doesn’t die in an episode these days. Mike points out the concealed weapon casually, elegantly, because of course he can’t be fooled by Walter’s weak attempts at becoming some kind of autonomous criminal mastermind.  After Walter begs Mike to let him kill Gus, Mike proceeds to kick the crap out of Walter, thanks him for the drink and leaves.  The man cannot be fazed.

Back at Jesse’s party castle, everyone is finally leaving, after being awake, high and drunk for days on end. He doesn’t particularly want to be alone but can’t convince anyone to stay.  Aaron Paul’s voice is a thing of beauty, a joy forever, all throaty perfection.  He surveys the absolute mess around him and finds himself back at square one, crying over everything that’s gone wrong in his life.  I wonder if this is going to be the season Jesse finally acquires some actual relief from his depressing lifestyle, but we all know what happened last time he loved someone, and so it doesn’t seem likely.