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Tuesday, August 16, 2011
TV Round-Up: Breaking Bad
"Shotgun"
Vince Gilligan proved in season two that he can be clever when it comes to episode titles. If you go back and look at the titles for each episode featuring the burned teddy bear, you'll notice a pattern. (I wish I'd seen it, but Gilligan revealed this information on the DVD extras).

It's got me thinking about the episode titles for season four--and how two of the first five have centered on guns. Is Gilligan trying to tell us something? Or am I reading too much into things?

Either way, it's still something to ponder.

Not that there wasn't a whole lot to ponder in this one...

As I was watching the episode unfold, I was once again struck by the fact that no matter how smart Walt may think he is, he's still extremely stupid in a lot of ways. Walt may be a genius at producing crystal meth, but as the perceived drug kingpin he wants to be, he's still several steps behind and, at times, his own worst enemy. Once again, the episode featured people slowly chipping away at Walt's own self-image and inflated sense of importance. When he goes to the chicken place to confront Gus, Walt assumes the security cameras must be focused on him with Gus watching his every move. Same thing in the lab as Walt assumes Gus is monitoring him at all times, waiting for Walt to shout at the cameras or do something. I'm going to guess that given how Gus is, he may get a report on Walt's activities and pay someone else to watch his every move.

The chipping away continues at home when Skylar assumes Walt's message left on the machine in a bit of blind panic is more than it is. Walt's emotions comes to the surface out of fear that something bad could go down since Jessie has disappeared. So it's interesting that Walt uses this to his advantage to sleep with Skylar, but then isn't necessarily ready to move back into the house. Later we see Walt, Jr. drinking coffee out of a Beneke mug, reminding Walt that he can't or won't forgive Skylar's indiscretion with Ted. It's also interesting that just as Ted wanted more than Skylar was willing to give, now Skylar wants more than Walt is willing to give. But yet, Walt is still outmaneuvered when Skylar tells Walt, Jr. he's moving back into the house.

Walt is also outmaneuvered by Gus when it comes to Jessie. Walt believes he's the one thing keeping Jessie alive and in the game. But now Gus has given Jessie a greater purpose, meaning and sense of acceptance. He's also given Jessie someone else he could potentially bond with in Mike. We saw Jessie try to reach out to Walt a few weeks ago and Walt reject him because he had other places to be. Mike could be just what Jessie needs to try and get past his grief over killing Gale. After all, Mike knows the impact killing someone under orders can have. And with this, Gus makes another move to isolate Walt....could Gus be putting pieces in place to try and get rid of Walt? After all, he's got a ton of security footage of how to make the meth. And as we saw in the season premiere and were reminded here, Walt and Jessie may not be necessary much longer to the process.

All of this leads to Walt trying to drown his rage in wine. And then the wine does some talking at the dinner table with Hank. Walt, no longer able to take that he isn't getting credit for Gale's notebook, brags that there could be another genius behind Gale and that Gale was simply the student. I loved the look on Skylar's face as Walt smugly says there could be Heisenberg is still out there and that Gale is nothing more than a student. Just as Hank has decided the case was closed, Walt put him back on the scent, re-ignited Hank's passion to take down Heisenberg and has, probably, set another wheel in motion toward his own self-destruction.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/16/2011 02:14:00 PM | |
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