In typical Breaking Bad fashion, this week was a combination of thrilling bravado and depressing lows, thanks to Walt’s wildly unpredictable mood. A major death this week scored big points, but what will it mean for the future? The Fightin’ Meth-Heads hope it means Breaking Bad secretly takes place in the Star Wars universe so badass old dudes can come back as ghosts to say cool shit and chastise their wards.
This episode started with a bang but ended with a whimper. Well, okay, technically it also ended with a bang, but it was a reeeeal whimpery bang. And yeah, said bang was followed by a “Shut the fuck up” and then the saddest thud ever. I guess my point is, there were a lot of different sounds in this episode, okay? Anyway, in between that first bang and that final thud, we saw Walt totally unravel, as he quickly transformed from an undeniable, unshakable badass into a big cranky baby with a stolen gun. And as the saying goes: don’t put baby in a corner and also DEFINITELY don’t let baby get your go bag for you if it has a gun in it because he will probably freak out and shoot you with that gun!
Badassery: Let’s talk about that cold open, though. I mean DAMN. It was so badass that I re-watched the whole thing again, IMMEDIATELY. And it was just as badass the second time. Walt didn’t flinch. He didn’t relent. He didn’t panic. He knew he was going to get what he wanted, and then he got it. It was masterful. First, he made Declan chuckle with his line about a world without Coca-Cola (FIRST RULE OF HIGH STAKES CRIME NEGOTIATIONS: Make the other man chuckle first!), which totally broke down his defenses. Then, he just dropped knowledge after knowledge on him. Better high = more expensive product. Higher purity = higher yield. $130 million = A LOT OF DOLLARS. By this point, it was clear Walt had Declan beat. But then he went in for the kill: “SAY MY NAME.” (SECOND RULE OF HIGH STAKES CRIME NEGOTIATIONS: “Make them say your name, if they ain’t runnin’ game.”) And when Declan realized that this was the motherfucker who got Gus Fring, he could barely squeak out the name “Heisenberg.” I mean, here’s a 100% gen-u-ine drug kingpin, the star of BB: Tuscon, absolutely in awe of former high school chemistry teacher Walter White. This wasn’t imagined. This wasn’t all in Walt’s shiny, inflated head. This was real. He was, in this moment, Motherfucking Heisenberg. “YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT.” If it weren’t for, you know, the rest of the episode, this scene alone would have gotten him a perfect 10. But still: 9 POINTS
Humor: “Whoooops. Mike, you’re never gonna believe this: I totally didn’t need to shoot you just then. Seriously, that was like, totally unnecessary on my part. A real faux pas, if you will. I mean, Lydia has all the names anyway! Total brain fart. Ha ha. Aaaaanyway… uh… this is kinda awkward. Soooo… I’m gonna go. Alright. Bye.” 3 POINTS
Morality: In perhaps the ultimate example of Walt being a total a-hole to Poor Jesse, he tore into him for having nobody to go home to. GEE I WONDER WHY, WALT. Perhaps it’s because you let his First True Love choke to death on her own drug-vomit and then poisoned the child of his Second True Love before reverse-psychologically convincing him to leave her behind? I mean just PERHAPS. Also, he’s pretty much owned up to the fact that he’s going straight to hell, if it exists, which it doesn’t. (Regrettably I admit that the line “I don’t wanna lie down until I get there (hell)” was pretty badass, despite it coming in the middle of one of his less admirable moments.) 0 POINTS
Intelligence: Hey Walt, if you’re gonna try and fool Hank into leaving you alone in his office again, maybe try coming up with a different plan? I mean, I know it worked again, but maybe just for the sake of variety, you know? Seriously, you can burn some zip ties off your wrists with the power cord on a Mr. Coffee but you can’t write a sequel to what was already a pretty trite and melodramatic short play? Also, why’d you kill Mike? That was pretty dumb, man. 4 POINTS
Kill Count: I feel significantly less bad than I did when I scored a point off some 14-year-old kid getting shot in the face. But I still feel bad! Perhaps it was morally dubious of us to award points for murder? Oh well! 1 POINT
Total points: 17
So yeah, Hank fell for the old “Wah wah my wife doesn’t like me plz go get me some coffee so I can plant/remove this bug” trick again. But otherwise, he was pretty on point in this episode. He found a way to circumvent his (possibly dirty but probably just sensible) superior’s slashing of the Fring surveillance budget and got that much closer to the TRUTH. But wait, will the truth set Hank free, or will it hurt him more than he could ever know? Because like, you know how he did that whole funny suicide gesture when he left Walt’s office? What if finding out Walt was Heisenberg the whole time triggers his extreme anxiety again and causes him to off himself? What if that funny suicide gesture was actually unfunny suicide FORESHADOWING??? (This is maybe the 15th grand-theory-based-on-a-probably-inconsequential-moment I’ve come up with this season, and none have come to fruitition… YET.)
Badassery: Ohhhh man, Hank was SOOOO ready to FUCK SHIT UP when he served that search warrant at Mike’s place. He was gonna RAM THAT DOOR DOWN and RIP UP HIS MATTRESS and find ALL THE DRUGS. But alas, he’d have to delay his gratification until Gomez nabbed that gross-cookie-loving hack Waxburger Burgerwaxer. And even then, Gomie got the glory, with that evil goatee of his perfectly framing one of the scariest smiles this show’s ever seen. Still, Hank scores some points for standing up to The Man and pressing on with the case anyway. 3 POINTS
Humor: Not a lot of chuckles from Hank, though I liked how he spent that DEA meeting doing homework for a different class. I know how that goes, buddy! And of course, the look of pure unfiltered freebase awkwardness on his face during Weepy Walt 2: The Squeakuel was as priceless as it was the first time we saw it. 2 POINTS
Morality: So I’ve mostly lauded Hank for not being a horrible, manipulative, borderline-sociopathic monster, but recently I’ve read some people talking about how he’s still a DEA agent, which makes him complicit in a largely shitty War on Drugs that tends to harm more than it helps, and also he beat the shit out of Jesse once and is occasionally kinda racist. GOOD POINTS ALL AROUND. But still, as far as dirty flatfoots go, Hank is pretty clean and seems to be in it for the right reasons? When he did beat the shit out of Jesse, he totally owned up to it, and he’s usually a nice guy to his family and co-workers. He’s not perfect, but he’s also not a murderous drug dealer, so I say he’s still tops when it comes to not-being-evil. 5 POINTS
Intelligence: Still hasn’t figured out the whole Walt thing, but he’s totally nailing every other part of the case! 4 POINTS
Kill Count: Seriously though, what if he commits suicide? WHAT IF? 0 POINTS
Total points: 14
Okay, so maybe Todd isn’t a dummy. He managed to get through his entire first cook without killing a single innocent teenager. He took notes and studied them diligently instead of watching a commercial for the Big Shtick (Great for cleaning bigger messes! UH OH). And he (honorably?) declined to discuss compensation until he got everything right. If I didn’t think Todd was a tarantula-torturing moron, I’d say he was fixin’ to do something pretty audacious! Either he really does want to be the best Todd he can be, or he’s beating Walt at a game of chess Walt doesn’t even realize he’s playing. However it turns out, hey, it seems like Todd might be an interesting and not just reprehensible character after all!
Badassery: What kind of badass studies? He’s gonna get stuffed in a locker at Crystal Meth High if he keeps being such a NERD! 0 POINTS
Humor: I liked the way he kinda smirked when Walt dropped a Lavoisier reference. “We both know I have no idea who the fuck you’re talking about, man.” 2 POINTS
Morality: The way he really applied himself showed that there may yet be a modicum of humanity behind that mask of OH WAIT HE SHOT A KID IN THE FACE NEVER MIND. 0 POINTS
Intelligence: He didn’t take basic chemistry in high school, and at first I was like “ha ha” but then I realized that I did take basic chemistry in high school and remember virtually none of it. So I guess we’re even! 5 POINTS
Kill Count: Todd has now gone two consecutive episodes without murdering a child! Yay! 0 POINTS
Total points: 7
Saul is like a really good relief pitcher: he may only show up for an inning or two, but damn if he doesn’t do his part to help the team win. His one scene was brief and panicky, but still filled with plenty of Saully goodness.
Badassery: I don’t know, it just feels like Saul is speaking with some realy gravitas lately. I can’t articulate these feelings I’m feeling! I think… I think that I think Saul is kinda badass! 1 POINT
Humor: Loved how pissed off he was that Mike used that HACK Daniel Waxburger instead of obeying his local bus bench and calling Saul. You could sense a real rivalry that should be explored if that Saul Goodman spinoff ever comes to fruition. Also, the drawer full of burners was classic. 5 POINTS
Morality: Eh, he’s just not a good guy. Let’s wait and see if he does anything actively good before we give him any more points here. 0 POINTS
Intelligence: Smart enough to know there was no way he could deliver Mike’s go bag without getting caught. And it definitely seems like Saul would have been smart enough to get out of that bank, especially after the bank lady barely cracked a smile at those delightful cake pops. 4 POINTS
Kill Count: No sign of Huell. I’m really, truly worried for his health and safety. Come back, Huell! Let us know you’re okay! 0 POINTS
Total points: 10
Recent Los Pollos Hermanos acquisition and presumed Meth King of Arizona Declan O’Irishname was mostly just the brunt of Walt’s badassery. But I can’t imagine we’ve seen the last of him.
Badassery: This guy has obviously done more than his fair share of middle-of-the-desert negotiations with mostly-bald badasses in big ol’ pickup trucks. I mean, he was totally at ease and in his element, and unlike Walt, didn’t feel the need to amp up his toughness to eleven. His experience certainly helped him hold his own against Walt, going punch-for-punch… until he was finally Heisenberg’d into submission. 3 POINTS
Humor: Flashed his winning smile when he chuckled at Walt’s Coca-Cola line. 1 POINT
Morality: Can we assume that Declan has killed way more people than Walt, and in far less compelling ways? 0 POINTS
Intelligence: His fairly salient points about how easy it would be to simply remove Walt from the market by killing him and how there maybe isn’t the biggest difference between 70ish% pure and 99.1% pure were all countered successfully. Still, the fact that Declan appears to have achieved near-Fring levels of stability indicate that, in the long run, he knows what he’s doing, way more so than Walt does. 3 POINTS
Kill Count: If he kills anybody, it should be that dude in entourage with the offensively awful haircut. (Just kidding, that’s a bad reason to kill somebody!) 0 POINTS
Total points: 7
Bench: Gomez probably would have netted me at least 6 badass points for that grin. No other appearances from my bench players, including Flynn, who is presumably still at Breakfast Lovers Sleepaway Camp.
The Fightin’ Meth-Heads
It’s seriously bonkers that Jesse used to be a shit-head scoundrel back in seasons one through three. He used to rely on Walt for everything and needed all the details of their operations spelled out. Season four’s excellent “Salud” saw him become an equal with Walt, but season five has shown the pupil surpass the master. Seriously, this is some Star Wars level sensei-against-student shit happening. If Jesse is Luke, then Mike is Yoda: the elderly master who is disappointed by his ward’s recklessness. Walt is Darth Vader, the evil genius, and Todd is young Anakin, the annoying piece of shit who gets his arms and legs chopped off (hopefully). After Walt’s terrible motivational speech about all the money and power they can make from selling drugs failed, Jesse walked out in a way that hurt Walter worse than any of the various beatings he’s received over the past four seasons.
Walt thought he could still intimidate Jesse, but he wasn’t the stoner idiot he was back in season three. Both Operation: Magnets, Bitch and the Great Methylamine Robbery were Jesse’s ideas, so hopefully season five, part 2 will sea Heisenberg vs. Pinkman with increasingly complicated criminal schemes, like “Spy vs. Spy”, but with “Meth Cook vs. Meth Cook”.
Side note: how hilarious/depressing/terrible was it that Walt’s motivational speech included a bit about how they are definitely going to Hell and then reminding Jesse about all the people they’ve murdered? “I know you’re upset someone got killed because of our operation, but LOTS of people have gotten killed because of us!”
Badassery: Seriously, after watching Jesse get manipulated by Walt all season, it was pretty god damn satisfying to see Jesse stand up for himself in the meth lab. When he left Walt screeching about how he won’t get any money, he had beaten the game and was out for good. Too bad Mike’s death will likely draw him back in and force him into a deathmatch with his former mentor, Kill Bill-style! 7 POINTS
Humor: With the exception of Saul, this episode was pretty devoid of humor, so not a lot to see here. Whether he was being blown off by Walt, awkwardly talking to Skyler, or yelling at Walt, Jesse was not really in the joking mood. 0 POINTS
Morality: Last week, Jesse got major points for walking away from a theoretical hundred million dollars, but at least he was getting enough money so he’d never need to work again. This week, he walked away from EVERYTHING. Kanye once asked “you got the power to let power go?” Jesse answered with a resounding “Yeah, bitch.” 9 POINTS
Intelligence: No daring train/magnet heists this week, but the decision to leave Walt and his five million dollars behind was a wise decision on several levels. 8 POINTS
Kill Count: Nothing this week, but, man, Mike’s death is definitely gonna motivate him to ice some motherfuckers in the next nine episodes. 0 points
Total points: 24
Mike’s death at the hands of Walt was a long time coming, but that didn’t make it sting any less. While the show was gearing up for Walt to kill Mike out of a desire to see more money or have more control of the business, it wound up happening because Walt’s precious ego was hurt when Mike correctly pointed out that Walt was a wanna-be gangster who ruined a good deal with Gus Fring out of a desire to, I don’t know, have random asshole drug dealers think he’s a big shot. The episode started off with the highest level of badass Walt will ever achieve and then ended with him whimpering like a ninny after taking a cheap-shot and killing the most competent character on the show. Sigh.
Mike was the main reason Heisenberg, Inc. got as far as it did and now it’ll fall like a house of cards that has been violently blown over by some goateed douchebag on a power trip. Hopefully he’s passed enough wisdom on to Jesse to see him through to a happy ending.
Godspeed, Mike, you beautiful bald bastard.
Badassery: When Walt didn’t find Mike in his car, I got CHILLS. Of course, it turned out he was like fifteen feet away, but for a moment, it seemed like he was gonna live long enough to tell Jesse or, at the very least, make Walt look like a real moron for few hours. Also, check out how many guns the dude owned! 6 POINTS
Humor: Watching a movie while the DEA raids your house? Mike knows his LOLs. 3 POINTS
Intelligence: He got out while the gettin’ was still good, he had a redundancy plan in case things went South. Really the only thing he did wrong was trust Walt, which was, admittedly, pretty dumb. 5 POINTS
Morality: Basically anyone Walt hates is a good person and anyone he kills is probably a great person. 9 POINTS
Kill Count: *sniff* He’s killing angels now. 0 POINTS
Total points: 23
Not a lot of Skyler this week. In fact, there wasn’t a lot of anyone not directly involved with the drug trade. Still, Skyler had one pretty good scene and the show is definitely setting her up for some major shit down the line. Seriously, I have ten bucks on either her killing Walt or Walt killing her.
Badassery: Kind of hard to be a badass when you’re being pushed around by your sociopathic husband. 0 POINTS
Humor: Ditto on humor. 0 POINTS
Morality: But, yo, it IS easy to come off like a good person when all you have to do is not actively betray your friends and business partners. 5 POINTS
Intelligence: Also, it’s probably good that she’s questioning why Walt is hiding a gigantic barrel of chemicals in her car-wash. 2 POINTS
Kill Count: Unrelated: What if Skyler did something to the chemicals?? Haha, that would totally screw Walt over! It’d screw him over so bad he’s probably kill her! Haha! I hope that doesn’t happen! 0 POINTS
Total points: 7
No Lydia this week, but she’s definitely there next week, which we’ll need after Mike’s untimely exit.
Total points: 0
Similarly no Cancer this week, but it still gets a point out of anticipation for it fucking shit up.
Total points: 1
Bench: Not a big showing for the bench, unless maybe you count Declan thinking that the Cartel took out Fring as some badass points for the once-illustrious organization.
Waiver Wire: Lou wanted to draft the food-obsessed bank woman until he was informed that the rule of Temporal Linearality prevented him from scoring retroactive points for when she asked if there was bacon in her bacon-banana cookies.
Los Pollos Hermanos: 55
The Fightin’ Meth-Heads: 55
Thanks to the Breaking Bad Fantasy League’s first ever draw, Los Pollos Hermanos and The Fightin’ Meth-Heads go into the final episode-game with a score of 3.5 games apiece. With Mike out of the picture, The Fightin’ Meth-Heads are gonna need a combination of Skyler and Jesse to score major points and hope that Los Pollos Hermanos’ players sit it out.