Breaking Bad Season 5, Episode 5 Deconstructed

by: Michael Shields

We are set up early in this week’s Breaking Bad…only to be eventually knocked dead…..

“It’s all about the weight yo!”

I forgot about him too…..I’ll admit it.  It wasn’t just you.

For the first 25 minutes of this week’s Breaking Bad episode, entitled ‘Dead Freight’, I could think of little else besides the kid on the dirt-bike who doesn’t share my fear of spiders.  I couldn’t get him out of my mind.  It was obvious his involvement in our story would come full circle as Vince Gilligan is a master of unleashing the chickens home to roost, but I quickly became distracted by ‘The Great Methylamine Heist of 2012’1.

If this were any other show, and a team such as this, comprised of “professionals” in fields such as drug dealing, drug production, and pest control2, were devising a plan to rob a train I might have to call Shenanigans.  I might put up my guard and choose not to buy it – until they successfully sold it to me.  We have already withstood a plot-line involving an elephantine magnet3 but this seemed absolutely outrageous at conception.  But when Walt coldly and proudly responded “robbing a train!” to Skyler, who noticed Walt’s dirt stained pants and condescendingly, and actually innocently4, questioned him by asking “out burying bodies?”….I knew it was time to buckle up for a hell of a ride.  They delivered 5.

Some of this week’s most memorable lines:

“Everyone sounds like Meryl Streep with a gun to their head.” -Mike

“You mean like the mafia??” -Jesse   /  “Yeah, like the mafia.” – Mike

“What about Emo McGee?” -Hank

“Who said anything about barrels, I’m talking about an ocean of this stuff.” -Lydia

We know little about Todd6, but we now know two things.  We know that he shares Mike’s philosophy about there being two types of heists….”those where the guys get away, and those where they leave witnesses.”  We also know that he will shoot a kid7 at the drop of a hat if that is what it is going to take to get the job done.  Although Walt and Mike will assuredly have few problems with Todd’s bold decision8 to rid the world of this future entomologist, you can be sure of one thing……Jesse is not okay with it.

Jesse, as well are all fully aware of, has a storied history of keeping kids out of ‘the game’.  It took Walt’s ‘Full Measure’9 to keep this wholly intact segment of Jesse’s moral code of conduct from getting him killed in the past – and the Brock situation must only heighten his sensitivity.  Jesse will not be pleased, that is for certain…..the real question is:  Is the fact that Walt will be okay with this the beginning of the end for these two?  Is this the straw that will break the camel’s back?  Even as Walt placed him in the precarious position of being beneath a moving train Jesse, after seeing Walt’s joy in the heist’s success, joins him in celebration instead of chewing him out for cutting it wayyyyyy to close.  They are tight right now, as tight as two people can be while one fully manipulates the other, but this may just be too much for Jesse to handle.  We all know that this is likely to send Jesse over the edge…..I am curious how he lands…..

The BIG FINISH !!!! (Some closing thoughts brought to you at a blistering pace and with no regard for cohesion):  Hank10 noticing Walt’s watch11 so quickly is both another piece of the puzzle to Hank’s full realization and also another manifestation of Walt’s sloppiness12.  Hank looked comfortable holding and playing with little Holly White…..I could see those three, including Marie of course, together when all is said and done.  The fact that Mike was able to take part in this heist is befuddling as the DEA should be draping him like a blanket, but I believe next week’s episode entitled ‘Buyout’ delves into that further.  It turns out Mike is still bitter that Lydia put a hit out on him….and I believe Lydia may find some favor from Walt due to that.  And, if Walt and Skyler’s relationship continues down this precarious path all clues lead to an unpleasant conclusion….death…..by ricin13……in the Virginia Slim’s……in the Living Room.

  1. We have our second Jesse James reference of the season, the first in the episode entitled ‘Hazard Pay’. []
  2. Lydia calling Walt, Mike, and Jesse out on their professionalism was a strong play…point: Lydia []
  3. Please note that both plans were conceived by Jesse as Walt and Mike verbally assaulted each other in Jesse’s home – Jesse was aided in devising this plan by practicing a little fluid displacement with his soda []
  4. She still doesn’t know how scared she really should be. []
  5. This episode was written and directed masterfully by George Mastras []
  6. It is indescribably hard for an FNL fan such as myself to not refer to him as Landry for the rest of my days []
  7. In the first scene the young boy, after capturing the tarantula, hears a train whistle and then drives towards it – attention to detail. []
  8. Undoubtedly a decision inspired by his conversation with Walt and Jesse earlier. []
  9. The thirteenth episode and finale of the third season. []
  10. I you haven’t – check out Hank’s blog! []
  11. The birthday gift from Jesse in ‘Fifty-One’ []
  12. 2 new cars []
  13. Still hidden in the outlet in the bedroom []

10 Comments

  • I can already hear Jesse being reminded that he’s the one who told Todd there could be no witnesses to the heist…

  • Walt has lost his moral code and he will probably pay for that. Either Jesse, Skyler, Walt Jr, or his daughter is going to die at the end of the season. That’s my prediction.

  • Walt Jr. and his love of breakfast will protect him and his lil’ sister. As for Jessie and Skyler their situation is a lot more dire.

  • One of my favorite TV shows of all time…but it felt like a bit of a shark jump halfway through the episode. I was definitely on the edge of my seat and the ending was killer.

    I know we are all sympathetic towards Jesse (he loves kids!), but the guy is a killer and is involved in shit that has serious consequences. I cannot give him a pass.

  • i honestly think Skyler may commit suicide and/or Jr. will wreck his car and die. He looks like a drifter who has nothing during his 52nd birthday scene at Denny’s.

  • I hear you Lindsay. When I saw Wlat Jr. sitting in that red sports car I couldn’t help but think that Walt just bought him a giant red TARGET and that this isn’t going to end well. He completely looked like a drifter on his 52nd birthday….

  • Bert,

    I do not understand how someone could not be sympathetic towards Jesse. He was a lost kid when he got into the drug game and everything that has led him to this point, including killing Gale, is because of manipulation by an evil man.

    I will not give Jesse a pass. No one who shoots another man in the face deserves that. He is a murderer. No question. But he still has some good left in him (Walt doesn’t seem to) and there seems to be some sort of moral code still intact. And watching him mature (some of the finer character development I have seen on television) over the course of the show has been remarkable.

    Team Jesse!

  • How can you be sympathetic? He wasn’t abandoned by his folks or brought up on the streets. They loved him and he was a petulant little shit that thought he was a tough guy, gang banger, yo! He chose his path and got manipulated because he wasn’t as good at the game as others. He’s got a code, but it’s a fucked up one. Amazing character and he’s definitely grown. But he’s still a bad guy.

  • I still don’t agree. It’s too easy to say that just because you have what seems to be a healthy childhood (his parents seem like pricks and squares if you ask me – tough love is for the 1950s and 60s and a square is a shape not a lifestyle) that it isn’t easy for misguided youth (I can assure you I was definitely one – adding to the fact that I can sympathize with this character) to take the wrong path. It only takes a couple of bad decisions and some bad luck and even the strongest man can end up on the wrong end of society’s judging finger.

    Not at one point will I say he is a good guy. But having a code at all makes me look at him in a different light than the others, and he is still growing up and finding his way…..unlike the man who manipulates him like a puppet.

    The code I speak of is much like Omar’s from the Wire. Yeah, its a fucked up one like you allude to….but like Omar wouldn’t put his gun on anyone who wasn’t in the game Jesse won’t stand for killing unless it HAS TO BE DONE. I can respect something about that.

    Team Jesse.

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