Breaking Bad Season 5, Episode 4 Deconstructed

by: Michael Shields

The war at home….

We have reached the half-way point of the first half of the final season and with it came the return of the Heisenberg hat.  Welcome back. You were missed.  Episode 4, “Fifty-One”, reminds us in full what this show is about.  It’s a show about morality, about why we do right and what makes us do wrong, and the justifications that we will use to explain away either.  This show isn’t just about enjoying the thrilling roller coaster ride of a simple man becoming a powerful gangster, it goes much deeper and it’s episodes like this that bring us back to the core of things.  The war isn’t only in the streets or the lab or with the DEA….the war is at home and tension there has never reached this level ((Even when Skyler dropped the IFT bomb….”I fucked Ted.”)).

Skyler, to many, can be seen as the foil, a thorn in Walt’s side.  We have been rooting for Walt for sometime now and she has been, simply put, a stick in the mud ruining Walt’s fun at every turn.  But things have changed, dramatically. We now see Walt ((And his “bullshit rationales”)) as he truly is – or, more aptly put, as he has become….and it ain’t pretty.  Skyler finally turned off her mute button and fought back this week and good on her ((“Whatever it takes.”)).  I would like to officially announce that I will be joining ‘Team Skyler’ for the rest of the ride ((But first and foremost I remain a loyal member of ‘Team Jesse’.  Jesse, as I have said before, cares.  He fights for Lydia’s life in this episode….not because he thinks she didn’t do anything wrong but because he is still not okay with murder.”)).  She faces an uphill battle until she can get some help from the inevitable…..the return of the cancer.

Some of this weeks most memorable lines:

“Hey yo, pool party.” -Hank

“The one with the lady banjo eyes.” – Hank

“That’s what I get for being sexist.” – Mike

“The easiest, most delicious baby that was ever born.” – Marie

“Nothing stops this train.  Nothing.” – Heisenberg

It confuses me that Walt was naive enough to truly believe he had a birthday party waiting for him.  I have been under the assumption that he just didn’t care about Skyler’s fragile condition  ((The bite of the apple in ‘Hazard Pay’ driving this point home I figured)), not that he was oblivious to it.  But maybe it’s a little from column A and a little from column B.  Maybe Walt is so caught up in himself to see clearly what is happening around him ((Purchasing 2 brand new cars can only be described with one word….reckless.)).  A late-night post meal swim and a heated conversation after it surely opened his eyes some.

We are left, at episodes end, wondering what the ticking watch ((A gift from Jesse in a very touching yet heartbreaking moment.  The kid just wants a mentor – he got a monster)) on Walt’s night stand means.  I think it is safe to assume the obvious….Walt has already been referred to by Mike as a ticking time bomb ((And that the cancer could catch up with him as well)).  The screen went black briefly after the clock hit 50 ((I can’t help but believe Walt’s screen is going to go blank soon after 50 as well, soon after 52 to be exact.))….

So, happy birthday Walt.  It certainly was a memorable one.

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