by: Michael Shields
It’s dinner at the White’s as the crew begins to dissolve….
This past week I stumbled upon the above picture on the ole World Wide Web. I quickly shared it with those in my world that have the same enthusiasm towards Breaking Bad as I do. We all, for a lack of better words and some laziness in conceiving ones, freaked out. An email thread materialized with “no fucking way’s” and jokes about Skyler looking pleased while hording her own bottle of wine. We were blown away–and what blew us away was simply a picture of three people sitting at a table together eating dinner1. But we all know it is SO much more than that. And that, right there, illustrates just how incredible of a show we have here2.
Before we move forward let’s run some numbers, as we encountered plenty in the episode. 666 gallons of Methylamine on the black market goes for just a hair under 10 million dollars3, first gallon is on the house of course. Walt doesn’t want in on the deal, avoiding a cool 5 million like the plague, which confuses Jesse as when it all began Walt’s goal, as he ran some numbers himself, was $737,000. But Walt has sold part of his business before to disastrous results, unloading his share of Gray Matter4 for a measly $5,000. Today Gray Matter is worth 2.16 billion dollars. Walt knows this as he checks on it’s value weekly 5.
This weeks episode, ‘Buyout’, saw the beginning of the end of The Big Three. Mike wants out as the heat is all over him, and Jesse is rattled by the murder of a 14 year old kid6. Not only do they want out but they have a get-rich-quick scheme lined up before they exit stage right swinging the stolen Methlymine to Walt’s “competition”, a man named Declan. This week’s episode also saw the return of Saul and thank all that is good in the world. If I have one complaint with this current and final season it’s not enough Saul…..but I have an insatiable appetite for his witticisms. He kills me.
Some of this week’s most memorable lines:
“Shit happens…huh?” – Todd 7
“Did I make a mistake Mr. White?” – Todd
“Cause Ricky Hitler there shot him.” – Jesse
“I would never come to the headquarters of our illegal meth operation dragging a bunch of cops Walter.” – Mike
“You and I are going to spend the rest of the night together in this office – like it’s my birthday.” – Mike
“I don’t know what it is you find so interesting abut my client. I’m not here to judge….different strokes and all….but sadly he’s just not that into you.” -Saul
“Schrader’s hard on for you just reached Uncle Milty proportions….have fun with that.” -Saul
This week’s opening scene is unquestionable the most haunting introductory scene to date. The humanity of the crew dissolving away in front of our eyes along with the motor bike and a kid who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Things have gone much too far. It even appears Jesse sees this. And he may have also seen, for the first time, that Mr. White has gone to the dark side for good, rubbing his head in disbelief as Walt tells him he isn’t in either the meth or the money business, but into it for a much more self gratifying reason. It seems fitting that we get a look at Walt chained to a radiator like the animal he is…..but, once again, he escapes in true Walt fashion with another one of his surefire plans.
I found the episode to be this seasons best. It doesn’t take a train heist, magnets, or loss of life for Breaking Bad to be great. The greatness in the show has always been that it is a case study in morality. This week we saw Walt at his not broken, but shattered beyond repair, home wallowing in his whiskey drink and holding onto all that he has left……his meth business. A newly mature Jesse puts things in perfect perspective and in the process shows us how far he hast truly come asking Walt: “Is a meth empire really something to be proud of?8”. Rock bottom is usually a lonely place, but Walt is versed at taking those around him along for the party.
So Walt, please tell us as I haven’t seen a smile on anyone’s face in a long time……how is it exactly that “everybody wins” ????.
- Walt returning the invitation he received from Jesse earlier in the season [↩]
- Jesse’s table banter was, in a word, epic! [↩]
- Rounding up makes it an easier cut for Mike and Jesse [↩]
- He even came up with the name of the company. [↩]
- It appears this is part of his motivation for being in the “Empire business”, or at least his latest rationale [↩]
- And Mr. White’s obvious ambivalence to it–whistling away without a care in the world under the tent as Jesse trembles with regret and disgust [↩]
- Looking ever bit of the creep that he certainly is while holding the tarantula enclosed jar. [↩]
- A younger Jesse would be damn proud of a thriving meth empire [↩]