Spoilers for previously aired episods of Breaking Bad follow
The first episode of the bittersweet last season of Breaking Bad premiered last night and it was epic. I didn’t realize how much I really missed this show and these characters until they came back and reminded me. In this episode, we got to see Walt and Jesse struggling to pick up the pieces, and cover their asses, after Walt’s assassination of their boss, Gus Fring. We also saw how loyal Jesse is toward Walt, a loyalty based on a supreme lie that we now know their lawyer, Saul, was in on. (We didn’t know that until now, did we?)
Here’s a recap from CBS, which is good overview of what happened but it doesn’t really capture how excellent this episode was. I doubt words can. There were a lot of brilliant lines and darkly humorous moments. My favorite was when Mike and Walt were arguing about blowing up the evidence room by planting an incendiary device and Jesse was in the background trying to convince them to use a magnet to erase the laptop’s hard drive remotely, which they ultimately did.
The episode, titled “Live Free or Die,” mainly focused on the aftermath of last season’s explosive finale, but first we see chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-dealer Walter White (Bryan Cranston) having some breakfast. (Warning: Spoilers ahead.)
When the episode begins Walt is sitting at a Denny’s, where he just ordered bacon and eggs. He arranges the bacon into a “52″ on his plate, and tells the waitress it’s his birthday. He also shows her a fake ID and tells her he’s from New Hampshire. (Something to note: “Live Free or Die” is the state’s motto.)
Another man enters the restaurant and both head into the bathroom. There, Walt passes him an envelope and then man gives him a set of car keys. In the parking lot, Walt opens a car with a New Hampshire license plate and grabs a gym bag. He then opens the trunk of another car in the same parking lot, which has a machine gun inside. He places the gym bag inside and the show cuts to commercial. The scene is likely a flash-forward, which means Mr. White will stay alive – for now, at least.
Back in the present, Walt needs to destroy evidence that links him, Jesse (Aaron Paul) and fixer Mike (Jonathan Banks) to Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), the fast-food mogul/drug kingpin he killed at the end of last season. He remembers that Gus had cameras set up in the meth lab and needs to get rid of that surveillance footage.
Mike tells Walt that the footage all went to a laptop that was in Gus’ office – a laptop that is now in police custody. But that doesn’t stop Walt, who uses his science background to figure out a brilliant way to destroy the computer without stepping foot inside the police station – a super-powerful magnet.
Walt gets a giant magnet and sets it up in the back of a van, which they pull up alongside the station. It works – first a tricycle starts moving, and soon the laptop is in a pile of damaged evidence.
When Mike asks if they can be sure the magnet scrambled the laptop, Walter responds coldly, “Because I said so.” If last season’s finale didn’t cement it, this does – we’re dealing with a different kind of Walter White now.
Walt’s wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn), meanwhile, is terrified of him. When she asks about Gus’ death, which is all over the Albuquerque news, he tells her, “It’s over. We’re safe. I won.” But she doesn’t feel safe at all – she now knows he’s not just a drug dealer, but a murderer too. At the end of the episode, he comes back to the house and forgives her for lending her former boss/lover Ted money, letting her off the hook for taking his funds, but also, chillingly, letting her know that she’s stuck with him.
One other thing to note: As officers were going through the items destroyed in the evidence, room, they noticed something hidden behind a smashed picture frame from Gus’ office – a handwritten note in the corner that says “Bancsuisse Cayman” above what looks like a routing number.
Walt is in control now, and we saw him assert that in the car with Mike, when he said that Mike would have to trust him that nothing in the magnet truck would be traceable. We also saw it come out big time when he got all up in Saul’s face and told him that their relationship wasn’t over until he said it was over. In that scene, Walt had one of my favorite lines. “You took it upon yourself to give away $622,000 of my money to a man who had been sleeping with my wife.” Later, Walt goes up to his wife Skyler and tells her he forgives her, presumably for having an affair. We all know that she’s not the one who needs forgiving.
So what was future Walt running from at the beginning of the episode? And will the money ultimately lead back to Walt and Jesse? Is Walt’s cancer going to get him before the feds do? I’m so excited, but I know it’s going to go fast. This season is airing in two parts, with eight episodes this year and eight episodes next year. We’ll have to savor it.
Photo credit: AMC TV
Written by Celebitchy
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