Loved this episode! Hardly a slow moment. This is the best morality tale ever on TV. Happy 51st birthday, Walt! It has been one year in the Breaking Bad universe, and oh what a year. Walt felt the need to get a new car. Two, actually. One is for Flynn. Since Skyer is so quiet she’s nearly comatose, Walt feels like the midlife-crisis mobile would be better received this time. During most of the episode, Skyler is acting like some sort of depressed marriage slave, not talking and just doing whatever Walt wants her to do.
Walt suggests a birthday party for himself. It’s sickening how Walt just sits and pretends nothing is wrong, like everything in the marriage is copasetic, when Skyler is clearly not happy about being married to a drug lord. Walt plunks money down on the kitchen sink and tells Skyler that he’s back in the business, only he’s the boss now that Gus is dead.
Skyler invites Hank and Marie over for a birthday dinner. Walt makes a big speech about survival and family and his cancer days, and Skyler ruins it by getting into the pool, fully dressed, and submerging herself. Since she’s an adult, everyone freaked out. Hank and Marie offer to take the kids for a couple of days while Walt and Skyler work on their marriage. This is all according to Skyler’s plan. Skyler doesn’t want Flynn and the baby around Kingpin Walt and his criminal empire.
When Hank and Marie leave, Walt and Skyler get into one of the most vicious arguments of all time. He is scary. Scary controlling, scary smug, and scary threatening. Skyler, not to be outdone as a horrible human being, pulls her trump card: I’m just gonna wait until the cancer comes back and kills you. We’re sure she’s not sweating the cigarettes since her secondhand smoke might just help it along.
It’s not the thing you want to say to your husband, but what other choice does she have? He backed her into that corner, verbally. Walt doesn’t just have physical cancer. He has a moral cancer, all mixed up with his own vanity and clear overestimation of his intellectual gifts. No one denies Skyler has been annoying since this show’s pilot, but Walt’s failure of integrity and wake of destruction have compromised the marriage. Skyler is a prisoner in her own home, partly because of her own bad choices.
Walt is leaving Skyler with no options but to wait until the time runs out, a theme emphasized by the ticking watch at the end of the episode. Is that how this series is going to end? Is Walt just going to die of cancer? That would be both perfect and not enough. Man, that fight scene bummed us out so much, but it was also so, so good. Once again (and forever), the only person we care about on this show is Jesse Pinkman. And maybe baby Holly and Hank. Hank is totally going to die though. Hell, everyone is probably going to die..
In other news, Lydia’s warehouse is visited by Hank and the D.E.A. and the guy she was going to have deliver the methylamine is arrested. He gives her a dirty look as the cops haul him away, knowing that he has to be quiet and take the fall for her. Hank totally suspects Lydia. The man is brilliant. Hank is BACK. He’s not collecting those rocks and verbally abusing Marie anymore. He’s promoted, back to work, and in good spirits. Adversity is good for Hank.
Mike sends Jesse to pick up the methylamine from Lydia. After a tense first meeting, Lydia and Jesse spot a D.E.A. tracker attached to the methylamine barrel. Mike realizes that Lydia planted the tracker herself so that Mike would think the cops were watching her and leave her alone. Mike decides to kill her, but Jesse (obviously) protests. Walt is the tie-breaker: Lydia lives because they need methylamine.
Sidenote: Ern has that shirt with Jesse’s face on it that says “YO BITCH!” under the face. (And I will not take it off.)
Episode grade: A-