Note: Episode review contains substantial spoilers.
I’ll take my liquor with a drop of poison…
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My goodness…the action was ramping up at a steady pace on Breaking Bad until last night’s thrilling showdown in the deserts of Mexico. Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse (Aaron Paul) have always been the paramount focuses of the series but things are starting to shift in Jesse’s favor. The importance placed on his actions, decisions, and the way he carries himself are greater than ever. Before last night’s episode I was chewing my nails as I wondered if Jessie would survive among the Cartel sharks. While he did have the help of Gus (Giancarlo Esposito), much of their victory was thanks to how he held out on his own. Before digging into the scene-by-scene analysis, allow me to remind those who have not been keeping up with Breaking Bad to take a peek at our earlier review which outlines the premise of the series.
After the first scenes of Jesse laying down the law of the land among the Cartel chemists and seeing the smile grow on Gus’ face…I’m getting the feeling that perhaps Gus did see something in Jesse. Sure Gus is a user but the writers have proven to us that Gus is both clinical and mysterious in his approach. Perhaps there is no plan to do away with Walt but merely let Jesse do with him what he will. Jesse is finally starting to garner real power here but unlike Walt he tries as best as he can not to get drunk off it and stay real…or more like stay alive. I see Jesse as an incorruptible foil of the entire drug world – he’s not entirely passionate about the chemistry like Walt, he’s not a snake about the business like Gus, nor is he a violent predator like the Cartel dealers. This realistic portrayal of the honor among crooks makes Jesse’s character a dynamic and interesting figure in the series. I’m liking him more and more.
The father-son moment between Walt and Junior (RJ Mitte) was also a heart wrenching depiction of Walt’s feelings regarding Jesse. I appreciate how this series never depicts Walt as ever being on top of his game. The consequences are realistically spreading to those he cares for like his son or Jesse. Though many argued Walt simply viewed Jesse as his malleable student, I always had a feeling that he saw Jesse more as his own blood. The line he uttered under a pain killer haze in response to Junior last night of “that’s nice Jesse” proved this beyond a doubt. Both Junior and Jesse are aching for a father right now, a parental figure to take them under the wing – that is not happening. Walt’s too caught up in appearances and has forgotten the value of giving the straight story. I’m not saying he needs to fess up the whole meth plot to Junior but he’s got to give the poor kid some scrap of truth.
Speaking of telling the truth – my dear Skyler (Anna Gunn) is getting played worse than violin strings. I’m upset how she could make so easy a mistake but I got to hand it to the writers for finally showing the crack in her smarts. Sympathy be cursed – she should have known that a man unwilling to give up one red cent to clear out his accounts is not someone to be blessed with a Great Aunt’s fortune. I’m not buying that she’s afraid of the IRS tracing his mistakes back to her. Obviously Skyler still had some passions hidden in the depths of her heart. That of course is going to count for naught thanks to Saul (Bob Odenkirk) revealing the fully loaded Mercedes that raced onto her old flame’s bill.
The episode closed in true Breaking Bad style with one of the most brutal showdowns of the series. It is the ultimate irony that Gus took down most of the Cartel’s management through poisoning…something Jesse has half-heartedly been planning to do to Gus all along. Thanks to Gus having to taste a sample of the death liquor himself and Mike (Jonathan Banks) getting critically wounded in the firefight afterward – Jesse’s got quite the choice to make. It would be incredibly unlike Jesse to take them out now but the writers have proven that Jesse can take drastic measures when the time calls for it. Is it time for him to end Gus’ grip hold of the crystal meth empire and cause him to go bottom up or should he allow him to continue to be a force to be reckoned with?
[xrr label=”Breaking Bad S. 4 Ep. 10 ‘Salud’ is rated” rating=5/5]
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