Breaking Good – A.Ron’s Breaking Bad Instant Review – “Bullet Points” – 404

Looking for Jim’s take?

Wow.  I know a lot of people were sort of losing the faith in the show the past two episodes, but this one delivered, and promises so much for next week and the weeks beyond.

From the cold (heh) open to the final scene, this episode was relentlessly  entertaining.

I might be in the minority, but I find Walt and Skyler in the beginning of their criminal collaboration to be fairly realistic, frequently funny, and sometimes touching.  I know Jim does not share my views, and I know that because of his mutters of “god, what a bitch” in scene after scene while we’re watching.

See, I think Skyler has a point in all this.  Walt comes out of this looking pretty good, and Skyler comes out of it looking like a reactionary harpie to Walt Jr, Hank, and I suspect, knowing what we know about her, Marie.  I don’t think people give her enough credit for not throwing the whole “HE’S A FRIGGING DRUG DEALER” out there during season three.  We wouldn’t even be able to have the debate about her being a bitch if she did that.  I mean, that’s a lot to deal with, no?  And wait until she catches up to where Walt is right now.

I really liked the scene with Walt in Saul’s office, because this is the first time I’ve seen Walt articulate how trapped he is, and how his secrets are still creating a wall between his family and him.  With Skyler’s new fiction, there are walls within walls at this point.  How did everything get screwed up, indeed.

I’m fascinated with what’s going on with Jesse.  He doesn’t give a damn about anything, and Mike and Gus have taken notice.  The question is, what conclusion are they taking from it?  I saw a lot of people making the point that Gus might have been impressed with the way Jesse reacted to Victor’s execution.  And the eye on the sky was downright obsessed with Jesse’s businesslike approach in the lab. Obviously, I don’t think Jesse’s being driven to his death in the desert.  I wonder if this is the beginning of him being groomed for bigger things than just cooking meth.  Gus might be trying to give him other, more criminally constructive outlets for his anger and grief.  I’ve got a lot more to say about the subject, but I’m going to save a bit for the cast tomorrow.

Other thoughts:

  • This felt like a half hour episode to me.  I was genuinely shocked for the first time this season when the credits rolled.  Extremely fast paced.
  • Mike’s ear made me squirm about as much as Victor’s throat.  That looked like it stung a bit.  There was a bit of suspension of disbelief problem for me that Mike survived the massacre of the refrigerator chicken truck.  I wish Gilligan and company would do a bit more due dilligence in their writing.  Maybe have Mike build a little armored bunker in the truck to hide in.  That would make him seem even more badass and crazy prepared.
  • Was Hank fishing a little when he asked if WW could mean “Walter White?”  On the one hand… nah, he couldn’t be.  On the other hand, Dean Norris sure seemed to play it like that was quite a bit more than an idle thought.  Nice dodge by Walt.
  • A bit more about Walt and Skyler’s relationship; to me, what makes it bearable is that Walt doesn’t just roll over anymore.  I thought he fought back and held his ground in a pretty respectable manner, but also yielded where appropriate too.  I hope you guys don’t mind a bit of naval gazing when I quiz Jim on the dichotomy between the way I view their relationship and the way he (and a lot of you guys do, too, I’m sure) does, but I find it really interesting.
  • I’ve got to say, Gale seemed like such a cool guy.  I wish we could have been friends.  A true renaissance man.  For a meth maker, anyway.
  • Interesting that Gilligan and company has Saul throw the “Endgame option” out there this early.  I want to mull over whether I make this an official prediction, but I’m leaning toward elevating this to Chekhov’s gun status.  I think at least some of the main characters will exit the series in this fashion, to a somewhat happy ending.  More on this in tomorrow’s cast.
  • About Gale’s rendition of Major Tom (Coming Home); in my research for show notes, I discovered that William Shatner (!)  is covering this (!!) in his new heavy metal (!!!) album to be released later this year.  I think that might count as proof of the existence of a God who loves and cares for His creation.
  • I realize that the following will expose me as a major nerd.  So be it.  I think it’s funny that one of episode 404’s key plot points was Jesse being Not Found.
So, that’s what I thought.  What did you think?  Let us know!  We’ll read as much of your thoughts and theories as we can.  Jim and I both have a fairly normal schedule tomorrow (knock on wood), so we’ll be recording the cast early tomorrow evening, and releasing it late Monday night/early Tuesday morning.  See you guys tomorrow for a Breaking Bad News!