Breaking Good – Jim’s Breaking Bad Instant Review – “Cornered” – 406

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Have you ever felt like you’ve made a decision because you wanted to, when in reality you made it because you had to? If I were asking Walt, Skyler, Gus and the rest of the Breaking Bad cast that question tonight, they’d probably answer no; not because they’d never done it but because they didn’t realize that they’d done it.

The episode title tonight – “Cornered” – is relevant to almost every character on the show so I’ll just break it down that way.


Of all the characters, Walt is appropriately the most cornered.  He spells out as much to Skyler when she questions him about the danger he’s in.  He tells her that he can’t quit.  A huge, albeit illegal, business operation is depending on him to continue manufacturing their product.  The prideful side of Walt loves that idea.  Yet the intellectual side of him knows that he can’t do this forever.  I think he agrees with Skyler that going to the police is a good idea but he’s too prideful to ever do it even if it means Gus will replace and kill him eventually.  After all, he stands behind every decision he’s made, as he tells his son over breakfast, even when they’re ones he was forced to make. (such as the choice to kill Gale)

There’s certainly a dark side building in Walt.  His clothing in this episode is actually very interesting.  Notice the shades of red darken as he disrobes; from a vibrant red button-up to a deep, dark maroon undershirt.  The only layer left to peel away is Walt himself.  I suspect we’d find his soul darker still.  This also does not bode well for the all-black-wearing Walt Jr.

Walt is a cornered dog.  He will strike back.


The “Cornered” reference for Skyler is multi-layered.  Of course we see her at the Four Corners Monument where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah intersect.  That’s an obvious reference.  What may not be as obvious is just how much Walt has cornered her into this lifestyle.

All along we’ve seen Skyler make true sacrifices for her family.  While Walt is out getting rich and leading a life of excitement, Skyler is home taking care of the family, working an extra job to provide for them and making the hard choices that will actually keep them safe.  She has allowed people to see her as a cold bitch every step of the way while Walt causes all the problems and is given sympathy.  And now, when she learns that he’s lied once again and she’s seen the man that Walt has become she still can’t bring herself to abandon them.  As she flips the quarter a second time, fate tells her  to leave for good, yet she can’t abandon her son or Walt even now.  She drove out to that dessert to make a decision.  What she didn’t realize is that she had already made the decision; the only one her heart would let her make.  She’s in that corner for better or worse.


I can’t believe how masterfully Gus has played Jesse against Walt.  Not only is Gus building an ally in Jesse by turning him against Walt but he’s using Walt’s own pride to do it.  And yet, he’s very much cornered as well.  The Cartel is closing in.  They’ve stolen his product and are using it send him messages.  The war is a corner that Gus is trying desperately not to be backed into.  He’s trying to keep it “cold” by refusing to return fire.  But the walls are closing in and sooner or later Gus will find himself in the corner regardless.  These do not seem like reasonable men.  Even though he would prefer not to go to war, eventually Gus will “decide” to act out of self preservation.

That’s it for my Breaking Bad Instant Review this week.  As always, I have so much more to say.  We’re recording the podcast tomorrow evening so if you’d like to send us your thoughts you should do so by then.  You can send them to me via our Twitter account @BreakGood, A.Ron can be messaged on Facebook and we’re both available day and night via email.  Thanks for reading my review and I’ll see you next week.