Monday, August 27, 2012
Breaking Bad - "Say My Name"
Oh my God. Breaking Bad is never short on "Oh my God" moments and last night—actually, before we get into that, I just want to bring up a few other things.
It's the end of an era at Breaking Bad. Walt and Jesse are splittsville. And now Walt's got a new man, new guy Todd (fuck new guy Todd). This was an episode in which I thought about being careful what you wish for. For such a long time I've been hoping that Jesse would finally see through Walt's manipulative shenanigans and kick his sorry ass to the curb. And now Jesse has finally done it, parted with Walt—even foregoing his five million dollars. So part of me was thrilled, but then I realized, "shit, this might be the end of Jesse on the show."
And not only that, for a replacement, we'll have to deal with new guy Todd (fuck new guy Todd). Even Walt felt a tinge of sadness as he suited up before training the new guy. And now we're starting the cycle again. Walt, master manipulator that he is, goes into father/teacher mode with new guy Todd, letting him know that he is a subordinate. Ordinarily, I'd be upset that Walt is bringing another kid under his manipulative power, but this is child murderer Todd we're talking about. Fuck that guy.
But, as you know, we had a much sadder parting on this episode: Walt's murder of Mike. I never thought I’d be upset to see a cold-blooded murdering gangster get offed, but this is one of the saddest deaths the show has presented. And it was made all the sadder when Walt realized he didn't have to kill Mike; he had another way of discovering the names of the nine guys. How? Who knows (probably Lydia); tune in next week to find out.
If I had any complaints with this episode, it was that I didn't understand why Mike would continue to trust Walt: be it in setting up the new distribution deal at the beginning, or in bringing him his go bag at the end. Still, this was a mighty powerful episode in a season full of them.
(My apologies for the brevity of this write-up. I woke up late and didn't have time to write a proper review. I'll make most of my points in the notes section below. Also, please, I'd love to discuss the episode in the comments.)
I wonder if it's more than a coincidence that the title of this episode, "Say My Name," is also the title of a Destiny's Child song about a jealous lover worried that her boyfriend is seeing someone in the side. Walt, as you know, is more than a little jealous of the pull that Mike has with Jesse. Check out Walt's creepy peeping stare at Jesse and Mike as the two say goodbye.
Only Breaking Bad could make a scene in a safe deposit vault so exciting.
I love Saul’s drawer full of cell phones. What a goddamn crooked lawyer.
Note the parallels to Fring's call to Hank at the end of "One Minute" when Walt calls up Mike to warn him of the impending DEA bust. Walt is the new man in charge, the all-knowing eye in the sky who can warn of impending danger.
This is the first time I can remember that we've seen Mike break his cool. When the cops arrive at the park, he looks genuinely scared. And then with the final meet with Walt, Mike finally blows his top, screaming at the ego-machine.
Even at the doorstep of death, Walt can't let Mike have peace.
"Your play, Walter. Your on your own."
"So, it’s grade school T-ball vs. the Yankees."
"You all know who I am. Say my name."
"You’re goddamn right."
"Kid, just look out for yourself."
"Why not, you deserve it. You’re every bit as good as me."
"Being the best at something is a very rare thing. You don’t just throw that away."
"You and I have done things that are just as bad."
"We’re already going there, but I’m not gonna lie down until I get there."
"You want it just as much as I want it, and it’s not wrong to want it."
"Whatever, man, you won’t pay me; I don’t care. It’s on you."
"Listen and apply yourself. If you do that, you might just have a fighting chance here."
"We can talk money once I get this right."
"Yeah, I can’t just up and leave town like you, Mike. I’ve got a family; I’ve got people who depend on me."
"Shut up, Walt. Let me die in peace."