Another secret: I don't make over seven million dollars a year. If I did, you can bet I wouldn't be sitting here right now, Gustav or no Gustav. I would have already faked my death, bought an island under a false identity, and lived out the rest of my days in slightly paranoid luxury. But this is not the way of the world for Walt, and I spent most of "Problem Dog" with my jaw agape or my teeth clenched or shaking my head as the pieces of a slow puzzle that have been this season so far come together with dizzying results.
Did anyone else believe there was a possibility after Jesse ranted during the group therapy session that the group would break out into applause and someone would come from off screen to hand Aaron Paul an Emmy? It's practically a dead-cert at this point, right? From his painful attempts at cleansing his mind via a POV shooter game (which was not only terrifying but also showed just how much meaning could be embodied by one simple word: restart) to his volunteering to be Walt's hired gun (again) to potentially executing said plan, twice, and then breaking down completely at group. Jesse is being pulled, hard, in two very different directions. Walt coldly appeals to his senses while Mike more warmly appeals to his sensibilities, speaking of loyalty, "which you have … just to the wrong guy." Jesse has been particularly sullen this season, with good reason, and his outburst at group was (as my watch-partner Martha mentioned), the most he's said since Episode 1. Jesse has been petulant, acquiescent, angry, defeated, obedient, defiant, confused, knowing, quiet and loud this season, from one moment to the next. As Walt loudly and obnoxiously self-destructs in front of us like a red sports car in flames in the New Mexico desert, Jesse, mirroring the faceless shirt he wore on the day of the cartel meet, has become a canvas of ever-fluctuating emotions, unsure of who he is and where he is headed next.
Elsewhere, Saul said it best (as he often does) regarding Walt's joyride: "As the kid's these days say, Epic Fail!" Walt angrily lambasts Skyler for not laundering his money fast enough (when, apparently, he never gave her any exact figures for how much she would need to filter in the first place), and she responds with advice Walt has not heeded at all this season: "don't … tangle with anyone." But that's more than one can ask of Walt, though he is, by his own admission, dealing with just one homicidal maniac at a time, at least (or, more accurately, he's getting Jesse to). Just when it seems that all of this has turned into a waiting game, Hank surprises us by connecting Gustav to the blue meth, the lab, Gale, Los Pollos Hermanos, an air filtration company in Germany, and everything else. It was a bold move to make when Gus is a "friend of law enforcement," but when he brilliantly produced that fingerprint … well done Hank, well done.
Four forces are marching towards each other for the final four episodes, each one with a varying degree of knowledge about the other foes: Gus and Mike, the cartel, Hank and the DEA, Walt and Jesse. Looks like there might be some alliances formed, however uneasy. I was afraid "Breaking Bad" was getting into "True Blood" territory with the "monster of the season who will be pretty easily defeated at the end without any important lives lost," but I think Gus looks to have staying power into the final season of "Breaking Bad," and I hope he does. He is the most worthy foe Walt has ever faced, aside from himself.
Musings and Miscellanea:
— "Ain't we a pair?" says Hank as he hobbles towards Los Pollos Hermanos with Walt Junior by his side.
— I've never played a POV shooter game, and after that terrifying display I never, ever want to.
— Walt to the cab company: "I'm sure the driver will see me."
— Did anyone else get the feeling that the addicts would have been less disturbed if Jesse had admitted killing a man rather than a dog?
— Marie Purple Count: 3 (sweater, blouse, flower behind her in the shop)
— Did you notice all of those tapes in the safe? I'd love to have a Saul spin-off.
To Robert Nebel: In Georgia?! Sh'yeah, right; maybe in another decade when it takes assholes…
Please don't vote for this ignorant douchebag.
"Cobb, a mammoth county that suffers both from an inferiority complex and an inflated ego..."…
i'm still waiting to hear from the 30-year-old norcross man with a blotchy, red face…
My kid goes to a public elementary school with over 90% free lunch. You know…