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Archive for August, 2012

Last week, Walt asserted that he was in the empire business. This week, Heisenberg is a brand like Yankees and Coca-Cola. His ego-filled monologue was enough to convince the rival meth moguls to go all in on his plan, with the added bonus of confirming his legendary status. “I’m the man who killed Gustavo Fring,” Walt brags. After Mike nods in confirmation, Declan identifies him as Heisenberg. “You’re goddamn right,” Walt sneers and you can almost see his ego swelling to the size of the New Mexico desert.

Through the rest of the episode, though, it starts to seem like the opening monologue was the apex of the Heisenberg legend; the beginning of the end. Having secured Mike’s $5 million (convincing the rivals to pay it out up front as a finder’s fee), Walt seems content to send him on his way. With the other groups involved, he no longer needs Mike’s distribution services and besides, Mike doesn’t give Walt the unending praise he so desperately needs. What really throws Walt for a loop is Jesse’s steadfast assertion that he’s still out. Walt can only blow off Jesse’s requests for his $5 million share for so long before Jesse quits being passive and refuses to play along anymore. When Mike leaves, he tells Jesse to look out for himself and he finally does, refusing to help Walt clean their equipment, refusing to play the role of student any longer. Walt uses every tool in his manipulation repertoire to convince him to stay, but nothing works. After manipulating him into cutting ties with Andrea and Brock, Walt tries to use the fact that Jesse has no one to turn to once he gets out. It’s not clear whether Jesse makes that connection, but if anything it makes him more determined to leave. Walt’s last desperate plea – that if Jesse leaves now, he won’t get any money – reveals how tone-deaf he is about what Jesse thinks is important. I cheered as Jesse finally found the strength to cut ties – I can only hope that his conviction stays.

If Walt is sad about his student/surrogate son’s absence, he doesn’t mourn for long. It’s a brilliant scene where Walt suits up for the cook alone before joining a waiting Todd inside the tent. In a gorgeous montage, Walt walks Todd through the steps and it’s clear that Walt needs a student almost as much as Heisenberg needs recognition. He needs someone around to appreciate his genius, and Todd plays his role perfectly. He’s the perfect student that Jesse never was, taking detailed notes, going through them on their lunch break, and refusing to discuss money until he gets the cook right. Walt should be careful about Todd – has he forgotten what happened to Gale (and what would have happened to him if they hadn’t killed Gale first?) Walt and Jesse’s partnership worked because of everything they went through together to get where they were. Todd is a psychopath who writes off killing kids as “shit happens” and is showing uncomfortable eagerness to rise in the business.

Of course, caution is no longer Walt’s strong suit. He goes back to the DEA office to retrieve the bugs, and he uses the exact same strategy to get Hank out of the office. This time, it doesn’t work as well, as he has to prompt Hank to go get him some coffee. Heisenberg needs to be better than that, Walt. While there, Walt manages to overhear that Hank and Gomie have caught a break in the Ehrmantraut case by following the lawyer hired to restock the safe deposit boxes with cash to ensure the loyalty of Mike’s 9 men. I’m not entirely convinced on the legality of the whole DEA operation, but it’s clear that the lawyer has cracked and is ready to give them all up. In a fit of desperation, Walt calls and warns Mike. He somehow manages to shake the police presence at the park, but Mike knows the game is up. He managed to put most of his $5 million in a safe deposit box for his granddaughter’s 18th birthday, but the look on his face when he’s forced to abandon her for good is heartbreaking.

From hiding, Mike calls Saul and asks him to bring his go-bag (a duffle bag full of cash, his passport, and a gun) to him since he can’t  go retrieve it himself. Saul can’t go because the police will be following his car. Jesse offers to take it, but Mike won’t hear of it (you can tell he’s still hoping that Jesse will break free and he’s reluctant to put him in harm’s way). Walt is the only one left.

The final scene was perfect – one last showdown between the former enemies, the former uneasy partners. Mike has never deferred to Walt, never given him the adoration he feels he deserves. Instead, Mike tells it like it is. Walt demands that Mike give him the list of names in exchange for the bag, but Mike’s refuses, grabbing the bag out of Walt’s hands and walking resignedly back to his car. He would’ve gotten away, except Walt throws out a sarcastic “you’re welcome,” and Mike can’t take it anymore. He retaliates with the truth: “All of this falling apart is on you. You and your pride and ego. You had to be the man. If you’d done your job, and known your place, we’d all be fine right now.” There’s nothing there that Walt can refute, and perhaps that’s what makes him so pissed off. Using the gun that he took from Mike’s bag, he shoots him as he sits in his car, having just discovered the gun’s missing. He stumbles from the car down to the water’s edge, and Walt finds him slumped on a rock.

The moment where Walt stands over Mike is perhaps the first glimpse we’ve seen of Walt’s humanity this entire season. He seems shaken, realizing out loud that Lydia had the names and he could’ve just gotten them from her. He apologizes, saying that this whole thing could be avoided. He’s just talking about Mike’s death in that moment, but I wonder if Walt is beginning to realize just how much of this didn’t need to happen. I’m wondering if this signals a change in Walt. If he realizes just how monstrous he’s become. He just shot a man, a man who had been the closest thing to a friend he’s had in a long time, because his feelings got hurt. How pathetic is that? Maybe now he’ll begin to see why Jesse wants out, maybe he’ll begin to see that he still has a chance to get out himself.

On the other hand, why did Walt steal the gun if he wasn’t planning on killing Mike all along?

 

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Well. There’s not really much to say about last night’s show except that Ven is terrible.

Okay, maybe there are a few more things to say. Ven’s terribleness was brought to light thanks to the “real woman” challenge, which this season played like an episode of What Not To Wear, with the clients being nominated by their friends. No one really needs a total transformation, but they’re all just looking for a boost and for a way to be made to feel special for the day. Feel good task for everyone, right?

At first, it seems that way. Both Gunnar and Elena got a much more flattering edit this week than they had in the past, although it might be just as much a result of them editing themselves as it was an indication of producer interference. Elena seems to have taken some tranquilizers and was much more calm and likeable throughout and Gunnar used his Southernness to charm his clients rather than bitch out his fellow competitors. If there’s one thing that matters in the “real world” of fashion, it’s being able to work with your clients, no matter what. Everyone seemed to understand that, except for Ven.

From the very beginning, Ven bitched that his client was too “wide” and that it wasn’t fair that other people got model-sized clients while he was stuck with someone who was, as he told Tim with overt disgust, a size fourteen. Now, maybe I’m too much of an optimist, but I watched these scenes cringing at how embarrassing this must have been not only for Ven’s poor client but for Ven himself. Surely, I thought, he would be completely mortified at seeing the way his behaviour made him look. Surely he would be grovelling for forgiveness, right? Nope. As the episode aired, Ven issued a series of increasingly defensive and whiny tweets. (You can read them here.) He complained (again) that the clients should have all been the same size, blamed his client for having a bad attitude (I would definitely have a bad attitude if I was called wide non-stop by the person who was supposed to making me feel beautiful), and accused the producers of purposefully giving him a client with a “difficult shape” to break him down.

Look, here’s the deal Ven. Good designers can design for every kind of woman out there. If you had just said that it was difficult because you were used to working on models and then churned out a beautiful garment, we would’ve thought you were an asshole, but at least you made it work. By complaining the entire time — and complaining TO YOUR CLIENT’S FACE — you’ve turned yourself into the biggest Project Runway villain maybe ever. You were a favourite for the win, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting called out for producing the same exact look week to week. Try not to blame it on your model next time, okay? (Oh, and I could point out, as others have, that you’re not exactly model-sized yourself there, Ven. I could point out the fact that some poor designer so generously figured out how to design shirts that fit something other than a perfectly chiseled body, but I won’t. That would be too mean.)

ANYWAY, the rest of the episode was actually really sweet and fun. It was nice to see how excited everyone got about their outfits and the transformations were really great. For once, my pick for the best dress (and a dress that I would actually wear) won the challenge!

This dress was great (if just a couple inches too long), and the transformation of Fabio’s client was truly amazing. I wasn’t sure at first if Fabio could move beyond his hippie-freegan schtick, but he’s proving himself to be one to watch.

And going home this week was:

Nathan. Which is sad, because I just learned his name. Anyway, this dress was an unmitigated disaster and he definitely deserved the cut. I’m not sure how you go from “up-and-coming hip-hop artist” and wind up with this shiny mess, but there you go.

I did enjoy how Heidi pretended that they might actually send two designers home, seemingly just to make Ven sweat a little more. However, I was hoping for a bit more of a lecture than what he got. Something tells me Twitter will be fill in the gaps for the things Heidi left unsaid.

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The return of Louie’s standup routine  was much welcomed after the weirdness of last week’s episode.  But, the weirdness of the season as a whole still hung over everything. In yet another strange fit of continuity, Parker Posey’s manic Liz (aka. TapeRecorder) once again appeared in Louie’s dream, prompting a return trip to the bookstore, where he apparently hadn’t been since their pseudo-date. The manager tells him that Liz doesn’t work there anymore, and instead Louie meets her replacement, Jeanie, played by Chloe Sevigny. She’s essentially just a blond Liz and she quickly takes an inappropriate level of interest in helping Louie find his unrequited love. She can’t find Liz’s info in the bookstore’s files, so she cajoles Louie into going to her apartment building and insists on accompanying him on his stalking expedition. After she’s unsuccessful in getting past the doorman, she and Louie go get coffee and she reveals just how . . . exciting she finds this whole thing to be. As Jeanie acts her own all-too-real version When Harry Met Sally‘s most famous scene, Louie looks suitably horrified and uncomfortable. After Jeanie finishes, she announces that she has a husband, so Louie probably shouldn’t come by the store anymore. And just like that, Louie’s interaction with another crazy, flighty woman comes to an end. He’s no closer to finding Liz, but I can’t help thinking that’s a good thing. He told Jeanie that Liz changed the way he thought about everything in that one night. Maybe he’d be better off going back to his old way of looking at the world.

The second half was, for me, much more enjoyable, but it followed a similar theme – Louie chases after woman (girl) he doesn’t understand. This time, the girl in question is Louie’s 10-year-old daughter Lilly. When he’s picking up her and Jane from school, Louie sees Lilly being bullied by some mean girls. Louie walks over, but the bullies disperse before he can hear exactly what they’re saying and give them a piece of his mind. Frustratingly for Louie, Lilly doesn’t want to talk about what happened. Louie attempts to bring back the kid in her by forcing them to ride the carousel in Central Park. The shot of Lilly morosely riding on the horse while Louie looks on, first in hope and then in frustration, was brilliantly hilarious. They arrive back at the apartment and Lilly embodies the sullen pre-teen. Louie asks that they do their homework, and Lilly snaps back that she ALWAYS does her homework. Once again, the young actresses steal the scene. When Louie tells Lilly that she’s being really crappy to him and her sister, Jane pipes up that she doesn’t mind how she’s being. Her timing is perfect, and the frustration of dealing with his suddenly unrelatable daughters sends Louie into the bathroom with his laptop and cigarettes.

Ignoring Jane’s calls that she has something to tell him, Louie eventually emerges to find Jane drawing in the living room and Lilly missing. He asks Jane where she went, and she replies that she went out. “That’s what I was trying to tell you,” she says, barely looking up from her page. Louie immediately goes into panic mode, yelling Lilly’s name through the apartment, into the hallway (where we see – continuity again! – Louie’s gay neighbours from “Pregnant”), and into the street. The helplessness that Louie feels is portrayed in the music and his frantic indecision – he can’t leave the building in case Lilly comes back, but she’s obviously not in the building, so shouldn’t they be looking elsewhere? Louie’s inability to comprehend women is emphasized when Jane starts yelling for Lilly in Slovenian (her friend is teaching her).

Finally, Louie opts for calling the cops before calling his ex-wife, a move which draws the distain from the half-dozen cops in his apartment. Louie reluctantly picks up the phone to call her when . . . Lilly, wrapped in a blanket with headphones on her ears, wanders through the apartment, past everyone, and into the kitchen. She returns with a glass of milk, asking her dad why the cops are here. She’d been in the closet reading the entire time. “You didn’t look in the closet?” the cops ask before leaving in disgust. Lilly then apologizes for her shitty behaviour, and things seem temporarily back to normal in Louie’s world.

Ultimately, I’m more drawn to the realism of the second half of this episode than the surrealism of the first. I admire Louie for being able to pull of both, but I think surrealism works better when it’s carried throughout the entire episode (like “Daddy’s Girlfriend: Part 2”). The shift from Louie’s dream (nightmare?) world of Liz and Jeanie felt a bit too harsh up against the realistic humour that comes from Louie’s interactions with his daughters. I hope we’ll get to see more of them as the season winds to a close.

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Now THAT’s an episode of Breaking Bad. It had it all – humour, heartbreak, and hubris. The Walter White Triple-H trifecta.

The cold open was brilliant, showing Walt, Mike, and Todd (and a conspicuously absent Jesse) silently and methodically dismantle the dirtbike, place it into plastic tubs, and melt the evidence away. The shot of Todd digging out the kid’s hand from the dirt and Walt rolling out one more barrel was perfect – now it’s the kid’s turn to be dismantled. No loose ends.

Except for Todd. Stupid, ambitious, loud-mouthed Todd. His justifications all rang true – he saw a risk and he took care of it, no one could know about the robbery except for the three of them – but, coming from his mouth, they seemed hollow. He spoke too loudly, too openly, too plainly. He doesn’t fit in with the other three, who looked worn down, exhausted, and troubled. As his conversation with Jesse proved later, Todd was able to write this whole thing off as “shit happens” (it’s worth remembering that Skyler accused Walt of running an operation where killing people is written off as “shit happens”). I cheered when Jesse punched him, but we quickly find out that they would have been better off killing him.  I’m not sure how Todd’s keeping of the tarantula jar will come into play, but I think it’s safe to say that keeping a fingerprint-covered souvenir will come back to haunt them at some point.

Instead of killing him, however, Walt and Mike vote to keep Todd on payroll. He’s off any other future “missions,” but he’ll continue to set up their lab and work for the pest control business. Mike writes off Todd’s proclamation that he has “connections” in jail through his uncle, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see that come up again in the future. For now, though, the immediate impact of Todd’s continued existence is as a reminder of the cost of being in the meth business. On their lunch break, Jesse stumbles across a news report of the missing kid and breaks down, telling Walt that he can’t stop thinking about what his poor parents are going through. Walt unconvincingly agrees that he’s had trouble sleeping too, before telling Jesse that his soul-searching can wait until they’ve cooked all the methylamine and made their money. He sends Jesse home for the day and Jesse watches while Walt literally whistles while he works. Clearly, his conscious isn’t all that bothered. Jesse then gets a mysterious phone call and leaves. I think we’re supposed to think it was Mike calling, but that’s never spelled out. With how little we’ve seen of Jesse outside of Walt this season, I’m not giving up on the idea (perhaps the hope?) that he might be up to something else.

For now, though, Mike and Jesse come up with a plan where they can both get out. Mike’s tired of throwing DEA tails and Jesse can’t handle being in the business of kid-killing any longer so they’re going to sell their share of the methylamine to a contact of Mike for $5 million each – and Walt can get in on it if he wants. Of course, he refuses. What’s $5 million compared to the $350 million it will be worth once it’s cooked? He’s pissed off, but there’s nothing he can do at the moment. Mike and Jesse go to meet Mike’s contact Declan in the desert, and once again, Walt is proven to be indispensable. Declan isn’t willing to pay $15 000/gallon just for the methylamine. He’s also paying for the market share – he’s willing to pay the high price to get Heisenberg’s blue meth off the market for good. Either they sell him the full 1000 gallons, or no deal at all. If Mike and Jesse want to retire, they need to get Walt on board.

Jesse’s meeting with Walt goes down, much to Jesse’s surprise, at Walt’s house. He hesitatingly arrives, but Walt assures him that it’s fine. Walt is the king of his castle now, and he can do whatever he wants – no secrets. In their conversation, Jesse tries to convince Walt that selling the methylamine for $5 million isn’t selling out for “nothing,” but Walt refuses, citing his past at Gray Matter. He founded the company, he developed the patents, and then he sold his share for $5000. He reveals that he checks the company’s valuation every week, and it’s currently worth $2.16 billion. He sold his kids’ birthright for a few months’ rent and he won’t do it again. Jesse asks him if he’s in the meth business or the money business, and Walt replies that he’s in the empire business. The thing about empires, though, is that you have to have someone to hand them down to or they don’t last. With Walt alienating his partners, I wonder if he’s beginning to consider bringing Walt, Jr. into the fold.

This revelatory scene is immediately followed by one of the funniest scenes in the entire series – Skyler comes home, and Walt exercises his power over both of them by insisting that Jesse stay for dinner and insisting that Skyler pretend it’s alright. Jesse’s hilariously awkward small talk during dinner is amplified by Skyler’s refusal to engage. Jesse tells her that he really likes how she made the green beans and she replies that she bought them pre-made. Jesse then goes on a rant about how bad the frozen dinners that he usually eats are (“it’s like, what happened to truth in advertising?”), before he lamely attempts to compliment Skyler by telling her that Mr. White has been telling him what a great job she’s doing running the car wash. She asks him if Walt’s also told him about her affair, before asking to be excused from the table and taking the bottle of wine with her. Walt can no longer pretend to have it all, so he shifts tack and tells Jesse what he must already know – his family is gone and all he has left is the business. It’s sad and pathetic, but at least it’s honest.

Whether Jesse told Mike of Walt’s desperation or whether Mike is just smart enough to realize it himself, he’s waiting at the pest control business when Walt comes in the middle of the night to try to steal the methylamine. The deal is going down in the morning and Mike won’t let Walt ruin that. They sit up all night together, before Mike reveals that he has to run a quick errand before his meeting. He ties up Walt by attaching him to the radiator with a plastic zip tie while he goes to the DEA with Saul to get a temporary restraining order that will allow him to go about his business for the day without a DEA tail. Of course, leaving Walt on his own is never a good idea, and he immediately begins to McGyver a solution. As Walt was stripping the wires and fashioning himself a soldering iron of sorts to burn the plastic (and his wrist), I was surprised to find myself actively rooting against him for maybe the first time in the whole series. I didn’t want Walt to escape because I desperately wanted Jesse and Mike to have a chance to get away from him. Jesse still has a chance at a normal, productive life, but not if he keeps getting sucked back in to Walt’s black hole. He took a huge first step towards independence by going against Walt’s demands and advocating for Mike’s plan, but by the time Mike arrives back and finds the empty warehouse, Jesse has been sucked back into Walt’s dangerous universe. Mike furiously holds a gun to Walt’s head, but Jesse begs him to hear Walt out – he has a plan and it could work, Jesse insists. Walt states calmly, “everybody wins.”

I don’t pretend to know what Walt’s plan is, but I highly doubt anyone will win. What I do know is that Jesse may have lost his best chance at getting free of Walt and his cancer.

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I’ve come to the realization that I like the idea of Project Runway better than I like the actual show. Or maybe it’s that I like how Project Runway used to be better than its current iteration. Last night’s episode was supposed to be all about Drama (with a capital D) because of another dreaded Team Challenge, but in the end, it was just full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Elena provided most of the sound and fury, but I couldn’t really figure out what she was so mad about, except that she’s an insane control freak. I mean, no one was criticizing her garment, no one was trying to tell her what to do, but she just yelled the entire time. It was supposed to be dramatic, but it got really old, really quickly. Raoul was also in full-on drama queen mode, but he mostly just whined and cried and produced lackluster garments. One would have thought that Gunnar and Christopher’s pairing would’ve resulted at least in an entertaining catfight, but nope. Gunnar mostly just stewed internally while sewing his “floating soufflé boob” dress.

The challenge was to create a work-appropriate outfit for the new Marie Claire at Work magazine, but those guidelines were either ignored or completely thrown out the window, as most of these outfits would never work in a real-life workplace. Most of the designers seemed to interpret workplace as “boring,” using muted colours and boring silhouettes, while the others figured you could wear cocktail outfits to the average office, no problem.

Apparently, the fashion designer, magazine editors, and model judges agreed with their take, as Melissa won with this:

 

There’s no doubt that this is a fun dress and that it photographed well in the photoshoot part of this challenge, but no one could wear a dress with that collar to the workplace and not look like a crazy person. Maybe at Marie Claire, and even then, I can’t imagine how boring it would be. And if you do the usual runway thing and make a “wearable” version of this dress, it’s just a blue dress. Nothing earth-shattering about that. Nevertheless, there wasn’t anything else that stood out, so she probably deserved the win.

Raoul, as expected, was sent home for his part in making 2 totally un-noteworthy shirts:

The ruffles shirt isn’t as terrible as everyone made it out to be – I loved how Sonjia was griping about it in the head-to-heads while wearing a ruffled denim shirt. But, it’s nothing innovative either. The second look is just a tank top that you could buy anywhere. So yeah, he probably deserved to go, although it’s interesting that I think both of these outfits are actually work-appropriate. But apparently that’s not as important as they made it out to be.

Also, Raoul’s parting shots at Elena were ridiculous and uncalled for, even if she was a raging psycho for the whole show. Good luck to either of them convincing anyone to work with them after the way they conducted themselves on this show.

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Man, Louie has had a tough couple of months (or is it weeks? I’m not sure about how quickly time passes in the Louieverse). Anyway, this season has been almost unrelentingly dark, but this episode may have been the darkest of them all. For some reason not revealed to the audience, Louie is terrified of his father. Just the prospect of seeing his father causes him to become physically ill, vomiting out of nowhere at his comedian-friends poker game (which now includes Sarah Silverman) and developing a rash on his neck, which he absentmindedly scratches throughout. His anxiety was brought on by a visit from his mysterious Uncle X, who speaks circuitously of credenzas and Mexico before finally getting around to insisting that Louie go see his father. His comparison between Louie’s father and a prostitute was, I’m hoping, just another weird metaphor (he argues that you can protect yourself from a prostitute’s wretchedness with a condom, but you can’t have any barrier between family). When Louie finally goes to Boston, everything reminds him of the reason he’s there. The pilot announces they’re landing in Boston (“where your father lives”) and Louie gets into an extended dialogue with his GPS (why does he need a GPS to get to his father’s house? Has he not been there before? Why not?). In talking back to the GPS, who asks him why he’s being such a pussy about seeing his dad, Louie reveals that nothing bad happened with his father, he just “feels weird” around him.

But is that really the truth? Louie gets to the front door and waits while a shadowy figure walks towards him. In the last minute, he runs away, taking first one of those middle-aged 3-wheel motorcycles, and then a speedboat. He doesn’t stop fleeing until he’s in the middle of the water, away from everything and apparently safe for the moment. He starts laughing (perhaps at the absurdity of it all?), but the show ends with a long shot of Louie looking contemplatively out at the water. Whatever happened with his father, it remains unresolved.

There were two other scenes at the beginning of the episode that initially seem unrelated to the rest. The episode opened with Louie’s daughter Jane (played by Ursula Parker) playing the violin beautifully. Louie interrupts, telling her that it’s not time for violin, it’s time for homework. In a classic reversal, Louie’s daughter doesn’t want to stop practicing, and Louie has to forcefully take the violin from her, muttering, “this is bullshit.” I guess a connection between this and the rest of the episode could be a commentary on Louie’s parenting, but there’s a far cry from forcing your kid to do her homework and doing whatever Louie’s father did to cause the kind of anxiety that Louie feels. The other scene, in a Best Buy-type electronics store was strange – the employees first ignore Louie, then patronize him, and then set him up to trip over a box. When he complains to the management, they laugh at the footage rather than offer to help him. The best part of that section, for me, was when Louie sees himself on the video and it’s played by another actor. He asks if that’s him, to which the management confirms it is, and it’s a nice little observation about the disconnect between how we see ourselves and how we really are.

Ultimately, this wasn’t my favourite episode of Louie, but it was certainly a wonderful experiment in television and a glimpse once again into Louis C.K.’s artistic genius.

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As this episode was winding to a close, as Jesse and Todd were waiting for what seemed like an eternity for Walt to give the okay to unhook the hoses and jump off (or stay under) the train, I was starting to write this blog post in my head. I was thinking about how, while the train heist was fun and beautiful to watch and agonizingly slow in its full execution, it ultimately was part of a larger season in which not much has happened. After Gus’ death, there was bound to be a few episodes of explanation, of set up, of establishing the new ground rules after Walt blew the others into oblivion, but I was waiting for the old Breaking Badwhich had full episodes where you didn’t dare to look away, and barely dared to breathe because something terrible was about to happen (we just didn’t know what). As tense and heart-pounding as the train heist was, there wasn’t really a doubt in my mind that they would pull it off. The suspense was a testament to the filming and the pacing, not to the scenario itself.

And then the dirtbike kid shows up.

And Todd – eager-to-please Todd who apparently takes everything absolutely literally – waves, pulls out his gun, and shoots him. He doesn’t need permission from his bosses, because they’ve told him explicitly that “no one other than us can ever know that this robbery went down.” Todd’s just following orders, but, as Hank tells Walt at the beginning of the episode “Being the boss can be kind of a grind,” and it’s going to be up to Walt to figure out how to deal with this colossal fuck-up.

I think he’ll probably have to kill Todd now too. Yes, he proved himself to be a loyal henchman, but a loyal henchman with no foresight is a liability. I don’t think there was any reason to kill that kid. Let’s say he did go home and tell his parents – what would he have told them? He saw some guys working on the train tracks? He saw some people climb on a train when it stopped? And the people were three generic white men? Even if the parents told the cops, and the cops were able to find the spot where the robbery took place, presumably Walt and Co. would have removed the barrels and any evidence would have been gone. It would definitely have presented the problem of figuring out a new way to get the precursor, but that’s hardly insurmountable (as they’ve shown in the past). Plus, the kid telling his parents is a big “if.” He’s probably more interested in his spider than what some grownups are doing by the train, and who’s to say his parents even believe him/take it seriously if he does tell him?

Of course, there’s no time for Walt or Jesse or Mike to think about these different scenarios because Todd made the split second decision. All that they can do now is deal with the fallout. First, they’re going to have to get rid of the body, but even if they dissolve the kid (which they’re probably going to have to do, since you can’t exactly make bullet wounds look like a dirtbike accident), his disappearance will inevitably set off a search party to comb over every inch of desert. So that’s not good. On top of the practical fallout, Walt’s going to have to deal with Jesse’s emotions again. If Walt doesn’t kill Todd, it’s going to look like he tacitly approves of kid-killing, which is something that we’ve seen that Jesse will absolutely not stand for. With only 3 episodes left in this shortened season, I think we’ll finally see the rift between Walt and Jesse building again. Jesse might not make the connection between Dirtbike Kid and Brock, but he won’t be able to work with someone who shoots kids in cold blood. Mike will also have a difficult time working with Walt after this – not because he cares one way or another about the kid, but because of the complications it brings. It’s true that he’s the one who says “there are only two kinds of heists: those where the guys get away with it, and those that leave witnesses,” but I don’t think even Mike would have advocated killing the kid. Hell, as much as they’re making Walt into the new Jesse James this season (or is he the new Robert Ford?), I don’t think even those guys would have killed the kid.

The rest of the episode, even before the kid’s death was revealed, was a bit bland for me. Sure Walt has now bugged Hank’s office (thanks to some great acting and quick thinking), but it appears they only wanted to do that to find out if Lydia was telling the truth about not planting the GPS devices (turns out, those idiots in Houston planted them on all the barrels, thereby necessitating the train heist in the first place). Skyler’s also decided that she’ll be whoever Walt wants her to be as long as the kids stay at Hank and Marie’s, and Hank and Marie love having the kids (well, Holly anyway). The only other hiccup might be Walt Jr., who’s becoming more and more angsty as his forced exile drags on. His refusal to cede to Walt’s orders might prove to be problematic.

But, then again, we saw tonight that obeying Walt’s every command can also lead to death and destruction. No matter how much planning goes in to everything Walt does, he’s still  in a dangerous business with moving parts and unpredictable people. He can’t control everything, he can only clean up the messes after the fact.

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