30 July, 2012

Guest Review - BREAKING BAD 5.03: 'Hazard Pay'

By perpetual guest reviewer Shawn Mahone.

Last week I talked about how Serialized shows can be at their most effective when drawing on rich source of solid material to move itself forward. I moaned that Mike's decision to move forward with Walt and Jessie felt contrived and bullshitty and that kinda ruined the episode for me, well this week the show did a something similar and it was spectacular! Everything Walter said or did was perfect for him as a character, he said things in a way and tone that makes sense when one looks at his history, he did things physically that makes sense to his history and holy hell was it fucking awesome and kinda creepy at the same time!

Walter White shares a few characteristics with Don Draper apart from being characters on Emmy winning AMC shows they have this huge common flaw...they both believe that they can change their lives at a drop of a hat and move on and people can do the same and if they cannot then they can go and screw themselves, they believe people can do the same and that a better life is always around the corner. Don Draper decided Dick Whitman could die in Korea and he could move on but as we find out his family suffered and it costs his brother his life, Don believed Lane Pryce could start over like him and instead he could not and it cost Lane his life. Walter White felt slighted and so left Elliot and Gretchen and millions of dollars out of Hubris and pettiness and being an asshole and started over. Walter White decided that being small time was no good so he made Jesse and his crew expand and it cost Combo his life when Combo did not have the skills to be beg time. Walter White decided to be Heisenberg and Hank got crippled in the process. Walter White decides to kill Gus the chicken man and replace him but he never thought about Gus current employees, what would happen to them? What do they do now that they have no money? What do they do that they are screwed and it was all because Walter White wants to be the big man in town and wants to feel the emotions of power and control? Watching this whole episode had me smiling ear to ear at the marvel that is Walter White and how brilliantly this show has turned this man in to who he is today . Walter White is an egotistical, self-serving narcissist, arrogant, greedy, murdering, lying (among a million other adjectives!) son of a bitch and how this episode showed that time and time again made me so happy and at times a little sad.

He tells Jesse the Icarus story that if you fly too close to the sun than you are going to pay the price and I think it is obvious that he is talking about Mike and how Mike is taking liberties with their money or he could be talking about Mike's crew as well and how they got caught and should be taken care of like Mike should probably one day be taken care of. But his ego does not see that this line of thinking could make him fly too close to the sun and get burned, I mean Jesse has done a lot of shit over the years for Walt but is he really going to be willing to kill 9 guys plus Mike and whoever else that gets in their way? Will he kill Lydia once he knows she has a little girl? Jesse would never hurt a child. The answer is no, the show has demonstrated that Jesse will not stoop that low and Walt just does not see that he is starting to set himself up for that moment in a year's time where he needs a M-60 gun and Jim Beaver! Don Draper can be Don Draper because the business he is in people like Pete Campbell keeping his secret is no big deal because Pete Campbell will do what serves Pete Campbell best and that is allowing Don to be Don. Walt can do what he wants to do as long as Jesse is by his side, I mean that is the only reason Mike is working with them or probably Saul too. Walt suggesting that they do away with Mike will not wash with Jesse and when he finds out about Jane or Brock than Walt better run farer than Denny's in wherever he was in the season premier.

This is probably why Walter White can never be a kingpin or a boss or a huge success, unlike Mike, Walter does not see that having a huge illegal operation that needs to look legal costs a lot of dough. People need to be paid, things need to be done and employees need to be looked after and respected so that you can gain their trust and loyalty. Walter White never understands this and never has understood this concept and that is where he is butting heads with Mike. When they cooked the Meth in the house Walt and Jesse made a tent within a tent...Walt lives in that little tent and does not understand what they outer tent is for or does...he just believes what he does in his little tent is all that matters and does not understand the bigger tent issues...great metaphor going there Breaking Bad! Top draw! top draw!

Walter White is all about Walter White and the level of Hubris ("Shall we take a vote?" "Why?") he is demonstrating has me worried for the man who knocks and worried in a good way. He is going to die and I cannot say I will be upset too, he sits in front of television with his kids watching Scarface (Yay Scarface! they got the studio and Al Pachino to give permission to use that material! Yay) basically watching his own demise and he does not even see it that magnificent bastard! Hehehe.

Who else will I not be upset about dying...SKYLER, oh please Vince Gilligan let the ricin cigarette people Chekov's ricin cigarette and let Skyler smoke it and die! Serious man that bitch needs to go! Skyler has had her chance to get rid of Walt time and time again she could have signed the divorce papers and did not and now she is paying the price and being a whiny bitch about it, what a cunt.

Walt manipulating Jesse into dumping Andrea and Brock was well done, he put it into a way that made Jesse think it was his choice and then made his mind up for him with the she would love you if she understood but...what a magnificent bastard.

Saul! oh how I love seeing me some Saul and he had some great, great, great lines. Saul continues to do his thing and get paid handsomely for it and does it with a great sense of humor and knowhow, so yay for Saul the man who is only done when Walt/Heisenberg tells him he is done.

The idea for their new business was a fantastic one and I loved how they arrived at the solution the way Breaking Bad arrives at the solution...through a process that takes time and thought! Box company...no, Tortilla factory...no, Lazerbaze!...no err sorry hell no!. So we are left with the exterminators and I got to say the look inside of the house was beautiful when they were cooking...ahh...stunningly beautiful.

Brock and Andrea were in this episode and I think they only did that to show Walt not giving a shit about poisoning a innocent child...die Walter!

The best episode of the season so far and I hear they are going to crank it up majorly in the next few weeks so hold onto your seats people!

So Walt just because you killed Jesse James does not make you Jesse James and because you do not understand that...good luck with the very little life you have left buddy.

Episode Rating 98 out of 100


  1. I forgot Landry! Landry is back and he may or may not be on another killing spree! Well it turns out that Landry has some skills...he was the first to get that there will be no more stealing and than he disabled the nanny cam...so do we see a replacement for Mike? hmmmm.

    Also I forgot to mention when I was going on about how Walter White is all about Walter White that when Jesse started going on about breaking up with Andrea...Walter totally ignored him and made it about himself...selfish bastard! Gotta love him!

  2. I don't think I am writing reviews for this show every week. It just doesn't motivate me to write.

    So, Shawn gets the only review again this week.

    I thought it was a terrific episode outside of Skyler who is at best a super annoying character whose motivation seems to materialize from thin air whenever they need her to get kookoo for the coco puffs. On a show where the dialogue and characters are so well constructed, she stands out like a gigantic glowing neon blimp of awfulness.

    I so hate her.

    1. Well.....she is the by-product of Vince Gilligan not knowing Aaron Paul would be/is a great actor. Jesse was supposed to die and Skyler was supposed to have a much bigger role. Once Aaron Paul did his awesomeness Vince Gilligan just forgot about Skyler all together. I think Hank was never meant to get such great material either until Dean Noris was awesome. Basically Vince Gilligan realised too late that Anna Gunn is the shittiest actor too late. I think skinny Pete and Badger are better actors, even Brock!

    2. Anna Gunn is a fine actor. It is the character who is not being very well written right now.

  3. Isn't Skyler acting this way because she's over her head with managing illegal funds.
    And she's concerned about Walt's dangerous lifestyle.

    I know it's contrived because once she got over the fact that Walt was cooking drugs she seemed fine with it all.

    She even insisted to Saul that she be the one to launder the illegal funds.

    But at least it's a reason rather than her just randomly having a nervous breakdown out of thin air.

    A woman like her wouldn't really know how to launder the money.

    I remember in season 4 she looked up money laundering on wikipedia. LOL.

    At least Anna Gunn gets more to do that RJ Mitte does.

    As for the episode i liked it.

    Season 5 has been really good so far.

    Shawn's right Walt is an asshole to Jessie.

    1. It is random since she already dealt with this shit last season. Once a human being accepts their lot in life, they don't tend to have nervous breakdowns about the situation they so forcefully put themselves in.

      No. She isn't freaking out about money laundering. That makes no sense. She isn't freaking out about having to run a business. Again... makes... no... sense. These are character beats the writers already tackled.

      They are clearly trying to say the level of danger is what is getting to her. The potential of death around every corner. That her husband may be the greatest danger of all. That he is turning into Tony Montana.

      But that's not the natural progression of her character. She was so much stronger last season. Now she is just freaking out because they need her to so they can get to a point where she turns on Walt.

  4. While I do like the idea of Skylar turning on Walt they could have come up with a better way for her to come to that point.

    I also wonder what's gonna happen when Hank finds out.

    Do you think Hank would really arrest Walt?

    I'm not so sure what will happen with that.

    1. I feel that they have been setting things up so that Hank has to make a choice that contradicts everything he has worked for and against. So, when he finds out about Walt, he will be forced to side with him somehow.

    2. Well there are for and against...on the for side Hank refused to lie in One Minute about what happened to Jesse because he wanted to pay the price for what he did. On the against arresting Walt...like his old boss, Walt has been doing this under his nose, no matter what Hanks career is over if Walt is found out and Hank will be ruined so you he may not arrest Walt.

      There are other factors that may sway him like him getting almost killed because of Walt or Walt paying his bills because he got shot. So if he finds out that Walt got him shot...arrest him. If he does not find out the reason he got shot but found out that Walt paid his medical bills then he may not arrest him. He could see it as Walt helping out his family and Walt has been doing that all along...well Hank could see it that way. It all depends on what Hank does and does not know when the choice needs to be made, if he found out about all the murdering and poisoning of children...yikes.

      What does Hank do? A great question.

    3. When all is said and done, Hank will survive. Walt and Jesse will die. It's the only way. And Jesse will die for someone he loves. Walt will die in a blaze of glory having lost everyone and everything.

  5. Well...... Walt did blow up a nursing home!. Now as a viewer we see everything from Walters point of view, we knew that he knew exactly how to control the level of explosion because he is a chemist, that Tio was a willing participant, that Gus killed children was dispicable and had to go too as well as Tyrus, etc. We know all these things but Skyler does not, all she knows is that Walt one day tells her he is the one who knocks and kills people and a week later in the shows time he blows up a freaking nursing home to get one guy! Walt is a murderer and a drug kingpin...Skyler may have thought as Walt said last season that he was just a chemist who cooked drugs and hung up his lab coat and came home and kept his hands clean....but we and now she knows fully that he is just as corrupt and psychotic as all the Mexican cartel and all the goons in New Mexico.

    I kinda do not have a problem with her being freaked out that Walt would kill old people....I just think she is a terrible actor who is not doing the role justice...but whatever!

    1. Well, you may not be a good judge of terrible acting because the problem isn't her acting.

  6. By the way, I think Jesse is playing Walt... I think he recognized a danger in what Walt might do if he thought someone could jeopardize him, so Jesse pretended to have broken things off.

    1. They are certainly rushing through some of the story due to the lack of time that is for sure. Like only a week ago in the shows timeline Jesse was screaming that her son was or could have been poisoned by ricin and she knows he is an illegal character sort of and so if her son was poisoned then it was due to Jesse and yet she seems happy to let things go back to normal.... really?

      So I can certainly concede you point that that Jesse is playing Walt but Vince Gilligan and co maybe just pushing Andrea out the way because they do not have story time to deal with her.

      I think that maybe the reason this season has felt a little different...they are skipping steps in order to get to certain points. I think Vince Gilligan has said that now that they are planning the final arcs..16 episodes was not enough and that they are having to push certain things aside...fucking bean counters!