Breaking Bad, “Green Light”: Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to have someone watching your back.

After the adrenaline rush of the past three episodes, it seemed like last night’s Breaking Bad gave us all a chance to step back and take a breather. But just because people weren’t dying and stuff wasn’t blowing up in our faces doesn’t mean there wasn’t a ton simmering just below the surface.

All is not well in the White household after Skyler’s revelation last week that she “f’ed Ted.” Mike brings Saul a tape of the two screaming at each other and they realize what a potential threat this poses. Playing the drug game has really had a Fight Club effect on Walt. The deeper he’s involved himself in it, the more fearless he’s become in his day-to-day life. Before, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to imagine him taking Skyler with another man laying down (zing!), but now he turns things up to 11 and goes to Beneke’s office to confront him in person. In a lot of ways, Beneke is just as introverted and scared as Walt used to be, and as Walt bangs on his door, screaming that he just wants to talk, Ted hides inside, only poking his head out to tell Walt that he’s really busy. And we have to remember that Walt, for all his badassery, is still an aging high school chemistry teacher playing drug kingpin. If this is something we sometimes forget, the show is nice to enough to give us scenes like we saw last night, with Walt throwing a potted plant at Ted’s window only to have it bounce off and hit the floor. “Next time you OPEN the door!”

After righteous anger, Walt figures that maybe he can also play at Skyler’s game and tries kissing Carmen at work. This doesn’t have quite the same effect and he’s sent on sabbatical “indefinitely.” From here he dials things down to quiet resignation, sitting at the breakfast table and playing with his Cheerios, while Skyler sits at the other end and puts up her, “I’m a quiet yet oddly upbeat asshole” act we’ve seen so much of. I’m not exactly sure what Walt’s game is here. Maybe he thinks that if he just sits back and does nothing, the situation will just resolve itself. After all, Skyler was dead set on kicking him out of the house. But he forced his way back in and she seems to have more or less accepted it.

Jesse’s doing his best to get back up on the horse. He’s back in the RV and cooking. I saw this as a further sign that he had embraced who he really was, the bad guy. After what happened to Jane last season, Jesse may be completely repulsed by crystal meth, and he’s obviously gotten himself off it, but he’s still the bad guy. In the end he knows he has to cook it and sell it. This week, though, he really jumped into the role with both feet, putting on his little song and dance for the cashier at the gas station, telling her that this crystal was “awesome,” and that what she had heard about it being addictive was just “the media.” Talk about embracing who he is. You could almost see the evil coming off of him like little stink waves in a cartoon. And the fact that he passed her the sample in front of a cop I think is very telling about the person he’s morphing into and shows that Walt isn’t the only one suffering from the Fight Club effect.

It’s become pretty clear that Mike is serving two masters, as we saw him talking to Gus Frings later in the episode. He was carrying a folder filled with copies of Walt’s medical records, so you have to ask yourself exactly what sort of reach and resources he has. Gus’ main question was whether or not Walt would live for the foreseeable future. Mike said he will, for the next few years, at least. So whatever nefarious plans Gus has cooking up (zing! I’m on fi-yah!), it looks like Walt will play a big role in them. When Gus last approached Walt, offering him three million dollars for three months’ work, Walt said he wasn’t interested. Well, he better get interested quick, because it looks like right now, Gus and his offer are all that are all standing between Walt and an axe in his head. Gus may have granted Walt a temporary reprieve with the Cousins, but he’s still marked for death. And we saw just how literally we needed to take that when Mike found a chalk drawing of a scythe on the street in front of Walt’s house. Listen to the bells, Walt! They toll for thee!

We got to spend a little more time with Hank this week, and saw that he’s really letting his post-traumatic stress get the best of him. Using the Heisenberg case as an excuse, he’s shirked off his promises to head back to El Paso. It’s possible that this won’t have an adverse effect on his career, but it’s definitely taking its toll in his personal life, with him getting more and more pissed off at people like Gomez, people who are only looking out for him.

The episode ended an a somewhat upbeat (?) note. As upbeat as a bag full of money can get, I guess. I was really holding my breath for a second there, as shows like these (I looking at you, Mad Men and The Sopranos), with characters driving down long stretches of road while quietly listening to the radio have a way of ending in car accidents. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Walt got his share of the drug money, and I’m guessing it isn’t going to take a whole lot more to get him back with Jesse and cooking again.

Stuff I liked:

  • There’s a quick radio mention that Jane’s dad tried killing himself. Walt quickly changing the radio station was short and powerful.
  • “Your half.”
  • Saul’s class action suit against anyone who was caused “pain and suffering” as a result of the plane crash.
  • Seriously, the scene at Beneke was great.
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