You know the reason I love Breaking Bad? Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty; the amazing writing and directing, the fantastic acting from the supporting cast, and the consistently wonderful music certainly add a lot to the show. But the main reason I love this show so much can be explained in two words: Walter White.
Simply put, Walter White is one of the greatest characters ever put to television. His transformation is amazing, and brought to life by the always jaw dropping performance from Bryan Cranston. But in Season 5, we haven’t really gotten to delve into Walter White’s physique. We know he’s gotten more hostile, more nefarious, but we only really see that from other people’s perspectives, and not his own. Well “Buyout” changes that. This is a Walter White episode, and boy was it a doozy.
Following the tragic events of “Dead Freight”, Breaking Bad has kicked it into high gear. The death of the boy seems to be the catalyst that will affect all of the main characters, and will push them to the extremes of their personalities. For Jesse, that’s extreme guilt and violence. For Mike, it’s taking control. And for Walt…well, it’s pushing forward. He won’t let a “setback” like this get him down.
Not so much for his other two partners, though. Both Mike and Jesse decide to get out of their new meth cooking operation, mere weeks since they started it up. Mike because he’s been constantly tailed by the DEA, and Jesse because he doesn’t want to see any more innocent people killed (oh Pinkman, you boy scout). Unfortunately, this doesn’t sit right with Walter White. Despite the $5 million paycheck, he’s not ready to give up the meth trade. And the reason why is the driving question throughout this episode.
This isn’t the first time that Walt has been offered the opportunity to get out of the meth game; he’s had numerous opportunities in the past. But this one feels different due to just how stubborn he is NOT to make more money, but just to keep making meth. Just like the product itself, the production is a bane to Walter White, and will eventually be his undoing. He just can’t give up. And his incistance not to is what turns Walter White from hateable anti-hero to pure villain. At this point, we just want to see Jesse and Mike get away from the violence, murder, and crime to live fruitful, productive lives. But Walt is the one thing stopping them from doing so. And not in the passive aggressive, manipulative manner he usually carries out his plans in. He’s on the offensive, willing to set fire to his own hand to protect his meth production, his own little empire.
And all because of Grey Matter, the little company that Walt left to his best friend and (maybe) former girlfriend years ago. I loved that they brought back Grey Matter, because that’s really where Walter White’s moral decay began. The jealousy and regret that Walt felt when he left Grey Matter is really what made him that spiteful, petulant man he is today. Which is why he would refuse to accept a buyout; his pride, once again, has gotten everyone into trouble. I’m curious to see what Walt’s “everyone wins” solution is, but I’m sure it won’t end pretty. We’re in the final stretch of Season 5, and things are about to get ugly.
Score: 9.5 out of 10
-Wonderful, wonderful cold open. Todd really is a bastard, isn’t he?
-The dinner scene with Walt, Jesse, and Skylar has got to be one of the most uncomfortable and best scenes in Breaking Bad history. Forgot how hilarious Aaron Paul can be. Also, Walt and Skylar’s union is decaying faster than roadkill. There’s like NO love left there whatsoever.
-Speaking of that dinner scene, it’s nice to see Skylar and Jesse on screen with each other again. They haven’t been in a scene together since Walter White had hair! But Skylar’s bitchiness and Jesse’s punk attitude working off each other always make me laugh.
-Loved how, when Walt invited Jesse to his house, he went to go sit across from him in his big old armchair, leaning back with his glass of whiskey. So Don Corleone.
-I have a horrible feeling that Mike will be dead by the end of the next two episodes. He’s just too cool not to be the one to bite it!
-I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Todd. I’m willing to bet he factors into Walt’s plan somehow.
-Another bet: I don’t think everyone will win. Not at all.