During last week’s review of Breaking Bad, I commented on the fact that the show takes a while to get going at the beginning of each season. It’s still great and exciting (all of Breaking Bad really is), but most of it deals with tying up loose ends from the previous seasons. Most of the time, that takes about 4-5 episodes. But in Season 5…it took two.
“Hazard Pay” began with a pretty good cold open, showcasing Mike trying to convince one of his former employees not to spill his beans to the IRS. Even though it’s probably one of the weakest cold opens in a long time, it still served its purpose. And afterwards, things didn’t let up in “Hazard Pay.”
First and foremost, this episode was a ton of fun. The montage with Walt, Jesse, Mike, and Saul looking for a new cook site was awesome. It’s nice to see that Saul still has the wit and energy he usually does, despite having it occasionally beaten out of him by Walt. All his ideas for sites were solid, but it took expert chemists Walt and Jesse to find the flaws. What they finally settled on was clever, if not really, REALLY risky. Honestly, it doesn’t make too much sense logic wise, but in terms of further defining Walter White, it works perfectly. He’s so confident in himself that he doesn’t mind cooking in a potentially more dangerous situation—no one could possibly capture the great Walter White.
Speaking of the “great” Walter White, wasn’t he on fire this episode? And by on fire, I mean a huge dick bag. From his awkward stare he gave to Brock, to the perfectly concocted lie he told to Marie, and his manipulation of Jesse into breaking up with his girlfriend, Walter White was at his megalomaniac best this episode. His “dispute” with Mike about the hazard pay was fantastically acted by Cranston and Banks. These two really do seem to hate each other, don’t they? It reminds me of a marriage that is slowly falling apart, but both people agree to stay together for financial reasons (with Jesse caught in the middle between his two “parents”).
Speaking of slowly falling apart, this certainly wasn’t a banner episode for Skylar. Her psyche seems to be collapsing at its seams, as she is unable to deal with the fact that her husband and father of her children might be a cold blooded murder. Her outburst to Marie was quite appropriate, and I loved seeing Anna Gunn’s performance as she slowly starts bursting apart, her yelling of “Shut up!” slowly turning to sobs. While I miss the take charge, no back down Skylar, this is quite an interesting direction to take her character in.
All in all, this was another fantastic episode of Breaking Bad, with the wonderful writing, directing, and acting we’ve come to love about this show. Seeing Walt and Jesse strike out on their own in just as invigorating as it was back in Season 2—but this time, there not bumbling fools. They know what they’re doing, and are confident in each others abilities. But as this show has shown us many times before, confidence can lead to some pretty horrible outcomes.
Score: 9 out of 10
-So how did you guys read Walt’s speech about Tyrus and him flying “too close to the sun” there at the end? Is he planning to get rid of Gus’ former employees in a similar manner…or is the threat firmly pointed in Mike’s direction?
-Walt watching Scarface on the TV was a tad heavy handed, but it was still a fun little scene. I just love it when Walt puts on his Family Man hat and acts like a real father. There’s something super nefarious about it now.
-So the cancer’s bound to come back now, write? It’s been discussed A LOT in the past three episodes—as though the creators feel they have to remind us that it’s there, lurking in the shadows.
-Todd, one of the Vamanos Pests employees (and Friday Night Lights alum Jesse Plemons) has been cast in a seemingly important recurring role this season. He does seem like eager to help the two drug dealers…but what does that say about his character?
-Man, I forgot how much I loved the cooking scenes with Walt and Jesse. So beautifully shot, and always set to great music. Special attention this week goes out to the CGI meth molecules, wihich we actually more badass than it probably deserves to be.
-Mike’s Badass Line of the Week—”Just because you shot Jesse James, it doesn’t make you Jesse James.”
-Nice seeing Badger and Skinny Pete again. Who knew Skinny Pete could play the piano, huh?
-This week’s audience surrogate was definitely Skylar because, be honest, guys…we’ve all wanted to say the same thing to Marie every time she opens her mouth.