Breaking Bad 5.07 – Say My Name

“You’re Heisenberg.”
“You’re goddamn right.”

Okay, so Walt’s stolen the 1000 gallons of methylamine from Mike and has narrowly avoided being shot in the head as payback. Now what? What’s Walt’s big play? Don’t worry, my babies, Mr. White has everything under control. He, Mike, and Jesse meet the competing distributor in le desert for what the guy thinks will be a swap – fifteen mil for the big tank o’ chemical fun. Nuh-uh. There’s no methylamine on hand at all, just Walt at his very best. The distributor finds out in a big hurry he’s not dealing with some chump, and it doesn’t take long for Walt to convince him that he shouldn’t kill Walt, his competition, because Walt’s like Coke Classic, and who wants to live in a world without Coke? Walt points out that his superior blue meth will allow the guy to take a cut of a much bigger pie than he’d have otherwise, and the guy agrees to that. But Walt isn’t happy with just that win; he wants the respect he feels he’s earned. When he demands that the fellow must say his name, at first the guy denies even knowing who Walt is. Walt lets them in on a little secret: he’s the man who killed seven giants with one blow Gus Fring. To say the guy is stunned by this news is an understatement, and sure enough when Walt repeats his demand, the dude, very much whipped, says his name: Heisenberg. Walt is so utterly competent in this scene I actually like him again. Go Walt! Not sure how long that will last; my guess is minutes. The deal struck is that Mike gets his five million and is off the team, after which Jesse and Walt will cook and the distributors will sell the meth for a 35 percent cut. Agreed.

When they’re alone again, Jesse reminds Walt that he’s not going to cook anymore – he’s off the team, too. Plus, he wants the five million he earned off the back of that dead kid. I mean…off the great train robbery. Walt brusquely brushes him off, saying he’s going to need just a little bit more help during the transition, and I get the feeling Jesse isn’t going to quit this partnership as easily as he hopes.

Back at Vamonos Pest, Mike says his fond fuck offs farewells to Walt. He tells Walt two things: Mike will pay the legacy costs for his men out of his five million, and Walt needs to get that bug out of Hank’s office sooner rather than later. Walt actually has the nerve to be insulted that Mike doesn’t thank him. Walt stalks away into the office while Mike and Jesse say goodbye to each other with an honest and respectful handshake. From behind the office blinds, Walt watches this with jealous outrage. Jesse is HIS surrogate drug world son, dammit!

Ah, we get to find out that Walt hid the methylamine in the car wash – of course! Jesse and Walt go to pick it up, much to Skyler’s dismay. When she tries to question Walt on why he had to hide it and how dangerous to her health it is to have it there, Walt gets annoyed and orders her to GTFO back to the office. As she walks away, she and Jesse share an extremely meaningful look as they realize they’re both squirming under the boot heel of the same tyrant.

Mike’s go-between lawyer pal, competing with Saul for sleazeball of the year, pays a visit to the local bank, and by the looks of those bacon banana (!) cookies that he brought the receptionist, he’s been there many, many times before. She doesn’t know nor care why he has eleven…I mean nine small safety deposit boxes and just added a tenth, giganto one, but we sure do. He has a shitload of Mike’s cash in his suitcase, which he quickly divides amongst the boxes, leaving the lion’s share for Mike’s wee granddaughter, to receive on her 18th birthday. And did you notice how, with just a few episodes of the series left, Vince Gilligan is using as many of his delightful signature camera-eye-views as he can squeeze in. When the lawyer’s done he reports back to Mike that everything is in place and he’ll continue to pay off the crew in small increments so nobody gets suspicious. Mike has finally done what he needs to do to get out of Dodge for good.

Mike hears through the bug in Hank’s office that Mike’s restraining order has finally been shot down, and the DEA is going to come and search his place in a few hours. He is the opposite of surprised by this, and proceeds to methodically dump his laptop and guns down an old well before driving to the airport, parking his car, storing a duffel bag in the trunk, and hiding the key. He’s completely prepared for this, as he always is, because even if he’s slipping up more these days, he’s still damn good at his job. He takes a taxi home and is unperturbed when the DEA dudes show up with a warrant to search his place a couple of hours later. He blithely watches TV, knowing they aren’t going to find squat. As always on Breaking Bad, what’s on the TV is far from random, showing a black and white movie where a man has died violently, leaving behind his weeping loved ones. Gulp.

Walt is delighted when Jesse shows up just before Walt is going to start the latest cook. He starts chattering about all his big and beautiful plans for the two of them before Jesse reminds him he wants out. Out, do you hear, Walt? OUT. Here it is at last, the confrontation we’ve all been waiting for. At first Walt tries to bribe Jesse with his very own cook, because don’t think Walt doesn’t realize what an amazing partner Jesse is, by cracky. When that doesn’t work, he tries to reason with Jesse, saying that this is only thing Jesse does really well. What would he do instead? Jesse may not have any slick answers like Walt, but he doesn’t care. He’s still going. And here it comes: Walt pushes back hard just like he always does when Jesse deviates from Walt’s plans. He sneers that Jesse has a crappy life with nobody who loves him; all he has is the business. Good lord, does Walt not hear what comes out of his own mouth? Needless to say, he’s talking about himself just as much if not more so than Jesse. He makes fun of him for trying to escape through video games and go-karts, and says that it’s just a matter of time before Jesse is back on the drugs. It’s heartbreaking to see Jesse forced once and for all to see Walt as he really is instead of how Jesse wants him, needs him, to be. Walt is not his surrogate dad – he’s a monster who has used Jesse for his own ends from the very beginning. Walt sees that he’s perhaps gone too far, so backs off a touch and reminds Jesse that he’s just as broken up about the dead boy (still doesn’t use his name) as Jesse. But this time, Jesse ain’t buying what Walt is selling. I TOLD Walt he shouldn’t have whistled so soon last week! Walt is outraged at the suggestion he doesn’t care about the boy’s death. Whether this is an honest reaction or a ploy is up for debate. As per usual, it’s probably some of both. Walt is adept at lying, especially to himself. He shouts that just because he’s still getting on with things doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel bad. But as he says, “It’s done!” What’s the point in regretting what can’t be changed? He makes sure to dig in the fact that Jesse is just as guilty as he is.

If Walt thinks he’s going to shame Jesse into changing his mind, he’s sadly mistaken. Jesse demands his cut of the money so he can get away from all the crazy at top speed. It’s done? “We’re done,” says Jesse. Walt throws his Hail Mary pass and tells Jesse that his money has blood all over it. Why does Jesse want it? Oh yes, because money is the be all and end all, and if only Jesse would stay he could make twenty times more of it.

It’s enough. It’s too much. Jesse feels Walt drowning and needs to break free to save himself, money or no money. He walks away to the sound of Walt desperately denying that Jesse will leave without the filthy lucre, but Jesse just doesn’t care anymore. Walt’s lost his stranglehold made of love and guilt on Jesse, and there’s nothing he can do about it. Walt hears the door door shut as Jesse leaves, and Walt is truly, utterly alone. The fellowship has been broken. Woe!

Hank isn’t very good at being a desk jockey. Even in the meeting with the other chiefs and his boss, he can’t help but study Mike’s file as his boss drones on by video about budgets and expenses. His gut is telling him that he’s missing something when it comes to Mike, the blue meth, and Gus (oh my), but he just can’t figure out what it is. He doesn’t get the chance since his boss calls him out for being a doofus after he sends the other kids home but keeps Hank back for detention. The boss emphasizes that he knows Hank is good at being a beat cop as it were, but that’s not his job anymore and his real job is suffering because of it. His boss really, really hopes that Hank hasn’t risen to his level of incompetence because his boss put his own neck on the line giving him this promotion. No more chasing after Mike! No more thinking about Gus! Go push some paper. Hank dutifully agrees to all of it…then promptly tells Gomez to put a tail on the Gang of Nine’s lawyer to see if they can’t follow the money to see why none of the lowlifes are rolling over on Mike. It’s Hank’s Hail Mary pass – let’s see if he has more success than Walt.

It’s Walt’s first cook by himself, all alone in the world, with nobody who cares about him…oh yeah, and Todd’s there, too. Todd’s Walt’s new “partner”, and Walt has to start at the very beginning of his meth do-re-mi lesson to get Todd up to speed. The thing is, Todd may not be the brightest star in the sky but he really wants to learn. He takes notes and listens intently, and refuses to be paid until he’s better at the job. In many ways he’s a much better partner for Walt – he’s emotionless, calculating, methodical, and actually wants to be in the business. Dare I say that Walt has made Todd in his own image – and Walt is pleased with what he sees. Now’s a good time to point out that Breaking Bad has the best soundtrack on television, with a truly kick-ass cover of The Monkee’s Goin’ Down playing as the new kid learns the ropes.

As he promised Mike, the lawyer is back at the bank (this time with cake pops (“they’re balls of cake on a stick”), although the bank employee isn’t quite as delighted this time. He’s back in the bank vault, dutifully handing out the hush money, when he looks up to find Gomez and two burly agents at the vault door. The gig is up, Hank’s gut feeling paid off big time, and there’s a suitcase full of drug money begging to be used as evidence in a court of law against Mike. Dammit! Do they have the authority to take the cash reserved for his granddaughter? I have a feeling the answer is going to be yes. Double dammit!

Walt and Skyler are sitting down to another lovely meal of frozen dinners and, for Skyler, her ever-present bottle of wine. It’s mighty chilly in the White house these days (not Michelle and Barak, they’re still fine), and when Walt tries to make small talk about what happened today at work because Jesse is no longer available for such things, she gets up, wine glass in tow, and leaves the table. Being the king is lonely, yo.

Walt’s back in Hank’s office, bawling about how much Skyler hates him and how he doesn’t know what to do about. Hank is still freaked out about “talking” about all the “emotions”. Hee. When Walt asks for coffee, Hank jumps on it, which gives Walt plenty of time to take back the bugs he planted the other day. Walt doesn’t even hurry, he’s so sure of himself. He barely glances at the shots Hank has up in his office of a certain bank branch, but it’s a whole other story when he overhears Hank and Gomez talking about how they finally got the evidence they need to bring down Mike. Roh-oh.

Mike’s at the park with his granddaughter, enjoying his retirement, when he gets a call from his lawyer pal saying he needs to meet with him. Mike, thinking he’s safe at last, isn’t too worried about telling which park he’s at. Unfortunately, Walt calls directly after telling him to run, they’re on to him. Too late – the cops are already there, and it’s only because they check out his car first that he has time to slip away, leaving his granddaughter to face social services by herself. For the first time, Mike seems truly shaken.

Saul is completely insulted that Mike was working with a lawyer who wasn’t him, but that’s beside the point now. Walt and Jesse are reluctantly in the same room again, trying to figure out how the hell they’re going to fix this mess. Jesse vehemently insists that no matter what, Mike won’t flip on them (which must be a stick in Walt’s craw), but that is neither here nor there when the Gang of Nine can flip just as easily. Mike calls and asks Saul to pick up his Go Bag – and don’t we all wish we had one of those – at the airport so he can flee the country. Saul refuses, and even though Jesse quickly volunteers, in the end it’s Walt who goes and gets it. He peeks in it, and it’s filled with passports and money and of course a gun.

Mike’s waiting for him at a pretty river out of town, no doubt mourning his lost retirement and family, but stoic as always. Walt comes and gives him the bag, but he also demands that Mike tell him the name of the nine guys who might flip. Mike refuses, loyal to the bitter end. Mike advises him to leave town, but of course that’s not an option for Walt. Not after everything he’s done to get to the top of this particular heap. He braces himself when Mike stalks toward him, but Mike just grabs the bag from him and goes back to get in his car. Yet again Walt is miffed when Mike doesn’t say thank you, and that’s when Mike finally loses his composure. He berates Walt for killing Gus, for ruining their good thing with his hubris and greed. He walks away and gets in his car, dismissing Walt for the huge asshole he is.

Walt is so outraged that he rushes back to his car and gets a gun…Mike’s gun from his Go Bag. He goes up to Mike’s car and shoots him point blank. Mike’s instincts take over and he drives away, but he doesn’t get far before crashing. Walt hurries to see the results of what he’s done, but Mike has escaped into the woods. Walt follows him and finds him sitting calmly on a rock, bleeding to death, watching the pretty river. It’s very interesting, because in his shocked state Walt has reverted back to his old self. He’s not Heisenberg now, he’s plain old Walter White, and he just shot a man in cold blood for no reason except he made him angry. He admits he just realized he could have asked Lydia for the names, so this really was for nothing. He stammers out an apology for every damn thing he’s done, but because Mike is awesome, his last words on this earth are, “Shut the fuck up and let me die in peace.” So Walt shuts the fuck up, and Mike dies there by the river, another man who underestimated Walter White – not his intelligence, but his capacity for evil. Nooooo, not Mike!

The question is…who’s going to stop Walt now? He bought that big old gun at the beginning of the season to shoot someone – but who? My eyes slowly turn to Jesse. You go, Jesse!

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  • Romany

    I know this is, like, a Shakespearean tragedy and all, but alas, poor Mike! We knew him well (kinda).

    • I know! It’s all going to go to hell in the end, with rivers of blood and characters dropping like flies, and I just want everybody to have a happy ending. Clearly, that is NOT going to happen.

      Thanks for commenting!