“I’m in the empire business.”
You know what the worst part is of murdering an innocent kid so you can get away with stealing a train full of methylamine? Getting rid of his dirt bike. And then his body. And then the crushing guilt. Walt need two barrels of acid for this particular clean-up, but this time Jesse is nowhere to be seen. It’s Walt, Mike, and an oblivious Todd who have to grimly go about the dirty work (one small white hand sticking out of the dirt) while Jesse anxiously smokes outside. These are not good times at Heisenberg Industries, yo. When Todd joins him outside with a friendly, commiserating “shit happens, huh?”, Jesse decks him. And it doesn’t make him feel even a little bit better.
After all the evidence is dissolving safely away, they have a pow-wow to discuss what happened. Todd is reasonable, sorry the kid is dead but not sorry he protected the team – of which he very much wants to be a member. He’s calm, thoughtful, logical. And then there’s Jesse, spouting rage like a loose fire hose, calling Todd “Ricky Hitler” (which…LOL), and generally frothing at the mouth. Still, the three of them are equal partners, with equal votes. What are they going to do with Todd?
The options being: cut Todd loose to tell God knows who about them, kill him, or keep him around where they can keep an eye on him. The vote goes to keeping him, two to one against Jesse. This was a no-win for Jesse, but it does make sense. Don’t think Mike “Loves Kids and Puppies” Ehrmantraut wasn’t affected by what happened, though. When he tells Todd the good news, he also roughs him up and threatens his asshole rather effectively for future reference. Todd wisely scurries away. I like Todd! Except for the fact that he kept the dead boy’s tarantula-in-a-jar, and it seems very much like a trophy. What did I tell you? He’ll go far in this business.
The DEA’s got a tail on Mike, which I guess started Monday morning AFTER the great train robbery, and they’re watching him with their beady little eyes as he enjoys spending the day with his granddaughter in the park. They practically have DEAgasms when he leaves a dead drop, and Gomez swoops down to see what he’s left. It is, naturally, a note that says, “Fuck you.” Mike 1, Gomez 0.
Mike spends his evening listening to the pre-recorded phone tap in Hank’s office, wherein Hank gives shit to subordinates and talks about waiting for Mike to slip up and make a mistake so they can nab him. Mike can only sigh. He wants very much to not make that mistake, but it’s hard when his ass is being ridden like this.
Marie brings baby Holly for a visit, which only causes Skyler to break down in tears. She comes thiiiis close to telling Marie everything, but Marie cuts in to tell her she knows all about her affair with Ted, and she should just forgive herself already. There, didn’t that make her feel better?
Hell, no. Yes. Yes it did.
Oh God, the dead kid has a name. It’s Drew, and he was 14 before they blew him away and dissolved his body into goo. Jesse does not take this news well, and Walt can’t turn the news channel fast enough. Well, back to work! Making meth and getting rich, and isn’t that all that’s important? Yay! Even still, Walt assures Jesse that he feels just awful about Drew…I mean, that kid who was going to ruin everything. They need to forge on, and make sure nothing like that ever happens again. Walt urges Jesse to take the rest of the day off, and Walt can just finish the batch by himself. Jesse’s grateful, at least until he hears Walt whistling jauntily as he works. He could have at least waited until Jesse left before turning into Heisenberg.
Walt goes to drop off the batch at the Bugs-B-Gone Shoppe, only to find Mike and Jesse already there. Mike breaks it to Walt that the DEA is all over him and has been for some time. Walt is furious that Mike didn’t tell him that, although he’s placated well enough when Mike tells him he’s decided he wants out of the partnership. Well, we’ll miss you, Mike, maybe we can have a cake, get a card, right after you train Jesse in distribution, okay?
But guess what? Jesse wants out of the partnership, too. OMG! Walt did not see this coming. He isn’t sad, he’s coldly enraged that Jesse would sell him out for “pennies on the dollar” after Mike explains he can sell the methylamine to another cook – Walt’s competition. Five million isn’t pennies, counters Jesse, and are we in the meth business or the money business?
Jesse and Mike meet with the guy who wants to buy the methylamine from them, and dammit, he won’t buy it unless he gets all of 1000 gallons of it, plus a guarantee the famous blue meth will be off the market. Mike can’t guarantee that, not even close. They’re officially screwed unless they can get Walt on board.
Jesse goes over to the White residence to talk Walt into selling his share of methylamine. He reiterates how much money five million dollars is, and points out explicitly that it would enable Walt to do everything he said he got into the business to do – take care of his family, make sure they’re safe, spend time with them.
Walt ignores that point entirely and tells Jesse a story about another time he sold out to his two partners at Grey Matter, for five thousand dollars. And we all know how that turned out for the partners…and for him. In fact, it seems he looks up the company’s worth every fucking week to rub salt into his own wounds. Good grief Walter, let it go! “You asked me if I’m in the meth business or the money business. Neither – I’m in the empire business.” And just like that, Walter White is dead. Long live Heisenberg.
When Jesse asks if that’s really something to be proud of, Walt doesn’t even have to fake an answer because at that moment Skyler comes home. Jesse tries to run like a rabbit, but Walt insists Jesse stays for supper, using both of them like little puppets for his playtime.
The supper that follows is one of the best scenes of the season, with Jesse guzzling water like it’s phantom vodka and Skyler and Walt guzzling the real stuff and working out their marital drama with Jesse as an excruciatingly unwilling witness. Jesse is hilarious as he tries to force conversation like this is a normal meal, blathering on as only he can about how the cheese on frozen lasagna scabs when you cook it…and then it’s like eating scabs. Bwah! When Skyler stalks away from the table with a humiliating jab at Walter for telling Marie about her affair, wine bottle in tow, Walt admits that his family is in tatters and the meth business is all he has left. That the fault for that lies directly at Walt’s own feet is conveniently overlooked.
Later that night, Walt is leaving nothing to chance. He sneaks over to the garage to steal the methylamine. It’s a good plan – which is why Mike already knew he’d try it, and is there to stop him. He and Walt spend the night in the office, waiting for day to arrive so the deal can go down whether Walt wants it to or not. Mike has to go on an errand before the sale, so he ties up Walt and leaves him.
Walt has no choice but to use science to free himself, which causes some minor third degree burns, but who’s quibbling? Mike outsmarts Walt every time, but nobody outsmarts science, boyo!
Mike goes to his appointment at the DEA’s office with his lawyer, so Saul can tell Hank and Gomez to stop stalking his client, a harmless senior citizen (“sorry”). Saul’s got a judge on board who happens to think Saul is a snappy dresser PLUS she hates police harassment. Bing bam boom, Mike now has a day without a DEA tail. More than enough time to sell the methylamine and prance away scott free. Heh, not that Mike prances. Ever.
He toddles on back to the garage, only to find the methylamine…gone. Walt and Jesse are waiting in the office, and Mike wastes no time putting a gun to Walt’s head and counting to three. But once again, Jesse talks him down before he can pull the trigger, begging Mike to listen to Walt because he has an idea! So they can get their five million and still keep the methylamine! Just listen to him! And Mike does yet again.
Even with a gun to his head (and perhaps most especially then), Walt remains calm and smug, so sure is he that he’ll wiggle his way out of another death-defying situation. “Win-win,” he says confidently to Mike, but I have a feeling he isn’t overly concerned about the half of the win that isn’t part of his glorious, ruinous empire.