What’s that in the sky?? Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s . . . MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD!
1. ‘Jesse, you’re never boring’
We’ll start with a moment toward the end of the episode, when Jesse’s first real scene begins with a cop condescendingly crowing at him that he’s “never boring at all”, due to his latest stunt: chucking hunks of money around town like a paperboy who won the lottery, but just can’t bring himself to leave the game.
I find this line revealing not because it particularly advances plot or reveals character, but because I think it shows how hyper-aware Vince Gilligan and his writing staff are of the state of their show at any given point. Because, let’s all be honest, Jesse has been the most boring character on the show for a while now. I choose to view this line as a conscious wink at that fact.
At this point, we seem to just be treading water with Jesse until he can play whatever eventual role he’s destined to play when the shit truly hits the fan. I mean, V.G.&Co have to realize that Jesse turning into a mopey zombie and deciding to toss around his hard-earned money is self-created drama at its finest. It also just seemed to be a convenient way of getting Pinkman back into Hank’s hands for a new potential avenue in bringing down Walt.
2. ‘I’ll send YOU to Belize’
In the first two episodes of this half-season, we’ve had our fair share of ‘Holy Cow look how evil Walt has become’ moments. (If you didn’t get the shivers when Walt stared Hank down at the end of the previous episode and advised him to tread lightly, then I strongly suggest you run to the doctor and get checked out whatever part of the body is responsible for registering shivers — I think the prostate.)
But possibly my favorite Evil Walt moment so far was remarkable not for its bone-chilling gravity, but for the exact opposite reason. In Saul’s office, when Saul so delicately suggests dealing with the Hank problem by ‘sending him on a trip to Belize’ — just as Walt previously sent Mike to Belize via a one-way ticket on Handgun Airlines — Walt turns it around and shoots back, ‘I’ll send YOU to Belize’.
Could you ever imagine the unassuming chemistry teacher from season one so flippantly threatening the life of a close associate? Even delivered in such a near-jokey manner, this line reveals Walt’s dark transformation just as much as his steely-gazed threats to family members.
3. Marie even sleeps in all purple
Seriously. All the way down to the slippers. I think we’re bordering on OCD here.
4. ‘So maybe our best move here. . . is to stay quiet’
Everything about this line, from the way it’s structured to the way Anna Gunn delivers it, is meant to remind us of Walt’s aforementioned final line from the episode just before this one. (You know, the line that gave us all the prostate shivers?)
WALT: . . . then maybe your best course . . . would be to tread lightly.
SKYLER: So maybe our best move here . . . is to stay quiet.
It’s official: Skyler is thinking the same way Walt is, and the lines for a final showdown of Whites v. Schraders have been distinctly drawn. Remember that after the soul-shaking scene in which Marie confronts Skyler and attempts to steal little Holly, the only words exchanged between Hank and Marie when they return to the car are Marie’s: “You’ve got to get him.”
This cage match is on.
5. Walt burying his money, alone in the desert
Leave it to Breaking Bad to plop the main character down in the middle of what is essentially a perfect metaphor for his journey over the entire series. Through five seasons now, we’ve seen how Walt’s efforts to hide his choices consistently drive him further into self-imposed isolation and ultimately destroy every relationship in his life. This episode finds Walt desperately digging a hole in the middle of the desert, completely alone, just to hide his dirty money from the one person he once loved more than anything else: Skyler.
If we do view this scene as a metaphor for Walt’s overall journey, perhaps we can view what happens right after it as a bit of foreshadowing of what’s to come. And what happens right after this scene? Walt collapses in his bathroom from exhaustion and cancer.
Just to hammer home the isolation part of this visual metaphor, Walt pointedly turns down help from Saul’s men, even after it’s implied that even hefty Huell might have trouble budging the barrels in which the money is housed. Of course, no one can no the location of the dough but Heisenberg.
6. Walt’s lottery ticket is very, very significant
Speaking of that closely guarded ‘X’ on the treasure map, Walt devises a pretty clever way to record the location of the loot: he purchases a lottery ticket using the money’s coordinates as the numbers.
This is where I’m going to venture into conjecture, but if you ask me, the shot featuring the lottery ticket on the fridge lingers just a little longer than seems necessary. Which leads to the question: do we think Gilligan is simply giving himself a pat on the back for such a clever idea? Or is it a hint that the lottery ticket itself is important?
For all the slyness of hiding the coordinates in a lottery ticket, Walt’s overlooked one little issue: why in the world would a drug kingpin millionaire play the Powerball? Anyone who is aware of Walt’s wealthy status (ie, Hank, Jesse, Saul, any of Todd’s Neo-Nazi family) would immediately question the presence of that lottery ticket in Walt’s house. Here’s my theory:
Someone, in the next few episodes, will find that lottery ticket and put two and two together. In a heart-rending moment from this episode, Walt begs Skyler to swear that she will never, ever give up the money — no matter what. He implores her, “Don’t let me have done all of this for nothing,” and he reveals a key shift in his thinking: the money is the most important thing now. Despite his protestations that family is number one, Walt has shown at various points that he’s willing to ruin each and every familial relationship he has in order to run his drug organization and / or keep his secrets. But he cannot and will not lose that money.
Eventually, (perhaps even a whole year later) Walt will discover that someone has dug up his money and that all he’s gone through is truly for nothing: really the only thing that could make Walt snap at this point. And this, I believe, is why Mr. Lambert returns to town to purchase a giant gun and take care of business on his 52nd bacon-filled birthday — for a final showdown with the person who took his money, after he has lost absolutely everything else.
Even if I’m way off base here, I can’t wait to find out why. Let’s remember to enjoy these final few episodes, as storytelling of this caliber only comes around every so often.
I only hope that before it’s all over, we finally find out what happened to Los Pollos Hermanos.
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