Yeah Bitch! Magnets!!

Written by  //  July 16, 2012  //  Televised Entertainment in Review, The Theatre  //  6 Comments

After their best season yet, Walt & Jesse are back are to pick up the pieces in an extended fifth and final season.

Note: This is a Recap. Recap = Spoilers. Don’t bitch to me later.

If viewers thought Walt and Jesse had learned their lesson and were going to spend Season 5 quietly knitting by the White’s pool they were sadly mistaken. Unlike the fourth season, which picked up right where the third left off, Season 5 began with a flash forward to a Walt with hair (very nice) sitting alone in a Denny’s celebrating his 52nd bday eating some breakfast and chatting with the waitress when the arms dealer he worked with last season shows up to sell him a car and an M60. There’s a flash of the New Hampshire license plate on the car he’s been using which features the state motto “Live Free or Die” – the title of this week’s episode.

He gives a long hard look at his new toy before tossing a duffel bag into the trunk and shutting the lid, launching us back to the moment’s right after the death of my beloved Gus Fring. Walt returns home from the hospital before the rest of his family and disposes of any incriminating evidence, including the Lily of the Valley he used to poison Brock. There were a few viewers who hoped that it was actually Gus who may have planted the lily at Walt’s house, hoping to create further discord between Walt and Jesse. Bryan Cranston has said in interviews that this isn’t the case, it was in fact Walt who took it upon himself to manipulate Jesse into turning on Gus, and this was proved last night when he ran from the house to grab the plant and throw it out before it could be discovered.

Its then that Walt has an “Oh fuck” moment and one of the very few times you want to shout at the show “Duh!!” – it’s an obvious plot device, as BB isn’t a show that forgets details unless they’re later going to use those forgotten details against a protagonist so I can’t get too upset since it made for a fantastic episode. The cameras. He remembers the cameras that Gus had trained on him at the lab.

Just as he’s realizing this gross mistake, Hank arrives at the burned out lab to have a look around, slowly panning his flashlight until he goes up towards the ceiling and discovers what looks like a burned out camera. Doh!

My favorite hitman Mike is alive and well, feeding chickens and roosters in Mexico when the doc informs him Gus is dead. He immediately sets out for ABQ, literally almost running into Jesse and Walt on the way. Before Mike can shoot Walt for what he’s done Jesse intercedes and they explain they all need to work together to find a way to get rid of any of Gus’ recordings. Mike tells them Gus kept everything on his laptop just as we see that Hank’s at Pollos Hermanos taking the laptop into evidence.

They get back to Jesse’s to regroup and Mike finds out what police station the laptop’s being kept at. There’s a great exchange between the three of them that makes me hope we’ll be seeing these guys working together more often. After Mike and Walt argue over how to get rid of it (explosions, bombs, etc.) Jesse comes up with the brilliant idea of finding a magnet big enough to wipe the laptop clean from outside the station.

 

Not to be left out, Skyler has her own shit to deal with this week now that Saul’s guys botched the Beneke job.  He’s not dead (remember we saw that twitching finger) and when she goes to visit him in the hospital he’s seriously fucked up! Like, head cage fucked up. Is it wrong that the first thing I noticed is that he’s got a horrible head for being shaved – he looks like one of the aliens in Mars Attacks. Skyler originally annoyed the hell out of me, but last season her character came into her own and I’ve been really enjoying her. There was an interesting moment here where she first enters the room incredibly remorseful, worried that Beneke’s going to go to the authorities and tell them that she caused his accident. She comes in tearful and apologetic until he reveals that he’s scared shitless of her and swears he’ll never tell a soul. There’s this moment when Anna Gunn let’s Skyler’s face change that was absolutely brilliant acting. She shifts from being sorry to becoming hard. Realizing that the remorseful tactic is unnecessary and that a scarier one would work better, her face hardens and she says coldly “Good.” – it’s a fantastic moment that illustrates she’s starting to learn a little from her husband, whether she wants to or not.

The most bad ass Three Musketeers ever go to Old Joe’s junkyard and purchase a large truck and car magnet to break into the station and ruin Gus’ laptop. Mike successfully blocks the camera and rigs open the gate so Jesse and Walt can drive up and start the magnet of all magnets. Walt gets a little carried away, turning it all the way up to 11 and causing the truck to tip on its side towards the wall. They’re forced to leave it, escaping in Mike’s car. He has doubts they actually pulled it off and Walt insists it worked because he says it did – illustrating that Walt’s become something new after tangling with Gus and winning. He’s the King now, and he doesn’t expect his decisions to be questioned anymore.

When the police take inventory of the evidence room they find Gus’ laptop’s been damaged when it hit the wall. But they discover something else that may or may not still lead to Walt, Jesse and Mike’s downfall – Gus had a photo of he and Max Arsiniega, the friend he started Pollos Hermanos with in Mexico who was murdered by the cartel. The glass in the photo’s shattered, uncovering what looks like an envelope with a return address of a bank in the Cayman Islands hidden behind the picture. Will the address lead them back to our um… “heroes” or will it further throw the majority of blame onto Gus?

Completely oblivious to this new evidence, Walt meets with Saul to discuss why he let Skyler wipe them out of money to pay off Beneke. Saul tries to explain that she did it to save them all but Walt’s not cool with it. a visibly shaken Saul tries to fire himself but Walt won’t let him –  the contrast between the weak-willed of Season 1 and this new, physically intimidating Walt is incredible. “It’s over when I say its over.” Backing Saul into a corner may not be the smartest plan. Saul may be a spineless opportunist, but he’s a spineless opportunist with some very scary connections. He’s still on board as of now – but who’s to say Mike won’t pay him a visit next week and they start laying groundwork to get rid of a Walt who may be getting too big for his britches?

He returns home to an obviously scared Skyler. He pulls her into a manipulative and frightening embrace as he whispers “I forgive you,” further illustrating (Gunn’s face at this moment is so priceless) that Scary Walt’s in town, and as show-runner Vince Gilligan recently intimated to Rolling Stone – he’s gone off the Scarface deep end and may have reached a point of no return. Gilligan mentions in the interview that he hopes the audience is slowly falling out of love with Walt – but damn if I can’t quit that man. Scary-face and all – I’m Team Walt all the way.

About the Author

Alistair Blake Arabella

“Alistair Blake Arabella” is the brainchild of entertainment writer and managing editor Vanessa “2 Fingers” Berben . If you’re missing the latest refill of your Dexedrine prescription, there’s a good a chance Alistair’s in your bathroom and has already crushed it up and snorted it. Now be a good little kitten and fetch her drink. If you’d like to receive the hallowed word of Alistair drop a line to AskAlistair@gmail.com – you just may be in the next episode of “Ask Alistar” if you’re very, very lucky.

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6 Comments on "Yeah Bitch! Magnets!!"

  1. Mark in Omaha July 17, 2012 at 9:43 am · Reply

    Great recap. The flash forward had me wondering if they were going to start the new season by skipping a bunch of elapsed time. Did you notice that Walt went into the bathroom and took some medication before going outside? Makes you wonder, what kind of problem do you have, where a machine gun is the solution? There are really only two ways this can end, Walt in jail or dead.

    Mike gave Jesse some great advice, he should have taken it. So Walt is all out of money, the only solution for him to get more is to start cooking again. Goes to show that money earned that fast gets spent just as fast. How does Walt not have a get out town cache somewhere? Who’s he going to hook up now for a distribution network, Random Outlaw Biker Gang?

    How many people has Walt personally killed, by his own hand. I count 6, one poisned, one choked to death, two taken out with the Aztec plus shots to the head, and the two goons in the super lab. I missing anyone? Plus he let Jane die, and he deliberately poisoned a little kid.

    If Hank is such a good cop, why hasn’t figured out that evidence keeps pointing back to Walt? I can forsee a very big showdown coming between those two.

    Off topic, I saw “Safety Not Guaranteed” two weeks ago. Try to fit it in if you can. Small Indie type of movie with some great acting. Don’t read any reviews, the less you know the more you will enjoy it. The lead actress is in Parks and Recreation, I don’t know who the others were but they have skills. Producers also did Little Miss Sunshine.

    • Alistair Blake Arabella
      Alistair Blake Arabella July 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm · Reply

      I can’t give all the goodies away, Mark! Man have I missed you! Why aren’t you on Twitter?? So what do you think he was taking? Cancer meds? Did you follow the link to the Vince Gilligan interview? It’s really good.

      I love Mike’s character – so good. I like the dynamic of Jesse finding another father figure in him and usurping Walt a bit. There’s a bit of jealousy now between Mike and Walt that you saw a little when all three were together. Walt continues to treat Jesse like an erstwhile child, where Mike sees Jesse as more of a man, as he knows Jesse’s capable of taking care of himself.

      The hubs and I have a theory that Hank’s going to find out this season, realize how much money there is to be made, and turn dirty. He’s not quite an agent again yet – maybe he’ll switch sides and serve as an inside man for Walt’s operation? I think right now he just honestly sees Walt as Walt wants to be seen – a hapless, hopeless man incapable of such acts. Last season when he just had to rub it in Hank’s face that he had the wrong guy when he thought Gayle was Heisenberg was so aggravating!

  2. Mark in Omaha July 17, 2012 at 5:23 pm · Reply

    Not sure what he was taking, but a relapse is a possibility. Why was he back east?

    Hank has to have an idea that the person they are looking for is Walt. Evidence from Walt’s high school lab, ties with Jesse, the WW on Gayle’s notebook, had to be parts of the green Aztec laying around the double homicide, barely explained huge sums of cash. Don’t see Hank turning to the dark side.

    Good observation about Jesse, Mike, Walt dynamic. Can’t see Mike working for Walt. Don’t see how the account in the Caymen Islands could lead back to Walt. Wonder if Gus Fring’s money hangs out with Mitt Romney’s money?

    Twitter? What’s that? I don’t even own a cell phone.

    • Alistair Blake Arabella
      Alistair Blake Arabella July 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm · Reply

      I was thinking that maybe there’d be some kind of record in the account showing payouts or something? Maybe not – but as far as Hank, he has all that evidence but he doesn’t want to see it. Just like it took him forever to figure out his wife was a clepto – he just can’t see Walt as Heisenberg. It’s not something he even sees as being possible yet. You have no cell phone? Jesus, Mark, I love you. We can negate each other since I don’t possess a land line!

  3. rickyjames July 18, 2012 at 7:55 pm · Reply

    Excellent recap. One observation – the game of chicken Mike played with Walt was a wonderful setup to show that Walt is alpha male now and ain’t no way he’s gonna hit the brakes and swerve for just some guy that’s held a gun to his head. And subconsciously Mike buys into this – he hits the horn (if I remember correctly) when he realizes that Walt isn’t backing down, then gives “the universal sign for keys” and effectively becomes Walt’s…wheelman. Which he is for the rest of the heist. Mike slips back into the role he knows best – the dangerous, growling….beta dog.

    A lot of thought went into that scene and its subtext. As is the case in everything in this great show.

    • Alistair Blake Arabella
      Alistair Blake Arabella July 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm · Reply

      Thank you! And I loved that chicken scene – nice observation on the dynamics of Mike – I think he likes being wheel man because it allows him to still feel a semblance of being in charge. He got shown up by Walt, had to grind to a halt, and then had to put his gun away when Jesse intervened. The only way for him to feel like he wasn’t being emasculated is by demanding the keys and getting behind the wheel. Their arguing at Jesse’s house had nothing to do with the matter at hand and was just a continued power struggle. I wonder why Mike hasn’t left town yet? He was already home free in Mexico (to an extent – no telling if the cartel is going to try and get revenge yet) he could’ve returned – found out about the cameras and dipped out all over again, leaving Walt and Jesse to figure it out themselves. Love this show! So unpredictable!

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