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Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad is a drama about Walter White, a chemistry professor who is diagnosed with lung cancer. He enlists the help of his former student Jesse Pinkman to manufacture and sell methamphetamine. AMC 2008-???

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Episode 6 - Buyout

24 August 2012

Credit AMC

Synopsis: The train robbery gang dispose of the boy and his bike. Jesse is furious about what Todd did but Walt and Mike see no other option but to forgive him. Mike soon discovers the cops following him and decides that he wants out. Jesse agrees and they aim to sell off their methylamine to a rival operation. Walt refuses and when the buyer realises that the blue meth will continue to appear he pulls his offer. Jesse tries to convince Walt but with no luck and he sits through an awkward dinner with Skyler. Mike decides to tie Walt up and go through with the sale anyway.

The Good: This was the slowest episode of the season but I enjoyed it throughout. The silent deconstruction of the poor boy’s bike and body was a clever trick to help us imagine what each character was experiencing as the horrible mechanics of disposing evidence played out.

Todd’s lack of remorse was interesting and you have to assume his role in proceedings isn’t over. He seems to have an attitude that Walt will want to exploit. Mike and Walt’s conclusion that Todd would be more dangerous if cut loose made sense as of course did Jesse’s outrage at the murder of a child.

Then came the development which many of us have called for all season: Mike and Jesse decide to get out. Now that they have the methylamine they have something of value to sell out with. Of course Walt was against it and then we got some interesting scenes exploring the gap that has grown between Walt and Jesse’s motivations. Jesse reminds Walt of the more modest ambitions he had when he thought he was going to die. Walt counters by explaining his desire to catch up with his former company Grey Matter. It was interesting that Walt admitted to such a selfish motivation. He frames it as a story about what an opportunity Jesse is missing but the real subtext is clear: now that Walt has a business which could bring him the glory his former partners have he won’t stop till he has beaten them. He sees the cancer and meth as liberating him from injustice. Jesse can only see the dead child they had to dispose of.

Walt is utterly shameless and uses the awkward dinner with Skyler to attempt to get sympathy from Jesse. Ignoring the obvious reasons why Skyler might be angry with him he uses her cold shoulder to tell Jesse that the business is all he has left now. I wonder if he thought that out or just improvised on the spot? I thought that was a wonderful indication of Walt’s complete dislocation from human connection. Skyler and Jesse were only recently people he would have died for. Now they are both pawns to be manoeuvred. The dinner itself was understated. Skyler could have asked a thousand questions and presumably lots of pennies were dropping in her mind after seeing Walt’s “marijuana dealer” (102) in her home.

Perhaps the more important moment for Jesse was when he hears Walt whistling while finishing their cook. Moments earlier Walt claimed that he hadn’t been able to sleep since they killed the boy. However this demonstration of his inner peace appeared to finally give Jesse a definitive insight into his partner’s true feelings.

One of the themes of the season (and I guess the show) is how fortune has smiled on Walt in enabling him to continue cooking. Once more that proved true as Mike’s buyers make it clear that they want Heisenberg out of the meth game.

I thought the brief scene with Skyler and Marie was ok. It reminded us that Skyler really can’t share the truth with her but felt a touch repetitive. Of course there isn’t a lot Skyler can do and we do need to see her attempts at dealing with her imprisonment. I liked the Saul-restraining order scene too. It’s been a while since Saul was allowed to be funny and I smiled at his banter, particularly his apology to Mike after calling him a senior citizen.

The Bad: Nothing exactly.

The Unknown: The bug in Hank’s office is proving to be a very convenient plot device which is not ideal. Nor does Mike quite live up to his reputation as Mr Efficiency. I really like that he decided to get out of the business now that he had the opportunity to. I also appreciated the fact that he apparently convinced Jesse to follow suit. His decision to keep Walt under surveillance all night was sensible but then came the problem. Now of course Walt had to escape and cause more trouble. I don’t really have a big problem with the way Mike tied him up. It wasn’t the most secure method one can imagine. The bigger problem seemed to me that had Walt not come in the night Mike would presumably have left the methylamine unguarded. Surely he could have asked Todd or someone else to watch it for him? I also want to know how Walt shifted a hefty tank in day light. That needs some explaining.

I didn’t think the Skyler-Jesse-Walt dinner scene had strong comedy beats as were probably intended. I still feel Jesse lacks a certain amount of characterisation. His understanding of Walt’s motivations seems quite limited. Their feuding last season seems to have been forgotten and he has returned to his season one\two understanding of Mr White. It’s not that simple of course but I couldn’t laugh at his awkward looks during dinner because I was too distracted by trying to work out what he thinks that Skyler knows. Sure it’s not his place to bring up sensitive information but the whole scene felt overwhelmed by a sense of not knowing what Jesse could possibly think of Skyler and vice versa.

I wonder whether the spider which Todd takes with him will play more of a role, real or symbolic, in the show. Perhaps it was just an innocent victim swept up in this mess like so many others.

Best Moment: I enjoyed the Walt-Jesse discussions quite a bit. We got a lot of key lines with Jesse asking “Are we in the meth business or the money business?” Walt responds later by claiming that he is in the “Empire business.” But Jesse responds with the question that someone with a conscience would ask: “Is a meth empire really something to be that proud of?” Jesse doesn’t seem to comprehend the pride and satisfaction Walt takes in his position.

The Bottom Line: I thought this was pretty solid. The Mike and Jesse characters still have some catching up to do but this seemed to set things in place nicely for the next two episodes.

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  • Post podcast comments:

    Good:

    * I thought the montage of destroying evidence of the encounter
    with the boy visually did well to show the emotions of some of the
    characters through their eyes. I personally felt horrible
    (which is what I think the writers wanted)
    watching that footage. Very powerful.

    * It's also clearer now (more than ever) that Walt's actions (to cook and keep cooking) have always been
    rooted in his ever-growing hubris and obsession with success over his
    former partners at Gray Matter.

    * The whistling at the cook site and his empire building comment I think
    made it clear to Jessie that Mr. White has been lying to him and that Walter
    doesn't care whether or not his business affects *ANYONE*. Everyone can be lied
    to, manipulated or killed if they get in the way of his goals.

    * The inevitable transformational arc of Breaking Bad of Walter White becoming or
    'Breaking' bad has (I think) finally been realized. Walter White is now full on
    'gangster' with a very high opinion of his abilities, pride and arrogance and as
    Mike says a 'ticking time bomb'. I dare say he's also become sociopathic.


    Bad:

    * The dinner scene was awkward and hard to get through. Maybe that was the point.
    They could have given Skylar better lines at the dinner table where
    she plays more with Jesse pumping information about the business out of
    him as a message to Walt that he's done nothing but lie to her since the
    beginning of his cancer and that includes his association with Jesse.

    However, she is in a downward spiral mentally so maybe she feels that needling Jessie while
    illustrating Walt's deceit to her about his relationship with Jessie is pointless.

    If her encounter with Jessie was to show apathy towards Walter and his operation
    while she's piecing together that Jessie is Walt's partner as she mainly spirals
    downward by giving up on life, they wrote it well.

    Unknown:

    * Now it's just a question of how Walt's empire will come to an end (if it does...)

    * Is there anything behind wanting to dominate over his old partners Gretchen and Elliot Schwartz at Grey Matter?
    Is it simply that Elliot got Gretchen and also the success with Grey Matter?
    Did they both dupe Walt out of his share? Is because Gretchen chose Elliot over him?

    * What does the tarantula symbolize?
    Innocents caught in a deadly business?
    Curiosity can lead to deadly consequences?
    Eventual capture of Walt and his associates?

    Viewer score: 69 / 100

    Posted by Fluids, 27/01/2014 6:37pm (6 years ago)

  • I agree that Walter's transformation into full-blown megalomania has been jarring, but I have a theory about it: Walt is suffering from the effects of methamphetamine intoxification.

    Methamphetamine is a very powerful drug, much moreso than cocaine or heroin. It takes only a small amount to keep you high for hours if not days.

    Even though we always see Walt being very careful, it's difficult to imagine that he lived through all the stress of last season without getting a little bit sloppy in his lab technique. We also routinely see Walt and Jesse in the presence of large amounts of unpackaged meth, not wearing masks. And the portable lab they've rigged up isn't exactly out of the Dow Chemical handbook.

    The effects of methamphetamine include increased libido (grinding on Skyler?), increased self-esteem (safe to say), aggressiveness, delusions of grandiosity, power and invincibility.

    True, Walter isn't showing some of the other signs of tweaking, but neither have other characters on the show. Tuco consumed enough meth to kill a circus full of elephants, but never ground his jaw.

    It's also true that Jesse is showing no signs of intoxication, but he's an experienced user whose tolerance may be high enough to ignore the dose from the lab. Walter has no tolerance so would be more sensitive to the contact high from the lab.

    Just a thought. Rule one in the drug trade is never get high on your own supply.

    Viewer score: 60 / 100

    Posted by Jason from Natter Cast, 24/08/2012 12:33am (7 years ago)

  • The song Walt was whistling was "Lily in the Valley" by Queen. Lily in the Valley is also the name of the plant Walt used to poison Brock.

    Viewer score: 80 / 100

    Posted by Matt, 23/08/2012 11:28pm (7 years ago)

  • I'd just like to point out something a friend of mine noticed. Appearantly the song Walt was whistling in the lab is named "The Lily of the Valley". I don't know if anyone can confirm this, but if that was the case it might be major. Can Jesse have recognized the song and realized Walt was behind the poisoning of Brock? Was this yet another reason for him to try and pull out? It was probably just a nifty little easter-egg, but I'm just throwing it out there.

    Posted by Per, 23/08/2012 9:21pm (7 years ago)

  • I liked the dinner scene for its comedy and its call back to the first season's meeting of Skyler and Jesse.

    I feel like we didn't learn enough about the events that occurred around Grey Matter to justify this empire desire. The scene wasn't as revelatory as made out on many critique websites. Most of what was revealed we already knew. What we don't know is what happened on the fourth of July at Gretchen's parents house that caused Walt to leave Gretchen and abandon the company. Whatever that event was, it is the source of his regret.

    I think Mike has been reduced to a caricature. With his old-world cliches (two kinds of heists...), out-of-characted outbursts (that's it, she's dead...), and continually taking half measures when his code was no more half measures, the writers seem to have lost a touch for his wit and wisdom. How many times do we need to see him with a gun to someone's head ready to pull the trigger and then relent at the last moment. It is an over-used trope this season.

    Just seemed like a lot of wasted time that could have been devoted to plot development. Instead, it was used for corny, convenient plot devices to fast-forward things in place for the final two episodes.

    Viewer score: 40 / 100

    Posted by Mike Brown, 22/08/2012 6:12pm (7 years ago)

  • I thought this was a big rebound effort by the Villigan and it didn't strike me as all that slow compared to Walt's birthday episode. It was somewhat strange that Mike and Jessie would have a big powwow without Walt given the rigid voting structure of their LLC, but understandable with "Empire Walt's" frame of mind. The sell off came much too quickly on the heels of the train robbery. I can see how Jesse would be wigged out by the murder, but not necessarily Mike? All I know about meth is what the show has taught me, but what kind of meth dealer is going to be able to put his hands on 15 million in cash? If he's got that kind of working capital shouldn't he be exploring alternate investment opportunities? I'm still having trouble buying the ultra dark empire building Walt. Seeing the old goofy Jesse at dinner just served as a reminder of how far we've come in a supposed year. WW must realize, as a man of science, that his remission is temporary and what's wrong with a 5 million dollar endowment for his family. The gray matter speech was cute, but didn't quite sell me. Mike's strategy with WW smacked of all those James Bond movies where the bad guy would leave 007 alone just long enough to make his dramatic escape and I thought it was the weakest part of the show.

    Viewer score: 85 / 100

    Posted by dbates, 22/08/2012 5:09pm (7 years ago)

  • Another great episode I enjoyed, just shy of a 70 for me because whilst being hugely enjoyable scene to scene, there was nothing in there that really engaged me on an emotional level in a way the show hasn't already done before.

    The Good: For me, it was great to finally see Jesse interacting with Skylar again, them having only been in just one scene together during the whole run of the series up until this episode. It was just as humorous and awkward as I always imagined it being and I'm glad the writers didn't turn it into a plot contrivance/farce by having Hank walk in halfway through. However it is showing Walt's cavalier attitude to his business's security by effectively confirming to Skylar that yes, Jesse is and has been involved in the whole operation since the time she thought he was only selling pot to Walter in season 1. I also like how despite how much we as an audience have come to know and love Jesse having seen his softer side, his struggles and what he's had to go through, that in the context of a formal dinner he's still just going to come across as a bit of a lewd and bad-mannered goon in Skylar's eyes. It's sad that she'll never want to know Jesse the way we do, and how he'll always be a representation of everything that's gone wrong with her husband to her.

    Walt's whistling in the airtight cooking tent. Totally creepy, and I'm happy that Jesse heard and it seemed to have factored into his decision to sell his third of the methlymine. I loved how his whistling got used in the end credits music to this episode too.

    The chilling opening sequence showing them chop up the bike into pieces for the acid barrel, and we know that with the reveal of the kid's hand in the sand, that we don't have to see what's coming next to know what's going to happen. Breaking Bad has always been a master of the power of suggestion and it continues to impress on this front.

    Louis Ferrera. He was consistently excellent in the otherwise flawed Stargate Universe and so I have great faith that if this guy is to become this half-season's 'big bad' (or even the 'big bad' of the entire remainder of the show) then I know they've picked a great actor and the role of a new villain is in safe hands. As for his character, Declan, so far he seems like a man just as capable of reason and sharp enough to know when things aren't entirely the way they seem, much like Gus, Mike and for the most part, Walt.

    The Bad: Jesse's decision to leave the criminal life would have felt more genuine if we'd seen a little bit more of his reaction to the death of the kid, and possibly also other factors that could have been convincing him to leave. Mike's wanting to get out was made perfectly clear, what with his thinly veiled dislike of Walter and the fact of the DEA being on his tail. Not so for Jesse. Had they had a few scenes over the last few episodes showing Andrea wanting to get back together with him/his parents forgiving him and reconnecting with him after learning he got put in hospital by Hank/went to rehab for heroin abuse, I might have been a lot more on Jesse's side with his decision to get out. I do know he accounted for this disparity later by challenging Walt on whether he's in the meth game or the money game but I always felt like it was more than just money keeping Jesse motivated and involved, especially as he seemed to so easily sacrifice chunks of his takings towards Mike's guy's hazard pay in episode 3. I thought that with Walter's master tutelage, Jesse had finally begun to enjoy and 'respect the chemistry' and believe in himself as being something more than just what he once called himself; 'the bad guy'.

    Walt's line about being in the empire business grated on me a little bit, like the writer's were knowingly going for a new catchphrase for Walt that fans are going to put on t-shirts. While it was a justified line (because he then backed it up with more Grey Matter back-story) I still feel like Walt has too quickly turned into a bad guy this season.

    I was surprised to see the show immediately begin with the disposal of the body. I thought we'd see the expletive hit the fan out in the desert in the immediate moments after the shooting in the desert. While it was still good that we got a version of that scene in the office later, I think it took something away from the drama of the moment of the event itself because it wasn't seen. I felt Jesse's hitting of Todd before cutting to opening credits was a little cheap too, particularly as there were also no repercussions to that attack once we got back to the show. I mean, wouldn't Jesse have hit him out in the desert, too?

    Unknown: Another interesting thing is that Declan's associate in the desert closely matches a basic physical description of Walt/Heisenberg with a bald head and goatee. It leaves me wondering if this character was written to look the way he does and put there intentionally to potentially be used later as yet another decoy Heisenberg should they/Walt need one. Especially if he happens to be Declan's chemist. Or it could just be a red herring as there does appear to be lots of bald characters in this show.

    Viewer score: 69 / 100

    Posted by Josh, 22/08/2012 2:33pm (7 years ago)

  • This episode felt satisfying as I watched it, less preposterous than last week. Still, a few things bugged me. Walt's escape from the plastic cuff required Mike to be atypically careless, and for Walt's talents to transmogrify from scientist to magician. You can't make an arc cutter using 110 volt house current, and the attempt would likely just blow a circuit breaker. The insider podcast revealed that they cheated by boosting 110 to 12000 volts.
    I'm also curious to find out how Walt drove away unseen with a 1000 gallon tank and where the heck he hid it.

    Viewer score: 68 / 100

    Posted by Nono Ono, 21/08/2012 10:35pm (7 years ago)

  • I thought that was the best cold opening that the show's ever done.

    But after that, I think it was close to being a subpar episode of Breaking Bad. As amusing as the dinner scene with Jesse was, I agree with Yogabon that Sky is in danger of becoming a caricature of herself by just nagging constantly and yet never leaving.

    I thought Walt breaking out of the handcuff was predictable, but still done well enough to make it work.

    The stuff about Walt building an empire was very well done, but man, talking that $5mill buyout what have been such a smart easy play.

    Viewer score: 75 / 100

    Posted by Aaron, 21/08/2012 1:59pm (7 years ago)

  • One of the biggest turning points in this season's narrative occurred this episode with Jesse's epiphany that Walt is, in fact, being duplicitous with him--as evidenced by Walt's whistling a merry melody directly after telling Jesse how torn up he's been about the boy's murder.

    But as pivotal a moment as it was, it seemed like the writers took a shortcut to get us there. It was too convenient and out of character. For one thing, Walt's never whistled in all of 4 seasons. And notwithstanding that, would he really be shortsighted enough to whistle with Jesse in earshot right after telling him how broken up he was over the shooting? I suppose you could argue that Walt's ever-swelling head is making him take Jesse's loyalty for granted--but I doubt Walt would be that quick to let his guard down, given how "on-again, off-again" their partnership and trust of one another have been.

    I too wonder about the significance of the tarantula. It might somehow link Todd and team to the murder, since it's the one loose end.

    Viewer score: 74 / 100

    Posted by jeremy, 21/08/2012 4:29am (7 years ago)

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