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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 7 - Say My Name

24 October 2017

Credit AMC

Synopsis: Walt asks Declan to take over distribution from Mike, admitting that he is Heisenberg. Mike makes preparations to have no further contact with the criminal world. Jesse insists that he is out too but Walt refuses to pay him. Hank is instructed to stop tailing Mike and so he shifts his surveillance to the lawyer handling Mike’s money: Dan Waxberg. Walt teaches Todd how to cook and is impressed by his dedication. Walt retrieves the bug from Hank’s office and is able to warn Mike that Dan has flipped. Walt picks up Mike’s getaway bag and brings it to him.

The Good: The opening scene felt like Walter White fantasy camp. He finally got to admit that he was Heisenberg to people who were genuinely impressed by that and you could hear the ecstasy of the moment as he barked out “You’re god damn right!” He also got to totally dominate negotiations with Declan, battering back any disagreements with his winning argument: the blue meth. Even Mike was impressed but refused to say thank you as Walt would like to hear from several people right now.

The argument between Jesse and Walt was strongly written and performed. Once more I really enjoyed seeing Walt try various tactics to get what he wanted. First he played nice, offering Jesse his own lab and foolishly claiming that “you’re every bit as good as me.” Jesse knows that Walt’s pride about his chemistry is so great that that was a pretty shameless lie. If Jesse didn’t know he was being played, he did after that. So he sticks to his guns and demands out and Walt turns to abuse. Just as he did with Skyler (504) he is willing to try and browbeat Jesse into seeing himself as worthless. Again it was the worst tactic possible. You could see Jesse snapping and realising that Walt has gone off the deep end and doesn’t really care about him at all anymore. It was a pleasure to see Jesse stand up to Walt and refuse to be baited. His decision to walk away with no cash was the only one that could break Walt’s control over him and it was a temporary victory that was heartening to see.

As expected Todd, eager, ambitious Todd stepped into the vacancy to learn how to cook. I was very touched in that moment by the sight of Walter White teaching chemistry to an ignorant young man. In one year he has changed so much as a person and yet is essentially back doing the same thing he started with. Of course Todd’s determination to succeed impresses Walt now but you wonder if like Gale or Victor, he will become a danger down the road.

The earlier montage of the hazard pay being stored led nicely to Hank switching tactic and catching Dan Waxberg in the vault. The following scene was actually the strongest in the episode as Mike, for perhaps the only time on the show, looked terrified. He was caught between abandoning his Granddaughter and spending the rest of his life in prison and he communicated that beautifully. I thought it made sense that Mike wouldn’t want Saul (who would be followed) or Jesse (who might get into further trouble) to deliver his bags and allowed Walt to do it. Their confrontation was terrific as Mike pours his frustration out over how Walt has ruined his life. Walt allows his anger to override logic and Mike ends up taking a bullet to the gut. His death was in the end quite peaceful and unlike anyone else’s on the show. It felt fitting for a man who has always sat still and watched carefully.

It also showed us Walt looking quite shocked and guilty over what he had done. If he had just offered to pay off Mike’s men (let alone think of Lydia) then surely this could have been avoided? It came across more like he shot Mike because he could never get him to bend his way rather than an attempt to protect his business.   

I smiled at Saul’s desk draw full of phones.

The Bad: I’ve made my complaints clear about both the convenience and the risk of the bug Walt planted in Hank’s office. The fact that Walt was right there to hear that Waxberg had flipped felt way too easy. I know sometimes plots only work when convenient things happen but it was one occasion to many for me.

The Unknown: It also felt convenient how quickly Gomez was able to catch Waxberg. I’m assuming that Gomez saw something being delivered to Waxberg and then saw him take it straight to the bank. But how did he know it was money? And surely he can’t prove where the money came from? I assumed that banks would not throw open their doors to the police. I also assumed that there must be legal protection for lawyers who can’t reveal what is told to them in confidence. Perhaps I am just making naive assumptions but the flipping of Dan Waxberg happened so quickly that it did rob Mike’s predicament of a certain emotional edge.

I’ve complained all season long about the lack of characterisation for Jesse. Given that we are seven episodes in and still we’ve yet to really have any story which followed his perspective it feels like there’s been a shift toward Walt in the narrative. I was cheering him on for standing up to Walt but I still crave more.

Storing the methylamine at the car wash makes sense and it was good to have it confirmed that the DEA do sweep for bugs.  

Best Moment: I thought Mike’s performance was terrific as the net closed in on him.

The Bottom Line: I thought this was very strong in places and the death of Mike fitted the man. You can’t help but think that without him the operation won’t run as smoothly.

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  • Another big hole in the plot is how Mike escaped from the park WITH his car. Certainly, the police would have impounded it after not finding Mike there.

    Viewer score: 65 / 100

    Posted by GlennW, 29/11/2013 8:42pm (6 years ago)

  • Robin,
    so happy to hear you love The Tobolowsky files. It's one of my favorite story Podcasts.

    Posted by Yogabon, 31/08/2012 8:31pm (7 years ago)

  • Predictions:

    * Jesse and Skyler will team up to take down Walter. The plan will thwarted by Walter murdering Skyler. Walter may end up accidentally killing Holly instead (ricin?) Long shot side bet: Jesse will notice a Lily of the Valley plant in Skyler's office and that will lead him to conclude the Walter poisoned Brock.

    * If Walter accidentally poisons Holly and/or Walter Jr, he will not tell the doctors it is ricin. He will allow his children to die rather than risk his empire.

    * Hank will finally discover Walt in the course of the "Mike's guys" investigation. Walter and Lydia will be working the list while Hank closes the net on them. Hank will discover Walter's secret without Walt knowing and face a Dark Night of the Soul(tm) deciding whether to warn him or arrest him.

    * Walt will use the disappearer to get away from Declan. When he returns to ABQ, it will be to rescue Jesse from Declan.

    Posted by Jason from Natter Cast, 30/08/2012 3:13am (7 years ago)

  • A note on the American legal system: yes, we obviously have client confidentiality and that is a legally protected relationship, however a lawyer is not allowed to aid his client in an ongoing criminal conspiracy, which is what this is. John Gotti's lawyer fell into this trap, where he wasn't just advising Mr. Gotti on how to deal with his legal problems, he was helping him destroy evidence and tamper with witnesses.

    On the quality of the show and the shortcuts with the writing, I agree that there has been some sloppiness in storylines, but I think that is because the show has become much more gripping and intense, not less, than it has been in the past. Have any of the previous seasons been anything like this? Where before we had, as you say, Walter and Jesse planning a caper and then dealing with the complications that arise, here we have four years worth of baggage that has to keep ticking along like a Swiss watch. It's amazing they've let as little slip as they have.

    Can you imagine an episode like Fly finding a place in this season? Fly was great, but this train is moving way too fast for that.

    The richest act of a film is always the second. We are in the third act now, so we are looking for satisfying conclusions, not further nuanced character study or wondering what it would be like if Jesse had a girlfriend. We have no time for Hank's minerals, or Marie's kleptomania, or Walt Jr. buying beer. The clock is ticking and we have to pay off, rather quickly, what we have spent four loving years setting up: Walt vs. Mike, Walt vs. Hank, Walt vs. Jesse & Walt vs. Skyler. I think it's a mistake to dwell too much on little questions, even egregious little questions like Mike's inexplicable bout of bad decision making, and focus instead on the character interplay, which I think has been unparalleled this season.

    These characters are poised to tear each other apart. This entire season has felt like the climaxes of seasons two and three.

    Viewer score: 70 / 100

    Posted by Jason from Natter Cast, 30/08/2012 2:41am (7 years ago)

  • Hi Robin,

    Great episode. The parts that got me the most were the two scenes where the characters had that look of realization. The first was with Jesse and Walt, the confrontation. It just broke my heart. The look Jesse got when he REALLY realized what Walt was doing to him was awful. We all knew it was coming, yet Jesse didn't. I think one of Walt's real mis-steps in that discussion was acting like Jesse would want to be proud of being a meth cook...he just said last episode that having a drug empire isn't something to be proud of. Hopefully this takes Jesse's story in a new direction for the rest of the show.
    The second realization was the moment Walt remembered he didn't need to kill Mike. Unlike with Jesse's realization, I don't think this one will change Walt's plans for the future. It seemed to make him think twice, but I believe it will be rationalized away like all the rest of his decisions.
    I can't wait to see what is in store for next week.
    As an aside, I also listen to your Buffy podcast. A rather sad parallel this week with the disappointing father figure scenes. Xander and Jesse...both scenes were just so hard to watch. I love that these shows can get that emotional reaction for me.
    One last aside...any chance you would ever think of doing a podcast on "the wire"? : )

    Viewer score: 70 / 100

    Posted by Brianna, 29/08/2012 2:49am (7 years ago)

  • Hi Robin, I wouldn't mind listening to a longer podcast, and if it makes it any easier for you (because I know I usually write too much) I can call/record an audio clip for you? Does the phone no. work from the UK or is it a US-only line?

    Good: The Walt and Jesse stand-off in the garage. I'd been waiting for Jesse to elaborate more on wanting to get out and now I'm really rooting for him to get out of Walt's grasp. Though it was a bit odd that even after that confrontation, they were fine sitting on sofas together in Saul's office as it did seem like quite a big fight, but I guess the fact of the other Lawyer's flipping and the question of whether Mike would also flip warranted a crisis meeting. Interesting in how Saul is the first to suggest that even Mike could flip given that this is the second time they've found the money he'd been squirrelling away for his grand-daughter, and that maybe this time he'd finally give up the ghost if it meant she'd get it some day. Perhaps this set the gears in motion in Walt's mind or helped him feel more vindicated in disposing of Mike.

    The return of the Heisenberg theme as Walt left the car during the cold-opening. The show isn't like Lost, where it constantly uses peter and the wolf-esque character motifs, but when it does occasionally encore a theme it's a nice touch. I may change my mind if they insist on using it every time Walt has a Heisenberg moment.

    Walt resorting to the same crocodile tears tactic to get Hank's to leave the office. I liked how Walt was brazen enough to rather unsubtly insist on a cup of coffee again. I know this is for some viewers this was another contrivance for the sake of Walt achieving a goal but I'm glad that the writers kept it entertaining. However, Walt just happening to be there to eavesdrop on crucial information was a true contrivance and it did take me out of the moment.

    I liked the quirky inclusion of cake-pops and banana bacon cookies. Both of them sound like something mental that Heston Blumenthal (a British celebrity chef whose schtick is that he's sort of a 'food chemist' that experiments with odd combinations of ingredients) might whip up. I can't wait to see some dedicated fan make Breaking Bad-themed cake-pops of the faces of Walt, Jesse etc. Maybe a Gus one with half the face off with strawberry jam for blood. Sorry to go off on a slight tangent but I guess the occasional inclusion of unexpected foods used to comical, even narrative effect is one of the things I've always liked about Breaking Bad and felt makes it good television. Other examples would include the pizza (that ended up on the roof), 'dipping sticks', Walt's birthday veggie bacon and the Pollos Hermanos advert in season 3.

    Finally, Mike's death. Beautifully shot, nicely paced and still engaging despite a certain inevitability to what was about to happen. I can't fault the presentation. That shot of Walt walking off camera right, only to storm back in as the vengeful Heisenberg was superb, especially with that villainous musical note, it really gave a sense of just how scary a wrathful Walter White can be. The bad-ass edge of the shooting was taken off slightly by Walt suddenly being pathetically, even comically repentant, so the writer's still want to hold some of Walt's past self back. It is also bitter-sweetly ironic that Mike was, after all, the man to be there when Walt 'the ticking time bomb' went 'boom'.

    Bad: The whole episode did feel a little like those Lost episodes where it had a centric-back story for a character who was going to die in the same episode. The focus on Mike's winding down of his criminal life, by literally throwing his guns and that laptop down the well didn't leave much to the imagination, because I just couldn't see the writer's of such a dark show let Mike drive off into the sunset. Something had to go wrong. My brother and I had both theorised that after killing Gus, the next logical step for Walt's continued transformation into Heisenberg would be to kill Mike. I thought he might eventually use the ricin on him, but using the gun was much better, though again, I wish they hadn't telegraphed it so obviously.

    Another cooking montage to music. They're still nice every now and again, but this one was way too visually similar to the one in Hazard Pay, and inferior in its editing style and choice of music. It might have been more interesting if they had shown Todd messing up more and more throughout but everything seemed to run quite smoothly.

    A needless montage of the lawyer putting the money in the bank vault boxes. It just seemed like much of a muchness, almost like it was a scene from another show copying Breaking Bad's style. I might not have such an issue with it if it was for a sequence where something more interesting was happening (for example, using the same technique to show Jesse and Todd training/practising opening and closing the valves for the train robbery would have gone a long way in helping suspend viewer disbelief in how fluently they managed to pull that task off).

    The cold-opening was a bit too much like a fantasy sequence where Walt gets to flex his criminal mastermind muscles, especially with the little sting at the end where he tells them they're 'god-damned right'. I mean, how would a successful criminal like Declan react to such a flagrant display of ego? I wonder if he's really impressed by Walter or not.

    Unknown: Does the death of Mike mark the end of the 'Walt is a time-bomb' story? Will Walt now realise that Mike may had a point about his pride and ego clouding his judgement, and perhaps change? Possibly not, as he seemed to have already made the decision to kill Mike by taking the gun, but then he may have just taken it to threaten Mike with for the names of the 9 guys. Still, will be interesting to see whether he comes clean to Jesse about Mike's fate or not.

    When Declan challenged Walt on whether he was really the one who killed Gus and looks to Mike, Mike chakes his head. I felt that was ambiguous because I couldn't tell whether Mike was shaking to communicate 'No, Walt didn't kill Gus' or 'No, the Cartel weren't the ones who got Gus'.

    Now that Todd is cooking with Walt, is that going to affect Walt's ability to deliver the 99.1% pure meth? He could get in seriously hot water with Declan's organisation if he fails to deliver on his promises. I do fear for Todd if he knows too much about cooking Walt's formula. He wouldn't want another Gale situation on his hands. Then again, I think the writers must know it would be repetitious so I think it's more likely that Todd is going to screw up in a major way during a cook. He doesn't seem to have the same level of education and common sense as Jesse did when he began cooking with Walt. Doesn't mean Todd isn't expendable in Walt's eyes. I still think Todd is marked for a fate similar to Victor's.

    Skylar's noting of the Vamanos Pest truck might be more important than just the basis for a throwaway line to Jesse. It could be the beginning of another plan to escape other than simply waiting for Walt to die. She could organise to have the White residence fumigated by Vamanos Pest just so she can see what is going on. I myself would quite like to see Walt cooking in his own living room and what kind of tense situation/dramatic ironies might arise from that scenario - especially if Todd, now established as a child killer, pulls a repeat performance on Walter Jr, Skylar or Marie if they happen to walk in on the cook.

    Viewer score: 64 / 100

    Posted by Josh, 28/08/2012 1:08pm (7 years ago)

  • Really good episode - one of the best in BB history. My biggest problem, ironically, is that there was too much in it. The "A" story was pushed along so much that it did indeed at times fell thin, rushed and contrived. If these major plot points had been introduced periodically over the last few episodes they would have been much better.

    Often BB will have an episode where NOTHING happens (a few of those already this season). For example, introducing the lawyer in "hazard pay" would have led to a nice pay off this episode and not made it seem so rushed. Also agree getting Gomez to catch him and get him to flip all "14 hours" seemed far too rushed. Whatever happened to lawyer-client confidentiality? Legal privilege I believe it's called.

    The bug - well getting it was no worse than putting it in (both poor) and this episode also confirmed that Gomez is "clean" (I never doubted you Gomey!) all in all though great stuff and I get the feeling that the foot is now firmly on the accelerator for the final episodes of BB. All the best, Phil from Eastbourne, England

    Viewer score: 90 / 100

    Posted by Phil, 28/08/2012 4:39am (7 years ago)

  • I really expected Mike to drive away after Walt shot him, so it was a pretty big shock when he ended up dying. Going to be hard for Walt to sell what happened to Jessie after he already accused him of not caring about the dead boy. I feel like we say this every week, but now THIS is the action that could lead to things finally collapsing.

    The bug stuff didn't bother me too much, but I will admit that it's fairly lazy writing. I mean just logistically, does somebody monitor the feed for the 9+ hours a day that Hank is in the office? Kind of silly how they always happen to be listening when something important happens. Not a huge deal, but it kind of stuck out to me tonight.

    Also, I think it's well beyond time for Hank to finally put some solid leads together and maybe take a hard look at Walt.

    As far as the format of your podcast, the longer the better imo. I love hearing all the feedback and will gladly listen to a 2 hour podcast when it's a show that I love.

    Viewer score: 80 / 100

    Posted by Aaron, 28/08/2012 4:33am (7 years ago)

  • Walt kills or eliminates whoever gets close to his "prize possession": Jesse. Mike was just the latest casualty.

    Jesse gets close to Jane; Walt kills Jane. Jesse gets close to Andrea and Brock: Walt poisons Brock and manipulates Jesse into breaking up with Andrea. Jesse leaves Walt's side at the lab to becomes Gus's"golden boy"; Walt kills Gus. Jesse quits the business after shifting his loyalties to Mike; Walt kills Mike.

    And here are just some plot elements I found odd:

    -The Whites continue to go through the motions of dining together...why bother, especially without Walt Jr. around? (And did Walt really expect Skyler to engage with him in dinner-table chitchat about his new cook partner?)

    -Mike discards all of his connections to the operation--the laptop, the guns, etc.--yet he keeps his cell phone, and has no problem answering the phone when Walt calls him?


    -I don't know if this was simply a continuity/editing error but I don't believe we see Walt remove the picture-frame bug from Hank's desk when he's interrupted with the coffee. However it seems odd that they wouldn't have Hank discover the bug that same episode given how little time it would take for him to do.

    (I also wonder if there's some sort of symbolic double-meaning between Walt's tracking bugs and the literal "bugs" we've been seeing this season like the tarantula and the poster of different insects.)

    Viewer score: 75 / 100

    Posted by jeremy, 27/08/2012 11:27pm (7 years ago)

  • Hi Robin, I have just found your site and enjoy listening to the podcasts after each episode. Good episode and a fitting death for Mike. In contrast to Gus`death, the empire leader who went out with a bang, Mike`s peaceful death seemed appropriate for his calm and collected character; even when he was killing people and getting in fights he rarely raised his voice or got angry, he was so casual and often blasé about it all. It was a nice touch of irony that the last person Walt talked to was Walt, who he couldn`t stand, and even when he was dying he had to put up with Walt talking BS like normal until Mike finally had to tell him to shut the eff up. Walt didn`t get the hint!

    Viewer score: 70 / 100

    Posted by Kay, 27/08/2012 8:34pm (7 years ago)

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