Breaking Bad recap: Live Free or Die

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July 19, 2012 by Susan Miller

Breaking Bad and Denny's: A match made in heaven.

Breaking Bad and Denny’s: A match made in heaven.

Welcome!  Steven and I are attempting to recap/review/rehash Breaking Bad season 5 episode by episode.  We have crazy schedules and are generally lazy, so don’t rely on these for instant morning after analysis.  Our (very ambitious) goal is to post them before the next episode airs.  Can we do it?  Time will tell.  I have my doubts.  But Steven has faith!  We’ll see.

Basically we’ll do a very, very, very short recap, full of spoilers, and then burning questions, full of spoilers, and then crazy predictions, full of spoilers.  If you don’t watch the show, you should.  If you want to read this and follow along without watching the show, check out a fuller recap on Entertainment Weekly, AV Club or Vulture.  All great, all timely, all more impressive.  Then come back and chat with us about our theories.

Okay.  Recap time.  Here it goes.  Walt cleans up the mess after blowing up Gus, talks Mike into helping them, plays with magnets in the junkyard, saves the day with science, and tells everyone that he’s the big bad and they better deal with it.  As Mike says, “If Wendell doesn’t eat, no one eats.”  He was talking about chickens, but it applies.  Oh and the cold open was basically a giant teaser showing us that at some point Walt will have a full head of hair, beard, snazzy glasses, new identity, New Hampshire license plates, 52nd birthday breakfast at Denny’s and a shiny new machine gun. All set?  Let’s go.

1.  Is Walter White’s identity really safe?

Steven: I’m going to say, Yes.  He’s using a fake I.D. probably in order to cover his tracks — the car he leaves in the parking lot, the clandestine meeting in the bathroom, can all be attributed now to a “Mr. Lambert.”  Already we’ve seen him acting like a professional with the magnetic truck, so I think he’s safe.

Susan: Yes?  I think Hank has known, in his gut, about Walt for quite awhile.  He’s had too much time to sit around and stew, and then get in that crazy forced accident with Walt last season.  Hank knows, but he doesn’t want to see it.  Crazy prediction #1 – the Hank and Walt showdown will happen at the end of these 8 episodes.

2.  Is the machine gun going to be for a specific purpose, or is he just amassing an arsenal?

Steven: Arsenal all the way!  “It’s never leaving town,” Walt tells the arms dealer.  Leaving town would imply he’s on the offensive, so unless he’s lying, it seems like he’s creating a Scarface-esque fortress of some sort.  And he doesn’t seem to have his lie-face on.
Susan: The machine gun kind of bothers me. Walt’s plans usually involve some sort of creative science (ricin, magnets, thermite, etc.)  He’s certainly used a gun before, but as a supplementary tool.  The fact that the machine gun is the big reveal in the cold open gives me pause.  Maybe it’s not a machine gun after all?  Maybe there’s some sort of trade involved?  I think it’s more deceptive than revealing, like most things in that sneaky teaser.

3.  Is Skylar still on board?

Steven: The way she handles the Ted situation seems to contradict her “I am relieved…and scared.”  So far she has shown no hesitation with breaking the law, and though the New Hampshire car might suggest that Walt has taken a Saul vanishing service alone, I don’t see Skylar turning back now from anything.

Susan: Poor Skylar.  She just keeps making bad decisions.  As much as I want to root for Skylar and see her as pure and innocent she just keeps falling into the same vices as her husband.  She goes to see Ted to try to fix things, is shocked by his appearance, and then turns again when he pleads with her for his life.  She likes the power, and sure she’s scared of Walt, but she’s more scared that she might not be in control of her home anymore.  Walt has never been in power in his marriage, and as Skylar starts to see the extent of Walt’s transformation, I think she feels her power in the home threatened and that scares her.  Crazy prediction #2: Skylar comes up with a new plan to put Walt back in his place.  And it leads to his escape to New Hampshire.

4. What’s in the bag that Walt is carrying in the cold open?

Susan: I hate that I’m obsessed with the cold open, but I am.  I could sort of get past it in season 2 because they made no sense.  But now that we’re closer to the end and there’s so much at play, I’m hopelessly obsessed.  It also closely mimics the final scene in the Sopranos, another famously overly critiqued television scene.  Hopefully I’ll be over it by next week.  But this week, I want to know what’s in that damn bag.  Money?  More guns?  The plant?  Bomb equipment?  Does it matter?  Probably not, but we see that bag, and then the first new scene of the current season is Walt stuffing bomb and plant evidence into a bag and putting it in the back of the car.  Coincidence or red herring?  Gah!  I have no idea.

Steven: A sack full of money.  If Walt is really building up a fortress, then perhaps this machine gun is the first purchase of many.

5. Where in the show’s timeline is the cold open?

Susan: At first I thought that the cold open was the open from the series finale.  The pilot was set on his 50th birthday, where he had turkey bacon with his family.  Now he’s in a Denny’s, getting a free meal by himself on his 52nd birthday with real bacon and no wedding ring.  The more I (over)think it though, the more I think it might be the opening of the last season.  Crazy prediction #3: After Hank runs Walt off, he gets in trouble with the cartel and Walt has to come back to save him.  Eh.  I don’t like it either.

Steven: This had episode 9 written all over it.  The beginning of the end of the series.  Over the break, I see time passing between the first and second batch of episodes.  I don’t think we’ll know all of the basic particulars of Walt’s situation even when we catch up with this scene.

6. What’s with the roofing hammer in evidence?

Susan: More than the open, that hammer has been bugging me.  Why do we get such a close look at it?  Who is Alvin B. Gutierrez?  Will that introduce us to a new character somehow?  I don’t remember a roofing hammer being important in any other season.  The only thing I can remember are the axes that the cousins carried around.  Will we meet a crooked cop?  Did Gus/cartel have a mole in the DEA?  Is it just showing us that the evidence was filed alphabetically so that we know all the Fring evidence was destroyed?  Any ideas would be appreciated.  It can’t be random.  It’s keeping me up at night.

Steven: Alvin B. Gutierrez…  Why is this hammer lumped in with all of Gus’s stuff?  There has to be a connection, but I don’t have any clue.  My only guess is that it has some of that good Heisenberg Blue on it.  This would give them another direction to start following.

Best line: “Keys, Scumbag.  It’s the universal sign for keys.”

Steven’s crazy prediction: Walt dies at the end of the series.  But it’s cancer that gets him.

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