Breaking Bad Review: Welcome to Waltergate
Oh, Sklyer. How correct you are that the devil is in the details. But beware: he's also in your husband, and he's sticking his horns ever so deeply into you, as well.
On "Open House," we saw just bad Sklyer can break. And her smooth, calculated, business-like approach seemed to scare Walt almost as much as Gus does. Perhaps that's because it was eerily reminiscent of Gus. It's easy to imagine him hiring a fake water inspector in his early days, isn't it?
All drug lords start somewhere.
Sklyer started the episode in a seemingly innocent place, wondering if Walt was in danger and then accepting his (technically true) explanation for how he got a black eye. By the end of the hour, though, she was the one schooling Walt on the proper ways to cover one's tracks.
Walt may think he's in charge, but he's really just a pawn in the eyes of Gus, Saul and even Skyler. He's a means to their financial ends.
He's also constantly in denial. Does Walt really need to be told that one mistake can bring a major scheme down, or have long-lasting, serious repercussions? Forget the Watergate example. Walt only needs to look at the season two plane crash to understand how everything he does has consequences, typically deadly ones at that.
It's this continued lack of understanding, this attempt on Walt's conscious or sub-conscious part to pretend like he's still a regular guy (can't I just celebrate with my wife?), that defines him more than any meth cooking or head shaving. He refuses to accept that he's an evil person.
Jesse, conversely, has no such problem. He knows who he is, he knows what he's done. And his only escape is to surround himself with people and drugs, to do whatever he can to forget about that bullet going through Gale's head. Clearly, though, there's no way he can ever forget.
Seriously, does any actor on TV convey more by saying less than Aaron Paul? He's exceptional.
While Skyler spiraled toward the dark side, meanwhile, her sister returned to an old vice. But there's a major difference between Skyler and Marie: the latter just can't do it. She can put on a front, she can take on some other identity during a home visit and even steal a trinket, but only for so long.
Eventually, the tears and the guilt flow. Great work here by Betsy Brandt. She goes through more ups and downs than any star on the show, often from just one scene to the next. Let's hope Hank finally sees the effect his he has on his wife, though, and cuts Marie some much-needed slack. Or at least gets distracted enough by Gale's file to stop screaming at the woman with whom he shares a bed. Channel that anger, Hank, and shift it to the person who truly deserves it: your brother-in-law.
In the end, Breaking Bad taught us many lessons this week. Skyler is a cold-hearted negotiator. Gus is always watching. And CSPAN is boring enough change the focus of even the most stubborn of men.