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Breaking Bad Round Table: "Buyout"

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Will everybody really win?

We'll find out this Sunday on Breaking Bad, but before we look too far ahead, the TV Fanatic Round Table team of Matt Richenthal, Dan Forcella, Chris O'Hara and Lisa Palmer takes a look back at "Buyout."

Jump in to their Q&A below...

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What was your favorite scene from the episode?
Matt: The opening couple minutes. We didn't need any words to express the gravity of the situation, not after we've seen Walt and Jesse dispose of so many bodies in the same manner before. But this time the process involved a bicycle and they didn't even need to chop apart the body to fit it into the barrel because it was a little boy. Tragic stuff, beautifully done.

Lisa: The scene that brought the most levity was by far Jesse's dinner scene. I loved that he described the green beans as "choice." The opening sequence with the acid barrels was also really well done, with an eerie and familiar score. Does anyone have a current body count for the series? Do the people in the plane crash count? Also great was how Walt managed to get out of his plastic cuff. I'm a little surprised Mike didn't think to secure him more tightly.

Chris: Jesse staying for dinner with Walt and Skyler was hands down my favorite scene. We were treated to some vintage Jesse jargon as he tried in vain to fill the awkward silences between the unhappy couple.

Dan: I have to agree with Chris on this first one. The awkward silences, Jesse stuffing his face and the discussion about frozen dinners all made for one of the most hilarious dinner scenes I've seen since Ricky Bobby said grace.

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Did the team make the right decision regarding Todd?
Matt: I'd have killed him. It would have been the cleanest solution.

Lisa: This was the decision with the least amount of waves. While I'm with Jesse in theory, the pragmatic decision is to keep Todd around. I'm curious as to what Todd's fingering the tarantula jar was about. Souvenir? Remorse? 

Dan: Absolutely. This was a no-brainer. You can't kill Landry. It definitely would have thrown up too many red flags, which is something they do not need right now.

Chris: I actually was leaning toward the option that would have found him inside his own barrel of acid, but then I wasn’t sure just how close of a relationship he has with his employer, the exterminator boss. If they killed Todd they could run the risk of alienating their meth lab cover. So with so much uncertainty I think they made the best choice possible for the time being. Trust in Mike, I would say. If he approves, chances are it is a sound plan.

Should Skyler have been honest with Marie?
Matt: Yes. I've said it many times: she's not as doomed as she thinks. Walt is frickin Heisenberg! Her money laundering is merely a ripple in the ocean of crime her husband has created. Open up to Marie, be frank with Hank, work out a deal for immunity in turn for ratting out Walt.

Lisa: Skyler needs to talk to someone. But that someone should definitely NOT be Marie. Maybe she should really start seeing a therapist named Peter. She needs someone on her side because she's dangerously close to cracking, which is completely understandable under the circumstances, but not a desirable reaction given Walt's latest actions.

Dan: Nope, although if you ask that question early on in next summer's session, I might have a different answer. Watching Marie's reaction would be worth every terrible thing that that would happen after that event.

Chris: No way, Jose! She also better lay off the Kendall Jackson before she lets something slip in a heated exchange. The less Marie and Hank know the better. Marie continued to profess her love for Holly this week. Thinking back to the adorable scene a week or so ago where Hank was holding her on his lap is leading me to wonder if the stage is being set for them to eventually raise her in the wake of Skyler and Walt’s demise.

We're three-quarters of the way gone. Grade the season so far.
Matt: I'll go with B, which would be an A++++++ for pretty much any other show on television. But the first few episodes spent a bit too long hammering home the point of how Walt has reached his apex as Scarface, while the last couple feel more like they're setting up next summer, when Hank will likely learn the truth and the real game will be on.

Lisa: There hasn't been one episode this season that I didn't love. I'd give it an A so far. From "franch" to an old fashioned train robbery... Lydia pleading for her life with Mike... and finally back around to all the creepy close-ups... side shots... and from the back shots of Walt as ego-maniacal emperor, this season has gone exactly where it's needed to. The best part about Breaking Bad is knowing that the waves caused by people's actions affect those around them and themselves. The very first scene of Season 5 showed Walt alone suiting up for a gun fight. If that's not a consequence of his "empire state of mind" getting the best of him, I don't know what is.

Chris: I give it a B- so far. I continue to love the dynamic between Mike and Jesse, but Walt just gets more and more loathsome each week. He continues on his descent from noble to know it all, but has really been turning up the hard headedness this season. The exchanges between Skyler and Walt where she just sits there staring off into space smoking and drinking the days away are so deflating. The resulting affect on my mood reminds me of the depressing feeling I got during Season 2 when I almost gave up on the series all together. Characters like Mike and Hank, though, continue to pick up the dramatic slack and make for good television.

Dan: I will go with an A-. Unlike the first question, I couldn't disagree with Chris more on this one. Walt has been better than ever this season. His insanity and progression towards the "Scarface" type has been fantastic through these six episodes. Walt sitting in the dark drinking a glass of scotch is unbelievably interesting to see. It's not something he would have done ever before, and his evolution - or demise - has been a joy to watch unfold.  His announcement to Jesse that he was in "the empire business" might have been my favorite line in series history.

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Strawberry-fields

Favourite scene - Walter opening up to Jesse about Grey Matter. Yes, he is a master manipulator and he didn't just share that story for no reason, but it also happened to be true. I loved it. As for Todd - yeah, they should keep him close for now. They can kill him anytime, why rush it? Marie is like the last person Skyler should be honest with. I agree with Lisa - go find yourself a real therapist, Sky. Grade the season - it's not as great as the last season, so I'd say B+. But there were some A+ moments too. Like "magnets, bitch" or Mike putting a gun to Lydia's head. And my personal number one: the train heist. That was seriously awesome stuff.

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it would be poetic justice if skyler deliberately od's on Walt's product. and Walt dies of cancer, alone in a prison hospital. while Mike and Jesse retire rich and Scot free

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Am I the only one that feels like they are heavily foreshadowing Skyler's death? She's being made to look like a very depressed woman. Walt has ricin sitting in their outlet at home. She did a mock suicide attempt to save her kids. Hank and Marie are already acting like permanent guardians to the kids. Walt uses Skyler's maiden name (Lambert) for his ID in the cold open at the Denny's. I don't like being beaten over the head with symbolism and clues. I hope they are going to do something more surprising than that.

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Ok - try this on. First Hank, and now Marie have stated how they would like to keep Holly FOREVER. Think that's not going to start to wear badly on Skyler and Walt? Scenario: the truth outs, Hank and Marie really do try to keep Holly forever, Skyler reups with Emperor Walt, and the war of the Whites/Schraders/empire/dea gets going.

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Anyone care to guess how the series will end? Will Walt finally be taken down (by Jesse, Hank, Skylar, cancer . . .?) or will it end in the darkest way possible with Walt as the meth-king with everyone around him destroyed?

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I'm enjoying the season so far but I thought at the time that the decision to split a 16-episode season into two 8-episode miniseasons was a terrible one made for commercial rather than creative reasons and that seems to be the case. Breaking Bad seasons often start slowly but they build the tension and momentum well until you get the payoff in the final few episodes, much like The Wire. I think splitting it the way they have done doesn't allow for that and will result in a less satisfying experience. The break points in this season are too clear - we're clearly going to end this season with Walt having properly arrived as 'Scarface' and then, going by the ep.1 flashforward, there'll be a timejump between the two seasons and the second will start with Walt presiding over his drug empire as it starts to fall apart. I hope this isn't the case as I prefer it when BB is unpredictable, but the way they've structured the last two seasons mean this is almost the only feasible way to tell the story properly. I just can't help but feel that if this was a single 16-episode season we would get the sense that we were building toward something, as it is we will probably leave Walt and Jesse just as it's getting interesting. Breaking Bad's obviously still been the best show on TV this season but I feel the execs have screwed its finale a bit. Maybe it'll be better when you can watch it through on DVD.

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