We’re back to the business side of drug dealing, which is about as fascinating as it sounds.
Season 3, Episode 8 “I See You”
Summary: Hank is clinging to life in the hospital, and the twin he squashed with his car is alive, but loses his legs. Walt waits at the hospital with his family, but he and Jesse are under a strict blue meth deadline that they are in real danger of missing. Walt lies to Gus and says they’re behind because of Gale (poor Gale!), but Gus obviously knows what’s up. He comes to the hospital with food from Pollos for all the cops. Walt thinks he’s trying to send Walt a message that he knows who he is, but he’s actually there to kill the remaining twin, so the cartel doesn’t find out that he gave the go-ahead for the hit on Hank.
Walt firing Gale plays out just like a breakup scene. “You’re a fine chemist, we just have different rhythms”–or in other words, “It’s not you, it’s me.” And then Gale looks so hurt when Jesse comes in, like “Him? Really?” Love it.
Jesse still calls Walt “Mr. White”!
The remaining twin jumping out of bed to crawl towards Walter. Terrifying.
Jesse coincidentally seeing Hank coming to the hospital for gunshot wounds. Really? Jesse just so happens to be released from the hospital at the exact moment that Hank gets wheeled out of the ambulance? Really?
Walter Jr.’s little meta-commentary about how “the good guys never get ink like the bad guys do.” Like, yeah, you’re leaving a legacy, we get it already.
Season 3, Episode 9 “Kafkaesque”
Summary: Jesse doesn’t understand why he and Walt, who actually produce the meth, are only getting $3 million compared to Gus’ $100 million. Someone should really show that kid some Marx. Then he gets even more upset when Saul explains (with props) that he needs to launder his money, which means fees to Saul and taxes to the IRS. So he decides to take the excess meth that he and Walt make in the lab and, instead of giving it to Gus in good faith, selling it on the street (and in support groups) with his goons.
Speaking of capitalism, Hank is awake and recovering, but the doctors aren’t sure he’ll ever walk again. His insurance will pay for some physical therapy, but Marie insists on getting him the best care, to increase his chances. It’s going to be a financial nightmare, so finally Skyler tells Marie they’ll pay for the treatment with the drug money, only she says it’s gambling money. That’s a pretty good cover, actually.
Walt hears about Hank’s warning call, and puts everything together. Gus wanted to get rid of the twins to protect Walt, but also wanted Hank to get hurt so the DEA would hit the cartel in Mexico, and Gus would have the entire southwest meth market cornered. Walt is fine with all of this, he just wants to know what happens when his three-month contract expires. Gus offers him a $12 million contract that renews yearly. Walt responds by briefly trying to kill himself, because he’s like, tortured, I guess.
“What’s the point of being an outlaw if you’ve got responsibilities?” Oh Jesse. So pure.
Also, Jesse trying (and failing) to use the word “Kafkaesque.”
Jesse and his goons talking up the blue meth at his rehab support group. What a devious, devious plan.
Skyler coming up with the gambling lie on the spot, and Walt being incredibly impressed with her. Yeah, why didn’t he think of that?
Walt tries to kill himself by driving on the wrong side of the road, then veers off at the last second. It’s so random and overwrought, I didn’t even think it was real. I kept waiting for him to wake up from a dream (which would also be a cliche, but a more realistic one).
Skyler buying into Walt’s “I wanted to provide for my family” bullshit. I’m sorry, I just don’t believe it. Not even because I like Skyler or because she’s smart–smart people can get sucked into rationalizations. But she’s been so clearheaded about this so far, and this 180-degree change rings false. If he really wanted to “provide for his family,” he would have taken Elliott and Gretchen’s money! And the Skyler we know would understand that!
The critique of our for-profit insurance system. The woman explaining the insurance plan to Marie, especially, comes off as completely callous and disingenuous, and clearly doesn’t give a shit about whether Hank heals properly. I like this, but considering that America’s astronomical medical expenses were essentially the inciting incident of the entire series, you would think this would be part of the DNA of the show, rather than a one-off.
And that’s not to say that Breaking Bad was obligated in some way to explore these themes. There’s no reason that this pulpy crime thriller has to double as social commentary–unless it wants to be considered one of the best shows of all time. Then it probably should.