Breaking Bad Season 5

Has Walt Found a New Surrogate Son?
Talking television.
Aug. 13 2012 3:25 PM

Breaking Bad Season 5

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

Has Walt found a new surrogate son?

Breaking Bad still.
Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and Todd (Jesse Plemons).

Photo by Gregory E. Peters/AMC.

Matt, I agree with you, and some of our commenters, that the kid didn’t need to die. And I’m intrigued by your idea that killing him was actually the riskier move. The ambiguity, I think, will makes the fallout richer narrative material to mine. Jesse will blame himself—he was the one who stressed to Todd that no one could find out about the robbery—but maybe Walt and Mike will be angry, too. Todd (I keep wanting to write Landry, as an FNL groupie, but I’m resisting) did it to prove himself to the gang, but maybe he has done just the opposite.

Or maybe Walt will appreciate Todd for being quick on the trigger—even if he doesn’t say so. (When Mike said Walt was pushing them to off the train crew, Walt told him not to put words in his mouth.) Commenter Dawn 76 writes, “I think Todd is going to compete in the surrogate son arena—he has shown Walt’s own ruthlessness.” That tension could add nicely to the drama. We haven’t seen enough of Todd yet to care about him, but we could. It would be fun to watch actor Jesse Plemons go deep or turn sinister.

And I’ll be extra curious to see how Jesse’s feelings about Walt evolve from here. Jesse got a rush from lying under the train while it rolled over him—but, as does commenter Nick Inzalaco, I wonder if upon reflection he’ll wonder about Walt’s willingness to risk his partner’s life in order to make the weight exchange come out perfectly. (The count and the extra gallons are all that was at stake, right? Or am I missing some other reason that they couldn’t have pulled out earlier, before Jesse could have easily lost a limb, if not been pancaked completely?)

Looking around the Internet, it’s clear that fans are split over whether this episode was brilliant or ridiculously unrealistic. I get the realism critique, but I’m kind of bored by it. This show takes all kinds of liberties, and I don’t buy the idea that this is the first or worst time it has jumped the boundaries of its own universe. What stands out about this episode is the lack of bumbling, it’s true. But that is in line with the Scarface persona Walt is cultivating—and with the addition of Mike to the team. Now let’s enjoy watching it all fall apart.

I thought you were professionals,

Emily

Emily Bazelon was a Slate senior editor from 2005 to 2014. She is the author of Sticks and Stones.

TODAY IN SLATE

War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The One National Holiday Republicans Hope You Forget

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.

Doublex

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

Use Facebook to Reconnect With Old Friends, Share Photos, and Serve People With Legal Papers

  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 23 2014 6:40 PM Coalition of the Presentable Don’t believe the official version. Meet America’s real allies in the fight against ISIS.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 4:45 PM Why Is Autumn the Only Season With Two Names?
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 23 2014 7:27 PM You’re Fired, Roger Goodell If the commissioner gets the ax, the NFL would still need a better justice system. What would that look like?