Breaking Bad Season 5

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

Breaking Bad Season 5


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 Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and the author of Sticks and Stones



Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?