Breaking Bad, Season 5, Part 2

Can Jesse Break Out of His Funk and Start Yo-ing With Heart?
Talking television.
Aug. 12 2013 3:06 PM

Breaking Bad, Season 5, Part 2

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

I’m forever a Jesse’s girl.

Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) - Breaking Bad_Season 5, Episode 1_"Live Free or Die"
Aaron Paul as Jesse in Breaking Bad

Photo courtesy of Ursula Coyote/AMC

Hey gang,

Emily Bazelon Emily Bazelon

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

Hmm. Like Matt, I was confounded by Hank’s decision to confront Walt. Sure, Hank feels outraged, betrayed, indignant. The implications of his discovery are legion for his family and his own reputation. How will it look to his department when he tells them his brother-in-law was making the magic blue meth right under his nose?

All of that said, the lawyer in me says there is no way that Hank the seasoned drug investigator shuts that garage door and has it out with Walt. There’s no way Walt will confess, and no way Hank has enough evidence yet to take the case to court. It’s utterly unprofessional for him to fly at Walt, and up till now Hank has been a real professional. Sly and skilled. That’s what I expected to see in those heavy-lidded eyes.

Advertisement

But Willa, your explanation is making me feel less grumpy. I suppose it’s just as possible Hank would be slow to grasp Walt’s snakey strength. And even if I’m not entirely convinced, I love your point that by getting the confrontation out of the way, the show now can career off to who knows where.

I think you could say the same of Jesse’s refusal to confront Walt about Mike. This is the opposite of the Hank problem: This time, I longed for conflict. But that’s because, as a Jesse’s girl, I’m always happier when Jesse’s Yo-ing with some heart rather than languishing under the lava lamp, or whatever that sickly green display was. (I do love listening to his meth-freak friends though—Yesss to the Star Trek remake in which Scotty beams his guts out.) I can see that the arc of this half-season will eventually benefit from Jesse’s current despondency. This goes for Skyler, too: I’m ready for her to be the show’s vector for redemption, but first, I guess we have to watch her stick for a while with her devil’s bargain of a money-laundering car wash.

Our own bargain with any long-running narrative drama is that we will plow through the downer episodes, and put up with lags in the action, out of love for the characters, or cliff-hanger curiosity, or addiction, or habit. Movies are flings, and TV dramas are relationships. A question for readers: Are you monogamists about your favorite shows, or do you see others along the way? I’m usually deep enough into the world of one show to watch them one at a time. Though this summer, I confess, I’m also dating Orange Is the New Black on the side.

Did it matter to any of you one whit that Walt’s cancer was back? I care not at all, though I did think he used his illness, brilliantly shaky hands and all, when he delivered his veiled warning to Hank: “If you don’t know who I am, maybe your best choice would be to tread lightly.” Wishful thinking, but also, very Heisenberg.

Does the bubble gum belong anywhere near the Ocean Spray?

Emily

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful, a new book argues.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Lexicon Valley
Sept. 30 2014 1:23 PM What Can Linguistics Tell Us About Writing Better? An Interview with Steven Pinker.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 6:44 PM Ebola Was Already Here How the United States contains deadly hemorrhagic fevers.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.