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

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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.

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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

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