Breaking Bad, Season 5, Part 2

Why Does Everyone on Breaking Bad Have a Case of the Stupids?
Talking television.
Sept. 2 2013 9:00 AM

Breaking Bad, Season 5, Part 2

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Everyone gets a case of the stupids.

Character of Hank Schrader in Breaking Bad.
Hank Schrader in Breaking Bad.

Photo by Ursula Coyote/AMC

Well we certainly got a scene to heat up the Skyler Wars! What’s interesting is that the writers gave her what seems to me to be a persuasive analysis, but then yanked the privilege of being correct away from her. Getting rid of Pinkman would have been the right thing for Walt to do, if Hank weren’t watching him. By the same token, Walt’s “talk things out” plan was also mistaken. But still. I feel like Skyler was sort of cheated out of a chance to be coldhearted, cynical, and correct.

But speaking of coldhearted and cynical, I was a little taken aback by the characterization of America’s favorite DEA agent. Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t sending a witness into a situation where he’s likely to be killed a shockingly immoral investigative tactic? Jesse escaped unscathed, but still, having Hank explicitly articulate this plan makes me think less of him. It’s easy to buy a guy hell-bent on revenge simply not thinking about the risks he’s imposing on others. But directly confronting the possibility that he’s setting up a murder and embracing it? Bad news.

In general, I have to say I was not thrilled with this episode. There was a clear need to slow down the pace a little as the pieces come into place for the finale. But it seemed like suddenly everyone had a case of the stupids. Walt’s attempted cover-up was absurd. Walt Jr. saw through it, but then concocted his own ridiculous theory. Walt goes soft despite Skyler’s persuasive arguments, Jesse doesn’t know what the heck he’s doing, Gomez somehow gets roped into Schrader’s off-the-books investigation, and Hank keeps firing off half-cocked. 

I’m glad to see Todd and his mysterious uncle being called back into action. As I said last week, those guys seem like the real master criminals here. Walt’s too condescending to see it, and Hank seems curiously uninterested in the question of who actually had the muscle to kill his witnesses. After this week’s mess, I’m eager for some professionalism.

Everybody loved that mutt,

Matt

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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