Casting my gangster history aside, it’s good to finally see shit getting real on Breaking Bad. This definitely isn’t the best episode of the show’s run, but it’s in the Top 15, guaranteed. Let us begin by analysing the complex relationship between people and chain restaurants raised in this episode. Or maybe it was just raised in my mind. Whatever. Shut up and listen.
People like chain restaurants because they’re easy and, much like Western movies, they’re all the same. From coast to coast, and sometimes across continents and oceans, you can find pretty much the exact same fare in every outlet of that chain and, sometimes, it doesn’t even taste that bad. But people hate chain restaurants, because chain restaurants suck. Sorry, but generally true. Corporate, cheesy and exactly where a self-respecting human never, ever wants to go. So what do you do when you find yourself somewhere like Gardinios? The sort of Mexican-themed hellhole where no Mexican would dare enter? Well, in this writer’s opinion, you should stab the cheery shit of a waiter (Todd Duffy, playing pretty much the same character as he did in Office Space) right in his pasty, pencil thin neck. Phew… Sorry, this is a touchy subject for me.
So, the restaurant scene. I liked this. I liked the Office Space references. I liked the tension. I liked the weird contrast between the menacing talk and the non-menacing place. While I do think this effect could have been hyped up by setting it in a Build-a-Bear Workshop, or maybe a Chuck E. Cheese, I’m still happy with how it went. It’s fun watching Hank be angry. I love that look on Dean Harris’ face that seems to say, “I’m barely stopping myself from jumping across this table and beating you like a rented mule”. And the scene immediately after? Well, that put quite the smile on my face.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect when Walt began confessing in front of the camcorder. It’s not in his nature to confess. Walt has the survival instincts of a drowning rat, so informing on himself is not his style to say the least. Then I watched the whole act, right alongside Hank and Marie. I’ve never had a bigger, shit-eating grin in my whole life. Walt hasn’t just outwitted or outsmarted Hank with his “confession”, he’s totally fucked him. Pure and simple, fucked the man. I have no better way of describing it and, even if I had, I wouldn’t use it. Hank is now in check, a de-fanged snake.
Jesse, on the other hand, still poses a problem for Walt. I liked the dialogue between the two in this episode, with Jesse revealing outright that he knows Mike died at Walt’s hands. I also liked his parting request to Walt: “Just stop working me”. Walt’s been using Jesse from the beginning, that much has always been clear. He’s lied to and cheated and hurt his streetwise Man Friday, almost since they first met. All this I know, but I still can’t bring myself, as Jesse clearly has, to the opinion that Walt doesn’t, on some level, care about Jesse. Not that it matters now, since Jesse is fixing to burn Walt’s house to the ground, and Walt’s retrieved his pistol.
I’ve learned not to speculate with this series – I’ve been wrong too often in the past. That said, at this point, my gut is telling me that Walt will kill Jesse. I think we’ve crossed the line of no return on that score.
Speaking of score, I think it’s rating time. On a scale of ‘Miley at the VMAs’ to ‘Helen Hunt drinking tea’, “Confessions” scores about a ‘Kristin Scott Thomas swigging bottled Heineken in a tracksuit’. For those unable to convert from the scale of classiness, that means an 8.5. (Miley would be considerably lower than zero, ordinarily, but negative integers tend to complicate things. For shame, Miss Cyrus. What would Billy Ray think?) This wasn’t an episode that would set the house on fire (geddit?), but it’s damn good stuff, with a nice, raw, emotional hit right there in the middle. That said, I’m tearing my hair out waiting for next week. This season really is as addictive as meth. – J
“Jesse, I am not working you…”
“Yes. Yes you are, alright? Just drop the whole ‘concerned dad’ thing and tell me the truth.”
– Walt, Jesse