Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 4 "Fifty-One"
by, 08-11-2012 at 03:15 PM (399 Views)
First let me start off by saying that I root for Skyler at this point. She is by no means a saint, but I sympathize with her and I'm not one of those fans who consider her a hypocrite, full of herself, or a "fucking bitch". I certainly don't consider her a "problem for Walt's business". I look at it as Walt is a problem to the family, which is way more important to me in this last season. Walt is far beyond the anti-hero of the series. His train that NOTHING stops is heading full-tilt towards him being the absolute antagonist. The transformation is incredible to watch. I love how he is completely ascendent to EVERYTHING. The fact that he had the nerve to carry over a giant magnet in order to fuck with a DEA evidence room, tells us that there isn't going to be a point where he'll throw his hands up and say "Well played, universe... you got me!" No. This is a man who will make back-pocket deals to obtain a heavy-duty machine gun in order to stop the world from taking him down from this god-like position he believes himself to be in.
The best part creatively about the show at this point is that despite me loving his transformation to see how far it goes, I still want the other characters to get the better of him and bring him back down to reality. I want Hank to find his Heisenberg (and I'm wondering if Walt, in a way, wants Hank to find out). I want Jesse to realize how he was betrayed and I want Skyler to overcome her husband's manipulation and danger that he's putting the family through. It's conflicting television at it's best.
The episode in general starts off with a send-off to one of the most underrated characters throughout this entire series, which is Walt's aztec. It's a clunker of a vehicle, but after five seasons, it's inevitably an icon to the series. I love how Benny the mechanic acknowledges it's history throughout the series in a simple going-over of the repairs, as well as a clever reference to the fact that aztec's don't come in that color. He also compliments the car saying, "People like to joke, but I really love this car... sturdy as hell". Despite all this however, it wouldn't make sense for the character Walt is now to continue driving the thing. For him, it's time to move on and he does in a scene that paints a picture of just how obnoxious he is now. Not only does he buy a chrysler for himself, but Junior's Challenger makes a return from the dead. Poor Walt Jr. doesn't see the destructive path his father is blinding him from and because of that, he is becoming just as spoiled.
The premise of this episode establishes that Walt turns 51, meaning the entire series so far since the pilot has been exactly one year . Skyler is not too thrilled about giving Walt more reason to be rewarded for his behavior, but nonetheless treks through giving him a good breakfast and throws a family party for him after work. Talk about an awkward party! As Hank and Marie sit there trying to dodge from their minds the whole affair situation, Walt goes on to selfishly talk about himself, reflecting on the past year. He bullshits the past year as if he's been this innocent man who is grateful for his family getting him through his ordeals, when really it's not as warm and fuzzy as he describes. Then Skyler, who has been standing in the background throughout his entire speech, sticks it to him by taking a dip in the pool. She can't tell Hank and Marie what's going on, but she can make it clear that something is seriously wrong by making a scene. She's in way over her head with Walt and this world of blue meth, which is fantastically symbolized as she descends without air. I found that brief shot of Walt diving in to be absolutely heart-breaking. It was a desperate wake-up call from Skyler that Walt will never hear or understand.
The bedroom scene is where things finally escalate though. So far, Skyler has been afraid to speak her mind to Walt about what he's doing, but now she lets him in on it. You have to understand that she came around to Walt cooking meth. She chose to stick by him and launder the money, which in hindsight wasn't the best decision on her part, but the situation she was put in to begin with. when the whole "I cook crystal meth" bomb was dropped on her, didn't leave her with any ideal options. She was trapped then, but in time came around to things. Throughout all of season 4, the only things she would be concerned with were Walt's mis-steps with protecting the story. Now it's much more than that though. She isn't arguing with Walt because of the continuing matter of Walt simply breaking the law when he doesn't need to, but the fact that this particular business just recently resulted in people coming to KILL her, Walt, and their children, AS WELL as Hank. They make enough money at the car wash alone that could pay off debts in the future, yet Walt continues to choose the world that has created so many problems.
The exchange between them both was intense and now that all the cards are on the table, the whole family environment feels even more dangerous. I actually felt like Walt was going to hit Skyler throughout that scene, but apparently he can keep a level head, for now. I still think that he's capable of being a wife-beater if things continue to go down this dark path. Skyler smacking Walt with reality, letting him know that she's going to have to wait for Walt's cancer to come back, wasn't a death wish. It's an attempt to make him take a second to look at himself and who he's becoming. If he can't change his attitude about things, then that honestly is the only option Skyler has left. I don't believe she wants that to happen, but in her current position, it's the only one that ends up with the truly happiest ending.
I've been wanting to rewatch this episode, but apparently IO messes with your "free on demand" a week before the bill is due, as if they are mobsters breaking my furniture to ensure I pay up. I want to rewatch because there is talk that during the ending with the watch that Jesse gave Walt, while it's tick ticking away, you can hear a gunshot in the last second or something in the ambience. This could be specific foreshadowing, but for now I have no idea. All I know is that in general this ending is foreshadowing in regards to Walt's time being almost up, until he snaps or perhaps the world around him snaps.
- Lydia lies. I was on the same page as Mike when Jesse was briefing him on the gps tracker, and I had a feeling Lydia planted it there herself. For somebody who is so concerned that people are going to crack under the pressure, she seems the most likely to do so herself. It's cool to see that Jesse has a soft spot for her though. Not for the sake of her, but for him mostly, that he still has some kind of a moral ground.
- Now that the kids are out of the house, it will be interesting to see how the dynamic at the White and Schrader household unfolds. Also, I hope Hank gets to still pursue the heisenberg case now that he's promoted.
QUESTION: What's your stand on the whole Walt vs. Skyler issue?