In a shocking turn of events, Season 5 episode 10 was also good. We see a Hank/Walt staredown, Skyler choosing sides once and for all, Marie and Hank being well-meaning douchebags, a dealer-on-dealer massacre, and a nice cliffhanger as Hank prepares to talk to Jesse. Here are some three thoughts I had.
1. Jesus Christ, Marie
The scene with Marie, Skyler and Holly was really, really good. I love the moral gray area that arises. When Marie asks Skyler about what she knows, Purple is right to feel unbelievably upset and betrayed, and Skyler was going to get slapped at some point, so it might as well have been then, by her sister. Nevertheless, it felt like a no-brainer that the viewer was to be on mom’s side the whole time here. It’s realistic and Stockholm-Syndrome-esque for Skyler to have chosen Walt’s side after being confronted by Hank, and I love how the teams became so clearly defined after we’d thought we were looking at Skyler vs. Walt in the endgame this whole time.
When Marie tries to take the baby, well, it was just extremely well done. Marie has a point that Holly is the only true innocent one and should be kept safe, but I can’t imagine any viewer was hoping that she’d take the baby away from Skyler. Hank is forced to tell Marie to let the baby go, even though in doing so he’s effectively conceding the Skyler card entirely. And it’s ironic how Hank “doing the right thing” means impeding his own progress in trying to catch Walt, which he would have never considered twenty minutes before in the episode. He’s a remarkably consistent character, forced to act ethically despite not being able to do “whatever it takes.”
2. Jesse needs to stop being such a Mopey Maurice
I can see why the writers decided to make Jesse so upset and distraught, but I can’t help but feel like we’ve seen this plot-line before. For the first few episodes of Season 4, Jesse is guilt-ridden after killing Gale, which causes him to host a days-long party, curl up and cry next to his speakers, cry while playing a first person shooter, and lose a whole luggage full of money (which Mike recovers before snapping him back into shape.) In the last two episodes, the same thing is happening again. Ever since Todd killed that kid, Jesse has been in a total funk again; in fact, he didn’t even have a single line in this episode, and he loses another even bigger suitcase of money.
He’s guilt-ridden and acting out, in a similar way to in season four, and you could make the case that the act of throwing money to strangers in a paper route (while crying) is his way of turning himself in and asking for punishment, but it’s a little stale. I think the show works better when Jesse is a sympathetic villain, doing the wrong thing in a somehow heartfelt way and saying ‘bitch’ with charming enough timing to make us love him even though he’s basically as fucked up as Walt. I’m hoping that, in a similar way to what Skyler does this episode, he goes all in on Bad after his conversation with Hank and does whatever he can to win. The show is at its best when the protagonists are trying to come out on top, and it feels like Jesse is just throwing in the towel. Man up bro.
3. The Out-of-Place do disproportionately well on this show
We see a common theme when it comes to who succeeds in BB’s drug game. It seems like the people who don’t look like they belong are at a huge advantage. Of course, we think of Walt, an dorky, dying, wimpy-seeming bro who capitalizes on his image to do crazy terrible shit and get away with it. As with Gus, he hides in plain sight throughout the series and takes advantage of those who underestimate him. We see the same “what’s he doing here?” success in Jesse, who seems like a dumb slacker junkie on the outside, but turns out to be intuitive (figuring out dirt about Walt), caring (Andrea/Brock, throwing money to the poor), and a natural leader (his Mexico cook where he gets everyone to clean up the lab and cooks up some 96% blue).
Meanwhile, all the hard-looking thugs with scary faces and badass names like Tuco, Don Eladio, Crazy 8, Declan and his bros, and even cold-blooded Mike don’t seem to do as well. They all die. I feel like we see a continuation of this trend when it comes to Lydia. She’s neurotic, uptight, and other synonyms of neurotic, as well as attractive, female, and physically unimposing, which makes her successful at fading the DEA and ordering a massacre on Declan and crew. I thought it was great when Lydia wasn’t down to physically see the carnage she ordered, and that Todd was such a gentleman about keeping her eyes closed and guiding her through the sea of bodies. I get the sense that these characters will be around until the end. Both have exhibited nothing but cool-ass professionalism the whole way. I’m not sure about the fate of Todd’s uncle’s people because they look too stereotypically tough. We’ll see what happens though.
Random prediction of the week: Let’s see if we can make it two in a row. During the scene in which Marie, again, attempted to take a souvenir from a house she was visiting (a baby), you had to wonder where Walt Jr. was. It was the middle of the day, so maybe he was in school, or getting blazed with Louis, but either way he was conspicuously absent from the scene and the episode. I’m thinking next week’s episode will end with Jr. finding out all kinds of shit about his pop. There are five more episodes in between now and the finale, so you’ve gotta figure one of them will be Jr. finding out, one of them will be a family member dying, one of them will be Todd and/or Lydia pulling some crazy shit, one of them will be Walt disappearing, one of them will be something happening to Jesse, and so on, so playing the Flynn card sooner seems like it would make sense, cause it’s a big deal, but not like an epic death desert meth explosion that we’ll see later on.