Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Breaking Bad Recap - "Live Free Or Die" (Season 5, Episode 1)


Previously on Breeaking Bad: All sorts of wild stuff went down.  Gus threatened to kill Walt's family, Ted took a nasty fall, Little Brock was poisoned, Mike got shot and was deemed less important to save in the Mexican Tent Hospital, Tio rang his suddenly quieter bell, Gus screamed just before the room went kaboom, Walt won, Skyler got scared.

We open on a freshly served breakfast of eggs, bacon and hash browns.  A pair of hands breaks the bacon in half and arranges them to read "52" on the plate, in a nice callback to the Pilot where Walt was served his (soy) bacon arranged as "50".  So, two years have passed, then, which doesn't jibe with the timeline of the show as we know it, making this scene a flash forward.  Hey, it's Walter, BUT, this is weird - this Walt looks decimated, coughs (in what must signify the intensifying of his cancer), has a full head of hair, sports some nerdy glasses, and the chatty waitress refers to him as "Mr. Lambert" after she browbeats him into providing ID (a New Hampshire driver's license) so he can enjoy this awesome meal on the house.  A man walks in, who the eagle eyed watchers of this show remember as the guy who sold Walt the .38 a few seasons back.  They meet in the Men's room, where Walt exchanges a package for a car key.  On his way out of the Denny's he drops a C-note for a tip, which won't raise any suspicion at all.  Is this an example of Walt not caring, or another display of ego?  Not sure.  He opens the trunk of his care, which sports a New Hampshire plate as well as the episode title, and pulls out his trusty duffel bag.  Scanning the lot, he presses the key fob to hear the tell tale beep of his new ride, and walks over to it.  He opens the trunk and wow, this is way more powerful than a .38 snub nose.  (the internet tells me it's an M60, which, yikes).

Back to the aftermath of the Big Bang, and we see the Skyler end of the "I won" phone call.  She is quite justifiably terrified at what her husband has become.  Walt returns back home to clean up his mini bomb making factory in the kitchen, then remembers that it might be a good idea to ditch that certain plant from his back yard as well.  Walter Jr. comes home and basically can't stop going on about how awesome Uncle Hank is for figuring out the whole Gus-as-drug-kingpin thing.  Walt still can't be a hero to the kid, even after masterminding the whole takeout of the Fring empire and saving his whole family in the process.  This won't have any repercussions at all, I'm sure.  Awkwardness abounds between Walt and Skyler, as she's scared of Walt and tells him so, while he's just looking for a little thanks.  After taking a hit from his scotch and cooing at Baby Holly, Walt has an "Oh Shit" moment...

...and we cut to Hank in a hazmat suit going through the remains of the Laundri-Lab, where, after some searching, he comes across what appears to be a melted security camera perched high above.  Oh shit, indeed.

Smash cut to some Mexican chickens, being fed by.....Mike!  Great to see you up and about, Mike!  His mood changes quickly once the Doc gets word that Gus is no more.  Mike angrily drives toward what I can only assume is Alberquerque and nearly has a head on collision with Walt and Jesse coming from the other direction.  He's ready to blow Walt away, and probably would've if not for Jess standing between them.  Walt relays the news that the cameras will incriminate each of them, and were likely feeding to somewhere, and knowing Gus he would have held on to the footage.  Mike knows exactly what's up and mentions Gus' laptop is what they'll need to get.  He reluctantly is forced to team up with our heroes(?).  We then see the laptop in question, being carefully bagged as evidence under Hank's watchful eye.  This is going to be a problem.....

Mike pretends to be a postal inspector or some such thing in an effort to get the goods on the laptop from the police.  This goes nowhere, and he determines that they are "boned" and tells Jess to join him on his trip out of Dodge.  Walt, emboldened by his sudden badassery, wants to know what he's up against as far as getting to the laptop.  Mike lets him know that it's basically behind large slabs of concrete and is about as easy to get to as gold in Fort Knox.  A great scene ensues as Mike and Walt argue back and forth about getting the laptop/knocking out the facility as Jesse, like the kid trying to talk while the grownups are discussing something, keeps suggesting "what about a magnet".  Finally, the adults stop and look at young Jesse, and you can almost see the light bulbs over each of their heads.  Magnets, bitches!

More callbacks as we're suddenly back in the junkyard with the guy who destroyed the RV, just before Hank could get his hands on it back in Season......2 maybe?  We see a pretty big ass magnet in action as Walt discusses the possibilities with the Junk Yard guy, and as they go to discuss the financing Mike again implores Jesse to take his money and run.  Jesse counters that this plan can only work if all three of them are fully engaged, and Mike seems to reluctantly resign himself to being a part of the caper.

Skyler's at the Car Wash, when she gets a visitor - Saul Goodman.  She's all "why are you even here, we had an agreement" and he's basically saying "the police may call, and if they do you keep it zipped, mmkay?"  Turns out Ted is alive.  Who knew?  Certainly not us.  Breathing allows for the possibility of talking, so Ted is now a problem.

The magnet experiment is ready for Test Run #1.  It looks like a bunch of car batteries in the back of an old UHaul, with Walt working some dial which amps up the power as he twists.  Jesse stands off to the side, test laptop in hand, and walks slowly toward the truck until the screen scrambles, then has the machine ripped from his hands when Walt ramps up the dial.  Success!  Yeah, bitch! Magnets!  Oh, and Walt asks the Junk Yard Guy if they can double up on the battery power too.

At the hospital, Skyler tiptoes toward Teds room, and once let in is taken aback at the sight of him.  he's propped up in his bed with one of those halo devices on and about three inches of protective devices on his chest.  He's bald, and looks petrified.  Skyler chokes back tears and begins to try to tell him how sorry she feels, but Ted cuts her off as quick as he can, telling her he hasn't said a word to anyone, told the doctors he "fell", etc.  He has a family, he says, and will never breath a word of this to anyone.  Poor bastard is basically begging for his life right now.  Skyler's demeanor changes rather abruptly, and replies with a terse "Good".  Scene!  Being feared is kinda cool sometimes, eh Mrs. White?

Let the caper begin!  Mike tales care of the security camera and the entrance gate, Walt and Jesse drive the truck to the spot where the magnets can do maximum damage.  He thwacks the dial, and the one guy on duty in the evidence building notices a disturbance in The Force.  Within a few minutes, his monitor goes dark, the light flicker, and all hell breaks loose in the evidence closet.  Walt, not knowing when to stop or perhaps just being thorough, cranks the dial to eleven and basically trashes the place so well, but also tips the truck in the process as the magnets worked a little too well.  Now what?  All cops on duty surround the tipped truck, guns drawn, but it's too late - the boys are in Mike's getaway car and speeding away.  Mike frets that with the truck left behind, they're screwed.  Walt calmly shoots down each point- the truck and batteries were untraceable, etc.  Mike wonders how they can be sure the whole thing even worked.  Should he just take it on faith?  Walt, whose balls grew three sizes that day, calmly and coolly responds: "Because I say so."  Jesse shoots a WTF look at Walt while Mike gives a staredown in the rear view. Walt's getting to be a bigger badass in every scene.....

Cut to the aftermath of the Magnets, Bitch! caper.  Cops are cataloging the damaged evidence, and we see the laptop is pretty well smashed up, so mission accomplished.  We also see the picture of Gus and his friend (the guy Tio shot in an earlier flashback last season), which in its damaged state reveals what looks to be some Cayman Island bank tracking and routing numbers. Interesting....

Saul's office, where the door has not been fixed yet.  He drops the news to Walt about Skyler's trouble with Ted and the IRS.  Saul tells Walt that he tried, to no avail, to involve Walt, but mean old Skyler wouldn't let him!  Walt coldly boils it down to the fact that Saul agreed to give $622,000 to a man who was sleeping with his wife.  Point to Mr. White.  Saul then pulls out the ricin cigarette, whines about how he's been sticking his neck out for Walt, how the kid almost died, etc. and decides that he's "done" with Walt as a client.  Walt, in the second best line of the episode, scares the shit out of Saul with this: "We're done....when I say we're done."  Game, set, and match.

Cut to Walt entering his house, and we get a nice tracking shot from behind his head as he walks down the hall to the bedroom.  He tells Skyler that he heard about Ted, and her response is a nervous "He's not going to talk.." as she now knows what he is capable of doing.  Walt approaches her slowly, creepily rubs her arm and slowly hugs her in the creepiest way possible.  Mouth near her ear, he utters the line of the show: "I forgive you."  Creepy.

All in all, this was a great way to start the season.  Several things have been setup, and we know from the flash forward that the Big Balled Walter won't last very long.  Getting there will be half the fun.
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