The one thing I’ve been looking forward to the most over these past few seasons of “Breaking Bad” is for Walt to become a complete bad-ass. He’s always been in over his head, with the DEA or Gus Fring hot on his tail. When would Heisenberg finally get his chance to live up to the legend?
I knew it was coming close in last season’s finale, after Walt killed Gus and smirked at the Chicken Man’s air freshener as he left. “I won”, he told Skyler, not only in disbelief or shock, but in a quietly celebratory way as well.
We’ve gotten a taste of Walt’s full-fledged coming out as a kingpin this season, and this episode starts off with it in a full display. Caught between a rock and a hard place between Mike and Jesse’s departure and the hidden methylamine supply, Walt pays his own visit to the interested competition and manages to talk them into becoming his lackeys. Walt has all the confidence in the world here as he explains that they’ll make more money with 35% of his profits then they ever would with their knock-off product. Heisenberg wins again.
(Side note: the cool-as-ice tactics Walt displays here remind me of the ones talked about in a book I read called “Winning Through Intimidation”. Great read for those looking to generate confidence. Without, y’know, the meth cooking, the broken marriages and the dying.)
Even though Walt made his deal with the competitors, he still has to deal with a leaving Jesse. Walt tries his best to post-pone their discussion until it finally boils over. And like he did with Skyler, Walt tries every psychological tactic he can think of. But Jesse is still set on leaving… even if he gets his money or not.
Besides the back-and-forth between the trio, the episode also finds the DEA’s investigation on Mike ramping back up in the eleventh hour. Mike’s dirt-bag lawyer starts to crack and Walt gives him the heads up. Just before it looks like Mike is going to get out clean, Walt still won’t be satisfied that Mike still holds a grudge against him and won’t give Walt the names of the people on Gus’ list. Mike gets in his face about him killing Fring, saying that the Los Pollos Hermanos side operation was the best situation they could’ve ever asked for.
And here is where Walt finally snaps. Left with no psychological tactics again, the boss-man fires on Mike leaving a fatal wound. Walt apologizes profusely to a dying Mike before he snaps. “Shut the fuck up. Let me die in peace.” he says before doing the same.
How will Walt explain this one? It’s yet another example of how no one is coming out clean on “Breaking Bad”. Walt flexed his muscle in the opener only to find his tactics getting stale against Jesse and later Mike. How will the almighty Heisenberg crawl out of this mess?
Breaking Baddest: Obviously Walt again who goes from a “goddamn” good proposal in the cold open to you-know-what.
Now We’re Cookin’… With Great Montages: The first money separation scene and the Walt/Todd cook was some fine directing, if you ask me.
RIP: To Mike, played by Johnathan Banks, who again excels as the rough-tough character who meets an unfortunate end.