Monday, July 25, 2011

Review - Breaking Bad Season 4 Episode 2 Thirty-Eight Snub

The shock of last week's brutal and bloody murder resonates throughout "Thirty-Eight Snub" as Walt, Jesse, and Mike--those who viewed the event other than the sociopath Gus--deal with it in their own ways. It's a messed up time for all of them, realizing how close they all were to this particular murder, and especially for Jesse who had killed another man a day earlier.

Walt proves himself to be the masterminding criminal we know him to be, purchasing a gun to kill Gus. This isn't any ordinary gun for Walt to haphazardly carry, though. It has its serial numbers filed off and Walt practices whipping it out as fast as possible. Walt's rationalization is about as scary as his precise calculation. When the gun seller questions him about the gun, Walt tells him it is for defense only and repeats this in his later conversation with Mike. Walt truly believes that what he wants to do, killing Gus, is purely self-defense and nothing more. This kind of thinking can go way overboard, but by now we know Walt won't consider the ramifications of his behavior or thought process.

With the combined weight of Victor's death and his own slaying of Gale, Jesse crashes hard, gathering Skinny Pete, Badger, and bunch of people for a days-long party in which lots of drugs and alcohol are consumed. Jesse's plot is riddled with futility and the ending shot, Jesse turning up the music and slumping down in his  trashed home, was very fitting. Though both initially clean, Skinny and Badger fold a few minutes after the drugs come out. As pathetic as they are (though extremely funny), Jesse is no better. Andrea shows up to question Jesse about money he left her and Jesse seems to believe she can get out of this world. Jesse, on the other hand, is not going anywhere soon, walking back into the house for another round of partying.

We see Mike in rare moments of distress, as he sits down to drink his coffee, groaning at this shit storm that was embroiled him. Before, he got orders from Gus and did them--and quite well I may add--but with Victor's murder, which must hit hard at home, Mike has more things to worry about.

Like Walt, Skyler thinks she has the ability to do something alone, buy the car wash in this case, and comes up empty. While Saul would certainly have made progress, her attempts to buy the car wash fail. The owner initially wants $10 million to which Skyler offers less than a million, citing her research. But the owner's offer is upped to $20 million because she is Walt's wife.

The plot with Marie and Hank hasn't gone anywhere in the first two episodes of the season, but it's clear what is happening. Hank is being a total dick and Marie is trying her hardest to put up with him. Their relationship will collapse eventually, if it hasn't already. Marie's behavior towards the physical therapist seemed to point to something, so we'll see.

Eventually, nothing major happens by the end of the episode. Walt ends up in front of Gus's house, Heisenberg hat on and ready to kill, but is called off at the last moment (My initial thought was that either Mike or Gus called him, but upon listening to it three times at high volume, I'm more inclined to say it was either Gus or a random henchman.) Later, Walt tries, with a rather flimsy argument, to convince Mike that it is in both their interest to kill Gus. But Mike will have none of that and pummels Walt into the ground. This is a far cry from the confident Walt who began the episode believing him would kill Gus. If he can't even handle Mike, how can he deal with Gus? There is a lingering question over Walt's lack of physical prowess and where his place in the world is. Is he going to get special training in order to fight against these people?

I'm curious to see how this season is plotted. In the previous three seasons, there was already some external element that presented a clear danger in the second episode--the Cousins in the third season, Tuco in the second, Krazy-8 in the first--but this episode didn't have much by way of plot development. There's no situation the characters have to extricate themselves from; instead, it is a battle of the minds, every character struggling with themselves, which provides the conflict.

Score: 9.2/10
  • Jesse's sound system and Roomba instantly reminded me of DJ Roomba from Parks and Recreation. Jesse isn't quite on the level of Tom Haverford yet, combining the two in an unstoppable machine.
  • Uncut pizza? Scissors!
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