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Breaking Bad Recap: ‘No Mas’

March 22, 2010

Walt has money to burn

Breaking Bad is one of television’s finest offerings.  The show airs on Sundays on AMC, and revolves around a high school chemistry teacher who finds out he is dying of cancer, and begins to cook some highly coveted meth to acquire some quick cash to leave his family.  Of course, unseen complications keep popping up, as you can imagine.

I’ll be your guide through the twisted universe of Breaking Bad this season.  These weekly recaps will be chock full ‘o spoilers, so proceed at your own risk.  You definately will want to watch the episode before reading these.  Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts or insights in the comments section.

Last season the  premiere had some truly astonishing visuals, namely that teddy bear slowly floating down to a watery grave in the White family pool.  Remember the unidentified eyeball lolling in the waves?  I didn’t think those visuals could be topped, but No Mas (literally no more) began with some surreal and haunting imagery as well.

This time, the show opens in Mexico, and an elderly man is slowly making his way across the desert by using an army crawl-belly to the ground, dragging himself with his elbows.  Curiously, when he encounters other people they simply ignore him and go about their business.

Soon it becomes apparent that there are dozens of people doing the same thing, and a shot shows them all slithering across the tundra.  It is very unsettling.

We are then introduced to two menacing brothers, who brandish silver skulls on the toes of their fancy cowboy boots.   They quickly join the others on the ground, and the group appears to be making an exodus towards a small shack of some sort. When they reach the shack, it looks to be some sort of voodoo den, with human skulls, candles, and other odd talismans scattered about.  One of the brothers sticks a piece of paper on the wall. That piece of paper is a pencil drawing…of Walt.  What in the world?

Meanwhile, back in New Mexico, all the television stations are having 24/7 coverage about the two-plane collision that occurred.  Ashleigh Banfield makes a cameo as a talking head (just like old times.)

Walt is assuaged with guilt over his indirect role in the plane crash, and collects all his blood money, douses it with lighter fluid, and sets it on fire.  As soon as he sees the money start to go up in flames, Walt panics, and dumps the BBQ in the pool.  This time we see the money slowly float to the bottom of the pool.

The plane crash was really an ingenious way for the writers to demonstrate the far reaching consequences of Walt and his activities in the drug world.

Walt is moving out of the house to a hotel (Skylar kicked him to the curb) and Hank comes to help him.  When Hank tries to hoist a very heavy duffel bag into the back of the car, he asks Walt what the heck is in it, to which Walt boldly answers, “Half a million dollars in cash.”

Of course Hank thinks this is hilarious.  Little does he know it’s true.  Am I the only one who cannot wait to see Hank implode when he finds out the man he is looking for is his own brother in law?

At a school assembly, the staff is trying to address the fear and sadness the students are feeling over the town’s tragedy.  Many were traumatized by airplane and body parts landing in their yards, and  like many of us were after 9/11, they are in shock.

As he hears the comments from the teens, Walt becomes increasingly agitated.  The grief counselor tries to get Walt to say a few words after she welcomes him back.  He keeps declining, but is sort of forced to take the microphone.

He then proceeds to give the most inappropriate speech possible under the circumstances.   He points out that it could have been much worse, they were not the largest, most populated aircrafts, nobody on the ground died, it is only the 50th worse crash in the history of air travel.

Understandably, everyone is horrified.  Clearly, Walt was just trying to make himself feel better.

Meanwhile, Jesse is trying to deal with his grief and guilt over his girlfriend’s death in rehab, where he is struggling to forgive himself.  He gets out, and Walt picks him up.  Jesse confesses that he still thinks of himself as the bad guy.

Skylar comes to talk to Walt, and he says that he wants to tell his side of the story. She suspects he is a drug dealer, an accusation to which he is indignant.  ”I’m a manufacturer, not a dealer,” he emphatically states.  Walt seems to still have a hangup with the moral distinction between the two.  Whatever lets you sleep through the night, right?

Walt goes to Los Pollos and meets with Gus to tell him in person that he is finished.  Gus then offers him $3M for 3 months work, then he can leave.  Walt refuses, but he sure looked excited for a moment.

The mysterious brothers steal some plain clothes from a poor farmer, leave their car and keys (which the hang on a goat’s horn) and smuggle into the states on a truck with several other Mexicans.  After arriving in Texas, the brothers kill everyone on the truck, then blow up the evidence.

Their parting shot leaving the scene and not flinching, at all, when everything explodes behind them is chilling.  These two remind me of the Terminator, with their cool disregard and lack of fear.  I think Walt is in for a world of hurt this season.

This episode was written by Vince Gilligan and directed by Bryan Cranston.  What did you think?



2 Responses to “ Breaking Bad Recap: ‘No Mas’ ”

  1. Susan R on March 22, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I’ve been patiently waiting for BB to be back! It didn’t disappoint and the storyline didn’t miss a beat. It will be interesting to see how things play between Walt and Skylar now that she knows. And those brothers are going to cause all kinds of problems…

    Best show on TV, IMO.

  2. Shannon on March 22, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Yes, I think it is in my top three shows. Those brothers are all kinds of creepy. Very well cast.