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Breaking Bad Recap: ‘Green Light’

April 11, 2010

Walt removed from Beneke building. photo credit AMC

Fair warning:  heavy spoilers ahead.  This weeks’ episode was a little lighter on the action, but heavy on the character development.  Front and center were Walt and Hank, who are both starting to crack mentally, in different ways and for different reasons.  I really liked jumping between the two, knowing how tightly their fates are bound together, and watching it all slowly unravel.

The episode began with Jesse fueling up his enormous RV at an isolated gas station.  When he goes in to pay, he reveals to the young female clerk that he has no money, and after copping a few lame pleas he pulls out a bag of the blue meth, trying to entice her into a trade (the gas came to $79.)  He bats his baby blues and she explains that she would, but her father owns the station and is a major hard-ass who served in Fallujah, and he checks all the books.

Did anyone else think that fact might be foreshadowing?  Why make such a point to say he served in Fallujah?  I just wonder if that is going to come back into play.  Anyway, right when she appears to be taking the bait, a law officer walks into the store.  Amazingly, Jesse stands there cool as a cucumber, and passes off the baggie right under the officer’s nose.  A ballsy move on Jesse’s part.

Walt goes to confront Ted about Skylar at the Beneke building.  Of course the receptionist tells him Ted is not available, but Walt becomes enraged when he sees Ted peeking out of his office like  a coward.  Walt (hilariously) attempts to pick up a super-heavy potted plant and tries to hoist it through Ted’s window, but it bounces right off.

By now Skylar has come downstairs, just in time to see her agitated husband dragged off the property by three burly workers.  Walt is thrown out the front door, where he is promptly whisked off by Mike (Saul’s henchman) who was waiting in a car outside.

Walt is taken to Saul’s office, where he is verbally beat down over his antics.  Suddenly it dawns on Walt that the only way Mike and Saul can know some of things they are berating him for is if they have bugged his house.  He goes apeshit and attacks Saul, demanding that they debug his house.

Mike follows Walt out, and appears to be a little disgusted by his sleazy boss.  He seems to take pity on Walt as he honors his wishes and removes the bugs.  Knowing that the cousins still have it out for Walt, Mike tells him, “Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to have someone watch your back.”  Indeed. When Mike leaves, we see a scythe drawn on the pavement in front of Walt’s house in yellow sidewalk chalk. A calling card from the cousins, no doubt.  Walt remains clueless.

World's Greatest Teacher. Photo credit AMC

The next time we see Walt in his classroom, he is acting very bizarre.  Ironically, he is drinking from a “Worlds Greatest Teacher” mug, which I was convinced was full of alcohol.  Walt appeared dazed and lethargic, and I really thought he was under the influence of something, but it turns out that nope, he’s just going crazy.  The school counselor pulls him out of his classroom, and expresses concern over his actions (though she did seem to come from a place of genuine sympathy.)

Walt’s reaction?  Why, lean in for an unsolicited kiss, of course.  The horrified woman jumps up and remains much more poised than I would have under the circumstances.  Next we see Walt leaving the building with his possessions, presumably fired.

Jesse is in the parking lot, and says he needs to talk to Walt.  Walt obliges.  Jesse says he wants to keep cooking meth, and Walt takes on a fatherly role, basically telling Jesse he can do much more with his life.  Then Jesse whips out the bag of meth he has made, proud as a peacock.  He tells Walt all the steps he followed, using everything Walt has taught him.

Walt flips out, and screams at Jesse that the meth is “his formula.”  He then tries to rip apart the product, saying that it is clearly inferior, the diameter is wrong, the color is too cloudy, etc.  It’s just my opinion, but I think that the product was probably just fine.  I think that Walt so desperately needs to be wanted-by someone, anyone, and he assumed Jesse would always need him.  When Jesse shows that he can function independently of Walt, it is a major blow to the already flailing man.  He lashes out by criticizing the meth, but this isn’t about the meth.

As far as Skylar,  a lot of us thought last week that her heart was not in the whole Ted thing, rather she was doing it to shock Walt into leaving.  Yet here she is, going back for seconds.  Looks like this is a full-fledged affair, and she seemed to be a rather enthusiastic participant this time around.  Ted even asked her to move in, an offer that she wisely declined.  Ted is clearly a bigger idiot than I first thought.  Who asks a married woman with a son and clearly unstable husband to move in immediately?

Then there is Hank.  He has convinced himself (and his superior) that the reason he doesn’t want to go to El Paso is because he has bigger fish to fry in New Mexico.  If only he knew the truth.  I will say I was a little impressed by Hank’s sleuthing skills this week.  First figuring out the whole ATM thing, then being able to deduce from a photo that the RV’s suspension was riding too high to be furnished.

He finally confesses to his superior that he has no intention of going to El Paso as long as the trail to finding the “blue meth” manufacturer is hot. He’s basically given a “green light” to pursue the case.

The final scene shows Walt driving his car, and as he approaches a stop light, he hears a radio news update about the air traffic controller (and Jane’s dad) responsible for the crash.  Apparently he shot himself.  Walt quickly changes the channel, and sits a the light.  It seems the gravity of his actions are starting to finally sink in.  Just then, a car pulls up, throws a satchel at him, and says, “Your half.”

Unbeknownst to Walt, Jesse made a sale of the “inferior” meth.  Seems there is some honor among thieves.  Walt is still getting the credit, or Gus is trying to reel him in with the golden handcuffs.  Stay tuned…  What did you think of episode 4?

To read my recap of  last week’s episode (I.F.T) click here.



One Response to “ Breaking Bad Recap: ‘Green Light’ ”

  1. Dr Jay on April 12, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    A couple things the stick in my mind:

    Those “cousins” were the on their way to Tuco’s house to take Walt and Jesse to the “super lab” in Mexico. They must have gotten there sometime after Tuco got shot. Is it possible that the cousins know that Hank shot Tuco and may have it out for him too? Is it also possible that the cousins knew Hank was sent to El Paso and set up that Tortoise/Head bomb as a message to him? During an earlier scene in the police headquarters, Hank informs his co-workers that Tuco has cartel connections in El Paso. Also, I keep wondering who drew that sketch of Walter that the cousins pinned next to that skeleton on the first episode of this season.