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Breaking Bad Recap: “Fly”

May 23, 2010

Note: this episode was directed by Rian Johnson, who also directed Brick and The Brothers Bloom.  This recap assumes that you have seen the episode, heavy spoilers.

Well, this evening we had a two man show, in every sense of the word.  This episode was 100% dialogue and character driven, which was a little surprising to me considering that we only have 3 episodes left this season.

As usual, we get treated to a visually pleasing opening sequence.  This week, we see a housefly, going about its business in extreme close-ups while we hear “hush little baby” in the background.

I immediately thought of the expression “fly in the ointment”, and found myself thinking about it throughout the show.  This was a very distinctive episode in that it only featured Jesse and Walt, and was self-contained within the meth lab.

Walt discovers that there is a fly in the lab, and he completely over-reacts and obsesses over the insect.  He tries various methods of swatting the irritating bug, to no avail.  He then takes it upon himself to go onto the mezzanine level of the lab and promptly takes a nasty spill while trying to depose of the fly.

For the duration of the episode, it appears as though we are witnessing Walt lose his marbles.  His freak-out over the fly is completly unwarranted, but it is symbolic of his complete lack of control over his life.  This has nothing to do with the fly, and everything to do with Walt’s life.

Jesse is the voice of reason, declaring “we make poison for people who don’t care.  We have the most un-picky customers in the world.”  Soon though, Jesse recognizes that this goes much deeper than  finding a mere bug in the lab.

Walt starts to unravel while hunting his elusive fly, and confesses a lot of anguish over his severed family relationship.  He laments the timing of his life of crime, and bluntly tells Jesse, “I’ve lived to long.  You want them to miss you.”  He then goes on to describe his perfect family moment, and how he wishes that he could have died just then.  It’s a tragic and heavy moment.

After this confession, last week’s little swerve into oncoming traffic definitely appears to have been a genuine suicide attempt.

Jesse recognizes that Walt is in a bad place, and plays along, going so far as to tell a tale about an Aunt who acted irrationally, who was later found out to have had cancer that had metastasized to her brain. He also can tell that Walt hasn’t slept in days, so he spikes Walt’s coffee with Sominex.   Walt drinks it right up.

That Sominex  seems to have the same affect as truth serum, because Walt is practically singing like a bird mere moments later.  He comes dangerously close to confessing the whole Jane thing, and while we are a wreck worrying about that , Jesse has deeided to go after the fly, and concocts a ladder/tower of doom contraption.  He is precariously standing on a ladder that ought not be where it is, when a semi passed-out  Walt starts to apologize for Jane’s death.

He confesses to Jesse that the night Jane died he saw her father in a bar.  Clearly, Walt is struggling with Truth vs. Reason, and is having a difficult time reconciling science and fate.

There are some tense moments when you wonder whether Walt will pull the ladder leg to kill Jesse, or if he will confess and Jesse will kill him.

The next day, Walt lets Jesse know (off camera) that he knows that he is skimming product.  He assures Jesse, “I won’t be able to protect you.”

All in all, this was a little slower than I would have liked.  What did you think?

You can read previous recaps here.


3 Responses to “ Breaking Bad Recap: “Fly” ”

  1. Philip George on May 24, 2010 at 7:55 am

    I thought this episode was an incredible, deep episode for Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul. I felt that the fly represented the “inner-demons” that Walt is dealing with. How sometimes although you can’t see them, they’re still there and he is dealing with them everyday.

    Jesse killing the fly for me was also a symbolic moment stating that Jesse has conquered his demons of blaming himself for Jane’s death. Overall, this episode was excellently written, beautifully acted, and this is the episode that will get Bryan Cranston nominated for another Emmy. Easily his best work of the season.
    Grade: 9/10

  2. Shannon on May 24, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    @Philip Great comments. I think that Aaron Paul should get an emmy nod as well.

  3. Philip George on May 24, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    @Shannon Agreed! Him and Dean Norris (Hank) have been phenominal this season. It’ll be interesting to see where they take the next 3 episodes!