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Breaking Bad Recap: ‘Half Measure’

June 6, 2010
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Now, that’s how it is done.  The best show on television gave us one of the best hours of television I can remember. It took me a full ten minutes after the conclusion to pick my jaw up off the floor and compose myself.  It was that good. I LOVE THIS SHOW!

I also cannot really talk about this episode without revealing huge spoilers, so please don’t read unless you’ve seen the episode.  This is one you don’t want spoiled.

This week’s trademark opening sequence shows the day in the life of a prostitute, Wendy,  who is working out of the Crossroad Hotel.  She looks rode hard and put away wet, and wears white go-go boots while she orally services dozens of men who pick her up in the parking lot.  Her tawdry acts are juxtaposed against the jaunty song “Windy” by The Association. Perfect.

She takes a bag of fast food burgers to the street corner (where Combo died) and gives them to the two drug dealers we saw in the last episode.  She hands over some money, and at first I thought they were her pimps, but she was actually buying product, and Jesse is watching the whole transaction camped out in his car.

After Walt spends a little time with Walt Jr., who is preparing to get his learner’s permit driver’s license, he heads back to Skylar’s house.  Skylar wants to know if he has reconsidered her offer to launder money.  Walt says absolutely not. They bicker, but Walt seems to see this as an opportunity to weasel back into his family’s life.  He convinces her that the whole set up will be more convincing if he actually lives at home.

He and Skylar argue about the arrangement, but basically, Walt is going to get a few nights a week at the house, and he will get to see his daughter a lot more.

At the lab, Jesse insists that Walt have a beer with him after the workday.  Walt finally picks up on his urgency, and agrees.  The two go to a restaurant, and Jesse reveals that some of Gus’s men are using 11-year-old children to do their dirty deeds, including killing people.

Jesse thinks he has the perfect plan: poison the two thugs with ricin, which was Walt’s original plan for Tuco. The poison is slow acting and undetectable, and Jesse will have the prostitute deliver infected burgers to the men.

Walt is indignant, and says they cannot do that, since the thugs are not targeting them.  Jesse asks if he cares that they are corrupting children for life.

Back at the hospital, Marie and Walt Jr. are kicking ass playing cards against Hank.  Marie suspiciously asks if Walt Jr. has been playing cards with his father, which is pretty funny.  Hank is still reluctant to leave the hospital, and Walt Jr. calls him out on it, asking if he (Walt Jr.) should be in a hospital because he uses crutches.  Touché, Walt Jr.

Later, it is clear that Marie is getting annoyed with Hank and his refusal to leave the hospital.  She makes a wager with Hank.  If she can get Hank’s little man to stand at attention, they are leaving the hospital.  Hank is sure that will not happen.  He gives her one full minute to accomplish the task. No problem. Marie is next shown with a smile on her face, wheeling Hank out of the hospital.

Walt visits Saul, and proposes that they get Jesse arrested to get him out of the way.  Later, Mike (Saul and Gus’s cleaner) shows up at Walt’s house as a “courtesy call.” He is quick to point out that Walt’s plan is flawed.

Remember that scene in Jaws, when Quint (Robert Shaw) tells the fellas about the sinking of the USS Indianopolis, and what happened after?

Mike’s scene reminded me a lot of that.  We get to see Jonathan Banks do some terrific acting (as Mike.)  He  tells Walt a haunting  story about being a beat cop.  He almost killed  a man who kept beating up his tiny wife. After threatening the man and letting him  go, Mike found out that the man killed the wife two weeks later.  Mike always regretted his decision to only take a “half measure” and vowed to never do so again.  He warns Walt not to make the same mistake (with Jesse.)  This was a great opportunity to gain some insight into Mike’s character.

Jesse drives the prostitute to go find the drug dealers, but they are nowhere to be found, and Jesse is taken from the car  by Mike and another one of Gus’s associates. He is driven to Gus’s trailer in the desert, and when he goes inside, he sees Walt, Gus and the two drug dealers, along with Mike.   Seems Walt has ratted him out.

Gus tells Jesse to bury the hatchet with the two associates, and Jesse stands up to Gus and says no.  Everyone looks horrified.  Jesse tells Gus off for using young boys to do his bidding, and Walt looks really uncomfortable. To everyone’s amazement, Gus agrees- no more young boys.  Everyone shakes hands.

Later, Jesse is hanging with his new gal Andrea, and she receives a horrible phone call.  Jesse and Andrea arrive to see that her 11 year old brother, Tomas has been killed while riding his bike.  Coincidence?  Of course not. Gus is sending a chilling message.  That proclamation of “no more boys”, seemed a  little disingenuous to me.

Walt is having dinner at his family’s house when he catches a newscast about the 11 year old getting killed.  It seems to really upset him, and he excuses himself and leaves the house.

Jesse becomes completely unhinged and snorts some meth.   He watches the two drug dealers from his car, and while he is completely strung out he grabs a gun to confront the men.  They have guns as well, and there is no way Jesse is going to make it out alive.

Everyone draws their weapons, and just then, a car comes out of nowhere and plows down the two dealers. One is instantly killed (I think.)  The other struggles on the ground and Walt comes out of the car.  He picks up a gun off the ground and he quickly shoots the remaining dealer in the head.  Holy Crap, Walt has become a badass!

He looks at Jesse, and says one word, “Run.”

What a great episode.  I didn’t see any of that happening, and the complete change in Walt? OMG.  Heisenberg is back, with a vengeance.

What do you think Gus is going to do when he finds out that Walt has defied his imposed peace treaty and killed two men?

You can read previous recaps here.

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19 Responses to “ Breaking Bad Recap: ‘Half Measure’ ”

  1. Mattp702 on June 6, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Wendy is not a new character. She has been in multiple episodes before this one.

  2. linie18 on June 7, 2010 at 12:02 am

    He also didn’t have a gun. He picked up the drug dealer’s gun before he killed him.

  3. Tuco on June 7, 2010 at 12:15 am

    WOW!

    I completely agree with your first paragraph. It was definitely one of the best episodes to date. I don’t usually get up and high five people unless I’m watching sports, but watching Walt mow those 2 bastards down was EPIC! My hands were up in the air and jaw was to the floor. My guess is that Walt will probably put Gus in his place by way of some chemistry derived theorem. Anyone else notice that Jesse wasn’t shown in the preview for next Sunday? GO WALT! Its about freaking time!

  4. bob1977 on June 7, 2010 at 12:17 am

    Tomas was Andreas younger brother, not her child. And Wendy is not new.

    And the bit about Gus “sending a chilling message”, what reason would he have to do that? He’s already told Mike earlier in the season that doesn’t believe fear to be a good motivational tool. He’s manipulated Walt in the past, but otherwise has respect for him. And it just wouldn’t do to further enrage a guy privy to your multimillion dollar drug operation (unless you planned to kill him immediately afterward I suppose.

    Two street level thugs getting rid of a loose-end in murdering the boy makes much more sense.

  5. Twavis on June 7, 2010 at 12:26 am

    I agree with most of your opinion but you had a lot of facts wrong so it makes me think you haven’t seen all of the episodes or haven’t paid 100% attention to them. Either way, the recap was interesting and these other fellas already pointed out the most glaring inaccuracies.

  6. NameIsAwesome on June 7, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Did you notice how the two thugs seem to be waiting for Jesse? It’s more like they were pissed that Jesse for putting them in a position where they couldn’t use children, so they killed the kid knowing it would make Jesse confront them. At which point they could kill him. Luckily for Jesse, it didn’t work that way.

  7. Tuco on June 7, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Yeah Bob I agree. I was a lot more impressed with Gus when he kept things unemotional and detached. He struck me as the right kind of guy for that much power. The episode also took a turn towards the incredulous the second I saw Gus babying Jesse into behaving. Kind of weak if you ask me. I lost a lot of respect for his character. There’s no reason a guy with that much power should be getting his hands dirty with silly dope dealing turf shenanigans. The writers have been roller coaster this whole season with believability and reality. I just hope they don’t pull some last minute b.s. in the finale. Anyway, great f*(&$ng episode!

  8. WTF? on June 7, 2010 at 12:39 am

    you had so many facts dead wrong in your recap. Plus, you didn’t even mention Hank. DId you watch the damn episode?

  9. Danny on June 7, 2010 at 1:00 am

    While this episode was great I found it hard to swallow in the sense that it didnt fit with what we have learned previously about Gus. It does not make sense to me that Gus, the head of the drug operation, who prides himself only dealing with only people who are clean, intelligent, and put together, would work with and protect two lousy street drug dealers who use kids to peddle the drugs. In previous episodes Gus has made clear that he does not believe in violence. So do go out of his way to protect these low lives does not fit. Did this revelation not sit well with anyone else?

  10. I agree with this ^^^ guy on June 7, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Really dude, if you are going to do a recap at least get 99% of the details right.
    ‘Jesse drives the prostitute to go find the drug dealers, but they are nowhere to be found, and Jesse is taken from the car by some of Gus’s thugs. He is driven to Gus’s trailer in the desert, and when he goes inside, he sees Walt, Gus and the two drug dealers, along with Mike’
    Really? You say this as if you didn’t realize that one of the ‘some’ of Gus’s thugs happened to be Mike?
    ‘Coincidence? Of course not. Gus is sending a chilling message.’
    One of the most important things I have learned in life is don’t make assumptions. Now why would you assume that Gus is behind everything that happens in this show? Just because he is the boss doesn’t mean that nobody makes decisions of their own.
    It’s quite possible indeed that Gus is behind the boy’s murder, but somehow I doubt it. I suppose we’ll just have to wait til next episode to find out.

  11. JustHart on June 7, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Since the author of this recap obviously has never seen seasons 1 or 2, I would like to offer her my DVD’s of both seasons so that she has a better understanding of the show and it’s characters before she attempts to write a recap of the season finale.

  12. Shannon on June 7, 2010 at 3:57 am

    @I agree with this guy,
    My gut reaction is that Gus is behind it. Doesn’t mean I am right, but I think that he has been methodical the entire season, and I think he is a lot more evil than we have been led to believe. I don’t have any insider information, but he was way to quick to say, “okay, no boys” and I thought that was really odd, so when Tomas is killed, I’ve got to believe it was Gus behind it, but if it is someone else, I can’t wait to find out who.

  13. Shannon on June 7, 2010 at 3:59 am

    @Danny I sort of agree with what you are saying, but I think there is a lot more about Gus that we don’t know, like we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. Breaking Bad rarely makes misteps with writing, so hopefully it will all pan out.

  14. Shannon on June 7, 2010 at 4:00 am

    @just hart I assure you I have seen every episode. Get over yourself.

  15. Shannon on June 7, 2010 at 4:04 am

    @nameisawesome I agree with you, but don’t you think it would take some serious balls to cross Gus? I am just not sure that they would do that. Not saying they wouldn’t, though.

  16. Shannon on June 7, 2010 at 4:05 am

    @linie18,
    went back and watched the end again. Correct and thanks.

  17. Shannon on June 7, 2010 at 4:08 am

    @bob1977 I know, but I find it hard to believe that those two would disobey Gus, that is my only problem with believing that the two thugs did it, but they could have.

  18. Bosco on June 7, 2010 at 5:07 am

    What a Great Show… I hope the crew can do a 4th season… Walter White is like a Clint Eastwood..
    But a much better actor than Clint.. Love the Show..

  19. Alan on June 7, 2010 at 5:36 am

    I finnaly got the title
    the scene where the ex cop working for saul and gus
    he’s saying you can’t take a half measure well the
    full measure that walt made was siding with his partner jesse
    despite knwoing its going to bring him a shit storm

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