Breaking Bad Recap: “Full Measure” (Season 3 Finale)
Hmm. Is it safe to call the show Broken Bad now? I have held out hope, despite all the signs pointing otherwise, that Walt is still a decent human being. Guess I was wrong. The season finale of Breaking Bad was a mixed bag, as far as I am concerned. Let me be clear, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but with so many story lines swirling around (Skylar? Hank? The cartel vs. Gus?) I was left wanting a little. Who didn’t want to see Hank open a can of whup-ass on someone this season? Looks like Hank’s reckoning day will have to wait for another season. So be it.
(Spoilers for the season finale of Breaking Bad.) The writers chose to end season three with a Walt/Jesse centric episode. This is the episode that has absolutely confirmed the fact that Walt has gone to the dark side. He has sold his soul to the devil, and then some. We’ve seen the characters of Walt and Jesse transpose throughout the series . Jesse was a strung out loser with questionable morals and penchant for the rock and roll lifestyle. Really, nothing he would have done would have surprised us. Now, he serves as the moral compass of the dysfunctional duo.
Walt was initially drawn to a life of crime out of necessity. He was dying, and cooking meth was a quick way for him to make cash to leave his family. Now he has become a comon thug, routinely participating in atrocities he never could have imagined before.
“Full Measure” began with a flashback to Walt and Skylar buying their home when she was pregnant with Walt Jr. Walt is sporting a full head of hair (anyone else find it completely bizarre to see Bryan Cranston with hair again?). We get a little insight into Walt’s previous relationship with money and materialism. Apparently, this (the current White residence) was not the first choice for Walt.
He tries to convince a guarded Skylar to keep looking elsewhere, “Why buy a starter house? Why be cautious, we have no where to go but up!” This is a brilliant way to let us know that things did indeed go downward for Walt. They still live in that “starter house,” so obviously things didn’t go according to plan for young Walt. I also thought this might be tipping us off a bit to why Walt keeps cooking, even though he doesn’t have to. Does he have some deep-rooted issues about making money and feeling inadequate doing so? It certainly makes perfect sense. Will he be overcompensating forever for past (perceived) shortcomings?
The next scene cuts to the desert. Walt is in his (dented) car watching the horizon. An SUV slowly enters the landscape, and Walt dons his “Heisenberg” hat and exits his vehicle. He ends up confronting Mike, who is pissed that he has not slept because he has been cleaning up Walt’s mess.
“You said no half measure,” Walt replies.
“Funny how words can be so open to interpretation,” says Mike.
Is it just me? I think Mike was very clear on what he was alluding to last week. Didn’t Walt do exactly what Mike was inferring he should do?
Gus gets out of the car and gives Walt a tongue lashing. The only excuse for Walt’s lapse in judgement must be a medical ailment. Walt assures him that this is not the case, and calls Gus out on possibly putting a hit on the eleven year old (Tomas.) Mike looks at Walt like he is nuts.
Walt offers up two scenarios. 1) They kill him, and hunt down Jesse. 2) They let him keep cooking, and forget about the rest.
At the end of the day, Gus is a business man, so he agrees to let Walt continue, but he will choose the assistant. We all know where this is going.
Enter dorky but reliable lab assistant Gale. Walt and Gale resume their symbiotic lab relationship, only this time Gus has a guard on the mezzanine watching them at all times. I think we all know that Gale is being groomed for Walt’s position, so every query he makes seems particularly sinister. Walt seems on to that as well, because he remains elusive when he answers any questions about the procedures.
After work, Gale is visited at his apartment by Gus, who divulges that Walt has cancer, and that Gale is next in line to run the lab. Gus stresses that he has a “desire for continuity” and he wants everything done the same way. Gale suggests having one or two more cooks, but when Gus gives him the stink eye he realizes that is not the direction Gus wishes to go.
The next day in the lab, there is a brand new dynamic between Gale and Walt. Gale does a poor job of disguising his desire to know the procedures, and this seems to trigger Walt’s suspicion.
Mike visits Saul, in order to get Jesse’s address. Saul claims ignorance, but says he will leave his desk for a bit (to make a Nescafe!), and hints that whatever Mike finds on his desk is fair game. What a predictable schmuck.
Next, Saul drives Walt to the Lazer Base building, where he further tries to convince Walt that this is the place to launder his money. Once inside, Jesse emerges! He has been in town the whole time. Saul actually did not sell him out.
Walt and Jesse have a talk, and Walt divulges that he believes Gus is ready to kill him and let Gale take over. He bluntly says to Jesse, “You know what we have to do.” Walt is being watched, so he tells Jesse that he needs to find Gale’s address.
Jesse pleads with Walt, saying that there must be a better way . Walt pulls out, ” I saved your life Jesse, are you going to save me?” Jesus. What’s a dude to do?
Walt heads home and is spending some time with Holly when his phone rings. Jesse has found Gale’s address. Walt leaves to do the dirty deed, but he is intercepted by one of Gus’s employees. Walt is taken to the lab under the pretense of a chemical leak, but he knows that this is the end of the rope for him. At the lab, he begs Mike for mercy, and offers up Jesse’s whereabouts as collateral. The bait is taken, and Walt calls Jesse, who inquires whether or not Walt has taken care of Gale. Walt explains that no, he can’t do that now, and it is up to Jesse. The phone is wrestled away, and Walt shouts that Jesse must go do it, and that they are going to kill him.
When Mike wants to know what was going on, Walt coldly instructs Mike to not pull the trigger because, ” Your boss is going to need me.” He recites Gale’s address.
For the final scene, we see a terrified Jesse focusing a gun on Gale. Jesse is trembling, and has bloodshot eyes. He is clearly conflicted. He pulls the trigger. End of season.
A few thoughts: did you enjoy the little scene where we got to see the true capability of Mike? His take down of a multitude of people was telling of exactly how calculating he is. I certainly have a little more respect for him now. I had no idea he was that much of a bad-ass. They have to be setting him up for a bigger role next season, right?
I initially thought that Walt was just selling out Jesse (at the end), but then it seemed part of a plan. Was Walt really giving up Jesse, or was he trying to send him a message?
What are Walt’s motivations, at this point? He is way beyond self preservation.
Did you like the finale, or did you want to see more story lines resolved?
Thanks for reading the recaps this season. For an archive of season three recaps, click here.