Posted on Monday, September 9th, 2013 by Joanna Robinson
4. The Devil You Know: I know there have been some grumblings here and there in the past about Uncle Jack’s role. My podcast host, Dave Chen, in particular doesn’t like how “easy” is was for Jack to pull of the prison killings or massacre a band of desert meth cooks. But I think that all starts to pay off quite nicely in this episode. Walt fancies himself the second coming of Gustavo Fring. Jesse James himself. But Fring never would have employed someone as unpredictable and uncontrollable as Jack and his co-horts. (That’s why he tried to extract himself from the unpredictability of both Walt and Jesse numerous times.) But Walt, in his arrogance, went for the easy out without thinking about what the consequences might be. Thanks to Todd and his big mouth, Jack knows all about Walt’s prowess as a cook. And a cook is what they need. Walt’s no longer the one in control. This is the sound of the other jackboot dropping.
But my favorite aspect of this scene (besides Walt’s incongruous need to defend Jesse’s honor while simultaneously ordering a hit on him) is the composition of the shot above. Here we have Todd, who has always been presented as a sort of dark double for Jesse, poised over Walt, bathed in red light and looking for all the world like a devil on his shoulder. Walt had a chance, at many points, to turn this all around. Jesse kept pleading for him to get out last season. But Walt chose Todd and Uncle Jack over Jesse and Mike. Walt made many mistakes on his journey to To’hajiilee, but that might have been the most damning.
5. I Am Of The Opinion That Ian Posada Is The Cutest Kid Actor On Television: I think we all knew what Walt had in mind when he said he knew what would draw Jesse out. If the money is Walt’s weakness, then kids have always been Jesse’s. But still my heart sank at the sight of that little, cherubic face. I don’t know if they don’t let Brock talk a lot because the kid is not a great actor or if it’s a character choice or what. But it is working. Walt keeps skirting the line of our sympathies. (See, above, his defense of Jesse even while ordering his death.) But he had to have lost major points when he went back to the Brock well. How dare he.
6. Got My Photo, B*tch?: First of all, more behind bars imagery from our good friends at Breaking Bad. Given how the episode ended this week, I doubt Walt will be rotting in a cell anytime soon, but using the vertical blinds to show how trapped Walt is in this moment? Brilliant. And, sure, Walt’s greed is his downfall here (as it has been in the past) but I also really enjoy that Hank and Jesse outsmarted Walt. Outsmarted the genius. You know Walt always said that if Jesse just applied himself…
7. Michelle MacLaren Really Does Need To Direct Everything Always: The back half of this episode played out like a great action flick. It reminds me of that brilliantly tense Justified episode “Decoy” earlier this season. I’d pit either one of those episodes against any action film that we saw in the theaters this year. The car chase was incredible and as she has always done when directing an episode of Breaking Bad or Game Of Thrones, director Michelle MacLaren achieves the perfect blend of action and art. Her work is so beautiful it hurts. This scene with Walt snarling at Jesse on the phone was brilliantly acted by Bryan Cranston. Once again he protests that he loves the kid. I hope someone was recording that call because confessions abounded.