If there is one thing I have come to expect from Breaking Bad, it is a stellar opening sequence, and tonight was no exception. The show opens with Jesse putting on his street clothes (with considerable effort) to go home from the hospital after the brutal beating he took at the hand of Hank last week.
An orderly wheels him out to the front of the building, and leaves him to wait for his ride. Jesse sits there on the curb in his wheelchair when an ambulance pulls past him and wheels out a man on a gurney.
Jesse is shocked to recognize Hank, the very man who just beat him up. He follows the gurney into the hospital to confirm his suspicions, and yep, it’s Hank all right. Jesse can’t move much on his face, but his right eye lights up with glee at this Karmic event.
Back at the meth lab, Walt is trying to break up with his lab assistant, Gale, who is not taking it very well. Gale knows that he has done a great job, and doesn’t understand why Walt would let him go, it just doesn’t make sense.
Poor Gale says, ” I thought we were being simpatico…a real team.” Walt tries to make excuses using a ridiculous analogy about classical vs. jazz, and how they are just different. Gale almost seems to be buying it, when Jesse makes an ill-timed (yet comedic) appearance.
Walt looks like he wants to crawl under a rock when Jesse struts around in full dip-shit mode, and calls Walt “partner” in front of Gale. Walt gives Gale a perfunctory goodbye. Jesse asks Walt if he has cell phone coverage in the lab, and Walt explains that the lab is shielded from any coverage. Jesse realizes that Walt would not have heard about his brother-in-law Hank and breaks the news to Walt, who races off to the hospital to be with his estranged family.
At the hospital, an emergency room staff is working on a patient, who I assumed was Hank, but they have to cut the boot off, and it is definitely one of the cousins. Not many people would own a pair of boots with silver skulls on the toe. So Hank and one of the cousins are in the same hospital, along with Walt, Marie, Walt Jr., and Skylar. Oh, and the entire DEA office staff is there is well. That could make things a little awkward for Walt, don’t you think?
Walt has 200 pounds of meth to deliver in less than 24 hours, he is stuck at the hospital, and Jesse doesn’t know how anything works in the new lab, so it looks like this week they are screwed. Jesse keeps calling the hospital, and Walt is loudly prompted to pick up a courtesy phone.
Walt (begs? threatens?) Jesse to not touch anything and wait for him to arrive. Jesse hangs around and acts like a five year old in the lab. I was a wreck waiting for him to break something irreplaceable, anyone else?
Actress Betsy Brandt plays Marie (Hank’s wife) and she really gets to shine this episode. Normally she is a secondary character, and we don’t see much from her, but her performance in this episode is great. She is believable as she berates the DEA superior for taking away Hank’s gun.
She also lays into Walt later, as well as some cafeteria silverware that doesn’t meet her cleanliness specifications. She is tired, stressed, grief stricken, and frightened.
To assuage her fears, Walt recounts how frightened he was when he had his surgery at the very same hospital. His vivid description of the memory cause Walt Jr. and Skylar to become quite emotional. I couldn’t tell if Walt was being selfish, manipulative, or genuine when he gave his little speech, but Skylar sure seemed to soften up a bit. She even came to his rescue when Marie implied Walt might be indirectly responsible because he bought dope from “that Pinkman kid” (at least that is how she thinks Walt knows Jesse.)
Ironically, Walt has to rub shoulders with the DEA men throughout the episode. They are livid that one of the cousins is alive and receiving great care at the hospital. Walt becomes curious over who attacked Hank, and goes upstairs to the hospital room with the rest of the DEA officers.
Just then, the cousin starts rousing from sleep. His eyes survey the men at the door of his room, and he sees Walt. Man, if looks could kill, Walt would have died several times over in this scene. That is the worst stink-eye I have ever seen. Just chilling.
The cousin recognizes Walt, and sits up in bed, ripping his I.V. out. He removes his blanket, and we see that both of his legs have been amputated. No matter, he pulls himself off of the bed and starts pulling his body toward Walt, dragging his freshly bandaged stumps behind him. I got goosebumps. It conjures up memories of the season opener, No Mas, when all the people where inching their way over the desert on their bellies.
He is eventually restrained by some orderlies, but never quits staring at Walt. Remarkably, none of the DEA boys seem to notice. I loved the dynamic of Walt hanging out with them. It reminded me of a weasel being in a hen house, fraternizing with the unsuspecting hens. These DEA men think of Walt as extended family now. The stakes have just been raised, once again.
Walt starts putting two and two together regarding the cousins. He recalls that Tuco mentioned that someone would be coming for Walt. Now, Walt is starting to see the severity of his situation. Gus calls him to inquire about the delivery schedule, and Walt does not divulge that he is at the hospital, he throws Gale under the bus instead.
Gus hand delivers chicken dinners to all of the DEA men at the hospital. Seems Gus is one of their “boosters.” Brilliant, as Gus later explains to a flabbergasted Walt that he likes to “Hide in plain sight.” Walt inquires about Hank’s attacker, and Gus says that he has heard the attacker is probably not going to make it. Sure enough, we see the cousin being pronounced dead.
Lucky break for Walt, again. But wait-Gus’s cleaner Mike just happens to be on the hospital floor. Gus, it seems, leaves nothing to chance.
In the final scene, we see how cold Gus really can be. He has been speaking to a cartel head in Mexico, who is upset that someone gave the orders for the cousins to attack Hank. Gus listens while the man’s house is raided and the man is gunned down. Gus breaks into a big grin (well, okay, Gus isn’t capable of grinning, but he looks real pleased with himself.)
Gus is a lot more scary than I initially thought. Do you think he is trying to take over the entire cartel? What are his intentions?
For the record, my favorite line tonight was from Jesse, “You tell your douchebag brother-in-law to head towards the light.” Loved it.