TV RECAP: ‘Breaking Bad: Half Measures’

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 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?

  • Mark
    July 26, 2010 at 5:30 am

    I don't think Jesse was “strung out”. He'd just done a huge line, as was f'n flyin'. What i really want to know is; who ate the burgers? Oops!

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