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Breaking Bad: Family Matters

This episode focused on the unraveling of both Walt and Jesse’s personal connections, and boy, was it a depressing hour. Since the pair still isn’t selling drugs, the balance between crime story and personal tragedy was skewed toward the latter, which made for an adventureless, dark episode. We never thought we’d say this, but, come on, guys, get back to the meth!

Jesse and His Family
Walt needs time to “mend fences” before he returns to cooking meth, and instructs Jesse not to contact him at all. The next day, Jesse’s parents call him into a lawyer’s office and tell him he has to vacate his house — Jesse’s mom found his meth lab in the basement, and his parents say they’ll call the police if he doesn’t get out within three days. “We can’t stop you from ruining your own life, but you won’t drag us down with you,” his dad tells him. Jesse’s broke and can’t find anywhere else to stay, so he tries to crash with an old high-school buddy, but the buddy’s wife negs this arrangement after she glimpses Jesse’s hood-rat outfit. Of course, we see Jesse’s stunted, directionless life juxtaposed with that of his friend, who has a family and stable job. Jesse has to resort to breaking into his RV for a place to sleep, but first falls into a port-a-potty and gets covered in shit: a not-so-veiled metaphor about the direction his life is heading without Walt (and the ability to sell drugs).

Walt and His Family
Skylar continues to pull away from Walt in the wake of his disappearance. He tells her that what Hank thought was a second cell phone was really just his cell-phone alarm, but she knows he’s lying. In an effort to get closer to his son (who’s shed the name Walt Jr. and is now going by “Flynn”), Walt takes him driving, an unsuccessful, sad attempt at closeness. In an amusing scene, Walt Jr. knocks over an orange cone and Walt dutifully gets out of the car and picks it up — a law-abiding citizen who just happens to also cook meth.

“I dreamt that I owned an antique-bicycle repair shop in Ireland,” Walt says to Skylar. We’re not sure about the significance of this dream, other than as an escapist fantasy. Any ideas? “Say something that isn’t complete bullshit!,” Skylar screams at him, but he can’t tell her about the drugs, and she storms off again.

What Next?
At the end of the episode Jesse crawls back to Walt, looking for money and a friendly face; he stole the RV and drove it to Walt’s house. They end up in a fist fight before Walt invites Jesse in and gives him more money (though less than his half). Walt ends up asking Jesse to stay for breakfast, after his wife and son decline the offer. Each of these men is becoming more and more estranged from his family, and thus more dependent on the other for companionship. Meanwhile, we see very-pregnant Skylar light up a cigarette in the final scene, an indication that she, too, is becoming a loose cannon.

Photo: Courtesy of AMC