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Breaking Bad: Breaking the Bank

We begin and end with Jesse. First, there's a close-up of a large beetle; he contemplates squashing it, but instead lets it play on his hand. It’s a small but significant act that we see replicated in larger form later on. Walt, meanwhile, continues down the path of empowered anger, and we’re not sure we like him in this state. Actually, we’re sure we don’t like him like this — he’s morphing into a total jerk.

Walt and His Family
Walt has led Skylar to believe that Gretchen and Elliot (his former partner) are paying for his cancer treatment, and so Skylar profusely thanks Gretchen when she calls their house, confusing her. Walt, meanwhile, is back to teaching, and gives a lesson on the significance of carbon, mentioning that the man who invented synthetic diamonds was only given $10 by G.E. It’s an obvious reference to Walt’s bitterness about Grey Matter, which he returns to when begging Gretchen not to reveal his lie to his family. “Why did you do it?” Gretchen asks. He won’t tell her about the drugs; instead, he screams at her about cutting him out years ago and shocks her with his cruelty. “Fuck you!” he hisses. Whoa. Instead of ratting Walt out, Gretchen tells Skylar that they’ll no longer send the treatment money. Walt covers by telling Skylar that Gretchen and Elliot are actually broke. The good news is, Walt and Skylar seem to be talking again.

Walt and the Drugs
Walt had instructed Jesse to deal with the theft from the previous week, so that’s what he does, semi-successfully. Jesse arrives at the empty house of the meth-head thieves (one of whom is named “Spooge”), and is joined by their young son, who’s dirty, hungry, and lonely. Plus, he has red hair and is very cute. Aw, this is really sad. Jesse and the son bond, until his scary, itchy, druggie parents come home, and Jesse holds them hostage until they pull drugs out of their butts. Yuck. Jesse is distracted by the kid, and the meth mom knocks him out. The couple had stolen an ATM — “a victimless crime,” they tell Jesse, as we flash to a dead store clerk. Jesse comes to just in time to see the meth mom tip the ATM over onto Spooge’s head, crushing and killing him. (Not a scene for the soft of heart or stomach.) Before he runs off with the money, Jesse takes the kid outside so that he doesn’t have to see his dead dad on the floor.

What’s Next?
Oh, Walt, where will you go from here? He’s going to have to come up with another lie to explain how he’s paying for treatment. His rage toward Gretchen doesn’t bode well for his future anger management — if he’s that nasty to people he loves, think of how he’ll deal with someone who messes with his drug trade. Jesse, meanwhile, is going soft on us, and we actually like it. His tender interactions with the child show he’s growing as a person. We’ll see how this plays out in relation to Walt’s increasing cruelty.

Photo: Courtesy of AMC