This week’s dreamlike moment of high drama comes not at the beginning of the episode — the usual pre-credits lagniappe — but plopped in the middle, as Hank’s family awaits news of his condition at the hospital. Walt accompanies Steve and a bunch of other aggro DEA staffers to the door of the Twin who didn’t have the back of his skull blown out by Hank. The Twin, seeing Walt, sits up, tears out his tubing, throws back the sheet to show his legs (cut-off below the knees) — then throws himself to the floor, dragging his now-bleeding stumps in Walt’s direction. How do you say “I’ll bite you to death!” in Spanish?
The non-subtlety of this trail of blood is not lost on wide-eyed Walt, but as awesome as the scene is, for us it’s just a bit of catharsis: We’re relieved for him. Sure, he feels bad about his brother-in-law, and surely this business won’t give Skyler a better opinion of meth dealing, but we’re back to more quotidian stresses. This being Breaking Bad, the season’s new vector is beautifully summed up in a scene with little action and even less dialogue: Jesse, grimacing with pain, pulls on his clothes, gets wheelchaired out of the hospital (“Roll me further, bitch!” he tells the nurse, who says he’s too close to the entrance to light up), and within moments sees Hank pulled from the back of the ambo. As fas as he’s concerned, it’s a great start to a new life.
And then Jesse and Walt are dropped into their respective pressure cookers: Walt in the hospital waiting room and Jesse in the underground lab, where he does his best eighties-teen-movie montage, crashing desk chairs and inflating his jump suit with an air hose. Everything else is awkwardness: Walt explaining to Gale that one’s classical, the other’s jazz, while Jesse runs around like the Insane Clown Posse; Walt “comforting” and then actually comforting Marie, Skyler, and Walt Jr. with one of his patented educator monologues, this one involving him contemplating never waking up again after entering the same hospital; and finally, Walt feeding Gus a line of bullshit as an excuse for missing his production deadline, only to have Gus come by the hospital with pollo (how Steven beams, contemplating the tasty fast food) and kind words of support for Hank’s family.
Clever Gus! Walt becoming his ward doesn’t seem so terrible after all, especially once he dispatches with Cousin Stumpy and the Mexican drug lord who sent the Twins in the first place. Still, this was an exceedingly claustrophobic episode, and without Saul or laughably ridiculous Mexican assassins stalking around, the relief lacked the comic element we’ve been enjoying this season. “Tell your douchebag brother-in-law to head toward the light,” gave us a chuckle, though. We continue to hope for Gale to return as a villain, but for now, Jesse’s doing just fine with that.