Oh, what tangled webs we weave. The more that Jesse, Skyler, and Mike try to pull away from Walter…he concocts a plan or manipulates the situation and ends up pulling them back in. Last week’s cold open showed us the shot child that just captured a spider (more specifically, a tarantula). In this case, Walter is the spider. And if I can quote the infamous Nicki Minaj, all the other characters in the show “beez in the trap.”
This week’s cold open was tremendous as we see the heist crew from last week (minus Jesse) start deconstructing the child’s dirt bike to prepare it for the hydrofluoric acid process that Walt and Jesse have used numerous times before to dispose of bodies. Of course, the child will also be put through this process as well. What I couldn’t help but think while Todd, Mike, and Walt were detaching the dirt bike, was how completely detached Walt has become from his humanity when there’s collateral damage…even when it’s a child. These are just a means to an end for Walt. Acceptable losses he would rationalize. However, these losses are not acceptable to Mike or Jesse….to the point that both are willing to retire in order to start their journey of soul searching (I’m also assuming Mike wants to leave because the DEA are hot on his trail as well). Unfortunately for them, Mike and Jesse are unacceptable losses for Walt. He might be the big kahuna but even godfathers need godchildren. More importantly, Walt loses control if they both leave. If both were to depart, they can only depart on Walt’s terms.
However, leaving the business isn’t as easy as Mike and Jesse thought it would be. When they go to sell their share of the methylamine, the buyer is keen to their predicament and tells them that he’s not purchasing anything until he gets Walt’s share as well. Declan (Mike’s buyer) wants the blue meth off the streets so he can enhance his empire. If there’s a demand for the blue meth, Declan’s pockets aren’t going to be as fat. Meanwhile, Skyler is close to breaking down and revealing to Marie why she’s so deathly afraid for her children’s lives when Marie confesses that Walt told her about her affair with Ted. At this point, Skyler is in a complete state of WTF. Skyler has no idea how to feel as shown by the look of incredulity in her eyes and the slight grin that is almost on the verge of laughter but she knows that she feels Walt’s vice getting tighter and tighter.
Jesse goes to Walter’s house to try to convince Walt to sell his share of the methylamine (fat chance) when Skyler comes home with groceries. Jesse is about to leave when Walt invites him to stay for dinner which leads to one of the best scenes in Breaking Bad history imo. This was one of the most awkward and uncomfortable dinner scenes that I’ve ever seen complete with Jesse trying to use small talk to try to cut through the tension between Walt and Skyler. At one point, Jesse provides commentary about the false advertising of TV dinners which can be seen as a metaphor of Skyler and Walt’s relationship…as in it’s supposed to look good but it just tastes absolutely wretched. After all of this, Walt goes back to HQ to try to steal all of the methylamine which Mike saw coming. Mike ends up tying Walt to a radiator before he goes to visit the DEA (which includes an outstanding scene where Saul Goodman goes toe to toe with Hank). The following scene shows you the level of desperation Walt has in order to feel in control as you see Walt doing just about everything to free himself and finally doing so by practically burning his own wrist in the process. When Mike comes back, he’s about to blow Walt’s brains out when Jesse pleads Mike to stop by screaming that “Mr. White has a plan.” Of, course he does. And what is the eventual result of this plan?
We as viewers realize that when everybody wins, it’s because Walter gets what he wants. And just when Mike thought he had tied up Walt and found a way to free himself from him, he finds himself even more lodged in Walter’s web. However, unlike Skyler (who’s desperately trying to free herself from Walter’s clutches), Mike seems more and more resigned to his fate. He realizes that Walter’s a ticking time bomb that he described earlier this season. It’s just gotten to the point that it seems like Mike realizes that it doesn’t matter what he does. He’ll still be caught within Walt’s blast radius. And Jesse? He’s starting to realize how maniacal Walt is (Really, Walt? Whistling while you work?) but he has a sort of emotional attachment to him that he can’t seem to drop. So in actuality, when everybody wins….it’s actually Walter winning more than everybody else.