Up until about 30 seconds before the closing credits rolled on Sunday’s (Aug. 12) “Breaking Bad,” it looked as if Walt and Jesse had pulled off one of the most ambitious capes they’ve ever attempted without a hitch.
Then came one giant hitch, and in an instant it feels like the trajectory of the season has changed. All because
Landry Clarke Todd is very, very diligent about following instructions.
“Dead Freight” seemed to clear a path for Walt to keep things rolling as he builds his little empire. Skyler, while still very displeased with her situation, seems at least resigned to being “whatever kind of partner you want” for Walt as long as their kids are kept out of harm’s way. Lydia, while still very much a potential loose cannon, takes an active part in the methylamine heist, and the fact that she gave the guys good information will probably keep Mike’s murderous anger toward her in check for a little bit.
Oh, and the train-robbery plan worked almost perfectly, even with the wrinkle of a good Samaritan pushing the time frame up by a minute or two. Walt and Jesse have about 20 barrels’ worth of methylamine now, enough for who knows how many cooks. And Walt is probably correct when he reasons that when the slightly less concentrated methylamine is discovered at the train’s destination, no one will think to consider a robbery.
Then a kid on a dirt bike looking for spiders in the desert happens along, and everything changes. During the prep, Walt tells Todd that no one but them can ever know about the robbery. Todd takes Walt at his word, and when they realize the kid has seen their moment of triumph, shoots him as an anguished Jesse yells “No!”
It’s a move-forward-on-the-couch, “did that really just happen” kind of moment — and not just because everyone who also watched “Friday Night Lights” went, “Oh no — Landry’s killed again.” While we were told that Todd and the rest of the Vamanos Pest crew were skilled burglars, and could see that he seems to be very into whatever Walt and Jesse are doing, the scene played every bit as shocking as it was intended.
The robbery and murder happened in a remote enough place that it’s not hard to imagine next week’s episode picking up with Walt, Jesse, Todd and Mike feverishly working to cover their tracks and making their way out of immediate peril. But a missing/dead child will bring an entirely new wave of scrutiny, and if Hank or anyone makes a connection between the location of the shooting and the chemical train, well, that is bad, bad news for Mr. White.
Other notes from “Dead Freight”:
- Jesse Pinkman, Idea Man is a well the show has gone to twice now this season, first with his magnet brainstorm in the premiere and now his plan to drain the tank. Much has been made about Jesse’s conscience growing heavier over the course of the series as Walt loses his, and his gift for devising non-lethal solutions to problems seems to go hand in hand with him becoming the (more or less) moral center of “Breaking Bad.”
- Interesting that Hank and Marie, and Skyler, are calling Walt Jr. “Flynn” again — did he ask for it, since he’s angry at his dad again?
- Skyler’s dip in the pool last week seems to have brought her out of the near-catatonic state she had been in. While it was a small scene, the very forthright conversation between her and Walt felt like one that really needed to happen, and they at least understand one another now.
What did you think of “Breaking Bad” this week?