Breaking Bad “Hazard Pay” Review

“He handles the business…And I handle him.” – Walter White

With Adam covering the review for last weeks installment “Madrigal” while I was on vacation, I wasn’t able to watch that episode until last night. While I was cursing AMC’s timing for scheduling the second episode of my favorite TV show for while I would be out of town, I really think that watching these two episodes back to back was a great way to experience them. While I couldn’t share all of my thoughts on “Madrigal”, I might sprinkle some of my opinions into my review of tonight’s Breaking Bad: “Hazard Pay”.

Man, what an episode. I feel like I think that after every week, but I guess that’s what happens when you’re watching the best show on TV. We started off with Mike posing as a paralegal and visiting all of Gus’ 9 remaining employees that are receiving the titular hazard pay. I feel that the first part of this season has definitely spent a lot of time cleaning up after the dramatic and messy end to last season. Not that it’s necessarily a complaint, as it would feel cheap for them to just move on and ignore all of the loose ends from last season, but I feel like tonight is the first real true step forward on any new story lines.

With the superlab destroyed and Mike officially on board for a three way partnership, the boys needed a new place to cook. This led to a pretty funny little series of scenes when Saul took them to several different locations and tried to pitch them as lab locations. Finally, he took the boys to “Vamonos Pest”, a pest extermination business. That gives Walt the interesting idea of cooking in people’s houses while it’s tented and the bugs are being exterminated.

I’m not sure if I completely buy them cooking in stranger’s houses. There’s such a huge inherent risk, and I feel like it was never really addressed here. Sure, the odds of somebody walking in on you during the cook is pretty slim, but the odds of you or one of the Vamonos Pest employees accidentally leaving a piece of equipment behind or something else happening is pretty high. We’ve known Walt over the last few seasons to be cautious to a fault (Jesse might argue even too cautious), so this just doesn’t seem like him. You could argue that we’ve seen him grow much more arrogant and confident in the past few seasons, so maybe this is just an example of Walt’s pride blinding him, but I still don’t buy it. Plus, he’s going into a house that is confirmed to be infested with bugs, and the guy can’t even handle a single fly getting into the superlab! Oh, and you drink beer and watch The Three Stooges on their couch? Isn’t that something they might notice?

The introduction of Vamanos Pest also introduced us to Jesse Plemons character “Todd”. Plemons was one of my favorite characters on Friday Night Lights (If you haven’t seen that show, go Netflix it immediately!), but it’s definitely a shock seeing him on such a serious and hardcore TV show. I’m not sure yet what Todd’s role will be on the show moving forward, as Plemons’ involvement in the show was big news when it broke, and I don’t think they’d cast an actor like Plemons for a minor role. Perhaps his knowledge of noticing nanny cameras will come in handy!

Anyway, outside the meth business, we finally saw Marie again! She’s having lunch with her big sis at the car wash, when Skyler completely melts down on her and loudly and frequently tells her to shut up! With Anna Gunn only getting one line last week after being nominated for her first Emmy, it was great to see her get such an amazing scene this week so she can really remind the academy of why she was nominated. Anyway, Marie is understandably upset and she confronts Walt of why her sister is acting this way. Now as a quick side note, I don’t know how many of you watch this show on DirecTV, but the description of my episode was “Walt confesses to Marie”. So I obviously thought that Walt was going to open up to Marie about his meth business, and I was shocked that Walt was going to make that choice. I could not believe that Walt instead chose to tell her about her affair with Ted. He completely throws his wife under the bus after all of the lying and heartache she’s gone through to cover up for him. This was just another incredible step in Walt’s transformation into being one of the darkest characters on television right now. I absolutely freaking loved how he looked down the hall at the door behind which his wife lay emotionally broken and devastated, and instead of comforting her he turns into the kitchen and eats an apple.

After seeing Walt and Jesse do their first cook in a tented house, we get yet another great scene with Walt, Jesse, and Mike. Seeing that Mike is taking money out of Walt and Jesse’s cut to pay Gus’ old employees was a little surprising, and I could totally understand Walt’s confusion as to how that should be his financial problem, but I’m sure Walt has something in mind to deal with it. It was so twisted and evil how in the last scene Walt asked Jesse how he feels, and Jesse gives him a HUGE piece of personal information about breaking off his relationship with Andrea, and Walt completely shrugs him off. Instead he remembers what happened to Viktor. “Maybe he flew to close to the sun…got his throat slit”.

Get ready, guys. Heisenberg is back!

I can’t wait for next week!

Random Thoughts:

– I loved the quick reference to “Lazer Base” tonight, as it was the second to last stop on Saul’s location tour. One of my favorite things about Breaking Bad is the frequent callbacks and references to previous characters and locations, as I think it’s such a great way to reward all of us rabid fans.

– That was some pretty impressive piano playin’ by Charles Baker in the music shop!

– Do you think they chose to have Walt and Walt Jr. watching Scarface because it’s a metaphor for Walt’s new life? Or is it to help promote AMC’s “Mobster Week”? I hope it’s the former.