Breaking Bad “Dead Freight” Review

Coming off of an emotionally scarring episode, Breaking Bad decided to lighten the mood with an old-fashioned caper episode. However, Breaking Bad refuses to keep the mood light for the entire duration of an episode. I had roughly the same reaction as Jesse to the successful heist (“Yeah, bitch!”), and the death of the boy on the dirtbike (Few people are better at expressing emotion than Aaron Paul). Once again, Gilligan and the gang did a great job of ratcheting up our spirits with the mounting tension of the episode only to completely crush our spirits in the very last moment.

That last sentence certainly isn’t a complaint. It’s where we are in the evolution of the show. However, the way the show had set up the hour, it seemed like we were going to have our first “fun” hour of television since “Yeah, bitch! MAGNETS!” The gang faces a seemingly impossible problem and manages to come up with an elaborate plan that enables them to solve the problem. However, unlike the premiere episode, the joy of overcoming the issue is short-lived when Landry from Friday Night Lights puts down the kid on the dirtbike. It’s an absolutely horrific scene that punches every viewer in the gut. That will teach us to enjoy ourselves on Vince Gilligan’s watch.

It will be interesting to see how this event affects the new partnership. Jesse and Walt have long operated in a vacuum where innocent bystanders rarely get hurt. Even last season when Walt poisoned Brock, it was seen as necessary to swing Jesse back on his side. Here, Jesse is obviously distraught over what happened. After all, they constructed this crazy train robbery so they didn’t have to kill anyone. Moments like these remind me of an episode of Boardwalk Empire when Jimmy tells Nucky that “You can’t be half a gangster.” For the entirety of the series, Walt and Jesse have tried to steer clear of the murder part of the crime game. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing drugs on this level, people are going to get hurt. Sometimes it’s the kingpin who wants to murder you and your whole family, and sometimes it’s an innocent kid who is out on his dirtbike looking for spiders. Jesse’s reaction at the end of the episode showed a man who is going to struggle with what he has done in this stretch of New Mexican desert. Mike and Walt will move on, but this tragedy will affect Jesse. It will be fascinating to see how.

Speaking of Jesse, he continues to be the man with the plan this season. The show has really hammered home Walt’s increasing hubris, but it seems to go along with Jesse’s intellectual ascendance. Under Gus, Jesse was starting to display a real knack for the crime game. Now that he is back in a smaller organization, his abilities have really shown through. I really enjoyed Walt looking at him like a proud father as Jesse explains the plan. Given that his children have been removed from him, Walt can put all of his paternal emotion towards Jesse. Granted, he manipulates Jesse painfully to achieve his aims, but the past few episodes have made it clear that there is genuine affection from Walt to Jesse. That being said, Breaking Bad continues to go out of his way to show us how capable Jesse is. It’s as if they are showing us that Jesse doesn’t need Walt. Hmmm….

Some quick thoughts:

*I love listening to Mike explain situations. Between talking to the Vamonos Pest guys a few weeks ago to laying it out for Lydia this week, Mike continues to roll.

*Why is Walter Jr. back to Flynn now? Is he so upset at the thought of no hot breakfasts around the White family table that he needed a name change to accurately convey his frustration? I much prefer Hank’s nickname for him: Emo McGee.

*It was good to see Lydia sort of have it together in this episode. She’s still jittery, but at least she displayed some of the competence that you would expect out of an employee of Gus Fring.

*I was happy to see Kuby (played by a happy-to-be-here Bill Burr) back in action again.

*The impending Hank/Walt showdown just jumped up a notch when Hank mentioned Heat. It’s clear Gilligan is going to throw all of his favorite movies at us this season.

*I was happy to get a break from the Walt/Skyler stuff this week. That being said, it was interesting that Skyler got Walt to agree to keep the kids away from them. It doesn’t strike me as something that Walter White would acquiesce to so quickly. Oh well, at least that scene closed with the joy of Walt telling Skyler that he was off to rob a train.

I love this show. What did everyone else think of this episode?

  • Hf54752

    The ending was so disturbing. Breaking Bad is the only show I know of that can leave an entire couch load of viewers jaws agape(face off). Things will end badly – but for all of those expecting an epic shoot out, I’m guessing there are a few suprises yet in store and Vince has something less cliche in mind.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know.  We may very well see an epic shootout to bring things to a close.  Remember, the entire premise of the show is “Mr. Chips meets Scarface.”  We all know how Scarface ended.

      • Anonymous

        I just read the Rolling Stone article about the show, and there’s a minor (?) spoiler in there: Cranston said he needed the answers to some questions before he was ready to do the buying-the-big-gun scene at the start of the 5th season, and according to Cranton, Gilligan says he’s back in town with the big gun in order to protect someone, which pretty much blows my theory as to how it all ends out of the water.

  • Anonymous

    Same reaction… How is Walt any different from Gus now? His actions directly lead to the kid getting killed.

    He got greedy, had he pulled out at 850 gallons, the guys would most likely have been off the train, and been able to seal up and start heading out before the kid on the bike would be there.

    But it’s one of those wrong places at the wrong time. I think the scene really hits us, because all of us as kids went places far away to play or hang out. I used to ride my bike around an abandoned piece of land near the edge of town, set up jumps. That kid at the end could have been any of us in our childhood.

    The only thing for me, I just can’t stand Skylar anymore. Her emotions are so ridiculous, she doesn’t seem believable. In the first season she was a controlling basketcase who went so far as to threaten Jesse, berate Walt for not doing chemo.

    By the third season, she hates Walt (all because he lied) and cheats on him, she is a criminal herself doing Ted’s books for his own scams, tells him to his face, kicks him out etc. By the 4th, she wants to be a part of it, she wants to run the car wash, gives all of Walt’s money to Ted.

    And now in the 5th, she’s become suicidal, doesn’t want the kids living there, wants Walt to die.

    Look, I get it, she’s scared, she wants to be away from all this. But think about it in real life terms. What has Walt ever done to Skylar except lie so that he still at least was respected and not thought of as a criminal.

    What woman in real life, will tell her husband of 18+ years that she wants him to die because he’s a criminal who brings home over a hundred thousand each week etc. Believe me, 90% of the wives would actually join in in real life.

    But back to the show, Vince Gilligan is the master of story-telling. This was a great episode and the shots of the train arriving, the kid staring, just great.

    • Ancientk

      No 90% of women would be afraid lol. Walter just killed a kid common.

    • Johnbob44

      Yes, agreed. She has had 4 completely different personalities so far. And I don’t buy her moral objection to Walt as a “murderer.”. All she knows is that he killed Gus, who is a freakin scumbag. He is not anything close to a “kingpin” or whatever. If he had killed a bunch of people, and she knew that, I might buy it more. It’s the one part of the show I don’t feel.

      • nig nag

        dont you guys remember that woman are crazy? also especially those that have children and stil care for them.. walts disbelief that the children can be harmed will be driving her even more mental

        • Anonymous

          Shots fired! 

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think it’s the killing that bothers Skyler.  It’s the fact that Walt wants to be this guy.  She was with him when she thought he was in this situation because he wanted to make money for the family/felt he had no other choice.

      Now that she sees he is a meglomaniac who actually WANTS to be a part of this life, she is horrified by what she sees.  

      I’ll admit it feels rushed, but I can buy the transformation in her character’s feelings.

  • Taraalcar

    His name is Jesse. Not Jessie. Jessie is short for Jessica.

    • Anonymous

      My bad on that one.  I suppose I’m too use to talking about Jessie Spano.  Point taken.  As always, I’ll be sure to do better the next time.

  • Petter Bristav

    Jessie is a girls name.

    • Anonymous

      And also the name of one bad ass, Albuquerque-based meth pusher.

  • Anonymous

    If Walt sticks to the logic of his “Icarus” lecture that he had with Jesse, then Todd needs to die, having taken the liberty, unbidden, of killing a child.  Todd flew too close to the sun.  Jesse’s sick of all of the killing, so I doubt he’d go along with it.  The title of the next episode is “Buyout” and we know from the preview that Mike wants out.  But I can’t help but believe that Jesse’s also ready to walk away from it all; the cost of staying in this business has undoubtedly become too great for Jesse to bear.  Of course, Jesse’s just as big a hypocrite as anyone in the business, knowing what his product does to people like Wendy, who provided him with his alibi at the time he had been kidnapped by Tuco.  Walt, once again, will attempt to rationalize his way out of this, because he never ever thinks that there’s a consequence for his actions that he can’t fix or cover up.  But now there’s yet another body to dispose of.

    • Anonymous

      I think there is no doubt that Todd is going to outlive his usefulness.  Be mindful of what Mike said to the Vamonos Pest guys.  He told them not to engage Walt or Jesse.  By stepping out and telling them about the nanny cam, he started his Icarus like flight.  

  • zoktoberfest

    Riveting episode, but I was surprised they didn’t wear railroad maintenance uniforms. Of course, if they had acted and looked official, unfortunate interlopers like the little boy, would have accepted their presence and activity as just railroad stuff, negating the need to kill him. I love this show, but I see this ending scene as manipulated. Fabricated to further twist into knots, our perverse sympathy we secretly harbor for their success, even as we know it will break badly, for all concerned. The spider in the glass jar, in the hot sun, was doomed to a horrible death. Was that not a metaphor for what awaits Walt and his associates? Lab explosion, trapped in a small translucent room and burned to death in the subsequent fire? That’s my bet about how it ends:-)

    • Gonzomonger44

      I still find it quite interesting that Skylar and Jesse have only crossed paths once the entire series. One of my hypotheses is the two of them somehow working together to turn on Walt once he crosses the inevitable “point of no return”, forcing a Hank/Walt showdown in the end.

      • Anonymous

        For what it’s worth, I haven’t completely ruled out the idea that Jesse is running a long game on Walt.  Walt thinks his protege would never turn on him, yet Jesse continues to show how capable he is.  Given the mystery surrounding the poisoning of Brock, I could envision a scenario where Jesse knows what happened, but is waiting on the right moment to make his move.