Breaking Bad “Say My Name” Review

Breaking Bad Say My Name (Season 5 Episode 7)

“You know. You all know exactly who I am. Say my name.” – Walter White

HOLY CRAP HOLY CRAP HOLY CRAP HOLY CRAP! GAAAAAHHHH!!

Sorry, I had to get that out of my system after the last scene. I guess it only makes sense, because at 3:43 PM this afternoon, Aaron Paul tweeted “Dear everyone, if you want to poop yourself watch Breaking Bad tonight.” That’s quite a promise, Aaron. With all of the crazy moments this show is known for: Disembodied heads riding on the backs of tortoises, explosions, unexpected car crashes, and more, would this be the episode to finally cause us to defecate out of excitement? Did “Say My Name” deliver as a pooping yourself good time? Of course it did! Come on, this is Breaking Bad!

After last week’s brutal cliffhanger, in which Walt promised Jesse and Mike that he could get everybody their money and allow him to cook at the same time, we find out immediately what his plan is. Walt would continue to cook his trademark blue meth using the stolen methylamine, but now he would be distributing it through the dealers in Phoenix and cutting them in with a 35% share. In a scene that will definitely go down as one of the top five Heisenberg moments, Walt actually gets the Phoenix dealer to literally say his name and acknowledge who he’s talking to, and he reveals to him that he is in fact the one who killed Gus Fring. This definitely seemed to impress the dealers enough, as they actually accepted his deal and it looks like Walt will continue to cook his meth, at least for now.

After Heisenberg gets to flex his badassery a little bit, we find out that Walt was hiding the methylamine at the car wash. Not really a whole lot happened with this scene, but I’ve really liked seeing Skyler and Jesse interact in recent episodes. Seeing the most awkward dinner of all time last week was pretty great, and I love seeing Jesse trying to let Skyler know that he’s not as bad as she might think. I also loved the little exchange they had towards the end. Jesse points at the logo for Vamanos Pests and mutters “Vamanos” (Which is Spanish for “We’re going” or “We’re leaving”.) Skyler simply responds “I wish.” Perfect.

With Mike retiring, we see a few scenes that seemed to be neatly wrapping up his story. Paying off his legacy costs, ditching his weapons and incriminating evidence, and nonchalantly letting Hank serve a search warrant. It looked like he was free and clear! However, with Hank getting chewed out by his commanding officer for following Mike, he decides to go after the scumbag lawyer that’s representing the rest of Fring’s guys. I was a little put off by a few beats in this storyline, as it all seemed to happen so fast. I know we only have this episode and then next Sunday’s finale, but I feel like we were just now introduced to this lawyer character and he already flipped on Mike. I know we saw him once this season, but this is the first time we got to know him, and he’s already selling Mike down the river?

Before I get to the scene that everybody will be talking about, I can’t skip the incredible confrontation between Walt and Jesse. It’s really remarkable to see how far Walt has fallen since the beginning of this series. He used to be a soft spoken, quiet, unassuming chemistry teacher. He used to care for people other than himself, and he used to show the slightest bit of dignity and respect to his peers. Now he’s assuming Jesse would go back to being a junkie, he pretended to be as concerned about the dead kid that Todd killed (which obviously isn’t true), and when he mentioned “all the people they’ve killed”, who was the only person he mentioned by name? Gale. Yep, out of all the people that Walt has killed himself on his way to being a drug kingpin, the one he mentions is the only one for whom Jesse is responsible. It’s really a testament to how good of an anti-hero Bryan Cranston can play, that even when he’s being such a reprehensible human being, you can’t help but pump your fist and cheer when he has his Heisenberg scenes.

I’ve been a bit lukewarm on Jesse Plemons’ character thus far. Todd really didn’t have any discernible characteristics, and didn’t really do anything worth mentioning until shooting that kid in “Dead Freight”, but even then he really didn’t develop much of a personality. After cultivating one of the most likable characters in TV history on Friday Night Lights as Landry, Jesse Plemons has been difficult to pin down thus far. So I was really happy to see that Walt was grooming him to be Jesse’s replacement. It seems like he’s just a nice guy who wants to do his best to excel in the crime world, and he seems willing and eager to do just about anything to accomplish it. I’m hoping that we’ll see something a bit more character defining out of Todd in next week’s finale.

Ok, that’s enough on the rest of the episode right? All right, let’s get to Mike. After Mike’s lawyer flips on him, we see Mr. Ehrmantraut sitting on a bench watching his granddaughter on a swing. I was a bit confused already, though. I thought we saw a scene already this episode where Mike was at the airport, and he’s been saying to Jesse and Walt this whole time that he’s going to leave town immediately, so why was he still in town with his granddaughter? Also, when Mike gets a panicked call from his lawyer buddy, his buddy asks him to say exactly which park he’s at. Haven’t we seen already this season that Mike is an expert at being able to tell that he’s being set up? He looked confused at the lawyer’s question, but he still tells him which park he’s at? What was up with that?

Even though the new lawyer storyline felt a bit rushed, and some of the decisions made here didn’t really ring true for me, the final scene made it all worth it. You just knew as soon as Walt drove up that something bad was going to happen. Mike and Walt have already had a few yelling matches this season, but Jesse has always been there to defuse the situation. This time Mike went a little too far and got under Heisenberg’s skin. When Walt asked if he could get the names of Fring’s nine men, Mike obviously refused. Mike points out to Walt that they had a good thing going with Fring! They did their work, went home, and got paid very well. But Walt blew it all up (literally), and now everything’s falling apart! In my opinion, it’s one thing that Mike said that pushed Walt over the edge: “You should have known your place!” Walt doesn’t think that anybody should be above him, and he wanted to send that message. As soon as Mike realized his gun was gone, you just knew what was coming, but that didn’t make it any less shocking. Mike has been an absolutely incredible character, and played expertly by Jonathan Banks, so it will definitely be sad to see him go. At least he got to go out like a man, and watch the nice creek flow past as he drew his last breaths. How cold does Walt sound saying “I just realized, I can get the names from that girl”? You’ve got to love Mike’s last words. “Shut the f*** up, and let me die in peace”. RIP Mike. Hopefully we’ll see Jonathan Banks again at next year’s Emmy’s!

Random Thoughts:

– In hindsight, wouldn’t it have been pretty obvious to Mike where Walt would have stored a one ton drum of methylamine? Are there any other large, warehouse type locations that Walt is the owner of? You’d think that the car wash would be the first place Mike would check?

Breaking Bad is known for its great “point of view” camera angles, but I feel like at this point they’re really just doing it for the sake of doing it. Attaching a camera to the lawyer’s sleeve might have been a good idea in theory, but it was making me dizzy!

– Speaking of camera angles, I really like the level of mystery it adds to the shot when the camera is pulled back. I love seeing the close-ups of the characters and everything, but the final scene between Walt and Mike looked so much more intriguing and dramatic with all the wide shots.