Episode 4 kicks off with Walt and his son, Walter Jr. (no one calls him Flynn anymore), at a mechanic’s garage, picking up the old green Pontiac that was obliterated in Season 4 (Episode 11), when Walt purposely got in an accident while driving his brother-in-law Hank around, as a diversion to keep himself out of hot water.
If you remember what I’m talking about, fantastic. If you don’t, all you need to know is that Walt was picking up a green car from the garage.
During a conversation with the mechanic, it becomes apparent that the gentleman is somewhat enamored with Walt’s car and its ability to take a licking and keep on ticking.
Walt notices his old “Heisenberg hat” happens to be in the car, and he has a moment, almost like a lightbulb is going off above his head.
Knowing that this car has been an accessory to crime and probably a good loose end to tie up, Walt offers to sell the guy his car…for $50. The mechanic, somewhat shocked by the offer, obliges him, and Walt moves on.
On the way out, Walt checks himself out in the mirror, as he’s wearing the hat, and he gives himself a look that says, “Oh yeah. I’m a badass. This hat totally doesn’t make me look like a dork.”
But it totally does.
Fast forward to the next scene, where we see Walt pull up in the driveway with a brand new car. It looks gangster — for an old guy with a goofy hat. But that’s not all. Apparently, Walt feels as though enough time has passed and things have cooled down enough for him to finally get Walter Jr. the red Camaro that he wanted, had for a few minutes, then lost when Skyler returned it.
Need I remind you that Skyler is on the verge of going mental right now? She’s smoking again, staying in bed all day, telling people to: “SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP!” And now — Walt is deliberately going against her original feelings and getting their son the car she specifically said she didn’t want him to have?!?
Get the popcorn ready. The proverbial crap is about to get all over the fan.
But not yet. We’ll get back to that debacle in a minute.
Lydia from Madrigal (the gang’s methylamine hookup) is at her desk, and she’s clearly not having a good time. She looks nervous. She’s biting her nails. She even has on two mismatched shoes. It’s just going to be one of those days.
Right then, Lydia gets a call from Hitman Mike, alerting her that she’s about to have “company.” He’s right, but it’s a somewhat pointless “head’s up,” as it doesn’t really give her enough time to do anything about it.
Hank Schrader and his team barge into Lydia’s office. We, the viewers, do not get to hear what the conversation entails, but we see Lydia leading Hank and his crew down to the warehouse, where she points out the foreman, a man named Ron who is one of Mike’s guys. Ron gets taken away by Hank’s team, but not before he’s able to shoot a look in Lydia’s direction that seems to say, “Mike totally should have killed you when he had the chance.”
Lydia rushes back upstairs to call Mike and let him know what happened. She harps on the fact that Ron was “her guy,” and that he was responsible for loading the product for her, etc. It’s here that it feels like Lydia is trying to talk Mike out of using her anymore as his methylamine contact, and if that were her angle, it’s totally possible that she sold Ron out on purpose.
Cool as always, Mike responds: “I’ll send a new guy.” Lydia’s out of luck.
Back to the debacle.
Skyler comes home to find two brand new cars in her driveway and nowhere to park. She comes in and sits down at the dinner table, where Walt and Walter Jr. are arguing over who has the faster/cooler car. The entire time, Skyler is looking down, avoiding the conversation, and she looks like she’s about to lose it. I mean, she seriously looks like she’s about to have a “Kevin Spacey in American Pie throwing his dinner plate at the wall” kind of breakdown.
But she doesn’t. Not yet, anyway.
Walt and Skyler are shown in the bathroom having their pre-bedtime routine, and we see Skyler wrapping dental floss around her finger so tightly that it looks like the nub of her finger is going to fall off.
We get it, AMC. Skyler’s losing it.
Sidenote: Can we talk about Skyler’s eyebrows for a minute? Am I only one who is noticing that she is several tweezes away from being the lady that magic markers on her eyebrows? Maybe it’s been this way the whole time, but I’m noticing now, and it’s weird.
Walt explains that the cars are no big deal. They’re leased — blah, blah, blah. It’s cool. He’s got it covered. He always does. He then proceeds to casually let Skyler know that he’s back in the meth distribution business. She’s visibly rattled, but she tries to hide her emotions as she launches into an out-of-nowhere conversation about sending the kids off to boarding school.
Skyler persists and says she feels like it would be good for the kids to have a change of environment. Walt is clearly offended by the accusation that his house is not a good environment for his kids, blows off her suggestion and ends the conversation the same way he ended the right side of Gus Fring’s face.
Tension. So much tension.
The following morning, the White family is seated around the table. It’s Walt’s birthday, his 51st to be specific, and this is his birthday breakfast. Walter Jr. notices that his mom has not performed the traditional “take dad’s bacon and shape it in the form of the numbers that represent his current age” ceremony, so he suggests she do it, and begrudgingly she does.
It’s somewhat of a nod to the season premiere, where we saw Walt forming “52″ with bacon on his plate, while enjoying a birthday breakfast in Denny’s. We’re still moving toward that, but, for whatever reason, it looks like Walt is going to be by himself in a year.
Meanwhile, Hank and Gomez are in the office gameplanning on the whole drug ring deal. Hank doesn’t believe the trade died with Gus, and he’s still stuck on the whole “Heisenberg” angle.
Hank’s boss enters for an update on the situation. Afterwards, he lets Hank know that he’s been impressed with his recent efforts, and that he’d like him to take over as the new head of the department. Hank accepts.
Walt leaves “work” (aka: cooking math in someone else’s house with Jesse) early to come home to what he thinks will be a big birthday party. When he gets there, he’s sadly mistaken. Nobody seems to even care that he’s home. Walter Jr. is glued to the TV, and Skyler, who barely acknowledges him, is in the kitchen.
Walt asks what the plans are, and she tells him that Hank and Marie are coming over, and they’re going to have dinner and chocolate cake. On the surface, this seems innocent enough, but the rub here is that those were the exact things Walt requested when he first brought up the idea of a birthday party. It’s almost as if Skyler was saying, “There. I did the bare minimum. people are coming over. I made cake. Happy birthday. Up yours.”
Hank and Marie head over for the shindig, and on the way, Marie spills the beans about Skyler’s affair with Ted Beneke. Hank is flabbergasted, but promises to keep quiet.
Walt, Skyler, Hank and Marie all enjoy a lovely dinner out on the patio, by the pool. During the middle of a conversation, Skyler decides to stand up, walk over to the pool and get in — fully clothed. She sinks to the bottom, much to the horror of everyone on the patio, and Walt has no choice but to dive in (also fully clothed) and save her.
Apparently the whole thing was an elaborate ruse to make herself look crazy so Hank and Marie would take the kids for a while. Walt sees through it and gets right up in her face about the circus act.
The conversation is intense, and it ends with Skyler essentially telling Walt she hopes his cancer comes back.
Happy birthday, big guy.
During all these shenanigans, Jesse goes to the warehouse to meet up with Lydia and hopefully pick up some methylamine. Unfortunately, they run into a snag, when Lydia notices that the barrel Jesse is about to pick up has what appears to be a tracking device on it.
Jesse calls Walt and Mike and they meet up to discuss the dilemma. After going through the details, Mike is certain that it was actually Lydia who placed the device on the barrel, as way to deter him from taking the methylamine and possibly dissuade them from using her anymore as a contact. Based on the earlier happenings of this episode, it would seem as though Mike would be correct.
Incensed by what he deems to be a betrayal, Mike decides to pay Lydia a visit and finish what he should have started by removing her, once and for all. Jesse speaks up and makes his objection to this plan because he knows if she dies, they lose her as a contact, and methylamine is super hard to come by, right now.
And in the Jesse Pinkman Quote of the Week, Jesse “These days, chances of getting a new methylamine hookup is rare, man. It’s like ‘Bigfoot.’ Like, ‘unicorn, rare.’”
Mike is undeterred by Jesse’s compelling mythological analogy and sets off to do the deed anyway. That is, until Walt speaks up and says that “the methylamine keeps flowing, no matter what. We are not ramping down. We’re just getting started. Nothing stops this train. Nothing.”
Which is my Walt Moment of the Episode.
Walt heads home, where Skyler is chain smoking on the couch, and he acts like nothing happened and everything is cool. She is unwilling to talk, which is probably for the best, because when she talks, the camera shows her, and I have to look at her stupid eyebrows.
The episode ends with Walt telling her that she’s not the first person that wanted him dead, and that the last person who wanted him dead (Jesse), changed his mind about him. He’s confident she will too.
I’m not so sure. Guess we’ll see.
In the waning moments, we see Walt’s brand new birthday wristwatch on the nightstand, and it is ticking obnoxiously loudly. It would seem to be a not so subtle reminder that time is ticking, and that maybe Walt only has but so long to live. Which is interesting, because this season started off, showing their cards, and exposing the fact that Walt will be alive a year from now, and he apparently doesn’t have cancer.
Unless, of course, that was a parallel universe, and none of this is really happening, because it’s all some kind of weird purgatory where everyone has to make the crap in their life right before they can move on to a heaven where everyone goes, eventually.
Wait, that was another show.