This week’s episode of Breaking Bad starts off with a Los Pollos “delivery” much like the one where Mike had to ice a couple of would be jackers, only this time it’s two other guys sitting in the back of the truck with assault rifles. The jackers are a little more savvy this time, locking the guys in the back of the truck in and filling it with noxious fumes after putting a bullet in the driver’s head. Despite trying to shoot their way out, these two guys aren’t as lucky as Mike and the jackers get away with the specially marked bucket containing the blue meth.
Meanwhile, Skyler is replaying the loving phone message Walt left in last week’s episode over and over. It’s clear that she now realizes that this wasn’t a random “I love you and the kids” call- it was something much more than that. The same message that was like Spanish Fly in Episode 5 has become far less of an aphrodisiac for Skyler and more of a warning sign. Walt’s lying in bed, obviously hung over from last night’s dinner party with Hank and Marie when Skyler begins to pepper him with questions about the family’s safety. She fears that what happened to Gale can and may happen to Walt or whoever is unlucky enough to answer the door. Walt calmly tries to explain the situation, but Skyler keeps badgering him and badgering him.
Enter Walt’s best monologue of Season 4. The man goes old-school Heisenberg on his wife in one of the best rants in Breaking Bad history:
“Who are you talking to right now? Who is it you think you see? Do you know how much I make a year? Even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. Do you know what would happen if I suddenly decided to stop going into work? A business big enough that it could be listed on the NASDAQ goes belly-up, disappears. It ceases to exist without me! No, you clearly don’t know who you’re talking to, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No. I am the one who knocks!”
Walt goes to take a shower, Skyler leaves the house and I stop repeating “oh shit!” over and over. Has Breaking Bad turned a new corner? Is Walt turning into Tony Montana? Not quite. Walt walks out of the shower all apologetic only to realize that Skyler’s not there waiting for him. Instead she’s gone for a long drive that brings her to the four corners where she flips a coin, as if to leave it up to chance whether or not she comes back at all (spoiler alert: she does).
Today is the day Walt takes control over the car wash from his old boss. Bogdan is bitter and condescending, belittling Walt while asking him if he thinks he’s tough enough to run a business. He even goes as far to say that if he can’t handle it, he can always ask his wife. Low blow caterpillar eyebrows, low blow. You can see the gears turning in Walt’s head. Heisenberg is fuming, but keeps his cool. He continues to go through the motions, having trouble with a sticky cash register drawer when Bogdan quips the sale is “as is”. After a few more berating comments from Bogdan, the deal is complete and it is time for him to leave Walt’s shop. As he’s about to walk out, Bogdan takes the framed dollar off the wall (presumably the first dollar the car wash ever made) only for Walt to reach out his hand and repeat those oh so sweet words, “as is”. As if sticking it to his old boss one last time wasn’t enough, Walt uses the dollar to buy himself a can of soda from his new soda machine. Now that’s cold.
While Skyler’s out clearing her head on her drive, Walt decides out of the blue to buy Walter Jr a car. Skyler’s pushing a shaggin’ wagon. Walt rolls with the beat up Pontiac Aztec, so naturally Walter Jr gets the red and black striped Dodge Charger? The whip stands out in the family driveway like a sore thumb. There’s no way Skyler’s going to be happy about this purchase when she gets back (2nd spoiler alert: she isn’t).
Later in the episode, Walt finally has a chance to talk to Jesse about his new job as Mike’s “body guard”. He thinks it’s strange that the very first time he’s out with Mike that they almost get held up, and brings up the possibility that it was a setup. Walt even goes as far as to suggest that Gus is doing this to cause a rift between the two of them, and asks Jesse if any of this ever registered in his head to which he replies:
The divide between Walt and Jesse is getting bigger and it seems that Gus’ plans are going accordingly. Jesse gets the call to go with Mike and leaves Walt alone to clean the lab equipment, ultimately resulting in Walt seeking help from 3 Hispanic factory workers. Bad move Walt, you just got those 3 ladies a 1 way ticket to Honduras. As far as the divide between him and his partner, Walt’s smart though, you can be sure he’ll figure out a way to get Jesse back on his side or we’re in for some serious developments in the dynamic these two characters share.
On Jesse and Mike’s trip, they are staking out a couple of meth heads who somehow got a hold of the blue stuff stolen from the Los Pollos truck. Jesse uses his expertise of junkies to get inside, only to have a shotgun pointed in his face by a crystal meth tweaker. He manages to knock him down, take the gun and get what’s left of the meth back. The meth itself isn’t what’s important though, it’s the message on the Los Pollos lid, “Ready to talk” in Spanish.
Mike meets with Gus, imploring that they hit these guys hard with thugs that do their talking with bullets. Gus is more diplomatic, insisting that they set up a meeting and see what these guys have to say. Skyler isn’t the only one feeling “cornered” in this episode, it seems that Gus has some trouble on his hands as well.
Before the episode ends, Skyler finally returns home to see the car in the driveway. Walter Jr obviously excited about his new whip explains how it gets great gas mileage and how he’ll be a model citizen behind the wheel. When Skyler and Walt have some time to themselves, she expresses her disapproval and demands the car be taken back in order to preserve their story. “What will the neighbors think?” she asks Walt, who replies he only wanted to do something nice for his son. They converse a little bit and she realizes he can’t take the car back because Walter Jr will hate his mother for it, and she’s right.
“Cornered” was an episode packed with side stories and developments, but it’s the previews for Season 4 Episode 7 that has me on the edge of my seat. Hank’s seen sitting in an office implicating Gus in the drug ring, and when they find the Los Pollos truck with the dead driver there are sure to be some questions asked. You can be rest assured something big is on the horizon in the coming episodes of Breaking Bad.