Season 4 of AMC’s hit series Breaking Bad has been nothing short of must-see TV, and Episode 10 ‘Salud’ is quite possibly the series’ best one to date. Deception. Gun fights. Drama. Action. Suspense. You name it, this episode had it.
In ‘Salud’, Walt is healing from the ass-whipping he took at the end of last week’s episode via Jesse. He’s beat up and embarrassed, and to make matters worse he misses Walt Jr’s birthday. Guess what Walt Jr’s big birthday present is? If your answer was a used lavender PT Cruiser, you nailed it. Walt Jr hates this thing so much he steps on taking it for a spin in favor of pancakes.
Hold up just one minute. Yea Walt Jr had a brand new Dodge Charger for about half a day before Skyler made Walt take it back (aka blow it up in a parking lot after doing donuts), but something just aint right here. The kid is 16. His parents just bought him a car. I don’t care if it’s the worst car on the planet, he should be at least a little excited. When I was 16 I bought myself a 1992 Nissan Stanza for $3,500 and I treated that thing like a brand new Benz. My point is, 16-year-old kids are happy with any car. Small gripe, moving on.
While Walt’s busy healing/being a miserable father, Jesse is on his way to Mexico. Gus has given in to the Cartel’s demands and brings Jesse and Mike with him across the border in order to teach their chemists how to cook Walt’s meth recipe. At first the Cartel’s chemist talks smack in spanish (none of which Jesse can understand) about Jesse, saying he’s uneducated and unprofessional. But Jesse flips the script. He calls them out for having a filthy lab. He barks out orders like a boss and eventually, cooks a batch that is almost as pure as Walt’s ice (but not without sweating the action for a hot minute).
After Jesse cooks the batch and its standards are up to the Cartel’s satisfaction, he learns of their intentions to keep him in Mexico as he “belongs to the Cartel now”. Jesse’s eyeballs almost bug out of his head. He thinks Gus knew about this all along and that they were going to leave him there to slave away as a meth cook for the rest of his life. Lucky for Jesse, Gus has a personal vendetta against Don Eladio and has no intention of leaving him behind.
As explained in last week’s episode, Don Eladio murdered Gus’ partner 20 years ago when he was just coming up in the meth game. His friend was his business partner not only in the manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine, but the other hermano in his chicken business as well. I’m sure revenge has been on his mind every day since.
In honor of their “renewed partnership”, Gus offers Don a token of his appreciation in the form of a rare and expensive bottle of tequila. Shots are poured for just about everyone at the party, and Gus is the first to knock his back. With all fears put aside, Don and the other members of the party finish the toast and knock back the booze. The party goes on as Don brings out the ladies, and you can just feel something is up. Sure enough, the bottle is poison and every cholo in the place is about to drop dead.
Just before people start dropping like flies, Gus excuses himself to go to the bathroom. As expected, he sticks his finger down his throat in order to expel the poison from his body. Meanwhile poolside, one gangster falls over, then the next, and so on. Gus walks back outside to see Don struggling, and watches his lifeless body fall into the pool. Revenge is served, but now Gus, Mike and Jesse need to get out of there alive.
Gus yells out in spanish that Don and his goons are all dead and that anyone left should fill their pockets and leave in peace. A few security guards remain, so Mike and Jesse search the bodies for guns. A badass gunfight ensues as they try to make a break for it, with Mike getting popped in the gut, Gus falling ill due to the poison, and Jesse saving the day by blasting the last of the security. Seems like they’re home free for now, and Jesse is quickly moving up the ranks in Gus’ operation.
Meanwhile back in Albuquerque, Skyler is still worried about her old boss/ex f— buddy Ted and his problems with the IRS. It’s unclear whether her motivation is entirely to cover her own ass, or if some small feelings linger somewhere. Regardless, she devises this brilliant plan to donate over $600,000 to Ted which she assumes will go straight to the IRS. She contacts Saul and has him create this bogus story about a deceased great aunt in Europe who leaves him as the sole benefactor to her small fortune. Saul knows this is a bad idea, and sure enough, it is. Ted’s a degenerate. He buys himself a new Mercedes (ok, leases it) and instead of paying off the IRS he tries to get his business up and running. Way to give away over half a mil of Walt’s loot, Skyler (which I’m sure Walt has NO clue about). Might as well have flushed it down the toilet. To make matters worse, she goes and sees Ted and eventually tells him that she gave him the money. Uh-oh. The plot thickens.
Awesome episode with a cliffhanger leading into next week. I think the masses agree with me that Skyler is by far the most frustrating character on the show. Sure it adds a dimension to the story, but enough already. I don’t know how Heisenberg hasn’t offed this chick yet. Maybe we’ll all get lucky and she’ll be whacked in the season finale.