Breaking Bad: Over
by Allison Waldman, posted May 11th 2009 10:27AM
(S02E10) As I watched this episode, I was pondering, can you put the toothpaste back in the tube? What about taking a bite from the apple from the tree of knowledge, if you want to get Old Testament about it? Walter White has issues with what he's done, how he's rationalized his doing them and now, seemingly, wants a fresh start. But as another saying goes, be careful what you wish for.
For viewers who haven't yet watched the episode, from here on I'm talking spoilers, so be forewarned.
After the good news about his remission, and escaping from a near-death experience in the desert, Walt seemed ready for that clean slate. His meeting with Jesse, for example, sounded very much like a farewell to the business. They didn't discuss how to break up, but that was the subtext.
But something snapped in Walt at the party, perhaps the mention of Gretchen and Elliott's generosity -- which is a falsehood -- because Walt turned. You could see it in his eyes well before he got into a pissing contest with Hank in which Walter Jr. was the pawn. Then, in typical Mr. White fashion, he had to try to make it right, starting with apologies to Sky, his son and mention of a call to Hank.
The installation of the new hot water heater, replacing the toxic brown water with the best hot water in New Mexico, was followed by another home improvement project -- rot removal. But all the cleansing can't purge Walt's soul. The silence by Skyler and Walter Jr. as they try to eat breakfast amid the cacophony of Walt's construction was a brilliant touch. It illustrated better than any dialogue that his family don't know who this new Walter White is anymore.
Then, when Sky cried to Beneke about how nothing's changed since the remission, she wasn't really talking about Walt's cancer. She was talking about the cancer infecting her marriage. She and Walt are more estranged now than ever, and Sky is ready to embrace her boss, who may or may not have been her lover in the past. Her reaching for his hand said it all.
Jesse is also trying in some way to achieve a normal life with Jane, perhaps to change his aimless direction. His cooking huevos rancheros for her, sharing his comic book sketches, and especially trying to get her to introduce him to her father, were all his efforts to be remade. It hurt him to be called a stoner and for her not to follow him out of the house, but what else can Jesse expect? He is what he is, even if he has a sweet, sensitive side. The saddest sight in the show might have been seeing Jesse smoking meth again.
Getting back to Jesse's sketches, is it any wonder that he would create a Rewindo character? Think how he would have loved some Rewindo super powers since teaming up with Mr. White -- when he jumped into the Porta-potty, when he used the last of the water to douse the generator fire? Rewindo powers fit right in with Jesse's actions.
Once the water heater was installed and the rot removed, Walt had an epiphany of sorts. Seeing another meth maker buying supplies, Walter became the badass Heisenberg he has become. Not only did he put aside the house paint he was buying for the rot removal project, he walked into the parking lot and went mano-a-mano with the competition, warning them to get out of his territory. Like his face-off with Hank, Walt doesn't seem to care about life or death anymore. He's turned. He doesn't think he deserves to live, so what the hell. He can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.