Is it a bit sad that we’re nearly halfway through this year’s cut of Season 5? Absolutely. Yet if this table-setting episode was any indication of how the rest of the summer is to play out, we’re in for quite a feast.
As per last week--and the week before that--“Hazard Pay” wasted no time in introducing the meaning of the episode title. Not unlike a businessman overwhelmed by a jam-packed Mircosoft Outlook schedule, Mike begins the hour by paying a visit to one of Fring’s casualties, outlining the terms of their previous "don't say a f*cking word" agreement, and guaranteeing the jailbird he’ll get his “hazard pay” as long as he sticks to the terms.
Although this Markowski character is really only there to show what Mike’s gotta deal with to ensure a smooth transition from the old empire to the new Heisenberg Dynasty, his relatively menial interaction seems to overwhelm Mike in a way we haven’t really seen before. Yes, Mike needs Markowski and friends to keep quiet so his goose can remain uncooked, but there seems to be something more here. Maybe Mike, the king of all that is dark, mysterious, and under the radar, isn’t exactly fit for the life of a suit? If this is the case, we'll most certainly find out.
The episode then progresses via some new-age Walt domination. First he’s forcing himself into Skylars drawers (actually her drawers. like the wooden things you put sh*t in), then he’s attempting to dictate the terms of the White, Pinkman, Ehrmantraut & Goodman, LLC. Saul, already shaken up by the fact that Mike may actually look at him, seems distrustful of Mike assuming control of the entire business side of the operation. Walt responds to Saul’s hesitancy by steelily reassuring the enchilada attorney “he handles business, I handle (Mike).” Again we have a classic case of Walter White self-assumed dictatorship. This seems to be a theme.
With their previous lab blown up a-la Sammy Adams when “I Hate College” dropped, the hunt for the new home base is finally resolved. Only instead of creating a solid central location, the new LLC has decided to hide under the protection of a pest exterminating service, whose constant game of homeowner hopscotch makes Walt and Jesse go mobile with their meth lab. Note: this is a nice take on the state of consumer technology, as apparently all the money is now in mobile.
Skinny Pete and Badger make their long-awaited entrance, their odd jobs now extending into being a full-on roadie crew. But unfortunately for everyone, their love affair with amateur hour is too much of a risk for Jesse to assume now that he’s “legit.” Unqualified and out of a job, the two homies are forced to leave with a half-hearted handshake that clearly would’ve been more complicated had they just been peddlin’ mad hard out on the streets.
A good portion of the episode is then dedicated to the new cooking operation, during which Todd, aka LANDRY from the Christian Metal sensation Crucifictorious, is introduced via a “this clearly means a lot more than it looks like” exchange with Walt and Jesse. Our celebration of Landry likely being a decently important character gives way to the series’ forty millionth Walt and Jesse cooking montage, which is nicely accompanied by a song that probably has a lot more meaning than the casual viewer would realize. The workday is concluded by a nice couch beer between Jesse and Walt, during which Gilligan foreshadows the f*ck out of what’s to come with the Walt/Jesse relationship. Walt asks about Andrea (another Friday Night Lights alum) and Brock, telling him that secrets create distance between people, but that he should do what’s right, just like he himself did by not telling Jesse that is was actually he that poisoned Brock. It’s a calm interaction, but the only calm “Breaking Bad” ever experiences is that before a giant hurricane. Meaning, this is clearly a relationship to watch.
Marie, who had been relatively absent as of late, takes us to Skylar’s dirty car wash. Skylar, who seems to have turned into an emotionally unstable game of Jenga, finally comes crashing down on her sister, telling her to “shut up” more times than a girl who pretends to be happy for her BFF does after the BFF announces that she finally hooked up with the hot boy she was chasing for the past month. Marie, understandably taken aback, takes a leaf out of Skylar’s “I’m gonna get to the bottom of this sh*t no matter what it takes” book by holding camp at the White house, forcing Walter to spill the beans. Heisenberg being Heisenberg, Walter escapes Marie’s wrath by telling her everything that happened with Ted Beneke, citing Skye's emotional breakdown a reaction to Beneke's accident. In yet another a moment of Heisenberg evil genius, his twisted ways force Marie to root for him as opposed to Skylar.
As per the episode's theme, the hour concludes by setting the table nicely for what’s to come. Walter Jr.’s lone cameo comes with a nice, family-friendly viewing of Scarface, and in a statement that definitely doesn’t apply to the series whatsoever, Walt--clearly enamored with Tony Montana’s ability to do Heisenberg-type sh*t--casually proclaims “everyone dies in this movie.” Walt and Mike then proceed to argue like two alpha-dog roommates argue over their fair-share of the electric bill, which is settled by a nice “nah Walt, reality and sh*t” moment that’s further underscored by Walt’s concluding exchange with Jesse. While Walt is seemingly consumed by his lack of total control over Mike and the venture’s profits, the suddenly prophetic Jesse sagely reminds Walt that they’re no longer employees, and ownership means everything.
Walt, realizing the magnitude of Jesse’s statement, finishes off episode 3 by talking about how Gus was right to murder the entry-level Victor because he tried to give a f*ck when it wasn’t his turn to give a f*ck. Translation: the American Dream is maintained solely by those in power, for those in power. Meth is no different.
Jesse Pinkman “Bitch” Count: Unless I’m terrible at doing my job, we have yet another goose egg. While Jesse may be doing his best impression of early season Albert Pujols, Skinny Pete was there to pick up the slack with a nice pinch-hit “bitch” of his own.
- This Episode: 0
- Season Total: 2
Random Observation of the Night: In the series-long contest for most obscure talent exhibited by someone you thought had no talents at all, Skinny Pete’s piano mastery wins by a landslide.
Relationship to Watch: Jesse vs. Himself. He’s recently exhibited a previously unimaginable degree of maturity, professionalism, and self-discipline, meaning that its only a matter of time until his newfound stability is about to all come crashing down. His ending things with Andrea and Brock was a clear symbolic indication of this, and his role as Mike and Walt’s moderator surely can’t last forever. Again, this is a pot that is slowly reaching a boil. Frog soup is coming.