Fly-Breaking Bad Episode

In “Fly” Walt becomes obsessed with a fly that he sees as a contamination of his prestine meth lab. Jesse arrives for work and tries to talk sense into Walt with limited success. With last week’s “Kakfkaesque” and with this week’s bug-centric episode, the idea of metamorphosis is again interrogated. However, in “Fly” the central questions become what does it mean to live knowing that there’s little chance for change and at what moment did things become permanently altered? Can one moment even be pinpointed?

Nearly the entire episode takes place inside the lab with Walt and Jesse trying to kill the fly and confroting the issues within their own relationship as partners. The episode centers on Jane, Jesse’s girlfriend who fatally overdosed last season. Jesse still misses her. At the episode’s start, he stares forlornly at a lipstick stained cigarette butt. What Jesse doesn’t know is that Walt could have prevented her death and saved the people that died on the plane that crashed because of Jane’s grief stricken air traffic controller father. Walt tells Jesse that he met Jane’s dad the night of her death at a bar and talked about family with him. Walt muses on the odds of such an encounter and says that he tried to calculate it and couldn’t even reach a number. Even Walt’s scientific mind failed him in that instance. With Jesse trying to reach the fly by balancing precariously on a ladder that Walt holds, Walt tells him that he’s sorry for Jane’s death but he never tells Jesse that Walt could have saved her. That her death actually was his fault. Walt does tell Jesse that the night he drank with Jane’s dad and returned home to Skylar singing a lullaby to his newborn daughter was the moment that Walt should have died. If he’d died then possibly things would have been okay. That’s what Walt chooses to tell himself.

In the end, Jesse kills the fly in the lab but the episode ends with Walt trying to sleep at home. His arm stretches out across where Skylar would have slept and another fly buzzes around a blinking red light on his ceiling. Control, exact numbers, and a meticulous environment are essential to Walt, but now nothing is within his control-not even a fly.

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One Response to “Fly-Breaking Bad Episode”

  1. Michael K. Johnson Says:

    This was a delightful episode, one of my favorites, simultaneously comic and suspenseful, and, as you note, as Kafkaesque (if not more so) than the previous episode. I was never certain, as Walt and Jesse placed themselves in precarious position after precarious position in their attempts to kill the fly, whether the episode was moving toward slapstick or tragedy (or both).

    It was also great to have a Walt and Jesse episode, as the two haven’t been sharing much screen time lately. In picking up on your point from the Kafkaesque post, this episode did indeed reiterate the idea the metamorphosis is difficult. As we neared the end of the episode, there seemed to be a moment when Walt and Jesse had found a way to move forward in their partnership (a realization that their partnership was also a kind of familial relation), but Walt’s comment in the parking lot about the missing meth was like hitting the reset button, and however much they might have progressed during their long harrowing comic dark night of the fly, all the resentments and suspicions came back full force in the end.

    I loved Jesse’s story of the possom (“when did it become Opossum?”).


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