Breaking Bad- Hazard Pay

In this episode, we had two great references to the West. First, Friday Night Light’s Jesse Plemons appears as Todd, a member of a crew of insect exterminators. Just as Walt and Jesse are about to start a cook in a house that’s been closed for extermination, Todd points out the nanny cam. I believe he will play more of a role in later episodes.

Near the end of the episode, Walt watches his stack of money disappear, because Mike needs to pay hazard pay to a variety of people, including Gus’s former employees. Mike tells Walt, “You may have shot Jesse James, but that doesn’t make you Jesse James.” It’s nice to see great western outlaws mentioned as Walt descends further into a world beyond laws. However, Walt will never possess the charisma of many onscreen outlaws. At this point, his downfall would be a satisfying thing to watch, because of the way he treats everyone around him. When Walt questions the reasoning behind Mike paying off the employees, Mike says, “It’s just what you do.” For Walt, there is no code. At the end conclusion of the episode, Walt mentions Victor to Jesse. Victor was the employee who was killed by Gus with a box cutter. Walt is starting to understand the other motives Gus may have had in running his business that way.

Scarface also makes an appearance in this episode. Possibly as a way to advertise for AMC’s Mob Week. However, it also shows the nightmare visions of Skylar. Skylar breaks down in front of Marie. There appears to be no place for her to turn. 

Walt also manipulates Jesse into breaking things off with Andrea. At one point, Walt sits on the couch with Brock, the kid he poisoned. Jesse now has nobody else besides Walt.

 

 

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2 Responses to “Breaking Bad- Hazard Pay”

  1. Michael K. Johnson Says:

    The AV Club website lists Marie as one of its top 29 “Characters Who Have Outlived Their Usefulness” (she comes in at #19). Most of their choices seem kind of iffy to me, anyway, but, for much of the last season or so, the show does seem to have had some trouble figuring out what to do with Maria. And when Skylar has her breakdown and starts yelling “Shut up” repeatedly at Marie, well, I can’t say that I didn’t at least sort of sympathize with her. However, Betsy Brandt’s performance in this scene is its on sort of hysterical—her absolutely dumbfounded look in response to Skylar’s unending “Shut up” is priceless. Likewise, her stunned look in response to Walt’s revelation of Skylar’s affair was equally wonderful. With Walt, Jr., who, as someone of Pop Culture Happy Hour observed, only appears now at breakfast (not exactly, but close enough), Maria has receded into the background—not involved in fighting crime or committing it. The craziness that has become normal for Walt and Jessie and Skylar, well, sometimes it’s good to have someone normal like Maria around to respond apropriately when the craziness of the main characters creeps out into world.

    I wonder about the “Scarface” clips. I agree that it reveals to Skylar her nightmare of what her life is turning into, but I wonder if her breakdown moment references something specific in “Scarface.” At any rate, Anna Gunn certainly seems to give it the full Pacino in her performance of this moment.

  2. Michael K. Johnson Says:

    Actually, to answer my own question, the “Scarface” clip, it strikes me, also riffs on the “flash forward” that begins this season. The “say hello to my little friend” line is certainly a famous bit of cheese from “Scarface,” but it also takes us back to that opening sequence, where Walt says “hello” to his own (not so) “little friend,” that huge hunk of a weapon that he has purchased from the character played by Jim Beaver. Perhaps Walt is indeed headed towarded his own “Scarface” moment when he’ll be able to introduce his new “friend” to his enemies.


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