Breaking Bad- “Fifty-One”

In this episode, Walt celebrates a fifty-first birthday that features Skyler wading into the swimming pool fully clothed. The camera centers on her skirt billowing out underwater. Skyler wades into the water with Hank, Marie, and Walt watching. She needs to show Hank and Marie how much she needs help so they will take the children away. Boarding school in Arizona isn’t the best option.

The women of Breaking Bad are increasingly desperate. Lydia tries to escape by seemingly attaching a GPS censor to the barrel Jesse is supposed to pick-up. However, Mike catches on and says he will kill her. Walt halts the plan, because they need her supplies. Escaping for the women is a challenge not yet met.

In one of the best scenes in the episode, Walt Jr. asks why Skyler didn’t spell the numeral of Walt’s birthday out using bacon. When Skyler comes up short on the 1, she takes the bacon from Walt’s plate. Families must collaborate to survive, Walt says. Jr. doesn’t realize that this isn’t the time to ask Skyler to carry on family traditions. The bacon scenes also echoes the starting scene of the season. We know Walt’s 52nd birthday will be celebrated alone at a Denny’s.

Walt also caresses his Heisenberg hat throughout the episode. The hat seems to take on totemic powers similar to Raylan’s hat in Justified. Every cowboy, whether bad or good, needs a hat.

The episode concludes with the camera focusing in on the watch Jesse gives Walt for his birthday. Walt tells Skyler that Jesse once wished him dead as well and now he’s giving birthday gifts. The seconds tick away on Breaking Bad and Walt’s business venture.

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One Response to “Breaking Bad- “Fifty-One””

  1. Michael K. Johnson Says:

    And Walt seems surprised that the watch anecdote doesn’t make Skyler feel any better! Walt is trying to live out his impossible family, that he can be both a normal everyday family man and a drug king. Skyler may not have much power (“I can’t even keep you out of my bed”), but she insistently will not allow Walt to live out that fantasy. She refuses to be the object, the good wife, that Walt needs for his fantasy of suburban normalcy, and, by so doing, she refuses to prop up that fantasy. At the very least, she retains her autonomy by refusing to be Walt’s prop. She’s also the only hope Walt has of survival. His arrogant self-assurance that all his troubles are over now that Gus is dead is ridiculous. By showing Walt that he cannot control her, she at least might have the chance of making him see that he is not so much completely in control of things as he thinks he is. Although Skyler says that she only has to play the waiting game until Walt’s cancer recurs, there are more dangerous things in Walt’s dangerous business than cancer.


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