Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 3 Recap – ‘Hazard Pay’
Hazard Pay, the third episode of Breaking Bad‘s fifth and final season, was no less than excellent. Dramatic twists and curves took us, together with Walt and Jesse, on a fast ride with a familiar thrill. The duo is cooking again, Marie is back, Badger and Skinny Pete are back, the new character Todd is introduced, and Walt is making sure everyone notice how far out he is. My episode review follows…
What just happened (episode summary):An unusual location for the new lab is found and the guys are cooking again; Mike is taking care of his side of the business, but Walt is not happy with that; Walt is moving back home and Skyler is having a nervous breakdown; Walt tells Marie about Skyler’saffair with Ted Beneke; Jesse breaks off with Andrea after a conversation with Walt; Walt threatens Jesse.
Watch the trailer for Breaking Bad Hazard Pay
How it happened (the chatty TV critic): I was not surprised to see Peter Gould‘s name as the writer of this episode. Gould wrote and directed the Problem Dog episode on the show (season 4, episode 7), in which Jesse Pinkman, as part of his twelve steps program, shares a story on how he killed a dog to express his feelings about the murder of Gale. In this week’s episode Jesse again goes back to that Gale-scar, and in much less words than in Problem Dog he lets us (and Walter, not that he gives a damn) know that he’sstill there, at the end of season three, holding the gun in his hand and makes the decision that would change his life forever.
Jesse’s face when he told Badger and Skinny Pete (welcome back guys, always good to see you) that hedoesn’t have more work for them told a whole story. Aaron Paul deserves an Emmy and whatever other prizes he can get for this episode alone. He wanted to help his friends, he missed his friends, he wanted to be in their place again – without the murder of Gale in his head, the secrets from Andrea and the politics in the back room with his old/new business partners.
And how high did you get just by watching Walt and Jesse cooking again? That cooking clip was quite something, and served as a relaxed moment in an emotionally packed episode. The new location the guys have picked (OK, Walter picked – this guy starts to be annoying, don’t you think? Everything he does he does to a degree of obsession, and that includes chemistry, cooking meth, and being a pain) – well, that location is going to be interesting – the way they cook in a different place every time, and the fact that they are now operating under the cover of a pest control company, both going to bring in new problems. We already met one of the guys, new character Todd, who we know is going to have an important role in this season. And if you haven’t read my introduction of Todd before the fifth season has started, let me just say that his name means “death” in German, and that German become a second language in some parts of the final season of Breaking Bad, and that there’s going to be a lot of death around.
Moving back from theory to practice, Jesse was threatened by Walt at the end of the episode last night. When Walt asked him “how do you feel”, after getting a very small cut of the profit (having to pay distribution, Saul and others – as well as the cut for Mike’s guys, which was what made Walt flip), Jesse was eager to talk about Andrea (and talking again about what Aaron Paul can do with his face – how happy he was when Walt talked to him about Andrea, how she looks at him, etc. – how he was happy to see Walt as a friend for a moment. But Walt had his own agenda. He made sure Jesse would “make the right decision”, keeping their business operation a secret from his girlfriend), telling Walt that he broke up with her. He’s so honest and raw, this guy, he cannot deal with not telling her – especially about killing Gale – and he cannot deal with telling her. It’s an impossible situation, and things getting impossible for Jesse, as long as he keeps acting like Walt’s best friend.
When Mike took the share for his men, and Walt started to argue against it, saying they are Gus’ employees and it’s not his problem, Jesse acted like a kid that’s trying to make peace between his parents, and offered to pay Walt’s part. Walt then refused to accept this, and paid his part, but then on the way out he reminded Jesse Victor. He said he thought about why Gus would cut Victor’s throat, and offered an explanation – Victor tried to cook himself, “maybe he flew too close to the sun, got his throat cut”. And Jesse’s face after that, looking at Walt leaves after giving him such a threat – that was it. That was what he needed in order to see Walt is no friend, no partner. To finally understand Mike is right.
Mike’s quote explains the situation: “just because you shot Jesse James, don’t make you Jesse James”. Walt want to be Gus, and for a second it looked like he and Mike are having a fight who’s the new Gus. But the fact is that Mike knows there is no new Gus, and the whole new operation is a lot different than what was in the chicken man days. And Walt, just like Jesse told him afterwards, doesn’t see things right. The man turned into a cold blooded monster, and he’s hungry. No matter what kind of glasses he puts on, he’s blind. Just because he’s not stupid we’ll get to see him for 13 episodes more. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have survived.
In the scene where he tells Marie about Skyler’s affair with Ted, to explain his wife’s nervous breakdown (great performance from Anna Gunn, the “shut up” scene) there’s a ticking clock in the background. Walt thinks he’s going up, but he’s on the way down. And Skyler knows it, and she hates the idea that he’s living in the house again, holding her baby daughter and eating popcorn with Walt Jr.
Besides that, we saw Mike’s doing business, in the beginning of the episode. We needed to see this to make sure he’s not lying to Walt and Jesse, and to know that Walt is here the bad guy, trying to play the smart ass when it’s not the time it. The way Mike is taking care of his people and the clean way he’s doing business are two good reasons why Jesse should switch sides, and I can already see the battle between Walt and the rest of the world more clearly.
What are we left with: Quite a lot. Jesse’s in a whole new place now. He doesn’t know about Walt’s share in Jane’s death and Brock’s poisoning, but he understands now Walt is not playing games. With Mike around the corner, I suspect Jesse will turn to him soon. We met Todd this week, and it’s going to be interesting how he’s going to fit in the story.
Skyler is going to take action soon, and I can think of so-many ways she can affect Walt, that I’d say she better be careful, because I’m sure Walt can also see what I see. Until now she could be Walt’s partner because she wanted her family back. But now she wants him out of her life, and she has the power to that.
Episode info: Hazard Pay (season 5 episode 3) premiered July 29 on AMC. It was written by Peter Gould and directed by Adam Bernstein.