“There’s only two kinds of heists; ones where they get away with it, and ones where they leave witnesses.”
Anyone who’s seen any number of crime movies here’s the ubiquitous talk of “tying up loose ends.” It’s barely code for “killing witnesses or those who can implicate us in a crime.” We all know that. One of the things Breaking Bad has been just the best at, is having every route mapped, every hole closed, every T crossed. It doesn’t leave loose ends, even when our “heroes” have to make the hardest choices (see: Gale), they managed to fit things back in a tight package. This week the loose ends further revealed our characters and their relationships.
When the episode opened on a kid picking up a tarantula in a jar with a train horn blowing in the background, I was utterly confused and ready to wait for a payoff. I’ll steal a page from Vince Gilligan’s book and just leave it there for now.
Walt visits Hank as he’s setting up his new ASAC office. In another shockingly emotionally manipulative moment, Walt reveals that Skyler thinks he’s a bad influence on the kids and that she’s fallen out of love with him. Walt starts to cry, which triggers Hank’s flight response so he vacates the office to give Walt a chance to gather himself. At this very moment, I was thinking, “Wow what a really genuine emotional moment.” Good one Cranston, you fooled me again. I KNEW there was some ulterior motive, but got sucked in. That ulterior motive was to setup surveillance equipment in Hank’s office.
Equipment they would quickly use. With Lydia cuffed to a table, Mike makes her read a script on a call to Hank. She tells Hank about the tracking device on the bottom of the barrel and wanted to know if they had planted it. Hank knows his crew didn’t. All signs are pointing to Lydia being the culprit and her fate is tossed to a vote, Jesse loses out. Lydia’s fate is sealed. Until the bug in Hank’s office picks up a conversation with the Houston DEA, who (unbelievably) had put the trackers on the outside of the barrels. All of them. So they can’t grab any of the methylamine they need and…Lydia has just become a loose end. UNTIL she promises them all the methylamine they’ll ever need.
Lydia knows of the train, which delivers the methylamine and would be able to even get the docket information to help them pull off the heist. It’s time for the Great Train Robbery: Dark Territory. Basically, she knows of a section of the trip where electronic communication is impossible and the heist would be easier to pull. Mike utters the above quote and the loose ends rear their ugly head. This drives Walt and Mike to argue about killing the engineers (loose ends and all), but much like “MAGNETS” from earlier in the season, Jesse has an idea.
The White family is having some pretty serious issues obviously, Walt Jr. is back to being Flynn. Mostly I’m worried about his breakfast intake, didn’t see him eat even a single strip of bacon. Later, we see he’s returned home and Skyler can’t get him out of his room. Walt returns and tells him he and Skyler need time and Flynn has to understand that. Skyler tells Walt that she’s not going to let him put their kids in danger and that she’s not going to change her mind about him. She will continue to launder his money as long as the kids are at Hank and Marie’s.
Back to the Great Train Robbery, Jesse’s plan involves siphoning the tanker and replacing it with water. How was this not the original plan? They’ve got 2 extra men on the job: Bill Burr and Landry. One thing I definitely don’t understand is they buried 2 tanks in the desert next to the train tracks (1 for replacement water, 1 for the siphoned methylamine), but how did they know the tanker would be precisely there? Lydia didn’t get the information until after they had already buried the tanks. Must have missed something there because that’s a pretty glaring leap and Breaking Bad doesn’t do “pretty glaring leaps”.
Showtime for the train as it rolls toward Bill Burr’s conveniently broken down dump truck. When the train is at a rest, Landry and Jesse take off for the tanker. Jesse is under the train at a spout, and Landry’s on top. As the engineers and Bill Burr try to work on the dump truck, the methylamine and water are trading places. Everything is going PERFECTLY, until a Good Samaritan shows up to push the truck off the tracks with his truck. Walt holds the two younger accomplices to their posts until the last possible second. Jesse lays on the tracks and watches the train pass over him as Landry jumps from side, just as it picks up steam. There is much rejoicing.
And then they see tarantula-gathering kid. And Landry does what our two leads could never do. All tied up.
What did you think of this episode? It was a nice return to the tension of action instead of emotional tension. What are the repercussions of this latest “bump” in the road? How many Landry murder jokes will we get out of this one?