Breaking Bad: ABQ   Rewatch 
October 9, 2014 9:42 AM - Season 2, Episode 13 - Subscribe

Skyler and Walt collide in the season finale as her frustration with his secrecy finally comes to a head. Jesse self-destructs after a personal blow, forcing Walt to come to his aid. Donald’s grief leads to tragedy.

Concluding the season 2 arc of "pink bear" cold opens. As with all the season finales, written by Vince Gilligan.

Alan Sepinwall: review, season 2 post-mortem interview with Vince Gilligan.

Another will-become-regular character is introduced: fixer Mike Erhmantraut (played by Jonathan Banks), who has until now only been alluded to as Saul's "P.I." and "guy who knows a guy".
posted by We had a deal, Kyle (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Missed this posting. Really, really hate the plane explosion. It's stupid. I appreciate that its sort of metaphorical, but its stupid. There can be consequences to Walt's actions that can be more meaingful. To be honest the father committing suicide would have been better for making Walt feel guilty. Instead we get this, which, again, is just stupid.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:20 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Well no, Walt should've felt guilty for the plane incident if he was a decent person; here we learn that he has a similar sort of "x amount of deaths is a statistic" mentality comparable to other historical monsters. It's an absurd outcome and totally beyond hitting the powerball but it should've certainly made him feel guilty if he wasn't such an excellent rationalizer of things and justifier of "if I didn't cause it someone else would" outcomes.
posted by aydeejones at 3:27 AM on October 13, 2014

And it's very fuzzy insofar as the father "should have" known he was too distraught to do his job. So it's really his fault! But c'mon. It's all stretched out, the chain of causality and responsibility. It's a major stretch, literally, but as an insider knowing the plot line it's not a huge stretch to assign blame and know that he should feel bad. And still Walt did the least amount of effort (bumping Jane on accident and deciding not to correct his error) while causing the maximum amount of pain and we'll see how he handles this in subsequent episodes
posted by aydeejones at 3:29 AM on October 13, 2014

In general, the whole "pink bear" arc really doesn't work for me particularly well. All those cold opens with spectacles in evidence bags and bodies in body bags were almost all misdirection. They feel like cheap tricks, particularly in a show which is so particular about storytelling.

But HOLY SHIT, John de Lancie is really heartbreakingly good in this episode. The scene where he's picking out the blue dress ("it's nice", "long sleeves"); he plays Donald's grief as almost catatonic, as if he were sleepwalking through the day.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:59 PM on October 14, 2014

Also, no, I don't think Walt feels guilty for "causing" the crash: I think his justification to Jesse that it wasn't Jesse's fault applies equally to himself in his mind. But he certainly does feel guilt for Jane's death: Fly will show us that.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:03 PM on October 14, 2014

Right so John de Lancie kind of blew me away in his small but important role in Breaking Bad, I knew him from ST:TNG of course, but hadn't seen him in anything since. And now he pops up out of nowhere (it's Q!!) and he's terrific.

The blue dress scene is so heartbreaking; it stuck with me for days afterwards and I felt it stood out in the episode, couldn't figure out why because afterall, it's just a small scene in a busy episode.

I think I cracked it: other than the tragedy of a parent having to arrange for the funeral of their child (cliche statement: "something no parent should have to do"), I think the dress scene is heartbreaking because he underplayed it. And here's what I get from that scene: he's still trying to be a good parent to Jane. He's trying to pick out a tasteful dress ("no... no cleavage...") for her fucking funeral. His parental duties extend into her death and beyond. He is a lifelong parent of Jane and her death doesn't change that.

And also hints at all the mundane little details attendant to arranging a funeral, and how can they possibly matter - blue dress, black dress - because she's DEAD. Gah. So sad.

So I don't know if de Lancie was nominated for an Emmy his role but he certainly should've been. "just love them."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:36 PM on October 14, 2014 [5 favorites]

What I love about this episode is not the tragedy of the plane accident (which I think is fine for its storytelling reasons) but how thoroughly Skyler lays out her detective work and dares him to lie, again, to her face, and calls him out on his bullshittitude.
posted by psoas at 3:43 PM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'd agree that De Lancie's work in this was great, but put me in the "pink bear cold opens feel cheap" camp. The crash itself strikes me as an overreach, a misstep in a series that's otherwise been remarkably assured.

Even when thinking Walt may be with the DEA, Gus is unflappable. He just indicates Walt's photo on the jar for change for his treatment and asks in a mildly curious tone "Is this one of your agents?"
Hank: "No, that's my brother-in-law."
And yet Gus still chooses to work with him. Gus, you are also not a cautious man.

There's a great bit of dialogue in the confrontation between Skyler and Walt:
"Skyler, I was medicated. I could have said the world was flat."
"You know what I think? I think you accidentally told the truth."
posted by johnofjack at 12:10 PM on October 26, 2014

Ah. I just read your post-mortem link above, and Gilligan says that Gus already knew who Walt was and what his relationship is with the DEA.
posted by johnofjack at 12:36 PM on October 26, 2014

Another will-become-regular character is introduced: fixer Mike Erhmantraut (played by Jonathan Banks), who has until now only been alluded to as Saul's "P.I." and "guy who knows a guy".

From the Better Call Saul Insider podcasts (specifically for season 2 ep 4), we learn that Saul was initially scripted to be the one to clean the scene, but Bob Odenkirk wasn't available to shoot it, so they went back and wrote in Mike's part without a name or a real idea of who he would become.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:29 AM on March 31, 2016

I am rewatching Breaking Bad and I just got to this episode. It's even more ridiculous the second time around. One of Jane's drawings on her desk is a bit of a silly looking ouroborus. This feels like that.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:31 PM on August 3, 2022

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