Breaking Bad: Full Measure   Rewatch 
November 24, 2014 9:37 AM - Season 3, Episode 13 - Subscribe

With Jesse on the run and Mike in hot pursuit, Walt negotiates a bargain with Gus and concocts a disturbing plan to provide for his and Jesse's safety.

AMC content: Talked About Scenes: Walt's Deadly Solution [video]; Q&A: David Costabile.

Donna Bowman, AV Club:
The heart-in-the-throat quality of this season comes as much from the writers' exhilarating disregard for television conventions as from the events portrayed. Every cliffhanger produced anticipation that often as not was subverted by having what came after timed at a jagged off-angle from the shape we've internalized as expectation.
The final shot appeared ambiguous to some viewers; not Vince Gilligan's intention:
To me, for what it’s worth, it’s not actually meant to be ambiguous. [...] But I’m realizing now that when people see the camera come dollying around so it’s looking down the barrel of the gun, some are reading that as maybe he’s changing his point of aim. But that’s not what we intended. Apparently it’s not as clear as I thought it would be.
Here also is Gilligan talking with Alan Sepinwall about the writing process:
I'd love to be able to say that everything is pre-figured. I'd love to tell you I'm Bobby Fischer and I'm playing this game 20 moves ahead, but it's just not true. The writers and I, once we created the Cousins and put them into motion, the problem that we saw for ourselves was, "My God, how do we pay this off?" It's the exhilarating thing about this job and it's the terrifying thing about this job: We actively try to paint ourselves into corners at the end of episodes - at the end of seasons, at the end of scenes sometimes - and then we try to extricate ourselves from those corners. So far, so good. But one of these days, we'll probably paint ourselves into a corner we can't escape from.

The Cousins were one of those corners, in a sense. We created these guys, wound them up and set them loose, and then we spent a lot of hours and days in the writers room asking questions of ourselves: "What happens next? How do these guys who are so desperate to kill Walt, what keeps them at bay?" "Well, I guess the only thing that keeps them at bay would be Gus." Then suddenly we're realizing Gus is playing this whole game on a much higher level than we writers even thought in the first place.
Bryan Cranston won the 2010 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Emmy for his role in this episode.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm thinking now that Gale and Gus definitely weren't an item; Gale seems surprised to see Gus there, and calls him Mr. Fring. Still, the hand on the leg seems too familiar.

Saul's office scene is hilarious; I love how they use him to outsmart Mike.

There's a wonderful sense of menace throughout the end of this, from the time Victor pulls up outside Walt's to the time Walt goes full Heisenberg ("You might want to hold off on that; your boss is gonna need me" followed by reciting the address and following it up with a smug, scornful "Yeah" when the penny drops).

How much better everyone's life would have been if Walt had gone to the DEA! Time after time he has the chance to do the right thing, or at least a less-wrong thing, and passes it up.
posted by johnofjack at 3:58 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Poor Gale :(. Possibly the most innocent meth cooker ever conceived. Walt, again, acting out of survival here, orders someone to take a life. Now of course he has killed to save Jesse, but this is much colder, much harder. Gale's existence does imperil Walt, but not in the same way as the two dealers.

I think one of the central questions of Breaking Bad is Walt's feelings towards Jesse. Walt will repeatedly do things which help and hinder Jesse. They don't balance out at all, but it is too easy to say Walt is darkly manipulating Jesse to a bad end: he does do things for Jesse which aren't born out of purely selfish motives.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:30 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

How much better everyone's life would have been if Walt had gone to the DEA!

Yeah, but that means letting someone else get in control, which: no, not him, not ever.

Poor Gale :(. Possibly the most innocent meth cooker ever conceived.

Which is why it's so hillllllarious that in S4, when Hank thinks (based on the evidence of Gale's killing) that Gale is Heisenberg, Walt can't shut his big ol' trap and let himself be off the hook. Walt's all, "Look at this guy's notebook! It's just duplication, not analysis!" It's not enough to have seen to it that someone who's a potential threat to him is killed, he has to make sure that no one thinks the poor dead guy is as smart or conniving as he is, because Walt's so fidgety he gets antsy if he doesn't have an axe to grind.

I don't think I've hated a TV character, ever, like I have Walter White.
posted by psoas at 3:10 PM on November 26, 2014 [5 favorites]

smug, scornful "Yeah"

Yes, this episode is the point where the script flips and Walt out-thinks Gus; and that "Yeah" is very much Walt indulging himself with a "nailed it" fist-pump. Setting up next season as a chess match between equally-matched players.

The confrontation in the desert is so beautifully shot; and Jonathan Banks is doing some nice reaction work in the background. (Epic side-eye at Walt at the "I would never ask you that" line.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:28 PM on November 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

On rewatch: this joke was really beneath them. Cheap and somewhat racist:
MIKE: You’re a businessman. The lady out front -- (calls down the hall) Hey lady, are you still there? (back to Chow) Ask her if she’s still there.

CHOW:(in Chinese) Peng, are you still there?

Peng responds at length in Chinese off-camera.

CHOW: She says yes.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:59 PM on January 14, 2018

Watching for the first time and I can’t believe that Walt and Jesse are going to live past this episode but I can see there are more seasons after this …

Also why the hell is Jesse still in town???
posted by bunderful at 8:41 PM on April 14, 2023

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