Breaking Bad: Shotgun   Rewatch 
December 13, 2014 7:50 AM - Season 4, Episode 5 - Subscribe

When Jesse goes missing, Walt fears the worst. Skyler has an unlikely reunion. Hank shares some bad news with Detective Tim Roberts.

"You are not the guy. You are not capable of being the guy. I had a guy, but now I don’t. You are not the guy."

James Poniewozik, TIME:
The whole sequence involved in the pair’s first stop was a perfect example of how Breaking Bad’s deliberate pace works to its advantage. A killer stops in the desert, has someone get out of a car, and–taking his damn time–gets a shovel out of the trunk: you are going to want to know what is about to happen.
Donna Bowman, AV Club:
This isn't just on-the-job training for new professional responsibilities; it's extreme makeover, meth edition. Jesse is getting a new self-image courtesy of a scheme cooked up by Gus.
Myles McNutt:
Jesse has no normal to return to, which is part of why Gus is keeping him busy as a dead drop hero. It’s all another mind game, a way of giving Jesse a sense of purpose that threatens Walt’s control over their operation. Gus is a manipulator, and it’s amazing how much of an impact Esposito can have with a character that has barely appeared this season.
"Go ahead kid. Smoke up."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Totally agree with the Time excerpt; one of Breaking Bad's biggest strengths was having the confidence to carry-through with slow, deliberate pacing. (Or at least, for TV, what feels like slow, deliberate pacing.) ISTR Vince Gilligan cited The Twilight Zone as one of his favorites in an end-of-show interview. Both shows have the same kind of let-the-story-unfold, the-audience-isn't-stupid, kind of approach that really pays off. It also gives the actors a lot more to chew on.

Vince of course also was able to highlight his X-files' superpower of being able to stretch out a moment, making the tension last. Really delicious to watch.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:06 AM on December 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

They're also often riffing on the Western genre: long shots, landscapes, building tension.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:34 AM on December 13, 2014

I missed most of that Western influence the first time I watched the series, but it's definitely there in so many shots, sometimes in what seem like deliberate callbacks to Westerns (e.g. Gus's silhouette as he goes out the door at the chicken farm in a later episode).

I love it when Walt is shown up by someone, like getting so frustrated with the forklift and deeming it impossible ... then Tyrus shows up and operates the forklift effortlessly.
posted by johnofjack at 4:36 AM on December 14, 2014

This is the beginning of the season-long balancing act that I'm not really sure they were able to pull off: Gus found a way to drive a wedge between Walt and Jesse, and Walt did everything in his stupid, egomaniacal arsenal to expand that wedge, yet somehow Jesse still remains loyal to Walt and remains Walt's ace in the hole* even when they end up fistfighting down the line. I guess the only way it remains plausible is that--even given what he does know--Jesse isn't aware of the depths of Walt's shittiness.

Also I have to give a shout-out to that Ana Tijoux song - it was one of those "this is perfect, I need to find out more about this artist" moments.

*Dude, Walt's whole life is a gambling addiction at this point, metaphorical though it be.
posted by psoas at 12:53 PM on December 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

Oh, and I almost forgot! This is where Walt hilariously announces "This is all about me!" as Jesse's explaining his day, and our thesis statement is once again laid bare.
posted by psoas at 12:58 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Jesse has no normal to return to, which is part of why Gus is keeping him busy as a dead drop hero
At the start of the episode we see Jessie obsessed with playing video games; by the end we see that Gus has made a real-life video game like situation where Jessie can win and score points. However calculating, self centred and revenge obsessed Gus is - it is hard to fault him as a mentor. It may only be to antagonise Walt - but he gives Jessie the same kind of motivating education as he offers Pollos Hermanos employees learning to use the frier.
posted by rongorongo at 7:03 AM on September 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

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