Breaking Bad: Say My Name   Rewatch 
January 19, 2015 8:52 AM - Season 5, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Walt takes control of business matters as Mike grapples with the consequences of his actions.

"We had a good thing, you stupid son of a bitch! We had Fring. We had a lab. We had everything we needed, and it all ran like clockwork. You could've shut your mouth, cooked, and made as much money as you ever needed. It was perfect. But, no, you just had to blow it up. You and your pride and your ego! You just had to be the man. If you'd done your job, known your place, we'd all be fine right now!"

Andy Greenwald, Grantland:
Above all else, “Say My Name” was about recognition. Walter got it from the rival gang in the taut teaser, and he got it from Todd, his surrogate surrogate son, in the latest chemistry class–cook montage. But everyone else on the show knew Walt before he was Heisenberg, and every single one of them sees right through him now. Jesse was the last to have the blinders removed, and the scene in which he confronts his former father figure was a stunner. Aaron Paul’s eyes, usually so wide and trusting, grew wider in disbelief as he finally saw the hissing, spitting manipulator in front of him. First Walt plays to Jesse’s greed, then he flatters his ego like a satanic guidance counselor (“You want to squander your potential?”). Finally, he picks at Jesse’s darkest places: his empty life, his gnawing addiction. Nothing works. The empire-builder has no clothes.
Several of the critics felt bothered by the mechanics of the plot. Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture:
I don't believe that Mike, even in a state of extreme duress, would trust Walter White to go to the corner store and buy him a pack of Juicy Fruit, much less fetch a 'Go' bag that Mike knows contains a loaded gun.
Alan Sepinwall, Hitfix:
Why does Mike, pro of pros, sage of sages, exemplar of all that is wise and patient and level-headed on this show, repeatedly shoot down offers of help from a man he likes and trusts in Jesse, then readily accepts the aid of a man he has every reason in the world to dislike and distrust?

Because the show needed him dead, that's why — and because the script couldn't be finessed in some way so that Walt was literally Mike's only option, or that Walt in some way conned Jesse into letting him be the delivery man without Mike knowing until it was too late.
Donna Bowman, AV Club:
The money has become something, bigger than family, bigger than cancer. It’s the winning score in the zero-sum game of existence. [...] There’s something more that Walter wants. Mike calls it pride, and certainly that’s what it looks like when Walt is sneering at having to do things the way ordinary mortals do. But this season, with its references to Jesse James, suggests a different word for that thing beyond money that Walt craves.

“Say my name,” he demands of Declan and his henchmen in the Arizona meth operation. There, revealing his plan, he gets exactly what he wants: the outlaw’s notoriety. The legend.
Brian Steinbach, PopMatters: "Say My Name": Mythologizing Heisenberg As an Allegory for the American West

Three Emmy nominations for this episode, no wins: Thomas Schnauz for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (losing to Henry Bromell for Homeland); Bryan Cranston for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (losing to Jeff Daniels for The Newsroom); Jonathan Banks for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (losing to Bobby Cannavale for Boardwalk Empire).

"I guess I'll see you around."
"No. Don't think so."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
At the time I have to admit it never occurred to me just how unlikely it was for Mike to not have the gun, and Walt to be holding it. It leads to that horrible moment where Walt is still pretending to be a human being. But he's not. He's just Heisenberg at this point.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 11:59 PM on January 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Maybe Mike feels like he can handle Walt, and as one of Jesse's surrogate fathers, wanted to protect Jesse in case something happens with the go bag and Mike getting out.

Also, this show should have won ALL THE AWARDS!

"Shut the fuck up and let me die in peace." RIP Mike.
posted by LizBoBiz at 8:48 AM on January 20, 2015 [5 favorites]

There are a lot of things I've questioned about Walt/Heisenberg's actions in the past, but shooting Mike seemed so... it's like he was dazed and not even really thinking about it and then when it happened, he turned into a scared and remorseful child for a second. I just don't get it.
posted by psoas at 11:01 AM on January 21, 2015

Can't find it now, but ISTR that one of the reviews suggested that Walt's "what did I just do?" expression was a brief reappearance of the pilot's version of Walter White.

The Paste review has an interesting take: "Walt commits his first murder that has no purpose and is purely out of anger."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:03 PM on January 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

The scene I always had trouble believing was the opening one--Walt's assuming that Declan has the patience to listen to his counterproposal, which seems like a hell of an assumption when they decided, without telling him beforehand, that they weren't bringing the methylamine. So dude's expecting to receive this huge supply worth several millions of dollars, but instead all he gets is smugness, disrespect, and promises.

A few heart-wrenching things in this episode: Mike going on the run from the police, leaving his granddaughter at the park; Hank stepping out of his office and making the motion like shooting himself in the head (the first time I watched this I felt a rush of anxiety seeing that; it just seemed too much like tempting fate ... but I convinced myself that Hank would probably survive); and of course the scene where Walt shoots Mike. Mike was so right about so many things; it's a pity he didn't jump ship earlier.
posted by johnofjack at 7:05 PM on January 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

It feels like this and the next episode are very much about Gilligan & co challenging the remaining Team Walt viewers. It opens with the big whoo-Heisenberg-whoop-whoop moment of "you're goddamn right"; but then:

Hey look: Walt's being an utter shit to Jesse. Are you still Team Walt?
Hey look: Walt just killed Mike. Are you STILL Team Walt?
Hey look: Walt just had 10 men brutally murdered. How about now: ARE YOU STILL TEAM WALT?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:58 PM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Paste review has an interesting take: "Walt commits his first murder that has no purpose and is purely out of anger."
Walt knows the DEA have turned Mike's lawyer - something which will not only leave Mike's imprisoned contacts without a regular payoff - but which threatens to lead the DEA to Mike and hence to him. Walt allows Mike to escape arrest by tipping him off - but, at this stage he remains a potential liability.

I read Mike's death scene as almost marking a loss of his will to live: he lets his guard down with Walt because he has lost his purposeful job with Gus, (probably) the money he left for his grand-daughter - and he has only the DEA tracking him down for a long prison sentence.
posted by rongorongo at 2:38 PM on September 19, 2022

In Better Call Saul, Mike tells his DIL that the one thing a cop fears most is jail. When I saw the police cars pull up at the park, I had a feeling we’d lose him by the end of the episode.

I was watching this show for Gus and Mike. Now I’m watching it to see Walt receive some kind of justice.
posted by bunderful at 6:00 AM on April 18, 2023

Jesse walking away from Walt, after telling him to keep the $5M, is one of the most satisfying moments of the show. Walt is completely dumbfounded. He’s done nothing but manipulate, use, and abuse Jesse - the chickens have come home to roost and he can’t see them for what they are. And an episode or two ago poor martyred Walt was confiding to Jesse that Skyler is just waiting for his cancer to come back.

A pattern is emerging.
posted by bunderful at 7:02 AM on April 18, 2023

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