Breaking Bad: Cat's in the Bag   Rewatch 
August 7, 2014 11:43 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Walt and Jesse attempt to tie up loose ends. The desperate situation gets more complicated with the flip of a coin. Walt’s wife, Skyler, becomes suspicious of Walt’s strange behavior.
posted by mathowie (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The suspicion and paranoia between Walt and Sklyer - I had forgotten how fraught their relationship was, right from the start. And it's Walt, I think, who has acquiesced and gone along for so long, that is probably the most to blame in that. I do love Sklyer's expression at the utlrasound though, when he tells her about the weed and asks her to just climb out of his ass for once. It's a rough birth, but the Heisenburg transformation is underway.

The chirality lecture just sent tingles down my spine as I realized how central that idea is - mirror images, things that look the same but don't behave the same - to the entire series and Walter White/Heisenberg.

And the bathtub. The first of how many dissolved bodies?
posted by nubs at 12:00 PM on August 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Hey man, we flipped a coin" seems like good foreshadowing of Jesse's passivity relative to Walt.

I really felt for Skyler in this episode. I've never hated her, and don't understand the hate some people have for her. She's married to an egotistical sad sack who she sees turning into a secretive bully, and she's not stupid so she wants him to level with her about whatever's going on. That, to me, is completely reasonable, and I think it's interesting that so many people don't.

But I also wanted to know more about Gus, and by the end of the show I was amazed that any viewers sided with Walt on nearly anything. If Season 5 Walt said that tacos are good I'd feel a moment of alarm that I agreed with him.
posted by johnofjack at 4:03 PM on August 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

by the end of the show I was amazed that any viewers sided with Walt on nearly anything.

He's a classic power fantasy, unfortunately. A lot of people just want to be unfettered, without thinking about the pesky consequences to everyone around them. I know the writers tried to nip some of that in the bud with the ending, but I assume a lot of guys just kinda glossed over his admission of guilt to Skyler in the finale.

Personally, I felt like I understood him, but it made me feel profoundly dirty. The wounded pride, the repressed ego, the feeling that the world owed you *better*... I totally got that, but it wasn't liberating. It felt like understanding Dracula's thirst and recoiling from the TV set with an urge to eat some garlic and bathe in holy water.

"Hey man, we flipped a coin" seems like good foreshadowing of Jesse's passivity relative to Walt.

Hadn't thought about it that way, but I like that.

And the bathtub. The first of how many dissolved bodies?

I'm suddenly wondering if there's a Youtube montage of all of the bodies, but am afraid to go hunting. :)
posted by mordax at 7:51 PM on August 7, 2014

Skyler has always been my favourite. Her position is pretty reasonable here, and Walt cutting her off like he does feels baffling, because it is. Its sort of baffling for the audience at this point too: In retrospect, knowing Walt as we do his actions make sense, but its such a bizzare thing for a formerly loyal husband to do.

The bathtub moment really sets up the black humour of this show (best moment of the show? It would have to compete with the pizza on the roof moment). I always thought that would cause more problems than it did. Breaking Bad does have the same magical world like Dexter where it is surprisingly easy to get away with crime...
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:06 AM on August 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

its such a bizzare thing for a formerly loyal husband to do.

I identify with Walt far more than I want to - and I would love to have been able to see the White household for about a week before everything started - but my sense of things is that Walt has been drifting emotionally for quite some time. Sklyer's been the one keeping the structure of the relationship together, but Walt - well, Walt works at his two jobs and does what is needed to get by.

This isn't to say that Walt doesn't love Skyler and isn't a loyal husband. But the passion is gone, he's doing what needs to be done and nothing more. I think if you were to scratch his surface at that point, you'd find a person who was content, but was also wondering - is this it? Is this the rest of my life? Work my jobs, pay the bills, wife and kids. Didn't I want to do something with my life? He's emotionally checked out; he feels unappreciated, unacknowledged, unremarkable. Whether or not any of those things is true is beside the point - the end result is that Walt has been present, but not engaged, for some time. He does what is asked, does what is needed, and has subsumed his needs and wants, maybe with an internal promise of "someday."

And I think as a result, the Skyler-Walt relationship, while largely ok, has some big holes in it that they both just sort of avoid looking at. I found it fascinating that in the end of last episode/opening of this episode, Walt comes home - obviously late at night - does the laundry, and then goes to bed. Skyler is awake - but she doesn't come out of the bedroom to see why Walt's running the dryer or where he's been? After sex, Walt starts coughing, goes to the bathroom, and passes out - but Skyler doesn't check on him until the morning? When my partner gets out of bed in the middle of the night and disappears into the bathroom for longer than 5 minutes, I'm wondering what's up and want to make sure they are ok. And Skyler's instant suspicion of Walt's phone call the next morning - I get that he's been acting odd, but to *69 a call your partner took? That - to me, at least - shows some serious misgivings that go beyond just a couple of days of odd behavior. She's right to be suspicious - but it's how fast she goes from suspicious to checking up on him that makes me wonder just how many little difficulties this relationship has had leading up to this moment.

Maybe I'm over thinking it, and none of this is there. But it feels like it is. Perhaps one of the things that works well in this show is the fact that Walter/Skyler's history is never really filled in all that much - the audience can project themselves into the characters that much more.

I like Skyler a lot; I think the role on the show is a tough one because Walt's character is a male power fantasy and Skyler's role is to act as a check against that (in fact, I think there's probably a good examination of the show that could be made about the power fantasy of Walt's character and the consequences of it - Skyler's role is to help demonstrate those consequences, even when she becomes complicit in Heisenberg's enterprise). Everyone around Walt becomes collateral damage to his ego trip, and I think there's a significant portion of the audience that doesn't want to see that damage. While watching it for the first time, my wife and I remarked on how well the show moves you from feeling compassion and understanding for Walt to viewing him as the villain of the show - I don't think everyone finds that transition easy to manage.
posted by nubs at 8:39 AM on August 8, 2014 [13 favorites]

"Hey man, we flipped a coin" seems like good foreshadowing of Jesse's passivity relative to Walt.

And maybe an echo of Walt's chiralty lecture: "mirror images, right? Active, inactive. Good, bad." Although the choices Walt and Jesse are flipping for here are both bad.

There's also a coin flip in Four Corners; again there all the outcomes that Skyler is flipping for are bad.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:59 PM on August 13, 2014

Krazy 8's wheezing is heartbreaking, as is his terrified running when he sees Walt in the Aztek. They're really ramping up the moral horror of what Walt is preparing to do.

Humanizing Krazy 8 in Walt's eyes is also an excuse to do the gag with the toilet roll; tension-relieving black humor. (The hand sanitizer also is very Walter. Hank wouldn't have bothered.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:15 PM on August 13, 2014

I love how some of the scenes so perfectly reflect Walter's state of mind: stuck on a freeway alone, going nowhere while life passes you by.

Such a beautiful shot.
posted by Fizz at 5:40 PM on August 28, 2014

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