Breaking Bad: Crazy Handful of Nothin’   Rewatch 
August 21, 2014 1:06 PM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Walt and Jesse cook more meth although Walt is plagued by the side effects of chemotherapy. Jesse’s accomplice, Skinny Pete, makes an important introduction, and Walt strikes a surprising deal. The DEA’s investigation intensifies.
posted by scody (14 comments total)
So Tuco took Krazy 8's place, but who is Tuco working for? Surely Hector isn't still in control behind the scenes?

Tuco beats the hell out of Jesse for selling meth in his territory--was that why they try a different corner later, this time encroaching on Gus's territory?

There's a lot of irony in this episode in Hank's comments--in the cage with the chemistry equipment, he tells Walt that it would be a big mistake to underestimate his students [alluding to their capacity for criminality], and in the poker game he tells Walt that Walt wouldn't recognize a criminal if he was close enough to check him for a hernia.
posted by johnofjack at 2:41 PM on August 21, 2014

So Tuco took Krazy 8's place, but who is Tuco working for? Surely Hector isn't still in control behind the scenes?

Tuco beats the hell out of Jesse for selling meth in his territory--was that why they try a different corner later, this time encroaching on Gus's territory?

I assume that Tuco is working for the cartel. Gus has yet to make his move at this point: I'm not sure how much meth he is producing.

So this is really where Walt commits to getting his hands dirty. It is worth noting that he is motivated her at least partially by guilt at the treatment of Jesse. This is the first named appearance of Heisenberg, but he appears, at least in part, to protect his "family".
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:05 AM on August 22, 2014

Raymond Cruz is so good as Tuco in this arc -- he plays him as unpredictably and terrifyingly psychotic.

It's becoming very apparent from this and the last few episodes that Jesse is actually not a very effective criminal. He's a good kid from a well-off background gone bad, dabbling in the fringes of criminality; small-scale manufacture, a little dealing. But his tough act is just that, an act -- when he tries to move up a level, both Krazy 8 and Tuco see right through it.

Gus has the same view of Jesse too, initially, but comes around in time; like Walt, he notices that Jesse has talent but lacks discipline.

It is worth noting that he is motivated here at least partially by guilt at the treatment of Jesse.

Partially. I think there's also a note of exasperation. The deal with Tuco was Jesse's job to do, he messed it up, and now Walt has to go do it himself WELL OKAY THEN. "I'm all in."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:10 PM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

his tough act is just that, an act

Incidentally, so is Walt's Heisenberg act, at least at this point: the scenes in the Aztek that bracket it show him bracing himself up before and coming down afterwards.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:54 PM on August 22, 2014

Also incidentally: that poor Aztek.

The show painted it a drab non-stock color; swapped out one of the wheels; the sound mix always includes a lot of extra rattles and creaks. And I noticed two more little touches this time around that make it appear even more shabby: they painted an oil stain under it on the White house driveway; and I believe in some of the side views they've touched up the edges of some of the panels and doors with blank paint to make the fit look even worse.

(Is it just us that Breaking Bad made into avid Aztek-spotters? They're rare enough now that you can go days or weeks without spotting one; but common enough that you probably will. And actually, um, I kind of like 'em; they seem fun and came in some nice unusual colors.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:44 PM on August 22, 2014

Yes, generally speaking, the tighter the shut-lines, the better made the car. So, say, on a BMW you'll see very little gap between the door and the body of the vehicle, whereas on a *cough* Ford, there might be a wider gap.

The black lines on the shut-lines of the Aztek do indeed make it appear to be a more modest car than they are. I've grown to like them a lot based solely on their BB connection. (And the rattling of the engine sounds horrendous!)

I think to shows what level of detail they put into BB, and in conveying messages about the characters and their station.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:35 PM on August 22, 2014

"blank paint", heh. I always notice my typos after the edit window closes.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:25 PM on August 22, 2014

Raymond Cruz is so good as Tuco in this arc

I read somewhere they would not have killed him off so fast had Cruz been available for more. He has been great on The Closer and Major Crimes, too.
posted by maggieb at 9:49 AM on August 23, 2014

One of my favorite wild theories I ever read was that the main characters' souls are represented by their vehicles. It sounds odd, but I can't think of much from the show that doesn't support it.
posted by heatvision at 10:22 AM on August 23, 2014

Following up on my post from the last episode thread: yep, this was definitely the episode where we had to quit watching while I was going through chemo/radiation myself. The scenes of Walt getting sick, and of Hugo being so kind to him -- kinder than anyone else has been shown acting toward Walt at this point regarding his treatment -- just were too much. It was actually pretty hard for me to get through this episode even now.

I think this episode also really points to a weakness in how unsympathetically Skyler was written -- and, to a lesser but still real extent, how Anna Gunn portrayed her -- in the first season or so. I definitely think Skyler became a more complex character and Gunn's performance became so much more nuanced and even heartbreaking as the series progresses, but really, she is presented in this season as that old sexist standby, the shrew. I mean, even in the group therapy session, there is no recognition that her suffering is not greater than his. She says how awful it is to see him lose weight, but she does not acknowledge (nor does the counselor, it should be said) that Walt is the one who is actually suffering through the nausea, vomiting, etc. that is resulting in the weight loss.

For all that Walt is a self-centered control freak/fussbudget (this is a man, after all, who cuts the crusts off the sandwich for his own hostage!), Skyler is not much more compassionate or flexible than he is. They both want what they want, and will basically make others bend to their will, and will lash out when they feel thwarted (e.g., Skyler yelling at Marie and Hank in the intervention scene in the previous episode for deviating from her script; Walt hollering at Jesse to grow some balls and arrange a meeting with Tuco).

I hesitate to write some of this, because I know that there was a pretty ferocious anti-Skyler sentiment among a lot of fans that was often quite misogynistic, and that's not where I'm coming from. But the fact is, I think Vince Gilligan kind of set her up here. Just as Hank is often a bit of a cartoon in this season, so is Skyler (though I think Dean Norris's performance often undercuts Hank's cartoonishness). I find that she's often so locked into her anger and fear (which she compensates for by her need to control things -- just like Walt), that most of the time it's impossible to see how much tenderness she genuinely has toward Walt.

I keep thinking of Carmela Soprano, by way of contrast (no spoilers, but some general thoughts about The Sopranos). For as tumultuous and love/hate as Carmela and Tony's relationship is, there is never any doubt about the depth of their history together -- it's always clear that there had been a time when they were really crazy about each other, and that they still feel really passionately about each other (even as Tony does awful things that Carmela finds horrifying or feels betrayed by). This is part of what makes Carmela such a complex, fascinating character -- her love for Tony is really palpable, and she yearns for a life/relationship with him that's out of reach, and so even as she's a hypocrite she is still (sometimes) sympathetic, and her motivations vis-a-vis her feelings for Tony always seem really clear.

I feel like this opportunity was missed with Skyler -- from the very first scene, when she gives Walt the fake bacon for his birthday, she's presented as self-righteous and rigid, and that characterization doesn't change much for the first season or two.
posted by scody at 3:54 PM on August 24, 2014 [9 favorites]

Great comment, I totally agree that Skyler was just set up to be hated. It's pretty gross.
posted by isthmus at 5:03 PM on August 24, 2014

I really like both your comments about Skyler Skody. I think when I talk about her I am mostly remembering the later series. I think one of the reasons I didn't really get along with season 1 is that it tries to hard to make Walt sympathetic and Skyler more of a villain. I think this gets corrected pretty soon, certainly by season 3.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:15 AM on August 26, 2014

You raise some good points about Skyler's treatment, scody. Later in the series I'd forgotten just how one-note she and Hank start off.
posted by johnofjack at 8:52 AM on August 26, 2014

I felt like Walt has given up at the beginning of BB, and Skyler is pushing for both of them, which means she reads pretty naggy (but clearly loving).

I think it's excellent writing because it hits on a truth of marriages which is that where both partners aren't actively involved then one ends up calling the shots.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:12 PM on August 27, 2014

« Older Movie: One Hour Photo...   |  So You Think You Can Dance: To... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments