Breaking Bad: Breakage   Rewatch 
September 11, 2014 9:31 AM - Season 2, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Tensions and bills mount at the White household. Hank makes progress at work, but struggles with some residual effects from his encounter with Tuco. Jesse takes charge and assembles a crew of dealers to get their product out on the streets.

The first episode written by Moira Walley-Beckett; she would go on to write 8 other episodes, including Fly and Ozymandias.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think this is the first one where I looked at Hank as more interesting than I'd originally surmised. He became less of a one-note character with the panic attack in the elevator.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:05 AM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

This was when I think I realized that Walt and Jesse do not know what they're doing, are lucky to be alive at this point, and need to get the fuck out of the business now. (Also here & the next episode was about where I realized that (a) Walt was unequivocally the villain of the show and that (b) yes, I was going to need to watch the whole rest of the series to see what happens.)
posted by psoas at 11:10 AM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Hank: it's the moment where we see that a lot of his blustering bravado is a protective front. The way he pauses, takes a breath, and exits the elevator in full-on HI GUYS LETS GO mode.

I think the party in this episode is the first time we see much of Hank and Marie's house -- we've seen Marie's purple kitchen before, but here we see the yard and its amazing view. The contrast against Walt and Skyler's more humble suburban house; Marie's chatter about aspiring to "a cute little condo in Georgetown". Hank and Marie are more successful than Walt and Skyler; this probably fuels Walt's resentment of Hank, maybe Skyler's of Marie too. (Also, it's been suggested repeatedly that they could borrow money for the treatments from Hank and Marie; Walt shoots this down every time.)

Jane making the first of many bad decisions. I find her a bit of a cipher: she's written as smarter than Jesse, but her trajectory through the season is such a spiral down.

Jesse's "we're talking business here" meeting; the store-brand cola and pretzels "refreshments". Breaking Bad has a running theme of sad finger food at meetings: Hank wolfing down cheese cubes at the intervention, Gus's vegetable-and-dip plates at his cartel meetings.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:32 AM on September 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

I think Jane *may be* a representative of "addiction burns many intelligent people too"; that the audience may harbor about who is susceptible to addiction: it can burn anyone - no one is safe.

Also that those in recovery can make mistakes and get back on drugs at any time (very frightening idea).

I guess Mr. and Mrs. Spooge could be seen as a harbinger to Jesse as to his future with Jane: what can happen to addiction-based couples: spiralling into abuse and physical deterioration. But I'm getting off on a tangent.

The IGN recap has an interesting insight into the episode:
"Breakage" is more or less the rehumanizing of Jesse. The entire episode, you see Pinkman rebuilding his life, getting a place to live, getting a car, creating a business plan. It was a little heartwarming to see him get back on his feet after the last episode. But at the same time, he's still this kid that wants to run drugs and wants into that culture. He hasn't learned from his mistakes, he hasn't learned anything; the only real positive is that he may have quit smoking meth, but no one is sure. This much is for sure: the next time he falls, it's going to be a lot harder than last week's episode.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 1:35 PM on September 11, 2014

This is the start of the magic cancer revitalisation that Walt needs for the show to continue a while longer. Although, unlike BSG where the cancer just goes forever, here it will actually come back, which is good. While the cancer remission is a bit ridiculous considering his initial diagnosis, the fact that it does eventually catch up with him makes it a bit more forgivable.

Yeah I like that Hank shows human qualities here, and that maybe he isn't as cut out for the uber machismo bullshit that lives in the DEA.

I had forgotten that it was Jesse who actually pushes to make the drug operation large scale here, although as with all his decisions its not terribly well thought out.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 4:46 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, while I remember:

Hank's hobby is homebrewing -- on the surface because yes, he's a drinker. But also it's actually a surprisingly quiet and solitary pursuit given his public blustery persona. Hank tends to retreat when he's stressed: he tells Marie to get out of the garage.

The initial pan across Hank's brewing equipment is similar to other shots of Walt and Jesse's cooking equipment -- and to reinforce this, Hank's workbench includes a couple of Erlenmeyer flasks. (Not sure how he would actually use these for brewing; maybe he's harvesting yeast?)

And how perfect that (a) Hank names his beer after himself: Schraderbrau; (b) he puts his own picture on the label, (c) HE HAS A THEME SONG FOR IT.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:49 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yes his whole "I'm into homebrewing" thing adds a great dimension to his character. I'm sure you know, from listening to the Breaking Bad podcast (Kelley Dixon hosted) that the theme he's singing is adapted from a well-known classic commercial for Lowenbrau. (From YouTube - there are tons of them online.)

It must be one of the most successful ad campaigns in U.S. history, because it's from circa 1977 but people still remember it. I think it's just a good little ditty. Hank's repurposing of the song is an amusing little detail put into the show. I love those details.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 1:10 PM on September 12, 2014

I love that angry then suddenly frozen, horrified look on Skyler's face when she's confronting Marie, saying it will never be the same between them "If you don't respect me enough to apologize, to tell me the truth--"

It's like she didn't realize until she heard herself say it that what she was saying to Marie applied to her relationship with Walt as well.

Also, it's a really minor detail but I like it that when Jesse goes to pay for the RV repair, broken toilet, broken gate etc. there's still some blue around his fingernails.
posted by johnofjack at 7:09 PM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

When Jesse first pulls up to Jane's place in his new shitbox, glancing at an apartment rental page in the paper that's full of Xs over ads, the camera follows him out of the car as he goes toward the front door. He passes a FOR RENT sign on the lawn, one of those $2.99 jobs you get at Home Depot with the little empty white box at the bottom so the landlord can add a phone number or whatever. Jane, in her neat artistic handwriting, has written

Heartbreak is in the details.
posted by Chichibio at 2:08 AM on November 8, 2014

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