Breaking Bad: Negro y Azul   Rewatch 
September 18, 2014 9:54 AM - Season 2, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Rumors fly about Jesse’s recent actions as he and Walt discuss expanding their business into new territories. Hank struggles to fit in with his new coworkers in El Paso. Skyler pursues a new job opportunity that reconnects her with a former colleague. Jesse gets to know his landlord, Jane.

The cold open is a narcocorrido by Los Cuates de Sinaloa. Negro y Azul; Inside Breaking Bad: Making of Negro y Azul; Negro y Azul live on Conan.

Danny Trejo guest-stars as Tortuga. Inside Breaking Bad: The Tortoise Scene.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle (7 comments total)
The special effects are pretty damn good in this one - it convinced me anyway. The head, the bomb, the bodies being pushed up and outwards by the force of the blast. The way time slows down and the audio muffling - as we watch Hank's slow, stunned reaction as he tries to register the event.

Overall, the special effects are excellent on this program and part of what made the storytelling so convincing.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:14 AM on September 18, 2014

Special love for Danny Trejo who was well cast in this part and brings a lot to the character - wonderful performance.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:14 AM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I always end up feeling really sorry for Hank, even when he's a complete idiot. He's a very strange mix of occasionally terrible at his job (surely someone wouldn't really get that sort of promotion if they didn't speak Spanish?) and a bit "natural police" when he's on his home turf.

Obviously the show has to set things up so the plot will run, but there have been a lot of things this season (Walt shoving that IV needle back into his hand - why not just say he'd thrashed around during the night and it had gotten pulled out? Hank's covering of his panic attacks, etc., etc.) that are just machismo extras gritting the narrative.

I'm still not sure about the storytelling being completely convincing (for me) because of that - most of it works, and then there are bits that just throw me out of the whole thing.

Anyway, yeah, Hank. I don't want to feel sorry for Hank! I am OK feeling sorry for Tortuga, because I can completely respect someone who takes their Skymall seriously.
posted by minsies at 10:04 AM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Hank is so out of his element in El Paso: the big-fish-in-a-small-pond bluster that works so well for him in ABQ totally doesn't work for him here.

I like the cut from the awkward meeting with Tortuga -- in which Hank's macho "how about you stop jerking us off" outburst is completely ineffective -- to Marie's "Hank's doing great down there, really making inroads."

The tortoise scene: familiar now, but how utterly surprising and shocking it was on first viewing. Also: Hank avoids the explosion only because of his panic-attack reaction to the severed head -- which he covers up with "need an evidence bag". Adds some survivor's guilt to his shame at his own perceived weakness.

Surely someone wouldn't really get that sort of promotion if they didn't speak Spanish?

That's why he's partnered with Gomez. Hank's choice? I always wondered what Gomie got out of it though. He puts up with Hank's crudeness and racism, because Hank gets results that reflect well on him as Hank's partner?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:20 PM on September 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

But interesting that the El Paso office also reads as very masculine -- Hank's "and gals" is very much an afterthought to his "great bunch of guys". But it's a masculine clique in which he's an outsider; compared to the ABQ clique in which he's the center.

Other examples: Jesse is an outsider to Tuco's gang; Gus and Max are outsiders to Don Eladio's cartel.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:28 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hank is actually a pretty good cop when he's not suffering from post traumatic stress, or is put in a situation where he needs to speak Spanish... I do feel sorry for him here, his wife has pushed him into working in a situation he's not all that comfortable with: he's have been much happier staying where he was.

I think machismo is very spot on. Both the police and drug world function on posturing here, although posturing will only get you so far: actions like the exploding turtle are needed to solidify your rep.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 11:40 AM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's so naive of Walt to think they could move into other dealers' territory with nothing more than bluster; at this point he's like a stage magician much more than a drug kingpin.

That empty bravado that he and Hank share reminds of the post on the toxic masculinity of Breaking Bad. Of course, behind Walt's newfound bravado is a ruthless selfishness, and behind Hank's is a basic decency stunted by insecurity.

Side note: in the breakfast scene we find out that Walt thinks Skyler left Beneke Industries because of welding fumes. I'm betting that she left shortly after "Mr. Grabby Hands," as Marie calls him, got drunk at the Christmas party. That strikes me as both realistic and disheartening, and reminds me of the missing stair.
posted by johnofjack at 5:50 AM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

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