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Recap: Walt Celebrates Birthday Number 'Fifty One' In Rian Johnson-Helmed Episode Of 'Breaking Bad'

by Cory Everett
August 6, 2012 10:03 AM
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Meanwhile, Jesse drives to the Madrigal offices to pick up the methylamine from Lydia and with a little detective work, we put together the location of “Walt 52” in the season opening flashforward. Since we used a little bit of info from the “Breaking Bad Insider” podcast to put this together you may consider it a minor spoiler. Vince Gilligan and co. mention that though it’s not apparent during episode 2, that Lydia actually lives in Houston, TX, not in Albuquerque where the rest of the series is set. Walt had told the waitress in the Season Premiere that he was about a 30 hour drive from New Hampshire (and that Albuquerque is 37 hours) we knew he had to be in a city just East of New Mexico.

Jesse mentions that it’s a 14 hour drive back to Albuquerque from the Madrigal offices and a quick Google search shows that Albuquerque is 14 hours from Houston. This seems to indicate that Walt has arrived in Houston to settle some business with Madrigal but an interview Cranston gave to Rolling Stone makes things less clear, “I asked Vince several specific questions. I said, ‘Am I alone?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘Why am I coming back to Albuquerque?’ He said, ‘You’re coming back because you need to protect someone.’ And I went, ‘OK. Is the cancer back?’ He didn’t quite answer that. He said, ‘Possibly.’” Without a wedding ring on we can assume he’s probably not there to protect Skyler. Could it be Jesse? Walter Jr.? Time will tell.

After raiding the Madrigal offices and nearly giving Lydia a panic attack, Hank gets a promotion that means he’ll have to forgo his investigation into Gus Fring’s drug ring, putting him, for now, off Walt’s trail. But Walt may have other issues as it appears that Lydia planted a tracking device on the methylamine, hoping to pass it off as the DEA’s and scare them off from future pickups. Mike wants to kill her but Walt insists that nothing stop production which will likely lead to his downfall. There’s more to Lydia than meets the eye and Mike chides himself for being “sexist” in letting her live. He tells Jesse repeatedly not to underestimate her, which means she’s definitely going to be trouble down the line. Could this by why a year from now Walt is arming himself to the teeth in the parking lot at Denny’s?

Some exceptional scenes between Skyler and Walt anchor this atypically subdued episode which is still very good, if not quite up to the impossibly high standards set by the previous three. According to the podcast, upcoming episodes 5 and 7 are going to be nuts, so assume this is a necessary breather for an audience until now have barely had a chance to catch their breath. It's also a chance to reflect on the previous year and realize that it's still possible for our characters to get out clean. "There's blood on my hands too," Skyler tells Walt emphatically, and if they continue on this path, before too long it's going to be everywhere else too. [B]

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  • Damien | August 10, 2012 4:33 PMReply

    TC6: I read the whole fucking thing, I like that it's this long. Keep them coming Playlisters!

  • TC6 | August 6, 2012 1:30 PMReply

    Why do you guys write so much plot summary in your TV episode reviews? This is ONE episode we're talking about here.No one who hasn't the episode will read this review anyway, so why should it be like 9 paragraphs long? We just saw it last night -- we don't need a blow by blow. Also, this was a terrible episode. I don't like TV generally, but BB for all the praise it gets is radically uneven. You guys, and all other TV critics, are happy to decimate The Newsroom week after week, but you, and -- once again -- all other TV critics, can't manage to give a bad BB episode lower than a B.

  • DG | August 6, 2012 1:21 PMReply

    I bet the show ends with Walt dying in some insane, epic way. Last seasons ending was like a brilliant chess game between Walt and Gus but its a game I no longer think Walt could win, seeing how the theme of the season so far seems to be his growing arrogance and further transition to a tyrant in his own home. It's like Mike said, he is basically a time bomb now.

  • Christopher Bell | August 6, 2012 12:03 PMReply

    Dare I say it -- the shot of Walt in the foreground and Skyler in the background near the pool is one of the finest lensing the series has ever had.

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