More thoughts, recaps, and analysis of the AMC’s “Breaking Bad” episode “Hazard Pay.”
(For part one of this article, please click here.)
Mike, Walt, and Jesse divide up the money from their first cook, starting with $367,000 each. Walt says there’s supposed to be $1,379,560 after the dealers get their cut. Mike tells Walt the mules (drivers) get 20%, because of their risk. Walt doesn’t think they’re taking $275,000 worth of risk, and ask about how Gus did things. Walt says Gus had a system of refrigerator trucks set up, and didn’t need mules. Of course, all his trucks are impounded
Walt: You don’t like paying 20%, maybe you shouldn’t have killed the guy.
Mike also tells him he’s talked to his supplier, and the Methylamine was free this time but next time, it’s going to cost him big. They owe Jesse $120,000 for the startup costs, and pay those back evenly. Ira gets $110,000 for the business, plus $25,000 per cook, which is $45,000 each. Ira’s guys get $10,000 each per cook. Saul’s cut is $18,000 from each.
Then Mike gets to the “legacy cost” of $351,000, money put back for the nine guys still surviving from Gus. Walt balks at paying them, and Mike tells them it’s “what you do.” Walt tells him it sounds like a shakedown, blackmail to keep them silent. Jesse tells them to take it out of his share, just to keep from arguing. Walt says no, he’ll pay his own share.
Mike tells them from here on out, his guys are an ongoing expenditure. In the end, they all have $137,000 left, which Walt says is less than they made with Gus.
Mike: Listen Walter, just because you shot Jesse James…don’t make you Jesse James.
Jesse tells Walt he broke it off with Andrea. Walt asks him how he feels about their business, and Jesse says it’s a good business. When they cooked for Gus, they may have made more product but now they’re owners, not employees.
Walt tells him he’s been thinking about Victor, the assistant Gus brutally murdered with a box cutter back in season four. Walt says all this time he thought Gus did it to send Walt a message. Now, he thinks there might have been a different reason.
Walt: Victor trying to cook that batch on his own, taking liberties that weren’t his to take? Maybe he flew too close to the sun, and got his throat cut.
That’s not exactly how the mythological tale of Icarus went, but it’s close enough for comparison’s sake.
Some thoughts on “Hazard Pay.”
Another really strong episode where really, nothing major happened. No huge conflicts or explosions, just the beginnings of them for later usage. With a lesser show, this could have been a complete time-filler of an episode.
The significance of Walt watching “Scarface” is pretty significant. Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan has always described his show as “Mr. Chips turning into Scarface.” To see Walt watching the movie, laughing along at it while talking about everyone dying in it while a shell-shocked Skyler watches in terror? Chilling foreshadowing.
Prior to this season, Breaking Bad was a show that never really dealt in timeframes. Now though, we know certain things. Walt’s birthday is coming up, which is one year from the diagnosis in the first episode, which is where he had his 50th birthday. It’s also roughly one year away from the flash-forward scene in the first episode of this season. Hopefully that means this final season will take up a year of time, so we can reach the promised payoff.
Walt’s character has changed so completely from that moment, it’s almost staggering how much we used to be able to root for him as a lovable loser character. The image of Walt in the desert in his underwear with a handgun seems like a completely different person now. I can’t imagine the new Heisenberg version of Walt in a situation like that.
Walt’s transformation has also changed Skyler, and certainly not for the better. Last season Skyler showed how strong she could be, and also how she could play rough when she had to, as she did with the car wash owner. Now though, last season’s danger looks like it’s shaken her apart.
By the way, in Skyler’s breakdown on Marie, she told her to shut up fourteen straight times. Yes, I counted.
The irony in this show is simply fantastic. Walt is a meth cooker who demands the best conditions to perfect his product, which people use to get high and destroy their lives. Jesse’s life finally gets stable, but he has to push Andrea away because he’s afraid he can never be honest with her. And meth-head Skinny Pete is also a concert pianist, somehow.
My final thoughts on this week, at some point they’re going to have a revelation about Saul and the Lazer Tag place. That recurring joke has gone on too long, Saul has to have an angle on it.
Rating: Eight out of a possible ten dwindling stacks of cash.
— Reid Kerr accidentally tuned in early on AMC and saw the last half hour of “Rambo,” which was full of gunfire and exploding meat. Follow Reid on Twitter or subscribe to him on Facebook and yell at him.