Breaking Bad is the greatest TV drama of all-time (THIS IS A FACT), so UPROXX is going all-out on our coverage of the show this season. Cajun Boy will be writing an episode recap (with GIFs!) every week, while I’ll be handling the Breaking Badass Power Rankings, which will, well, rank the most badass characters from every episode. Why “Badass?” Obviously, the so-not-clever-that-it’s-clever name, but also because Breaking Bad is the kind of a show that makes you want to drink an entire bottle of bourbon and/or Franch before watching it, to soothe your soon-to-be-tense nerves. That’s pretty badass.
Not Ranked: Bank Secretary, Dan Wachsberger, Kaylee Ehrmantraut, and SAC Ramey.
The best Skyler is drunk, bitter Skyler (was anyone else hoping Walt would say, "I hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave" when she got up from the dinner table?), but she's last in this week's Power Rankings because of her "I wish" retort to Jesse saying "vamonos." A bit too on the nose, even for Breaking Bad. In an interview with Salon, when asked if she could see Skyler killing Walt, Anna Gunn said, "I think there’s a feeling of, after having gone as far into it as she has and as deeply as she has, well, I’ll do whatever I have to do. I’ll do whatever it takes. And I think that perhaps that includes...that." Wouldn't that be the ultimate FU to Skyler haters everywhere, if the Queen were to take down the King? Then Breaking Bad would reevaluated as a powerful feminist critique against the all-powerful male, and...actually, I don't want Skyler to kill Walt anymore.
I'm pretty sure Mickey Dolenz was on meth when he recorded this song with the Monkees, which played during the meth-cooking scene:
It's about a guy who commits suicide by jumping into a river, and then immediately regrets his decision. "Pleasant Valley Sunday," it ain't. Here's one verse: "I wish I looked before I leaped/I didn't know it was so deep/Been down so far I don't get wet/Haven't touched the bottom yet." Me thinks things aren't going to end well for Todd (or his prison connections?), who wins this week's Poor Jesse Award for being treated like sh*t by Walter, despite being a decent "replacement Jesse." New Coke, he ain't — until he inevitably messes things up because, after all, there's only one real Coke. Then he'll be, like, Diet Mountain Dew with a hint of Pepsi Blue.
Mike really should have called Saul.
I mean, sure, I could talk about Dan Wachsberger and that lovely secretary and her boat-obsessed husband, but THAT CAKE POP PIG IS WEARING A COWBOY HAT. I bet he did it. What is "it"? Psh, like you don't know.
Well, I've talked about cake and soda in the last two entries, so it's time to get to business. Despite Walt's best attempts at being a total manipulative monster to him (haters gonna hate on go-karts), Jesse refused to crawl back on his knees to Heisenberg Enterprises, even if it meant he wouldn’t receive his $5 million cut of the profit. This episode obviously isn’t the last time we’ll see Jesse, or even Jesse and Walt working together, probably, but there’s a lot up in the air with Mr. Pinkman now, maybe more so than any other character. What’s he going to do for money? How is he going to react when he hears about what happened to Mike? Will he join Badger and Skinny Pete's band? Will he and Skyler cut the sexual tension and just F*CK? Then have some frozen lasagna. Or will they team up against Walt? To quote Mr. White, who’s said the same thing since season one, how will Jesse "apply himself"? Getting the hell away from Walt would be a good start.
The lesson learned from the Hank scenes in “Say My Name”: never listen to your immediate superior. Oh, and always order your coffee with cream, so you have enough time to debug a DEA officer’s computer. Also, the cut from Walt trying to talk about Todd with Skyler to Walt fake sobbing in front of Hank was fantastic.
The biggest complaint I've seen on Twitter and in other recaps about "Say My Name" is: why does Walt retrieve Mike's bag, when there are plenty of others, like Jesse, who could have done it instead?
To quote Sepinwall:
Why does Mike, pro of pros, sage of sages, exemplar of all that is wise and patient and level-headed on this show, repeatedly shoot down offers of help from a man he likes and trusts in Jesse, then readily accepts the aid of a man he has every reason in the world to dislike and distrust? (Via)
My guess: if Mike's car was being watched by the feds, then Jesse, who already has a record, would have been screwed. Better Walt get thrown in prison with him, than Jesse, someone who he actually cares for. (Also, a small part of me thinks Mike, prideful son of a bitch he may be, would rather be dead than have his darling granddaughter, who can seemingly swing for hours, see him put away. She's literally the only thing in the world he cares about, and if she thinks of him as a "bad man," then his life is over anyways. Plus, knowing full well how meticulous he is, there has to be a reason why he chose that serene spot for his meeting with Walt, and not the desert. Guy wanted to keel over in grass and water, no sand and more sand. I respect that.) As soon as you saw the gun in Mike's bag, you knew where the episode was going, but it still stung, no matter how picturesque the scene itself was. And the man behind the gun, Mr. Heisenberg, who Mike unwisely underestimated, well, it's all downhill from here. Despite his earlier remorseless proclamation to "say my name," we're now on the downward slope of the Rise and Fall of Heisenberg. For the first time, Walt showed remorse at one of his actions, and although he's gained a new line of business and Todd, he's also lost Mike, Jesse, and Skyler, and appears to have maybe, kind of, sort of finally recognized how much of a monster he's become. Mike was right: they had a good thing going with Gus at the helm, him cleaning, and Walter and Jesse cooking, but now that's all gone, and Walter's adrift, without anyone he can trust at his side.
"I just realized this whole situation could have been avoided." Yup.
"Shut the f*ck up, and let me die in peace."
R.I.P. Mike. May the afterlife be a never-ending marathon of Lee Marvin movies.