Breaking Bad Discussion: The Empire Business

So does anyone know how exactly how many bodies Walt and Jesse have disposed of using barrels of acid? I’m just curious. It’s got to be up around 5 or 6, right? They’re like, old hands at this sort of thing at this point. Good skills to have, I guess.


Let’s get right to it, shall we? Here are a few notes I made during last night’s Breaking Bad about characters, scenes, etc. I found interesting for one reason or another.

– Last night’s episode was a weird one for me in that in its totality I wasn’t really blown away by it, but two of the scenes contained within were probably two of my favorites in the show’s history. (Last night’s episode was filled with what I thought were pretty good scenes, but they just didn’t seem to fit together well for some reason. Does that make sense?) I’m talking about the dinner scene with Walt, Skyler and Jesse — which I’ll get to in a bit — and the opening scene where the gang is shown disposing of any and all traces of that kid Todd killed. I watched that scene with wide eyes that, I’ll admit, began to fill with tears near the end when the kid’s hand is shown. Sh*t got to me, man. It was moving. Just so well done — shot and scored near perfectly. And then there was the “shit happens, huh?” moment that nearly made me stand and cheer Jesse…

– Jesse wanted no part of that dead kid cleanup job, obviously. And I can’t figure out if Todd — who naturally drives an El Camino — is stone cold ice or just f*cking dumb. Perhaps a little bit of both? I mean, he kept the tarantula in a jar the kid he shot was carrying as a keepsake? Nothing like taking a fingerprint-laden piece of evidence from a murder scene home with you, not to mention one containing something that can kill you!

– Gomie tailing Mike is laughable. Of course Mike knew he was being followed — Gomie is a jackass.

– Normally scenes that feature Skyler and Marie talking make me want to leave the room to go take a dump, but the one from last night kind of had me on the edge of my seat. I really thought that Skyler might break once she became aware of the fact that Walt had previously thrown her under the bus re: her affair with Ted.

– “Jesse, you asked me if I was in the meth business or the money business. Neither. I’m in the empire business.” — Walter White

– Goddamn just when you think Walt couldn’t be more of a soulless bastard he goes and whistles a little ditty while putting on his meth-cooking gear immediately after seeing a news report about the dead kid. Run, Jesse — run far, far away as fast as you can.

– “Breaking Bad…not available on Dish.” Hahaha…nice dig, AMC.

– So this goes without saying, but Jesse, Skyler and Walt all having dinner was so very entertaining, no? If I didn’t know any better I’d swear that the scene was written by Louis C.K. — it was that funny and awkward. But I do have one issue with it: Jesse reverting back to the idiot Jesse mode we used to see early on in the series, but not much of late. The Jesse of present, you may recall, has been the clear-headed mastermind of not one but two diabolical criminal plots. Him reverting back to the Jesse of “Yeah, science!” days struck me as a little bit of a stretch. With that said, I thought Aaron Paul was great and I truly laughed my ass off watching the scene.

– Vince Gilligan spoke to Vulture to offer some insight into the dinner scene.

The idea for the awkward meal came together when the writers decided it was time for Skyler and Jesse to reunite; they met for the first time exactly fifty episodes ago when Skyler confronted Jesse, thinking he had been selling weed to her ailing husband. (“I had to be reminded they had met!” Gilligan admitted.) “We wanted worlds to collide, characters who didn’t really belong together being forced to spend time with each other by the monstrous behavior of Walter White,” he said. “You could see the gears turning in Walt’s head, couldn’t you? When he says, ‘Hey, why don’t we have dinner together?’, he clearly just wants to torture the two people who in his mind have betrayed him. It’s nasty, nasty stuff. Totally childish.”

– Shoutout to the deli counter at Albertson’s. I wonder how much they paid for that stellar bit of product placement?

– I’d been wondering what happened to Saul, as we hadn’t seen him in a few weeks, but it was good to have him back last night, even if he still seems like he’s lost some of his mojo. Moar Saul Goodman, PLEEZ!

– Walter White was obviously MacGyver in a past life. Also, he obviously has a high threshold for pain.

– There’s one thing that struck me as flawed in the “retirement” plans that were tossed around last night: I’m pretty sure Todd will want a share of the profits from the sale of the chemical stash, and I’m pretty sure his “prison connections” might have a say in it as well. Todd was, after all, an integral part of the heist. I’m sure he will want to win too, Walt.

Your own thoughts and observations are of course welcome in the comments.

(GIFs via Chet Manley)