‘Breaking Bad’ Discussion: ‘And I’ll Need More Stevia’

Here’s how you know you’ve been thinking about Breaking Bad too much: Last night I watched the episode when it aired live, then I went out for a bite to eat, then I returned home and watched Talking Bad, then I watched the Breaking Bad replay that ran after Talking Bad. I then went to bed.

Well, this morning I woke up around 3am having to pee. When I woke up I realized that I’d been dreaming in some way about the show. I don’t recall many of the details — they faded from memory rapidly as dreams tend to do — but I do remember one peculiar element of the dream: Walt was speaking with a foreign accent in an effort to create a new identity. Then I went back to sleep.

I later woke again at 6am when my alarm went off and I just so happened to be in the middle of ANOTHER Breaking Bad related dream. In this dream I was actually in the Breaking Bad world and he was trying to get me to communicate a message to a member of his family. Yeah, it was weird.

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.

– Well here we are with one episode to go. And before I get into specifics about last night’s episode, I want to touch one overarching aspect of last night’s episode: when we suddenly flash-forward a few months to Walt living in isolation in New Hampshire, we learn that Walter White is now a nationally known criminal on the run. He’s gone from being an anonymous high school chemistry teacher from the suburbs who cooked meth on the side to being a fugitive whose name now pops up on the Charlie Rose show. He’s now Whitey Bulger, or what Whitey Bulger was until recently, essentially. He’s now an infamous criminal whose name is known by your average person on the street, ala Dahmer, Madoff, Bulger, etc. It’s a striking transformation.

– Someone in the comments recently noted that Saul’s hair/combover has gotten increasingly ridiculous-looking as more sh*t has hit the fan. Thus, not only did the little hair flip he did when posing for his new ID in the vacuum store strike me as funny, but also symbolic of him perhaps restoring some order into his life. He suddenly looked a little less disheveled.

– Also regarding Saul: we know that he’s going to Nebraska to start a new life, but I just don’t see him working in a Cinnabon. I really can’t see him doing anything other than selling used cars, or perhaps furniture.

– Go ahead, call the number (505.842.4205). Of course there’s a little a little present waiting for you on the other end…

– This episode saw Todd transform dramatically from creepy to full-on monster. It started with him beaming with pride over having killed Drew Sharp, went to another level with his hooded interrogation of Skyler in the White home, extended with the cringe-worthy escalation of his schoolboy crush on Lydia — complete with him dressed like he’d just come from church — and then went HAM when he put a bullet in Andrea’s brain.

– I’m going to go ahead and make a prediction right now: it’s Lydia who will get the ricin, and it will be delivered to her system via the sweetener that she puts in her precious tea. Here’s why: In that diner scene a waitress comes over to take Lydia’s order, Naturally, she orders tea, as she always does (and, as some commenters have noted, we almost always see Lydia playing with her tea, indicating some sort of significance and maybe foreshadowing something). Specifically, she says this: “Chamomile tea with soy milk, please. And I’ll need more Stevia.” There’s no reason for the added line about Stevia into that scene. It’s there for a reason, and to me, it’s clearly setting something up. It has significance. And ricin looks like it’d blend in flawlessly with Stevia.

– Anyone have any idea exactly how many months the episode flashed forward last night? Obviously, it’s a few months as Walt’s hair has grown out and his health has declined and he’s thinner — to the point that his wedding ring can’t stay on his finger any longer — and he’s so lonely that he’s willing to pay ten grand for an extra hour of The Guy’s company. (Also, we learned that Skyler is working part-time as a taxi dispatcher.) I looked for timeline clues but couldn’t find any.

– I was a little shocked the Nazis didn’t kill Jesse after he tried to run away. Personally, I would have preferred they killed Jesse instead of Andrea. Obviously, the photo of Andrea and Brock that Todd kept in the lab was a warning to Jesse that something might happen if he tried any funny business, but damn that was hard to swallow.

– That final scene in the bar last night is one I suspect I’ll watch over a few times today. This much seems clear to me: after the call with Walt Jr., Walt was finally ready to take Saul’s advice and turn himself in. He called the DEA, revealed who he was, dropped the phone so that the call could be traced and then went to the bar to have a drink while waiting for the cops to show up to arrest him. But then seeing Elliot and Gretchen dissing him on the Charlie Rose show set him off. The most obvious reason is for lying about his contributions to Gray Matter.

On last night’s Talking Bad, Adam Scott theorized that Walt’s whole desire to build an “empire” stemmed from his resentment of the Schwartz’s and their success with Gray Matter. Will we finally find out what happened between the three of them that led to their falling out as business partners? And is Walt going to go after them as well? Scott also noted how throughout the course of the show Walt has hated being called “nice.” And then we heard Gretchen tell Charlie Rose this: “I can’t speak to this Heisenberg that people refer to, but whatever he became — the sweet, kind, brillant man that we once knew long ago he’s gone.”

– In case you were wondering, Dimple Pinch is “the fourth largest blended Deluxe Scotch whisky in the world.”

– Must be nice to be Andrew Ross Sorkin today, what with getting his name dropped on the Charlie Rose show episode that was featured last night.

– The hockey game playing on the TV in that bar scene at the end? It was a classic college hockey game played in 1998.

– Good to see the lovely Carmen Molina — the principal at Walt’s school — back last night. She should have her own spinoff show, in my opinion.

– Not sure if I’d ever heard of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium prior to last night.

– Random note: I loved this shot so much…

– Random note 2: if I were Jesse, I’m not sure I’d ever allow myself to get close to a woman again for fear she’d end up dead, just as Andrea and Jane have.

We only have one more week left. Let’s savor the sh*t out of it.

Your thoughts are welcome in the comments.