Breaking Badass Power Rankings: ‘Fifty-One’

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.

Episode: “Fifty-One”

Not Ranked: Germans On the Phone, Holly, Mechanic, and Marie.

And she looks like Jillian from Workaholics!

Hank: “Slow down.”
Walt, Jr. “Never.”

WOAH. When did Flynn grow a pair? Take THAT, Uncle Hank. I’ll go as fast as I want in my new Pussy Mobile, and there’s nothing you can do about it…oh, and can you get my speeding tickets dropped? Between that, and the look of sadness that was on his face when Skyler took bacon off his plate (“I am the one who eats breakfast”), Walt, Jr. spends another week in the syrupy dredges of the Power Rankings.

Another week, another “poor, poor Jesse” comment. He was duped by two people this episode: Walt, of course, who he gets a birthday present for, but also Lydia, who convinced him that the DEA put a tracking device on a barrel of methylamine, even though it was on the outside of said barrel. When Jesse tells Mike what happened, Mr. Ehrmantraut snaps, “She’s dead.” Jesse balks at the idea because unlike Walt, who doesn’t want their supply cut off, he doesn’t want another dead human — a dead female, at that — to be on his already bloody hands.

I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of Jesse stuff coming up.

Lydia, who’s more fidget than person, wears mismatched shoes and screams into pillows — why did Vince Gilligan let Aaron Sorkin join the writing staff? I’m sure there’s more to the character than what we’ve witnessed so far (why else would Gus and Mike have kept her around?), but we haven’t seen it yet.

Mike had little to do in “Fifty-One,” other than sound terrifying on the phone and threaten to a kill a woman. TYPICAL MIKE. I don’t have much else to add, except for: I love the fly poster, as opposed to The Fly poster, that’s tacked on the wall of Walt, Jesse, and Mike’s He-Man Woman Haters Club.

Would YOU mess with that face?

“Woah, hey-oh, pool party!”

Hank has a kick-ass new gig (even if he doesn’t really want it), a hand-mashing babe of a wife, and he’s the only one who noticed Lydia’s mismatched shoes, a clue that she isn’t as composed as she makes herself out to be. Also, he’s aware that there’s more Blue Sky on the streets and that Mike — who had a TERRIBLE photo on the DEA bulletin board — is the key to the former-Fring operation. Walt’s reckless spending and changes in attitude haven’t gone unnoticed, either. With every tick-tick-tick of the clock, Hank is closer to figuring things out.

But until then, he’s gonna keep telling Marie to watch the damn road.

Even in death, Gus Fring is still on everyone’s minds, courtesy of a crazy person bulletin board:

I miss Gus.

This was far and away the toughest episode yet to choose a Most Badass Character for, so I’m copping out and splitting it between the Whites, the future spokespersons for the Marriage Is Like A Slow Death advocacy group. Skyler is the only person who can still get under Walt’s skin. Mike may call him out for taking too many risks, but Walt doesn’t give a sh*t; although the profits are split three ways, Walt’s honestly the only truly necessary member of the operation (remember last week’s “flew too close to the sun” speech, which anyone who thinks wasn’t a threat to Mike AND Jesse is wrong). In “Fifty-One,” Skyler tries to get Walt, Jr. and Holly away to a “new environment,” away from the monster that Walt’s become. Her grand plan, though, certainly isn’t grand and is barely even a plan, but she is trying. She fakes (“fakes”?) drowning in a pool at Walt’s birthday to stop hearing her husband blabber on and on about how “someone or something” has always come through for him and to get Hank and Marie to take the kids, and when Walt later hisses at her about what her next step is, she doesn’t have an answer. She can’t say that Walt’s been beating her because of her infidelity with I F*cked Ted — that would attract the interest of the police, and they’d begin asking questions. For the time being, Skyler is trapped planning birthday dinners and making birthday bacon for Walt, who’s only figuratively beating her to a pulp. But at least she still cares enough to call the King out, that his misdeeds can’t be simply attributed to “sh*t happens.”

And then: “All I can do is wait.” “Wait for what?” “For the cancer to come back.”

Score one for Skyler. Plus, she uses his birthday mug as an ashtray, which is pretty badass. Walt, meanwhile, is embracing his inner Heisenberg. Wearing the pork pie hat, with its single loose thread, in broad daylight? Walt don’t care. Buying not one, but two ridiculously expensive cars, not long after Skyler told him that they still have modest public appearances to keep (like Gus and his Volvo)? Walt don’t care. Let me take back what I just said, actually: Heisenberg is the real man; Walt is the disguise. And Heisenberg is the kind of guy who boasts to his borderline-suicidal wife that someone who used to want him dead gave him a watch for a present. On his 51st birthday, in his mind, everything’s coming up Walt; on his 52nd, we know that he’s on the run and spending his birthday and buying guns in a Denny’s. Skyler isn’t by his side, but is it because she’s escaped with the kids or is it because she’s joined the likes of Gus, Gale, Krazy 8, and so many others?

One final note: “Fifty-One” hit close to home because today’s my 25th birthday. I expect a surprise party and a chocolate cake with chocolate icing when I return home.