[Review] - Breaking Bad, Season 5 Episode 6, "Buyout"

Courtesy of Sony Television
Strange as it may seem, but after watching this episode, I came away with the feeling that it was as close to a filler episode as Breaking Bad gets. Certainly, things happened. But the bulk of the episode was concerned more with wrapping up last week's doings, or getting ready for next week. What was left was a series of character moments, and what I took away as the final pronouncement on a character's fate. There great scenes, certainly, powerful ones even. But the episode itself didn't seem to fill any specific void in the narrative. It's just the beginning of the end.

Hit the jump for the review, who has agreed to keep the spoilers employed, despite the fact they shot a child in the head.

I love it when a show brings back a minor character years later, to have them play a small but important bit. And this week did that for me, in the form of hydrofluoric acid and melt-proof tubs. Ah, the good old days, when the show was about a burnout and a chemistry teacher melting drug dealers in bath tubs. How we do grow with the years.

The theme of the episode seemed to be, how much are you willing to put up with? What is your limit? And this episode saw the breaking point for most of it's characters. Only Saul stands resolute, though I guess technically he broke back in episode one of this season, only to be forced back in by Walt. But Jesse finds his limit. He has killed before, for the business and for necessity. And it wasn't even the killing of a child that pushed him over the edge. It was the scene when he was leaving the cook, and Walter was whistling as if the world were golden and shiny. It was Walter's apathy towards it all. Jesse saw what Walt has become, and realised for the first time that it's something that he himself doesn't want to become.

Jesse hasn't been exposed to Walt in the same way that Mike, or Skyler, or Fring, has. Jesse has seen Walt at his best, and his worst, and he has seen him at his most desperate, but he's never really been there when Walt goes dark. But, with memories of the hospital trip at the end of last season still fresh, Jesse finally sees Walt for what he has become: empty. And to seal the deal, the almost Bond villain scene, of Walter lounging in his throne, a glass of whiskey in his hand, speaking of empires.

Mike breaks too, but not out of guilt. As the last half of the episode shows, Mike is what Walt has become. He has no compunction, no hesitation, when what must be done, is just. Unlike Walt though, you can see it in his eyes when he threatens Todd. This stuff effects him too, he just buries it. But he is unwilling to risk himself or his family, and with Hank closing in, Mike needs to step back.

The biggest result of this episode, to my mind, is a pretty clear picture of what fate awaits Skyler, and I'll be surprised if she survives to the end of these eight episodes, let alone the series as a whole. In her conversation with Marie, her sister admits to being willing to keep the baby forever. Couple that with the fantastic dinner sequence, and Walt's admission that the job is all he has left, I think it's pretty clear that Skyler has outlived her usefulness. To Walt, all she's good for now is keeping his money safe. But Saul could find another way to solve that problem. With Skyler gone, Walt gets his kids back, and he gets peace at home. He gets what he wants, a harmony between work and home that he has struggled with for the entire run of the show.

Last year ended with Walt making a declaration: "I won." This week ended with him expanding that, claiming that "everybody wins." But for Walt, the latter is just a means to the former. He isn't really concerned with others now, he's only concerned for himself. If others benefit, then OK. If others suffer, so what? So long as Walt stands on the top of the pile after the smoke clears. Whatever he has planned for Mike and Jesse, Walter will be the one that "wins." And I can't help but think that this terrible thing that Vince Gilligan has been teasing for a while now, coming in the next couple weeks, means that "everybody" won't include his wife.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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