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Review: 'Breaking Bad' 5x03 – 'Hazard Pay'

Alan Danzis Alan Danzis
July 31st, 2012 9:18am EDT

Breaking Bad-0001-20120530-353.jpg“Yes, he handles the business. And I handle him.”

Walt may have pitched Mike on a three-way deal with him and Jesse on being owners, not employees, in their new business arrangement, but that quote above leaves no doubt that Walt seems to think he’s the one in charge. He even rejects the idea of a vote when they’re deciding on a new place to cook.

But how long will Mike go along with that? Or on the other hand, how long before Walt sees him as a liability the way Gus once saw Victor?

“Hazard Pay” was a bridging episode—setting the stage for what’s to come in the remaining fourteen episode of Breaking Bad.

Walt and Jesse finally found a new place to cook. (Though am I the only one that think’s it’s a bit of a pain to have to change locations constantly, even if it will be easier to maintain their secrecy?)

Marie started to maybe be clued into the secrets that Walt is hiding. While he was able to cover it – and make himself out to be a wronged husband in the process – how long will Marie continue to buy that story about why Skylar seems so out of it?

And Mike and Walt both tried to assert authority over each other. Mike is determined to make his guys “whole” and continue to pay their hazard pay, even if Walt killed “Jesse James.” Walt, meanwhile, is clearly in it for the money now, not to help make his own family “whole”—to borrow a term from Mike.

Jesse, meanwhile, gets in deeper and deeper with Walt, and even forgoes his burgeoning new family by dumping Andrea. Many have speculated that in the scene where Walt tells Jesse he trusts him to decide whether or not to bring Andrea into this life by confessing what’s he done, that Walt is actually using a bit of reverse psychology on him to convince Jesse to break up with her.

I didn’t read the scene that way, but can see why others did. Jesse, however, seems to becoming close to realizing just how evil Walt is in the final scene, as he watches Walt barely contain his anger at Mike taking away all his profit to pay off past obligations, and as Walt thinks about what ultimately led Gus to kill Victor in front of them. In that last scene, Walt has no trouble thinking out loud to Jesse about one day killing Mike.

But at this point, like Mike, what other choice does Jesse have?

Unless he too, will decide to try and kill “Jesse James” at some point.

Other thoughts:

- I thought it was a bit on the nose that Walt was watching Scarface, as creator Vince Gilligan has always said the idea behind the show is taking “Mr. Chips and turning him into Scarface.”

- No Hank this week unfortunately. But we did get guest star Jesse Plemons. You have to assume he’ll have a larger role besides just a crooked exterminator named Todd—otherwise why cast him. Some have speculated he’s actually a cop, who thought he was bringing down some simple breaking and entering crooked exterminators… but has now stumbled on to something a bit larger…

- Saul takes Walt, Jesse and Mike to a number of possible lab locations—including Lazer Base, which is where Saul originally wanted Walt to launder his money.

Photo Credits: AMC