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'Breaking Bad' 5x07: 'Say My Name' Review

Alan Danzis Alan Danzis
August 27th, 2012 10:15pm EDT

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Heisenberg was present and accounted for at the beginning of the episode. He had no problem insulting Declan’s operation and poor excuse for meth. He never wavered and even demanded he be referred to as adopted and new name, answering, “You’re goddamned right” when Declan asked if he was Heisenberg.

But Heisenberg is not the man that killed Mike at the end of the episode. Walter White killed him.

Heisenberg throws his weight around most of the episode. Whether he rips Jesse to shreds when he wants out of the business, or when he basically tells Skyler to mind her own business when he brings the methylamine to the car wash—a space he previously said would be “clean.”

In his one-on-one with Jesse, he tries to go the nice route before the Heisenberg persona takes over. But quickly, he moves in for the kill (metaphorically… for now) when he realizes his former pupil isn’t budging. He questions his integrity with remaining clean of drugs and has no issue bringing up Jesse’s murder of Gale—something Walt made him do. And as I screamed at the TV for him to walk away… Jesse does, even without the $5 million that Mike gets.

Heisenberg is also the one cooking with Todd later. Sure, there are parts of Walt still there when he tells him “You applied yourself” and seems touched that the kid is studying his notes during their break. But at the same time, he’s not as personable or as friendly with him as he always had been with Jesse—though perhaps that will come in time.

We’re then treated to three unexpected bits of comedy in the episode:

Hank’s partner Gomez winds up tailing Mike’s lawyer that makes all the pay-offs to Gus’ nine remaining men and finds him at a bank making deposits. The lawyer’s “Hey” followed by Gomez’s big smile and response of “Hey” when he catches him in the act, is one of the funniest bits all season—and possibly the series.Skyler and Hank sitting down at dinner where Walt tries to have, what in his twisted mind, passes for normal husband/wife conversation about work. (Of course, Walt is talking about making meth.) Skyler doesn’t even pretend to be interested. She simply walks away. Hysterical.Cut to Walt crying again in Hank’s office. Mostly to get him out of the room so he can get rid of the bug he planted a few episodes ago.

That comedy quickly segues into the very, very tense part of the episode where you knew what was coming, just as Mike would soon know. Once Walt learned that Gomez had flipped Mike’s lawyer, you realized that Walt was going to have to kill Mike.

Except, I don’t think that’s what he initially planned to do. While pow-wowing at Saul’s with Jesse and Mike on speakerphone, Walt sounded like he wanted to help Mike get away. It wasn’t until he collected Mike’s “Go” bag that he saw the gun and it occurred to him. He had another option.

And while he handed Mike the bag without the gun, he did walk away. Until hubris got the best of both of them. Walt, the entire episode, felt Mike owed him a thanks. Mike felt he owed him nothing but his hatred. That fight let Walt, not Heisenberg, but Walt, the man who wouldn’t allow himself to be treated like that, to walk back into frame and kill Mike.

It’s disputable why he chased after the car when Mike started to drive away—fooling the audience into thinking Mike could actually get away. To finish the job? Or to see if he was OK because he regretted what he was doing?

The audience, again, then perhaps got their hopes up (or maybe it was just me) as Walt followed bloody footprints down a cliff. It seemed like the episode would end on a cliffhanger and we would be uncertain of Mike’s fate.

But no—there he was, sitting on the riverbank, holding his own weapon, slowly dying. And Walt apologized in the only way he could, by basically blaming this all on Mike. If this was Heisenberg, he would have finished the job.

Instead, Walt did as Mike said, shut the *ucked up, and let him die in peace.

A death worthy of both the character and the actor.

Photo Credits: AMC Networks Inc.


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