Breaking Bad: Fifty-One, Season 5 Episode 4
Taking a closer look at Fifty-One: Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 4
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Lydia and Skylar are backed into a corner and make big moves in an attempt to escape from the downward spiral they are being pulled into. Both are not innocent bystanders or victims of circumstance. They’ve got blood on their hands and they’re going to have to get their hands bloody again to get their lives back.
Because of the death of Gus, the show runners felt the need to inject new blood to the final season. As opposed to the calm, cool and collective demeanor of Gus, Lydia is high-strung, tightly wound and always seems to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Her emotional instability is expressed externally as evident in her facial tics, mismatched shoes and screams into a pillow. Understandably she is rattled when a team of DEA agents question her and arrest the warehouse worker that’s been securing the methylamine for her.
The question is did she really put the GPS tracker on the bottom of the barrel? Her reaction to finding the tracker seems to be genuine shock or maybe she’s just good at acting surprised. Knowing that she handed a hit list of eleven names to Mike, shows she is very capable of taking extreme measures. I’m with Mike, in that it would be very sloppy police work to leave the tracker visible on the outside of the barrel although Hank did mention he’s putting surveillance on Mike, and thus possibly Madrigal’s supply of methylamine as well.
Jesse has become the moral compass of the partnership and opposes Mike’s plan to eliminate Lydia. When he puts it to a vote, Walt is holding the pork pie hat in his hands. A women’s life hangs in the balance and his only care or consideration is what’s best for his business. In a lot of ways, Walter has become the new Gus: calculating, methodical and ruthless. Which is not unlike the old Walter but now it’s something he is at peace with. There’s a stillness in his dark, sinister desire to control and manipulate without accountability that’s quite unsettling. But he’s more reckless than Gus. His overconfidence and greed prevents him from seeing Lydia as a major liability or danger to his operation. Nothing will stop this train.
The episode begins with Walter selling his car for $50. He’s serving his id or inner Heisenberg. Walt has a strong-overwhelming need to show his power, position and wealth by leasing the cars and impressing his son. It’s also reckless because he is drawing attention to himself. Skylar had previously cautioned him about buying a new car (for Junior). His justification is weak: he did not buy them, he only leased them so it fits into his story as a car wash proprietor. His actions show that Skylar’s concerns are inconsequential and he thinks he can get away with anything. Plus, he says his car is a birthday present to himself.
On the way to Walt’s birthday celebration, Marie reveals to Hank about his sister-in-law’s infidelity. At first he assumes Walt was the one cheating because Walt used to have two cell-phones. (It would be great if someone can provide a link or write an article on what Hank actually knows and if he has enough information to figure out the identity of Heisenberg.) Hank is quite observant in that he noticed Lydia was wearing mismatched shoes. On his board of photos, he feels in his gut that there is a missing piece that connects all the people. He also knows that blue meth is making a comeback which means it is either old inventory or more likely somebody is rebooting the business. Will his promotion force him to reassign the Gus Fring case to someone else and keep him from finding out Walt’s secret?
Much like how Mike suspects Lydia’s scheme, Walt sees through Marie’s offer of taking the kids for a few days was in-fact Skylar’s plan. The image of Skylar slowly plunging into the cold watery blue abyss and holding her breath was powerful and poetic. It was a desperation move for a woman with a torn conscience and wants her children out of the house, out of danger. The woman who went into the pool was hollow and withdrawn. But after her so-called baptism or pool stunt she directly confronts Walt, something she’s been avoiding the past couple of episodes.
The confrontation between Walt and Skylar had spot-on dialogue and was the cornerstone of this episode. Skylar owns her cowardice, admits her guilty conscience, and calls Walt out on his bullsh*t which he clearly believes. Walt shows how out of touch he is, “you did what you had to … it doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a human being”. For every possible play that Skylar can think of, Walt has a counter plan. He has Skylar in his palm like a puppeteer. Skylar confesses, she can’t even keep Walt out of her bed. Earlier in the episode, she couldn’t even park in her own driveway due to Walt’s cars. She can only bide her time and wait … until the cancer comes back. Skylar’s wish for Walt to get cancer again shows how broken, helpless and desperate she is. Has Skylar reached the end of her depths or will she not wait for the cancer and go for ‘full measures’? I love the image of Skylar using Walt’s cup as an ashtray. To add salt to her wounds, Walt has the audacity to tell her that the watch he received as a birthday present was from someone who once wanted him dead. And that he will convince her as well. The best villains never see themselves as villains. Tick, Tick, Tick … what a birthday! What an episode!
• ‘Best Quotes from the Episode’
Skylar: “I thought you were the danger”.
Skylar: “I don’t need to hear any of your bullsh*t rationales. I’m in it now. I’m compromised … but I will not have my children living in a house where dealing drugs, hurting people, killing people is shrugged off as shit happens.”
Jesse: “Chances of getting a new methylamine hook up is rare … it’s like bigfoot, like unicorn rare”.
Mike: “And she’s right. We will be taking our business elsewhere. Right after I leave her alone in a ditch.”
Mike: “Now you’re being sexist. Trust me. This woman deserves to die as much as any man I’ve ever met.”