Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Walter White Wednesday 7

The "Sweet Jane" edition. 

Warning:  Here be spoilers if you haven’t seen through Season 3! 

Jesse Pinkman has been evicted from his aunt’s house by his parents, who actually own the place.  Seems that Jesse has a little sideline that involved a lot of chemistry equipment being used to produce noxious fumes and high grade methamphetamine in the basement, so out he had to go.

Happily, he meets Jane Margolis, a Bettie Page look-alike with a half a duplex to rent.  Jane doesn’t ask too many questions – which is good, since Jesse would have a hard time coming up with a plausible answer to most of them (including, “Hey, why are you paying in wads of cash?”).   Jane manages the place for her dad and she works as a tattoo artist, but her own skin remains uninked – it’s too much of a commitment.
Jesse and Jane – I just love how those two names mesh, don’t you? – get along famously and soon, Jane is a lot more than just the “girl next door.”  Breaking Bad does such a nice job of developing secondary characters into fully-rounded people throughout its run and Jane is a shining example of this attention to detail.  For all his bravado, Jesse is often a sweet soul who craves approval and he finds comfort in Jane.    Just look at that shy hand holding at the end of “Negro y Azul.”  The newly-installed TV may still be “searching,” but Jesse’s found home. 

However, Jesse cooks meth and sometimes uses his product while Jane has a chip from Narcotics Anonymous marking 18 months’ of sobriety.  Let me make it clear – Jesse is not the cause of Jane’s downfall.  That’s Jane’s business.  We even see her make her decision in Season 2’s “Mandala” – watch  her hand on the doorknob.  As a viewer, I feel for Jane.   She’s funny and artistic and smart-mouthed and it’s hard to stay sober when your boyfriend’s smoking, even when he doesn’t do it right in front of you.  And – hello! – Jane needed that chip, as her drug of choice involves equipment such as a tourniquet and a syringe.  She shares this high with Jesse and the spiral downward becomes sharper for them both.

It takes money to get away from temptation and Jane tries mightily to be fierce for her man with her attempt to blackmail Walt into giving Jesse “his” money.  However, Jane’s playing a game she never can win when she goes up against the ruthless bewilderment of a cornered Season 2 Walt.  (Oh, and Walt’s non-involvement in the events of “Phoenix” so does not let him off the hook.  And he knows it.  Listen to him in Season 3’s “Fly.”)  When Walt is given a clear choice between taking a right action and doing nothing, but thereby eliminating a problem - well, Walt's moral compass points away from True North.

It seems that Jesse and Jane enjoyed their trip to the museum that we see in a Season 3 flashback.  It's heartbreaking to realize that the light may have been different in every O’Keeffe painting, but those are still on the walls and Jane’s personal light has been snuffed out forever.  There’s blame a-plenty for why that is so and, while Jesse may be dealing with his guilt and grief by listening obsessively to Jane’s voicemail message and gazing at her lipstick-stained cigarette in his car’s ashtray, someone else is also beginning to hear the piper’s insistent tune reminding him that payment is coming due.  And the interest has been compounding.

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