Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Walter White Wednesday 24

Season 5A is really cooking now!  Literally.  In the third episode of this season ("Hazard Pay"), Walt and Jesse hit upon a new cook scheme - they'll hide in plain sight and cook in houses that are being tented as part of pest extermination.  No one is in the house during the process anyway, it's a loud process, so no neighbors will think anything of the extra noise, the smell will be chalked up to the toxic fumes used to rid the house of earwigs, roaches, and other nasty critters, and what's a couple of extra guys in jumpsuits?  Taking a page from Gus Fring's Mexican operation, there's a "tent within a tent" for the cook and all the equipment is moved in with the pest equipment - cunningly hidden in giant roadie cases.  (Who knew Skinny Pete had the hands of a concert pianist?  Ah, secrets.)  But Hank's on the scent of the "hiding in plain sight" plan, and I suspect that things are going to get very sticky for the new meth kingpin of ABQ.

There are several chilling, chilling moments in "Hazard Pay," and one of them is in the soundtrack.  As Walt & Co. are discussing the cook plans, we hear the sound of children playing near the house.  Later, we see stray meth fumes being vented into the backyard of the house which contains a swing set and a kiddie pool.  People are becoming collateral to Walt, and collateral damage, well . . . sometimes things happen.

For instance, what does Brock know?  Brock has always been a quiet kid - he's a little like the child in "Peekaboo" in that respect.  Watch the interaction of Brock and Walt on that striped couch - which echoes the striped tents of "Vamanos Pest Control."  On the couch, the stripes are almost like a boundary line - Walt has his space and Brock has his - but  both the striped tent and the striped couch are very toxic places to be, due to Walt's presence.  I was watching that scene with this growing sense of dread - if anything threatens Walt's world, we know that he won't think twice about removing the threat.  Permanently.

Walt's not the only one who knows that, either.  Skyler is terrified of what her husband has become.  She may not be entirely sure what that is, but she knows enough to be scared of it.  Look at her face when she comes into the living room to find her son watching (and quoting) Scarface with her husband, who's dandling their baby daughter on his lap.  "Everybody dies in this movie, don't they?"  Life's not a movie, Walt.  Skyler's box is getting smaller and smaller and she cracks in this episode.  Walt, by the way, doesn't hesitate a second before throwing Skyler under the bus to keep playing the victim to Marie.  (There's an interesting interview with Anna Gunn, who plays Skyler, here.  It's well worth checking out - Skyler is a character who drives many fans crazy and, while I have never understood the Sky-hate, she's got an interesting perspective on it.)

We also know that Walt doesn't do well either handling the business end of things or trusting anyone else to handle that end of things.  He doesn't see the need for "hazard pay" for Gus' old network just as he didn't understand the concept of "breakage" back in Season 2.  That stack of cash is his, all his, and I suspect his failure to understand certain realities is going to cause him to do something deeply stupid.  Like cut Todd out of his share of the pie, at which point Todd might just forget to disable a cleverly-hidden "nanny cam" in some house being treated by Vamanos Pest.

By the way, if you haven't been following my co-author Ensley Guffey's take on Season 5A, bookmark his blog as well.  He's added in "Meth Mondays" for his thoughts, comments, and rampant speculations, and we generally pick up on some different things, so it's a good idea to check up on both of us every week!  And of course, you can follow us both on Facebook and Twitter as well!  Love to hear from you as Wanna Cook? continues.

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