‘Breaking Bad’ 4.06 Recap: A Challenger Appears

Well, now Walt isn’t quite so dumb, is he? I mean yes, he’s extremely stupid, as shown by his impulse diversionary purchase of a new car to curry favor with his son, but still. He’s already sorta figured out Gus Fring’s plot vis-à-vis Jesse, but of course he flubs a potentially renewed alliance with Jesse by saying, almost happily, “This is all about me.” Walt in a nutshell, folks.

Despite the sham holdup that made Jesse feel all good about himself, this time his crazy foolishness actually comes into play in a positive way, albeit for the benefit of his drug kingpin boss and such. Not positive for society or anything, you understand. And what started as a bit of machination on Gus’s part might actually end up with Jesse serving as a capable second banana to Mike after all, given his valuable insight into the meth-head “mind” and general bravado.

A very distant backchannel concerns whoever’s provoking Gus into a drug war. It’s someone who appears just as patient, methodical, and strategic as Gus himself, hence his decision to draw them out further with a meeting rather than to let loose the gun-thugs of war. It could be some of his former associates south of the border, or someone else entirely. Regardless it would seem like a possible dramatic path for Gus to be eliminated from Walt’s universe, or vice versa, or even for the two of them to unite against an external foe, or possibly all of these. Given that the show has both been renewed and given a definite endpoint, I’m sure we’ll see, soon enough. Even sooner though, we have this week’s grab-bag of frame-grabs.

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MOST EVIL: Walt continues to struggle with his own egomania, professional meth-chemist pride, workplace issues, and domestic disturbances, but he can still launch into a towering rage that’s a bit more Scarface than Walter Mitty. His hungover tirade to Skyler, where he made himself out to be a scary nefarious character rather than a victim, was enough to almost completely disintegrate Skyler’s facade of plausible deniability. Almost.

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GETTING EVIL: That’s right! Innocent, naive Walt Jr.! “If you’re going to buy me off … buy me off,” he tells his father matter-of-factly, in order to cadge a shiny red — Dodge Challenger? product placement? — rather than a safe econo-box for his first car. He’d make Carmela Soprano proud with that can-do attitude. Sadly, Walt Jr.’s brief moment of getting the upper hand is illusory at best, as he’s still just a shuttlecock o’ guilt batted back and forth between his scheming parents.

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SECOND THOUGHTS: Skyler’s Foot. Now Skyler has been through enough insanity with Walt to really have no excuse for not getting he hell outta there by now, and it looks like she might finally be going to meet the Feds out at a nice isolated spot like Four Corners. But no, she’s just there to toss a coin and, presumably, move off to whatever state is indicated. Two tosses go to Colorado, but just before making the fateful choice, Skyler’s Foot says no, let’s reconsider, and sneaks that coin back over New Mexico way. Thanks for the codependency vote, Skyler’s Foot!

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BEST ANGLE: Are you kidding me? SHOVEL CAM. Has there ever, in the history of recorded cinematical entertainment footage, been a case of Shovel Cam? Only thing better would have been if Jesse Pinkman had brained Tucker the Ineffectual Meth-Head Doorman with the shovel while Shovel Cam was running. We may live in hope.
‘Breaking Bad’ 4.01 Recap: The Unkindest Cut ‘Breaking Bad’ 4.02 Recap: House Party ‘Breaking Bad’ 4.03 Recap: There Is No Spoon ‘Breaking Bad’ 4.04 Recap: Ear Apparent ‘Breaking Bad’ 4.05 Recap: Oh My God Shut Up Walt ‘Breaking Bad’ 4.07 Recap: The 13th Step ‘Breaking Bad’ 4.08 Recap: The Brothers McMeth ‘Breaking Bad’ 4.09 Recap: Ultimate Meth Chemist Fighting Championship ‘Breaking Bad’ 4.10 Recap: Shots by the Pool ‘Breaking Bad’ 4.11 Recap: Bad Trip ‘Breaking Bad’ 4.12 Recap: Do It ‘Breaking Bad’ 4.13 Recap: Doing Quite Well

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