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'Breaking Bad': Making that feeling last

Episode-11-Skyler-760 One of the true delights of "Breaking Bad" is the teaser -- that is, the scene that precedes the opening credits. There are no rules for it. Some days it's just an image or a series of images, no actors needed. Some days it's dialogue. Most often, it presents a question that the rest of the episode then proceeds to answer. But then sometimes it's just plain fun -- a narcocorrido music video, for example, or even a commercial for a fast-food chicken chain. 

Well, Sunday's teaser becomes more interesting the more you think about it. In brief, it was Jesse's "perfect moment," that one moment when everything was right in his world and if he'd have died right then, well, that would have been OK. But what's interesting about Jesse's perfect moment is that unlike Walt's moment, which we saw last week, Jesse's may not have actually existed. 

First, let's briefly remind ourselves: last week's teaser was a close-up of a fly as Skyler sang a lullaby in the background. Much later in the episode, that teaser was revealed to be Walt's moment, the one about which he lamented, "Oh, if I had just lived up to that moment, and not one second more. That would have been perfect." Instead he went out into the night and things spiraled crazily beyond his calculations.  

This week, we opened with Jesse (Aaron Paul) and his dearly departed Jane (Krysten Ritter), presumably at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. And Jesse just couldn't understand why O'Keeffe painted so many doors. "Why not a door?" Jane reasoned in the car afterward. "Sometimes you get fixated on something and you might not even get why. You open yourself up and go with the flow, wherever the universe takes you. ... That door was her home and she loved it. To me, that's about making that feeling last." 

Jesse then uttered a romantic line that dripped with cheese, and Jane granted him a kiss even while acknowledging the cheesiness. She then crushed out her cigarette in the ashtray of Jesse's car, the same lipstick-smeared cigarette Jesse fixated on last week. The whole thing was very sweet and a nice payoff. And, for the record, this episode was titled "Abiquiu," which is the name of the New Mexico town in which O'Keeffe lived and painted for much of her life. That door in Abiquiu was her home that she loved, according to Jane, and the same can now be said of how Jesse remembers Jane. 

But upon further review, the whole teaser seems like it may have actually happened only in Jesse's mind. I say this because after watching the show I looked back to Season 2 and rediscovered an important line in the context of this teaser. In the episode titled "4 Days Out," in which Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse found themselves stranded out in the desert after the RV's battery died, at one point Jesse said, "Why couldn't I have just gone to Santa Fe?" Earlier, Jane had convinced him to take the trip there to see O'Keeffe's work. But before they left, Walt ordered him out to the desert to cook up more meth instead. 

Two episodes later, once Jesse and Jane had begun using again, Jesse at one point tried to rouse a drug-addled Jane by suggesting that they make that trip up to Santa Fe. "Sure," she said, before loading more meth into a pipe. Not long after, she was gone. 

And so while the flashback teaser has been introduced this season -- first with Tio and the young cousins, and then with last week's fly lullaby -- what we seem to have here is either a scene that Jesse merely imagined, a storyline continuity flub by the writers or, well, me just really over-thinking things. 

Regardless, Jesse's imagination did end up taking him to some dark corners this week. Wanting to prey on recovering addicts in his therapy group, Jesse romances a girl named Andrea (played very well by Emily Rios) in an attempt to get her to buy his meth. "Just a little gas in the tank and suddenly ... everything is interesting," Jesse says of the blue stuff that's going around, before taking Jane's words from the teaser and using them on Andrea: "I wish I could make that feeling last." Jesse, though, soon discovers that she has a kid, which is when his conscience returns. 

Still longing for some sort of familial connection, Jesse always softens up around the little ones. And so when Andrea asked if he was holding, he questioned her as a mother and so began a bit of a tiff. Once they made up, she told him about the boy her family once took in, who ends up being the boy on the bike who last season killed Combo in that shocking sequence -- which, by the way, happened to be another "Breaking Bad" teaser. I'll admit to being a little leery of the coincidence here. And yes, I realize TV shows act as their own little worlds where one must sometimes suspend disbelief, but every once in a while a TV world just seems a little too small, and this was one of those instances for me. 

That being said, there was a real payoff to suspending disbelief here, because the closing sequence with Jesse returning to that same street corner did get the heart beating a little faster. And what do we make of Jesse's purchase, not to mention the look on his face as he quickly walked away? Was this guilt? Anger? Perhaps even a death wish?

The other question that had no definitive answer was the meaning behind Gus' statement, "Don't make the same mistake twice," when breaking bread with Walt. Was he talking about Jesse? It wasn't -- pardon the pun -- crystal. That whole dinner scene -- the music, the knife, the suspicion -- was excellent, but then again, we have yet to see a scene between Walt and Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) that isn't superb. 

Meanwhile, Hank (Dean Norris) wants no part of going home until he's able to walk again, and from the looks of it that means he might not be home for a while. His injuries, his pride and certainly his imperfect insurance plan continue to give Walt a very good excuse to keep cooking for a long, long time (nice job, writers' room). 

And how about Skyler (Anna Gunn) continuing to throw her weight around in all of these illegalities? She wants to help Walt take over the old car wash in order to help launder the drug money, and she admitted to never turning in the divorce papers because a wife can't be forced to testify against her husband -- "so there's that." 

As Walter's eyes continue to try to find her love again, Skyler just gets more and more interesting as she continues to look the other way. 

-- Josh Gajewski 

Photo: Skyler White (Anna Gunn) continued to get more involved in her husband's illegal activity during Sunday's "Breaking Bad." Credit: AMC. 


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Comments () | Archives (8)

The dialogue described above as Jane "acknowledging the cheesiness" is my favorite line of the episode: "That was so sweet, I think I threw up in my mouth a little bit." Wow.

I had the same questions the moment we saw Jane and Jesse at the museum. "They never went to the museum!" I actually yelled at my scream. It was upsetting to me because it was so poignant in season 2, where their relationship (and Jane's life) falls to pieces while they stand on the precipice of the promise of museum-trip-day.

I also went through the options - this was Jesse's dream; this was a writer mistake (seems unlikely); this was me remembering last season incorrectly; this was very intentional for some reason. When they actually showed the cigaretter butt though, I was somewhat convinced this scene did take place. But not completely.

Also, Skyler is seriously breaking bad. Notice how much green she was wearing this episode? She sparkled like an emerald. From what I've read and noticed, green is the color of going down very dangerous paths. Her plot is thrilling and terrifying; think about Skyler end of last season, and now, just a few months later.

Great point about the Sante Fe trip. I was so engrossed in the scene, and the chance to see Jesse and Jane together again, that it didn't occur to me. The cigarette butt definitely seems to ground it in reality, though. As does the specifics of Jesse and Jane's conversation. It's hard to imagine Jesse coming to that perspective on the O'Keefe paintings without Jane's help.

Hm...

how bout some predictions? we only have 2 episodes left in this season.
clearly from the teaser for next week, the walls are closing in on jesse.

I think something will come of that carwash, i think we will see it again, maybe not this year but in the future. That car wash owner is a jackass, and treated walt like crap when we worked there, and you can see walt watching him berate his workers in sundays episode. Walt has a long memory

As he walked away from Combo's corner, Jesse's face had REVENGE written all over it. I don't know if he's capable of killing a kid (though, that kid seemed much, much older to me than he was when he shot Combo), but I can't wait to find out. . .

Thanks, Heisenberg - now I understand why Combo was killed... and why Jesse scored some drugs at that spot... and I agree with you that Jesse's face had 'revenge' written all over it, now that I think about it. I had no clue as to why those scenes were played out until now.
As for the painting of the doors and how those paintings are not the same - we all open the same doors to our homes everyday too, yet each day is indeed different with various unique events and happenings.
So Gus wants Walt to be his consigliori, eh?

I don't think the Jesse and Jane scene was a flashback to what was between the two of them. I think it was more a longing for what could have been, but never happened.


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