falafel_musings: (breaking bad 2)
[personal profile] falafel_musings
The Long Winded Blues of the Never

An All Seasons Walt & Jesse Recap


Season One
Season Two, Part One
Season Two, Part Two

Season Three, Part One 

No Mas


"It's all about accepting who you really are..."

So. Back to my long winded bluesy Walt & Jesse essay; the relationship that causes planes to collide. How does a person go on with their life after causing a girl to asphyxiate on her own vomit, causing that girl's grief-stricken father to crash two jets together, causing 167 innocent people to be killed in a fiery explosion in the sky? This is the new unthinkable horror that Jesse is accepting the blame for and which Walt really is kinda to blame for, though Walt can't possibly accept that. Walt can't be the bad guy and he can't be to blame. Walt blames the government. 

Walt and Jesse spend most of this episode separate - and lamentably, spend a lot of S3 separate - but by this point the two characters are so tightly woven together that it often feels like they are talking to each other even when they're not in the same room. Walt speaking to an assembly of his high school students, offering them flimsy rationalizations for why this horrific plane crash really isn't so bad and urging them all to move on with their lives is (in part) a rehearsal for the bullshit rationals that Walt will soon have to go through with Jesse. Walt has already encouraged Jesse to put his girlfriend's horrible death behind him, get clean and move forward, but the plane crash is a whole new blow to Jesse's fragile state of mind. If losing Jane broke Jesse emotionally, then the resulting plane crash seems to have caused something to snap in Jesse's sanity. When Jesse asks "Did you ever really hurt someone?" I think Jesse is not so much talking about Jane but alluding to the hurt he caused Donald and what that hurt caused Donald to do and how the fuck is Jesse supposed to forgive himself for that? Jesse is asking this to his NA leader, who may be a substitute for Mr White in this scene. The NA leader calmly, almost wistfully, tells Jesse that he once backed his truck over his six year old kid. Walt hasn't killed his own daughter but he caused the death of someone else's daughter which led to the death of some poor little girl who owned a pink teddy bear. The NA leader (like Walt) urges Jesse to free himself of guilt since self-recrimination will only stand in the way of true change. But what kind of change does he mean? Striving for redemption or becoming a sociopath - embracing your own inner Heisenberg?

Walt may not be taking responsibility for any plane crashes, but he is at least taking responsibility for Jesse, picking him up from the weird hippy rehab clinic and letting him stay at his new apartment. Jesse and Walt spend a moment regarding Walt's broken windshield which will keep on getting shattered throughout S3 despite Walt repeatedly fixing it, just as Jesse keeps on breaking throughout the seasons no matter how many times Walt tries to fix the damage he's done to his partner. Walt starts his fixing talk by praising Jesse's sobriety and trying to suggest that this "wake up call" is for the best, but the first thing Jesse wants to talk about is the damned plane crash. Walt goes into bullshit overdrive, making a hundred excuses for why Jesse is not responsible which is partly Walt's way of vindicating himself from responsibility. But it's too late for Walt to play teacher because Jesse has already learned another lesson; self acceptance! Jesse has taken a long hard look at himself and what he's caused and he can only conclude that he's the bad guy. Jesse spent his childhood drawing pictures and daydreaming of being a superhero, but fate has chosen Jesse for the dark side. Only Walt knows how delusional Jesse is being with this speech and that Jesse is more a victim than a villain in this situation. But the only way Walt might take away Jesse's burden of being the bad guy is to reveal who the real bad guy is; something Walt's not prepared to accept.     

Caballo sin Nombre and I.F.T


"It's my house too and I'm staying. End of story."

I'll review the next two episodes as one since there are (tragically!) no Walt/Jesse interactions in 3x2 and 3x3 at all. Though, of course, even when Walt and Jesse are apart, their storylines end up echoing and mirroring each other. I'll admit that I got very excited in the S3 premiere by the prospect of Walt and Jesse being roommates for this season. Walt and Jesse often do act like a surrogate family for each other when they are rejected by their real families, but at this point in time, I can understand why Walt and Jesse needed to get away from each other. Jesse doesn't want to hear Mr White reassuring him that nothing is his fault and Walt doesn't want to hear Jesse condemning himself and (unknowingly) condemning Walt too for the whole 'Jane's death plus the plane crash' incident. Also the Walt & Jesse relationship is actually more functional when they are bickering; when Walt can insult Jesse relentlessly and Jesse can roll his eyes and call Walt a bitch. But now Jesse is a fragile shell that Walt is afraid to break any more than he has done already. Walt and Jesse cannot feel at home with each other right now, but they are both identically adrift in the world and trying to find some way home.

In these two episodes both Walt and Jesse are refused entrance to their old homes by their own families because they are, after all - drug dealing scum. They are both beyond forgiveness in their family's eyes. Jesse got himself clean like his parents always wanted but they're still not inviting him over for dinner. Walt has earned enough money to provide for his family's future which was supposed to be his big redemption but Skyler is still disgusted with him. Walt and Jesse are both persona non grata but they find ways to force themselves back into houses where they are no longer welcome anyway. Jesse does it because he's the bad guy and bad guys think nothing of blackmailing their mom and dad. Walt does it because he doesn't believe that he's in the wrong and needs Skyler to acknowledge all the sacrifices he's made for his family. 

But for both Walt and Jesse, going home doesn't bring them any happiness. They are both still alone and cut off from their former lovers. Jesse is home alone in the most literal way, only able to access the sound of Jane's voice by calling her answer phone message; which is eventually cut off, leaving Jesse to once again take refuge in the only other home he has left...the RV. Walt is also reduced to calling Skyler on the phone rather than talking to her directly. Like Jesse, Walt is clinging to the memory of the love he had in his life, like he can still bring that love back. Skyler's closing words "I fucked Ted" may be Walt's own equivalent of "The number you have called is no longer in service."        

Green Light


"It's the one thing I'm good at."

At the start of this episode, Jesse has just cooked the pure blue meth successfully without any help from Walt. Jesse may hate himself but now he has accepted his new hateful bad guy persona, he's actually gained confidence and purpose through it. Cooking meth isn't the only thing Jesse is good at. He's also good at seducing girls and convincing them to take drugs. This is what Jesse believes he did to Jane but back then, Jesse's dopey flirting consisted of asking Jane is she wanted to see his new flat screen with the blacks that are like "really really black" and Jesse never wanted to draw Jane back into her addiction. Aaron Paul may be good looking but he's never played Jesse as attractive and alluring until the scene where he pushes meth on the poor girl serving at the gas station. Later the girl gushes to Hank about Jesse's dreamy blue eyes which she couldn't resist anymore than tweekers can resist the blue meth. Walt is often described as a cancer on the lives of the people around him and it seems Walt's actions (or inaction) with Jane have turned Jesse into a living embodiment of the blue meth disease.

Jesse already knows his meth is good, but he still needs Mr White to say that it's good. Walt has currently been rejected by his wife and has just been rejected from his job, so there is not even any point in Walt hiding his shady association with Jesse anymore. When they sit together in the station wagon, Jesse is the eager pupil, wanting to show off that he did a good job and get a hard earned "well done" from the toughest teacher he ever had. Walt has got into the awkward unnatural habit of being kind to Jesse since Jane's death and initially insists that Jesse can be good at a lot of other things besides cooking meth. Which is tragically true, but Walt can't think of a single suggestion for an alternative career path because he never paid enough attention to any of Jesse's talents that didn't serve his own agenda. And when Jesse is beaming with pride and arraying the perfect pure meth that he wants to sell to Gus Fring, Walt's rage is enough to make him forget how needy Jesse is right now. All Jesse wants is for Mr White to tell him he's good at something and he'll even give Walt a cut of his profits out of gratitude. But for Walt, this is Gretchen and Elliot all over again. Walt's former partner is going steal Walt's genius; the formula that Gus Fring had offered to pay millions for and Jesse is the one who will make those millions, only offering Walt a small cut out of charity. Walt rounds on Jesse saying "I cut you in" because this relationship has hinged on Walt being the one in control. For the sake of nicety, they have always called themselves 50/50 partners, but here Walt confirms what Jesse has always feared - that Walt only ever saw him as a servant and an inferior. Oh and Jesse's a junkie loser too, in case he forgot.

As Jesse drives away, the cardboard box containing the artifacts of Walt's teaching career falls from Jesse's car roof and smashes all over the ground. Walt always resented that he only amounted to being a high school chemistry teacher and even though Walt is capable of being a good teacher, he's put an end to his educational role by telling the most dedicated student he ever had that his work is no good, all because it'd kill Walt to see Jesse succeed without him. Lucky for Walt, Gus Fring is on his side; giving him half of Jesse's profits and inviting Walt to snatch up the full share.   



"The guy's blackmailing me. He's got a criminal mind, yo."

In the opening sequence we get a flashback to the first days of Walt and Jesse's partnership and learn that Jesse secretly fucked Walt over and Walt never knew it. Over the seasons, this won't be enough to restore the balance for all the times Walt will secretly fuck Jesse over in ways Jesse doesn't yet know about, but it's something. So yes, Walt once stupidly gave his life savings to a drug dealer who then blew all the money by taking his friends out on an all-night bender in a strip club. But Jesse was stupid back then too, otherwise he might have stolen Walt's money and gotten the hell out of town. Maybe Walt wouldn't have actually minded because Jesse sorta did follow his "You're a drug dealer. Negotiate." advice. Combo was easily convinced to let Jesse steal his mother's RV after Jesse treated him to a night of boozing and boobies.

Back in the present day, Saul has hilariously turned into Walt and Jesse's divorce lawyer ("Escalating, you're escalating...") and is trying to get the boys to reach an amicable separation settlement. Jesse is already furious because he knows he's the one getting screwed and yet he's trying to go all blowfish yelling to Walt that he's going to turn their RV into a one-man glass factory. Walt can't talk Jesse out of cooking and he has Gus Fring telling him that Jesse's meth is pretty much consistent with the quality of Walter's meth. Well, he did tell Jesse to apply himself. But Gus makes it all better by offering Walt his very own magical super lab all wrapped up in a bow and Gus even gets Walt to return to his "a man provides for his family" justifications. You bet Walt is taking that bait. When Walt arrives at Saul's office, Jesse throws the 'C' word at him ("charity" that is) which only encourages Walt to be extra spiteful and merciless - "I'm in. You're out." Walt is worthy and wanted, Jesse is not. And just to emphasize this point, Saul immediately ditches Jesse for Walt after assuring Jesse that he had his back.

It pains me to say it (since I'm a fan of Walt/Jesse co-dependency) but Walt really doesn't want Jesse in his life at this point. Jesse has become an irritating fly buzzing in his ears (more on fly metaphors in S3 part 2, obviously). It's much easier for Walt to see Jesse as another traitor partner who was trying to steal Walt's empire than it is for Walt to see Jesse as a fucked up kid whose life he ruined. All that Jesse can do in retaliation is throw a brick at Walt's car, breaking his windshield again and turning it back into a symbol of all the things that Walt has broken around him.         



"You led him straight to us."

Walt might have failed to cheat on his wife during their break up period, but only a few days into his break up with Jesse, Walt cooks meth with another partner. The bastard. And not just any partner, but Gale who seems to be Walt's ideal meth lab boyfriend. Gale is closer to Walt's age, he has academic qualifications, he shares Walt's nerdy passion for chemistry, he can play chess, he can recite poetry, he speaks in proper sentences and everything. This is a partner who Walt can consider his equal, so much so that he insists that Gale calls him 'Walt' rather than Mr White, something he never told Jesse to do. Meanwhile Jesse's only form of rebound is to try to return to being a low-level drug dealer with his lowlife druggie friends and maybe get back to the sort of casual criminal life he led before Walt came along with his greed and ambition.

Jesse might have gone back to that life and been a little happier for it were it not for the fact that awesome!Hank has awesomely figured out Jesse's game. However, poor blinkered Hank hasn't figured out Walt's involvement and so thanks to Walt's old lie about Jesse dealing him weed, Walt gets a heads up that Hank is on to Jesse and the RV. Walt's first instinct is to call Jesse and warn him, but he quickly aborts in favour of covering his own ass. Walt rushes to get the RV destroyed and because Walt never pays any attention to druggie underlings he ignores Badger's "What about Jesse?" protests. Which leads to Jesse rushing to the RVs rescue and leading Hank right to them. Just before Jesse arrives, Walt is taking a moment in the RV, shaking his head over a bag of Funyuns and fondly stroking the deck chairs. Despite his snooty scientific pretentiousness and the fact that he's just been gifted a shiny super lab by Gus, Walt honestly loved the RV and the cooks he and Jesse shared there. A moment later it looks like Jesse and the RV will be Walt's undoing. Hank has got them caught like rats in a trap and once he gets inside the RV, Walt will have no more lies to explain his presence there with the meth cooking equipment and the bullet holes in the door. Walt buys them a little more time, using Jesse as puppet so he doesn't have to say anything to Hank himself, and it turns out to be enough time to come up with the cruel Marie car crash manipulation to get Hank away from the scene.

After Hank has gone, Walt and Jesse get down to the nasty but necessary business crushing the RV into scrap metal. I swear, no death on the show makes me cry quite as much as the death of the dear old RV. It was Walt and Jesse's special place, damn it, and things are never the same after they lose it. Jesse watches the RV getting crushed to pieces looking like kid whose watching his favourite dog being put-down. Walt just looks at Jesse knowing that the RV was one of the last things Jesse had and maybe wondering what Jesse will do now that has been destroyed too.            

One Minute


"I have nothing. No one. Alright, it's all gone."

At the start of 'One Minute' it seems like Walt has sent Jesse home with instructions that Hank has no evidence to convict him and he needs to call Saul if Hank sees it any different. Walt underestimated Hank's PTSD levels and he didn't predict Hank flipping out over the Marie scam and beating Jesse senseless. But still it's a lucky thing for Walt that Hank's break down happened in this instance because if Hank had been able to calmly reflect on how Jesse Pinkman (the kid who sold Walt pot) might have got his cell number and his wife's name he might have cracked the whole Heisenberg case long before a lot of people got murdered in prison. If Hank hadn't beaten Jesse up, he would likely have convinced Jesse to roll on Walt, considering Jesse's bitterness towards his old mentor. Jesse flat out says he would give up the great Heisenberg, but the beating causes Jesse to redirect a larger portion of his bitterness towards Hank, because while Jesse has been beaten up a lot by other criminals, getting beaten up by a cop is just plain Kafkaesque yo. Jesse is no longer numbing his body and wits with drugs so the intense physical and emotional pain Jesse now feels gives him a blistering sense of clarity. Jesse goes into blowfish mode, more believably than he has ever done in the past, promising to ruin Hank's life and threatening to ruin Walt's life if he tries to stop him. Walt knows Jesse's vengeful speech might be nothing but hot air, but he can no longer be sure. It's not like Jesse has anything left to lose.     

I think Walt is shocked and saddened to see Jesse beaten, broken and in pain again, especially since - as always - it's largely Walt's fault that Jesse got hurt. Walt is even more shocked by Saul hints at having Jesse murdered for threatening to inform on them. For all the damage Walt has done to Jesse, he still wants to save Jesse's life. I mean if Jesse dies now then Walt will have caused Jane's death and a plane crash for no reason. You know, I always wince over Jesse's sneering "nice try" line about Walt trying to save Hank from police brutality charges, because while sparing Hank from this disgrace and trying to win back Skyler's favour are clearly part of Walt's motivation, I think Walt is more concerned about saving Jesse from those "options" Saul mentioned. Walt has accepted that the only way he can protect Jesse is by bringing him back under his control and besides, Walt telling Gus he has a stronger connection with Jesse isn't really a lie. The control Walt has over Jesse was always his comfort blanket. 

Walt thinks it'll be easy getting Jesse back on his side by dazzling him with the offer of 1.5 million dollars, but Walt forgets that it isn't money that Jesse has been yearning for. Jesse sits up in his hospital bed and screams that he wants nothing more to do with Walt, who has been the curse of Jesse's life and has caused him to lose everything he's ever cared about. Walt says nothing to defend himself. Jesse doesn't even know how much Walt is responsible for taking away the things that he loved. When Jesse has finished railing over all his losses, he settles on bitterly snarling over Walt calling his meth inferior. Jesse ought to know that Walt was lying about the quality of his meth because Jesse's ability to cook hurt Walt's own ego. But Jesse still needs to hear Walt say that. And Walt does say it, with very little effort - "Your meth is good, Jesse. As good as mine." - because that's a much easier confession for Walt to make than "I watched Jane choking and I deliberately didn't save her." And when Walt tells Jesse his meth is good, it may be a calculated move to get Jesse agree to the new partnership or it may simply be the only small thing that Walt can say to make some tiny amends to this poor doomed kid. Either way, Jesse calls Walt a few minutes later and he miserably agrees to be 50/50 partners again, even knowing that Walt never really viewed him as an equal partner before. And on refection, I don't think Jesse was really demanding Walt stay out of his life. Jesse's speech was more of a broken cry for help. It was Jesse begging Walt to make him feel wanted again. Because when Jesse was ranting about having lost everything that he ever cared about, I think his relationship with Walt was one of those painful losses. 

Discussion Questions

1) Screw the questions. Anyone still reading, please share your thoughts on Walt/Jesse in S3 pt1. 

Walt & Jesse: Season Three, Part Two

Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
Account name:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
HTML doesn't work in the subject.


Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.


falafel_musings: (Default)

June 2013

2 345678
91011121314 15

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 08:43 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios