Breaking Bad: “Fifty-One”
Can Skyler float? Do mismatched shoes mean you're crazy? These questions and more in this special episode.
August 6, 2012 7:31 pmTerry Yates
The Heisenberg hat makes a welcome appearance in this week's cold open as Walt sells the hybrid for a cool $50 and replaces it with a muscle car…perhaps with some all new Chrysler 300 product placement? Walt Jr also gets in to some the muscle car action for a nice little scene set to garbage dubstep.
Hank and company stop by Madrigal to talk to Lydia who's so out of sorts at this point that her shoes aren't even matching. Looks like they're after the missing methylamine and Lydia seems worried that the guy will roll over on her and by extension Mike. He doesn't seem to concerned about this turn of events and promises to send a new "guy".
I guess Skyler's arc this season, besides yelling at Marie, is to slowly but surely be a tension that's building under the surface or something. She seems to be disappointed in the fact that Walt is back to making meth, but as usual lacks any real expression to perhaps convey this, though she does attempt something resembling a smile at the end of this particular scene. Instead she suggests to Walt that maybe they send Walt Jr and their daughter to boarding school, to get them away from "our environment". Walt wonders what's wrong with "our environment" and goes back to being the little devil on Skyler's shoulder trying to convince her that what they're doing is good and just. Also, it's Walt's birthday soon, and he'd like a little celebration and chocolate cake.
Hank is trying to tie together all the loose ends with the Gustavo Fring operation. In the process it looks as though he might be up for a promotion, if he applies for it. But it also means that he may have to give up the Fring case in order to run the shop. Citing murder at the hands of Marie if he doesn't take the promotion, Hank seems to be on board.
Walt's birthday is a bit on the shallow end as he comes home looking for a celebration and instead is greeted with microwave roast chicken and dinner with the Schrader's. But hey, at least there's chocolate cake.
Meanwhile, back with the Schrader's, Marie spills the beans about Skyler's infidelity with Ted. Hank seems shocked and dismayed at the notion that she would ever cheat on Walt. The birthday party is wrought with an underlying tension that is well played amongst the actors. Walt then begins to talk about how almost a year ago to the day that he got his diagnosis. Bryan Cranston plays the monologue so well, it seems so genuine and earnest, but from the expressionless cutaway to Skyler, it's clear that Walt is full of baloney. She then wanders in to the pool, face frozen and unmoving, to the depths below.
Breaking Bad typically stays away from this ham-handed cliché business of character study, but I can forgive this bit of "Skyler floating around in the pool" nonsense because at least it's marginally more effective at relating what Skyler's supposed to be going through, that Anna Gunn can't emote through acting. Sure, I may be taking a few too many whacks at Anna Gunn this season, but this season Skyler hasn't been given anything worth doing. She's typically ball busting and agitated, and now the show's writers are asking for some depth, and Anna Gunn just doesn't possess it.
Jesse shows up at Madrigal's as "the guy" greeted by a clearly unraveling Lydia. As they're getting the methylamine she notices something on the bottom of the barrel. Looks to be a GPS tracking device placed there by the DEA.
Hank and Walt have a heart to heart about what to do about Skyler. Hank suggests several mental health options for her while Walt appears stunned that she's "taking it so hard". Marie suggest that Walt and Skyler get some space between them while the Schrader's watch their children, to which Marie cops to the fact that it was in fact Skyler's idea. The kids are now out of "our environment", safe and sound. It's not that Skyler doesn't make sense and that her trepidation is unwarranted, but the danger it turns out is more Walt based than any of the meth business he's wrapped up in. Skyler seems entrenched in this notion that the kids will remain out of the house until all of Walt's business is over. Then a nice little scene between Walt and Skyler as they hash out what Skyler's plan is for the foreseeable future and what her true problem is with everything. Finally, some emotion comes out of Anna Gunn as she says that she's playing a waiting game until the cancer comes back and claims Walt.
The GPS device was actually a plant from Lydia trying to get the partnership to stop doing business with her. Mike intends on killing her, chalking it up to his being sexist that he even allowed her to live in the first place. Jesse tries to talk Mike off the cliff, but it's Walt who decides that she lives so that the methylamine keeps coming no matter what. Jesse finally gives Walt his birthday gift, a blue watch. How sweet!
At the end of the episode Walk and Skyler share a scene which has her openly smoking and being remotely the ball busting matron of old. Walt shows Skyler his watch and tells her that the person who gave him the watch wanted him dead too not too long ago. He changed his mind about Walt, and so will she too. It's not nearly as chilling as their earlier interaction, but it's still worth noting how much he cares that Skyler be on his side. The last shot is of the watch slowly tick-tocking away, letting us know that Skyler isn't the only thing not on his side.
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING
out of 10