Posted by on July 25, 2012 at 6:12 am  Breaking Bad, Past Seasons, Season 5
Jul 252012

Something is rotten in the state of New Mexico.

A bomb has gone off at a retirement home. It’s all over the news, and Walter White Jr. is excited. Uncle Hank’s a hero! He’s on television!

Skyler White gets a visit from Saul, and learns that a friend she’d hurt has survived the beating. As Saul sits in Skyler’s office delivering the news, he is wearing a small blue ribbon on his lapel.

You might remember lapel ribbons appearing at the start of Season 3, in the aftermath of the midair collision above Albuquerque. Everyone – Hank, Marie, Saul, Sky – was wearing one. Walter was not. 

He wouldn’t, of course. Walt is the guy who built that bomb. He’s the guy who poisoned a kid to convince his estranged colleague that the other guy was the bad one. While we’re counting, he’s also the guy who watched that colleague’s girlfriend die, the girlfriend whose father was an air traffic controller, the father whose grief allowed those two planes to slip into each other’s flight paths and collide.

Walter’s body count is rising. Why doesn’t anyone seem to care?

In the wake of the explosion at the retirement home, Walter Jr. is impressed, Sky is experiencing her new power to inspire fear, Jesse is so cool he’s almost serene, and Walt is smug. Beyond smug. Walt seems — at least to himself — invincible.

The only reminders we get of the recent casualties come from Saul and Mike. But Saul (who could teach a course in ambulance chasing) tends to use the ribbon as he always has. He’s out to attract business, not remember any real loss. Tragedy means opportunity.

Mike feels it, though. He alone wears the trappings and the suits of woe. Wounded, reluctant to do any of this criminal stuff again, Mike keeps telling Jesse to “skip town”. He knows that something is wrong.

We do too. Like Mike, we remember: and we fear what lies ahead.


  13 Responses to “Remembrances”

  1. Mike is the one guy left who really understands what’s going on. He ‘s seen it all, been through it all, and knows how it’s inevitably going to end. Vince Gilligan sums him up well in this week’s Salon interview (click the link in the User Submiited News box to the right):

    Mike is a professional. He is a hardened professional who we suspect wants something more, wants something better, and I don’t mean in a greedy sense, because now in the first episode of Season 5, we’ve seen where he lives. (laughs) This is not a guy who does what he does so that he can smoke the finest cigars and drink the oldest port, or whatnot. This is a guy who lives in basically a dump, and watches TCM, and is a man of simple pleasures. He seems to do what he does because he’s in some deeply worn rut. He is very good at his job and, and so he sticks with it. But he doesn’t seem to get the least amount of enjoyment out of it.

    That “deeply worn rut” must be the only reason he didn’t kill Lydia and decided to rejoin with Walt. He knows Walt is bad news, “a ticking time bomb,” but he’s back in business anyway. Maybe it’s because he’s survived this long (not many men in his line of work live to his age, I would think) so he figures he’ll survive this too.

    • Great addition, Melville!

      What I feel most in Mike this season is weariness. Being back in NM with these guys is not what he wanted, not at all, but here he is again. And it sucks.

      I also get a sense of Mike reaching, at almost every critical moment, for the one thing he can do that will cause the least amount of damage. There are times (like his confrontation with Lydia’s paid hit man) when there is no good choice. In fact, most of the time he’s facing some pretty rotten options. But he still manages to find the best one.

      Weary or not, Mike’s a good soldier.

      • Anne, your comment that Mike is a good soldier brought to mind the movie we see him watching on TV. I believe he is watching an all-time fav of mine, The Caine Mutiny. But why that film? I think it gives us a glimpse into how Mike feels about his men and the loyalty he expects…equal to the loyalty he gives. I don’t think Mike would rat out his men under any circumstances. Killing them is another thing entirely. Once Mike realized one of his men was willing to take him out for money, Mike’s loyalty changed. Like Walt in the beginning, Mike is out to provide for his grandchild. So does Mike move forward by killing the other members of his crew or does he solicit them to be a part of the new team? I hate to admit it but I can see Mike taking action to prevent a mutiny. Mike is a great character, someone you root for in spite of his being a bad guy.

        Does anyone foresee Walt Sr. spilling the beans to Jr.? Walt has already fallen so far that it wouldn’t take much for him to let his son know he is the mastermind who escapes his brother-in-law’s detection. It is just a gut feeling but I think we will see Walt Jr. come to grips with his dad before all is said and done.

    • Mike needs Lydia for the methylamine. Lydia is a loose end that tried to kill him. He let her live out of need and not sympathy for her daughter.

  2. It’s bad when you do something only for the money. The typical hustlers’ mindset. Mike is made of deeper substance than that. Now, he’s taken the plunge. Might as well get paid before its check-out time. Which should be soon, since he’s now tied at the hip to a thermonuclear weapon.
    To see a wizened pro like Mike be sucked into the vortex that is the sirens call of the dark, is such a downer.

  3. I don’t believe that Ted was beaten by the paid goons. Didn’t he trip while in panic and knock his head against a table?

  4. Mike is where Walt was in the Pilot,” I only have a few months to live. Gotta build a nest egg for my family”

  5. Has anyone seen a tally of the body count of those killed on the show so far, connected to Walt’s meth cooking project? Not including the air crash victims, it’s got to be nearing at least two dozen, by now.

    • Add on all the lives effected by the tons of meth Walt and Jesse made, and you have a pretty bad ole boy in Walt.

  6. Mike has been telling his granddaughter some stories (minus crucial details) about the crazy things that have happened in New Mexico. Look at the scene when Walt and Jesse are sitting in Mike’s kitchen. Behind Walt is one of Kaylee’s drawings, posted on the refrigerator. You’ll see a turtle and stick figures of people fighting. I’ll bet Mike’s a good storyteller. If ever Mike needed someone who would listen as though all of his extreme and unthinkable actions were just fantasy, he could turn to his granddaughter because she couldn’t possibly believe that anything in those stories is true. Her drawings also pay homage to the graphic novel genre that inspires BB.

    • What a geat catch! Do we know where or who Kaylee’s parents are?

      • We know (only from last episode) that Kaylee’s last name is Ehrmantraut, same as Mike’s. We’ve seen her mother, not her father. (Mike was warm to her mother, but that means nothing much.) So either a) her father is/was Mike’s son, and is either not around much or dead, or b) her mother is Mike’s daughter and is (probably) unmarried, and Kaylee never took her father’s last name, so the father has always been absent.

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