Breaking Bad: “Open House” Review

This is one house worth moving into

**Warning this review contains spoilers from the third episode of Breaking Bad. **

Photo Courtesy of AMC

After last week’s subpar episode, Breaking Bad returned to form with an episode filled with great character moments. Although still slow, this episode’s pace was far better than last week’s, and turned the show in the right direction once again.

The episode begins with a typical day in the meth lab where Walt notices that Gus has installed a security camera. Although Gus is not shown, it is clear that he does not trust Walt anymore, and so will always be a looming threat. However, aside from this brief clip in the beginning of the episode, the remainder of the show choose to focus on four characters and how they are dealing with the current situation.

The first, and most interesting, was Skyler whom in the last few episodes has really taken charge in her strange partnership with her former husband, Walt. Long time viewers know how Skyler can be manipulative and a true bitch when she needs to be, and this episode showed it better than ever. After last week’s failed deal with the carwash owner (see my last review) Skyler had to find a way to purchase the shop, or else find a new place to launder Walt’s meth money. However, being the insistent woman that she is, Skyler did not give up on the carwash and so found a way to get what she wanted. Without giving too much away, Skyler ensured that she got what she wanted, and on her terms. Although many fans have had their issues with Skyler in the past, I have always loved the character and have always wanted her to end up working with Walt, even if that meant dragging down their entire family. Despite their past issues, all it comes down to is that Walt needs Skyler`s help. Although Walt may be the `breadwinner` for the family it is truly up to Skyler to ensure that the money Walt makes is kept low key. As she so says to Walt in the episode, even the most dimwitted people can come to realise that high school teachers don’t even come close to making the amount that Walt is.  As Skyler has shown viewers time and again, she is a woman of action, and will let nothing get in her way.

In last week’s review, I discussed how Hanks’s actions were slowly beginning to take their toll on Marie, and in this week’s episode it showed.  Marie has become my up and coming favourite character, but this week she hit a low in which viewers haven’t seen since early last season. As Marie slowly browses through open houses, she comes to revert to her kleptomaniac ways, and begins stealing other people`s family heirlooms. However, the more interesting thing is that at every new open house she created a new persona for herself. Whether she be a childless woman who lives comfortably with her retired NASA husband, to being a woman with a brother in the peace corps, Marie continued to make up these false lives. At first I believed it was because this is what she ultimately wanted with Hank- a simple life with nothing to worry about- but after she began stealing stuff it hit me. After almost losing her husband and than having to become the sole supporter of him, she had no one to help her and back her up. Hank use to be the one that was there for her no matter what, but now it is the opposite, and she simply can’t handle it. Marie ultimately wants support and love in which she has not received from Hank, who has been less than kind.  However, it seems that Hank has come to realise this and hopefully will come to help and love her as he once did.

While there was very much a sense of female empowerment in this week’s episode, Jesse continued his downward spiral, while Hank may have taken a step in the right direction. In the last two episode’s Jesse was pretty bad off. However, this week he hit rock bottom. After unsuccessfully trying to re-build what little friendship he had with Walt and/or try to drown out everything that has occurred over the last few episodes, Jesse simply gave up. He let his house become infested by the worst of society, and simply did not care about anything. This was clearly shown in the scene when he threw money at the scum living in his house and simply watched them fight for it. While being a sign that Jesse has simply given up, it also became apparent that what he was doing provided him with a sense of empowerment. Ever since the beginning of the series, Jesse has always been the right hand man of someone, or in other words someone pawn. Whether it be Tuco, Gus, or even Walt himself, Jesse was always below everyone. However, with these drug addicts and general scum Jesse has some sense of control and power. What more is he likes it. What this means for his and Walt’s relationship who knows, but could this be the beginning of the end of a beautiful friendship? Never the less, Aaron Paul was once again phenomenal and showed that he has more acting range than simply being a gangster white boy.

Photo Courtesy of AMC

      As Jesse continues to cope with everything, Hank made a small breakthrough in this episode. In the beginning of the episode Hank continued to be his not so typical a-hole self (you got fritos instead of cheetos deal with it). However, after Marie being arrested (for stealing from the houses as discussed) and her subsequent breakdown viewers began to see a bit of Hank’s older, more affectionate self.  Hank showed some true affection for Marie, even if it was for a second. However, this was not the biggest breakthrough for Hank. After Marie returned home, Hank received a visit from a friend from the D.E.A office with a very interesting offer. At the scene of a crime a folder with some very interesting notes were found about a methamphetamine lab, in which they require Hank to look at. As soon as the agent flopped the folder on the desk in which read LAB NOTES in big bold letters I knew who’s they were and it gave me the gitters: they were Gale’s. Over the last two seasons Hank has come so close to finding out what his brother in law Walt does, but this, this folder is Pandora ’s Box. I really think Hank is going to piece everything together; I mean with the intel that he had previously and Gales sure to be thorough notes there’s no way he cant…right?

     After a mediocre episode last week, Breaking Bad certainly brought the goods this week. While still slow action wise, this episode revealed a great deal in terms of the characters and where the story can be heading. I greatly look forward to next week’s episode which looking from the previews is sure to be…explosive.

The Good: A solid, character focused episode makes this week’s episode the best of the season thus far.

The Bad: Jesse continues his downward spiral which could have dire consequences

The Ugly: I just realised that Walt Jr. has not been in this season at all. Where is he?

Score: 9.0 out of 10