Thoughts on Breaking Bad: “Fifty-One”

It’s White versus White in this enlightening episode

*See my previous review if you are confused by the layout

Photo Courtesy of AMC

 I’m just going to start off by saying the beginning of this episode was just great Breaking Bad fun. Walt finding his Heisenberg hat it the car, followed by the immediate transformation into a suave salesman, and the sly comment to the repairman having to fix everything but Walt’s car window. This episode started with a calm, light plot point, but only got more dramatic and complicated as the episode moved on.

“Fifty-One” felt like a completely different episode then “Hazard Pay”; in fact it felt like a completely different show. Nothing truly exciting or explosive occurred, yet the drama and character pieces were so powerful it became as fine a character study on Skyler and Walt as last season’s “Hermanos” was on Gus. And really this is what this episode was all about- Walt and Skyler and there crumbling relationship.

It has been quite clear over the last season that Skyler has become increasingly uncomfortable around Walt. After seeing Ted and her subsequent breakdown in front of Marie, it was clear that her dealings with Walt have had their toll on her. This came to a header on Walt’s extremely awkward fifty first birthday. This scene was absolutely astounding, for viewers could clearly see the tension that lay not only between Skyler and Walt’s relationship, but also between their relationship with Hank and Marie. Walt’s discussion of how Skyler essentially saved him from his cancer was heartwarming, yet the look of misery and pain on Skyler’s face as she walks from the table into the pool suggest otherwise. For Skyler, Walt living was her death sentence, which is wonderfully captured in the character close-ups in this episode. I have to give it to director Rian Johnson, he knows how to pack one hell of an emotional punch, especially with a scene like this.

This scene led to the true issue of the episode, and truly the issue that Skyler has had all along- she wants out. However, she knows that she can’t, and so her plea with Walt to get the kids out of the house was all the more heart wrenching. “I will not have out children back here,” she pitifully tells Walt. “What are you going to do to stop it?” He brutally responds.  Skyler and Walt have had their fair share of arguments, yet this one was the most powerful. However, what truly sold me on this episode was Skyler’s kidney punch of a response after her plea. If she can’t get away from him, the cancer will do that for her. This was a brutal fact in which both Walt and viwers alike are aware of. Although they have shied away from the cancer bit over the last season, it is still in the back of everyone’s minds- that one day the cancer will come back.

Another plot point in which must be discussed is Lydia and Jesse’s discovery of a tracker on one of the metholomine barrels. This could be the D.E.A, after all they were scooping out the place earlier, yet as Mike points out Lydia is not the most trustworthy person, and so may be trying to protect herself. It will be interesting to see where this partnership with Lydia goes, yet I can’t see her sticking around forever. The innocent always seem to get hurt, whether it is Brock or Gale, and I fear that Lydia may be the next one on the chopping block.