Quick Take: Breaking Bad, "Caballo Sin Nombre"
"I can't be the bad guy." - Walt
Review: Breaking Bad, "Caballo Sin Nombre"
(S0302) The opening scene again portrayed the conflicting dynamics swirling (broiling?) around Walter White (Bryan Cranston) beautifully. We have a mild mannered, middle aged guy driving a sensible as heck hatchback (a car that's almost a character on the show by now, isn't it?) down a gorgeous and remote southwestern desert road. He's pleasantly humming along to "Horse With No Name" until a cop pulls him over for a legitimate if nitpicky infraction.
Walt proceeds to freak out, and utter and complete meltdown, and ends up in the back of the cruiser, pepper sprayed to the 12th degree, crying, snot dripping ridiculously down his reddened face. It's as though there's a monster that was borne of his transformation into a drug lord/criminal mastermind, and it's not as easily tethered as it once was, particularly when Walt must interact with polite society.
My theory is that the monster wants to be recognized, and is enraged that it can't be given its due respect, if not deference. Respect is a really big deal to Walt, isn't it. Respect and pride. It's not enough for him to be pulling off insane feats of criminal mastery while also covering it up from the police, his family, and his brother-in-law DEA agent. He also has to be respected. And, let's face it: being feared a nice little bit doesn't put the monster off all that much at all, thank you very much.
There are other dynamics swirling, of course. A nasty pair of Mexican cousins, for instance, who wiped out a truckload of illegal border crossers for seemingly being recognized (who now know that "Heisenberg" is WALTER WHITE, ding ding ding!). And then there's the domestic wake that Walt's dealings have left behind. It's a testament to how great RJ Mitte is as Flynn, er, sorry, Walter Jr., in that you feel the pain and confusion of the kid's situation deeply. Mom is leaving dad. Okay, it happens. But no one will tell him why and, further, mom has ordered dad away from the family. I mean… that sucks.
And meanwhile, Jesse Pinkman, recent rehab grad and self-proclaimed "bad guy," pulled off a breathtaking power move by hiring (Better Call) Saul to lowball/extort his parents into selling Jesse's aunt's house with knowledge of the very meth lab that Jesse and Walt themselves ran out of the basement.
The episode ends on an ironic (Walt humming "Horse With No Name" in the shower) and sinister (the Mexican dudes sitting on his bed waiting for him with a bright and shiny ax) note, mixed with a mighty big twist. Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), it seems, has more reach than we could have even imagined. Enough even to save Walt from an ax-y death with one word: POLLOS.
Other thoughts on "Caballo Sin Nombre":
Video: Breaking Bad, "Caballo Sin Nombre"
Check out the always great "inside" clip for this episode, from AMC:
Recap: Breaking Bad, "Caballo Sin Nombre"
Walt drives to work, singing along to the radio. He's pulled over by a policeman, who writes Walt a ticket for driving with a cracked windshield. Walt tries to explain that the car was damaged by debris from the Wayfarer 515 collision, but to no avail. "Hellfire rained down on my house!" Walt screams, ignoring the officer's instructions to calm down. Moments later, a pepper-sprayed Walt is thrust into the patrol car, eyes streaming. Read more at AMC.
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