Breaking Bad, "Crawl Space": down and dirty

Quick Take: Breaking Bad, "Crawl Space"
"For now, but he'll come around." - Gus

gus fring

Review: Breaking Bad, "Crawl Space"
(S0411) I am seeing many recent review of Breaking Bad’s fourth season toting the prospects of Aaron Paul submitting for the Lead Emmy category next year instead of supporting. It’s a logical thought. Honestly, since Season Two, Paul’s really been the co-lead anyway. The only thing that probably stopped him was that Bryan Cranston has been nothing short of a revelation in his portrayal of Walter White.

But for a lot of Season Four, Walt has been placed on the back-burner a bit. Much of this was due to his current situation with Gus forcing a bit more passivity than Walt has been used to since he got into the drug game. Meanwhile, Paul just continued to get better and better, with “Problem Dog” being a stand-out episode if I’ve ever seen one. It seems possible that maybe, just maybe, Paul could pass Cranston and take the Lead Emmy in 2012.

And then “Crawl Space” aired and Paul probably realized it’d be best go back to the (hopefully locked-up) Supporting Emmy category because holy shit did Cranston bring it. The last 15 minutes show Walt ranging from anger to desperation to pride to fear to desperate fear to jealousy to some sort of emotion that I can’t even describe. It’s an intense, pounding sequence of events that bring these emotions out of Walt and we, the audience, are left feeling much the way Walt is. Scared. Scared to death.

The aftermath of Gus’ big move down Mexico way brought Jesse to a make-shift emergency room in the desert somewhere. Gus is immediately taken care of over the shot Mike because, well, Mike doesn’t pay the doctors’ salaries. But eventually both are taken care of and Gus has Jesse bring him to a man that will sneak them both back across the border. Mike is too injured to be moved at the moment, but Gus promises Jesse that he’ll send a man back to return Jesse’s new mentor to ABQ.

Gus confides with Jesse that he thinks it is time for Jesse to run the lab on his own. And Jesse actually seems open to the suggestion, but he knows the consequences of accepting that job offer.  “Let Mr. White go.” Gus explains that they are beyond that now, but in spite of Jesse’s current hatred for Walt, he puts his foot down and Gus is forced to briefly keep Walt alive. But not before putting the fear of God into Walt.

After being dragged out to the desert by a more-than-happy, stun-gun-toting Tyrus, Gus explains to Walt that he is done. He will not speak to Jesse ever again. Hank will be “taken care of” and if Walt interferes, Gus will kill his wife, son and infant daughter. And, yes, the only reason Walt might get to live is because of Jesse. And even with that, Gus believes he can eventually convince Jesse otherwise.

So Walt eventually makes his way to Saul’s office to get the number for the man who can make the White family disappear off the face of the earth. Saul explains that a job like this one, getting rid of an entire family, will cost at least $500,000, but Walt believes he has no choice. He asks Saul for once last favor before he leaves: call an anonymous tip to the DEA that a hit has been place on Hank.

Walt returns home to collect the money in order to pay the Vanishing Man and while searching through their stash in the crawl space beneath the house, he finds much of it missing, presumably leaving less than what he would need to pay for the disappearance services. Skyler comes homes and he begs her to tell him where the rest of the money is, she admits she gave it to Ted Beneke. And Walt just crumbles into something…strange, laughing hysterically as Skyler answers the phone to hear Marie crying about the newly discovered hit on Hank that has been placed.

The last shot of the episode (a vertical tracking shot that pulls away from the ghostly face of Walt as he lay in the dirt of the crawl space) is about as haunting as it gets.

And yet, as helpless as Walt seems right now, a simple trip over the rug might end up saving his life. Skyler has been employing Saul behind Walt’s back to take care of Ted’s tax problems. After he refused to pay back the IRS with the money given to him by Skyler (with what he thinks is gambling earnings), she has Saul send his “A Team” to force Ted to sign the check and then to hang out at Beneke Manor until the check clears. That A Team turns out to be Huell and the character Bill Burr played earlier in the season who lied about being an environmental inspector. And they actually get Ted to sign the check, but suddenly Ted tries to run and he ends up tripping over a rug (which he had briefly stumbled over earlier in the episode) and smashing his head into a kitchen island.

We don’t know if Ted is dead for sure, but assuming he is, that would cause a pretty big snafu in Skyler’s plan to get herself out from under the IRS’s glare. But government interference might be enough to keep Gus to want to stay away from the idea of killing Walt and his family as it would bring even more suspicions back towards him. Of course, at this point, there seems to be many wheels in motion. And sometimes you can’t stop something that’s already been started. Something Walt has learned all too painfully well over the last year.

By Mike Proper

About the author

I work hard.  And I play hard.  

Actually, I don't work that hard.

Also I Tweet. Twitter.com/MikeProper

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