August 27, 2012

TPG's Chemistry Class - Episode 5007 "Say My Name"

Somehow when you kill an innocent kid two episodes prior, the death of one of the main characters doesn't seem that tragic. Actually, yeah, seeing old man Mike sitting there by the river was pretty sad, but for reasons I'll get to, I thought this was one of the least satisfying episodes this season so far. So let's get our "go bag" and get into it.

Meaning of Title - An obvious reference Walt basking in praise from the other dealers at the opener, I think the reinforcement of Heisenberg!!!! in that scene also showed just how far Walt has come, so much to the point where he is cooking with Todd and killing his former partners.

Acting  - Jonathan Banks who plays Mike had a great run on the series and his final line about wanting to die in peace was perfect.

1. MIND MELT MEGA SANDWICH RIGHT OUT THE GATE YO - Earlier in the episode Walt taunted Jesse by saying they were both doomed for their sins, which to my memory is one of the first times the show has acknowledged spiritual punishment for their actions, so right away my "this is some spiritual shit yo" detectors were going crazy. Having seen Mike earlier getting deep at the river, and casting aside elements of his earthly life (ie a lot of guns), and preparing for his trip (getting his go-bag) it was clear that he soon he would be making some kind of journey. And when he died sitting at the river surrounded by symbolism, my head exploded. Check out this passage about the Greek Underworld river journey.
The five rivers of Hades are Acheron (the river of sorrow) Having a good thing with Gus go wrong Cocytus (the river of lamentation) Not getting to say goodbye to your granddaughterPhlegethon (the river of fire) See above imagery on waterLethe (the river of forgetfulness) tough but case could be made about using about the sloppy Lawyer and Styx (the river of hate) Mike hates Walter, which forms the boundary between upper and lower worlds.
2. To drive home this whole mythological quest when Walt confront Jesse on whole "you're damned to Burn" issue he was dressed in Red overalls and a black shirt. Fire and Brimstone! Forget Heisenberg, Walt is evil incarnate now.

3. Gotta love how many cell phones Saul has. Guess you could call them "saul phones?" Anybody? Anybody?

4. By invoking the "New York Yankees" and "Classic Coke" in his speech to the rival dealers/business partners, Walt has further proved that his story of a relentless quest for personal liberty and profit is an American tale just like those who came before him - Tony & Michael!

5. Sometimes we forget that Walter White was a teacher before he became a Meth Kingpin Ego-Maniacal Madman, but we got a reminder this episode in the way he interacted with young people. First he chastised Jesse for his lack of motivation and skills outside cooking. This scene cut deep and it had more of a teacher/student discipline vibe than is usually in their relationship at this point. Then he kept asking his new student Todd to apply himself when it came to his new studies (meth-studies yo!). He's a teacher through and through.

6. Again we get a dinner scene, with almost the same exact shot, but now Jesse isn't at the table. In fact Skylar doesn't even last long at the table before she leaves. This was a great visual hint about how all Walt's "allies" are abandoning him.

7. As sad as it was to see Mike go, I was bummed out by Walt's final actions, he should have blown Mike's brains all over that sun glazed river. Seeing him revert back to the bubbling, botched plan Walt was kind of depressing. If he's gonna be full on "say my name" evil then he needs to be all the way there by now. Having him realize he could have gotten the names from Lydia gave him a dash of fleeting humanity, and this point, there is no humanity left in him. I'm calling it now, if does have anything left, the thing that will snuff it out will be him killing Skylar.

8. Todd telling Walt he doesn't care about the money right now must be the most wonderful thing Walt has ever heard.

9. The impact of Walt's actions are huge because there is no way that Jesse wont' 100% know that Walt did it even if he tries to hide it. Even if he does admit to it, there is no way that Jesse will let that slide.

10. If Walt is keeping his meth supplies at the car wash, that's just sloppy and in fact everything Walt is doing now is sloppy. His killing of Mike, his cooking with a rookie like Todd, using the same sob routine to get the bug out, etc. Sloppy is the complete opposite of Gus Fring, the man who Walt wants to be. He wants to be in the empire business but he can't handle his own shit.

11. I miss Gus.

I'm going to be travelling next week so I won't have a blog up til Tuesday at the earliest, enjoy the finale!

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