AMC’s Breaking Bad
Season 3, Episode 11: “Abiquiu”
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written by John Shiban & Thomas Schnauz
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Fly” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Half Measures” – click here
Flashback to Jesse (Aaron Paul) and Jane (Krysten Ritter) at a Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit. He complains about not seeing “vaginas.” She tries opening his mind. She sees the various differences in the similar paintings of doors, whereas he doesn’t see any. “It‘s new every time,” she says, comparing art to other experiences from cigarettes to sex. This is also when Jane left that lipstick stained cigarette in his ashtray— the one he found last episode.
Hank (Dean Norris) is doing physical therapy. While he’s trying hard, it’s painful. Marie (Betsy Brandt) cheers him on, but it’s not so easy. Both Skyler (Anna Gunn) and Walt Jr. (RJ Mitte) are there, too. Probably feels like he’s in a zoo. Not exactly a thrilling environment for him. At the same time, Marie’s got the “first bill” for Skyler, though it pains her. Ain’t no thang for meth money!
Great soundtrack music, as always. We get “Shake a Bone” while Jesse and Walt (Bryan Cranston) – “Grandpa Anus” – do up the latest batch of blue. Walt’s keeping a closer eye on the count. He tries keeping things quiet, knowing the cameras are watching. It pisses Jesse off, furthering that divide between them. After work, he makes sure to attend those meetings. Again, he, Badger (Matt Jones), and Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) are infiltrating that space to sell their product. But their meth’s not selling, neither do Skinny P and Badger like doing it.
Jesse meets a new member, Andrea (Emily Rios), so he begins pushing his product on her. He gets worse and worse when he’s not on good terms with Walt. Turns out Andrea has a kid named Brock, as well. Makes things so much sketchier than they are already. While he’s luring in a woman who’s already an addict, Skinny P and Badger are actually using the meetings to try and recover. Such ugly irony.
Things are amicable between Walt and Skyler, enough for them to get the medical bills paid. She’s got questions about “tax regulations.” He assures Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) has things covered! She’s worried about the paper trail and insists on being let in on the truth. The slick lawyer does his best to reassure Skyler. Although she’s not sold entirely when Mr. Goodman suggests his client will go in on a “laser tag business.” What’s hilarious is she had no problem selling an outrageous story of her husband winning MILLIONS by gambling to her sister – whose husband is a DEA agent – and yet she’s worried about people questioning Walt buying a laser tag place? If I had to guess, it’s more so the fact she’s not in control, that’s what worries her.
Nevertheless, Skyler’s got her own ideas. She thinks they ought to “launder money” by doing it how she feels is sensibly. That means buying a place more connected to Walt, in some way. Such as the car wash where he worked for four years. His wife feels this story is the better one. She’s not entirely wrong, either.
After having sex, Andrea wants to get high with Jesse. He, of all people, decides to judge her parenting skills. He’s the one there trying to get an addict hooked so he can make a bit of cash off her. Pretty shitty of him. Not surprised, given he’s a real piece of shit. I want to care about Jesse, he just makes it hard all too often.
Not to mention Andrea’s already lost a brother to the lifestyle of drugs and gangs, the world of which Jesse’s a part. And who did the kid kill? Yes, you guessed it— Combo. Suddenly, Pinkman sees the vicious cycle of the drug world up close and personal. He further has confirmation Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) effectively allowed a child to be used as a hitman, albeit inadvertently. This is going to put our man in a real bad situation. He’s headed out to verify Tomas is selling, which is putting him on a warpath.
Saul doesn’t dig the car wash plan because there’s “no Danny“— a willing, trustworthy accomplice in the laundering scheme, like an added layer of protection. This is when Skyler offers to be the Danny for her husband. She also breaks it to Walt they never got divorced because she didn’t file the papers. It’s part of her plan to not have to testify should anything go wrong.
Walt gets invited to dinner. Later that evening, he goes to the chicken man’s home on a quiet, unassuming, bourgeois street. Gus invites him inside for a nice Chilean fish stew and a chat over drinks. They actually cook together, like a couple old pals. Walt feels slightly confused by the whole thing, to Gus it’s an extension of their business relationship. Over their meal, Mr. Fring offers advice to his meth cook about how to “be rich.” As always, there’s an undertone of threat to what the man has to say, in that subtle way he has of speaking.
Another of my favourite episodes. I particularly love the dinner scene with Gus and Walt, such an interesting moment. Plus, the whole plot with Jesse currently is devastating, in a lot of ways.
“Half Measures” is next time.