AMC’s Breaking Bad
Season 4, Episode 3: “Open House”
Directed by David Slade
Written by Sam Catlin
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Thirty-Eight Snub” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Bullet Points” – click here
With a fresh black eye, Walt (Bryan Cranston) heads back to work. Darkly ironic how every time he drinks a nice cup of coffee from the filter it’s a reminder of Gale. He discovers there’s a new and improved security system— cameras watching every inch of the lab. A “violation of the work space.” Just another way for Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) to watch them closely. It’s also evidence should anyone find tapes of the footage. Yikes.
Skyler (Anna Gunn) is looking for Walt, who refuses to answer the door. When he does he tries his best to hide his black eye but she sees it. This makes her more worried than usual. He says he’s not “in danger.” But Skyler starts talking about going to the cops. He doesn’t like any of that, eventually calming her.
At an open house, Marie (Betsy Brandt) drinks wine and looks around the place. A realtor chats with her. She tells lots of lies, as if living an entirely other life. Likely because she feels strangled by Hank (Dean Norris). She makes up an entire story about her life, rambling to the realtor. At home, Hank watches porno in between looking at minerals, and he nitpicks every last tiny thing his wife does, like getting Fritos instead of Cheetos. It’s no wonder she finds ways of acting out.
The desperation in Jesse gets worse all the time. He hates to be alone with himself and his thoughts. He reaches out to Walt, trying to spend time together outside work, though his partner’s so wrapped up in his own problems he can’t see what’s going on. Jesse’s gotten beat down so many times he’s pretty much given up, saying as much to Walt before leaving for the day.
Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) is still pitching other businesses to the Whites. However, Skyler’s set against nail salons and laser tag. She won’t take no for an answer, either. Even if she’s got to get things done on her own. She wants to Bogdan (Marius Stan) to get the “proper motivation” to sell his business, an “attitude adjustment.” Needs to be clean, they don’t want any IRS or government attention. None of Saul’s ideas fit with Skyler or Walt. Once his wife mentions Bogdan insulting him, Walt has a sudden desire to see the deal through to an end, one way or another. This means getting creative!
At another open house, Marie tells more lies, different ones this time, and she eyes a set of expensive collector spoons. She pretends as if she’ll actually be buying a home. Later after she’s gone, the realtor finds Marie’s stolen one of the spoons. Sneaky thief.
More great soundtrack for this portion of the episode, courtesy of Fever Ray. We see Jesse go back to his place, where people are partying, some are stealing his things, meth heads are fucking and fighting and tearing the place apart. It’s an absolute horror show. For Jesse, it’s comforting, because he’s not alone. He sits in the midst of the chaos, totally numb.
At yet another open house, Marie’s called out as a liar by the same realtor as before. She’s confronted for stealing the spoon, too. She nearly gets away first, but the realtor called the cops on her. When she actually tries using Hank’s real job as a defence, it only appears as more lies. More of Marie’s stolen items are revealed when her purse spills into the street. This makes for an interesting call to her husband at home, who’s unimpressed by another situation like last time. He’s able to get help for her at the precinct, yet Marie’s troubled, and it’s beginning to get worse.
A revelation comes to Skyler. She decides on using Saul after all, just not for anything too nefarious. Watching the sink drain gave her an idea. They’re going to use one of Saul’s guys, Kuby (Bill Burr), to act as an inspector checking the “waste water” and “runoff gutters” from the car wash’s filtration. This is all to force Bogdan into a position where he has no choice but to sell to the Whites. Skyler’s slick and smart as hell, because the plan works like a charm. She actually low-balls Bogdan getting them the car wash for less than their original offer.
Hank’s buddy from the precinct, Tim Roberts (Nigel Gibbs), shows up at his house for a visit. He’s actually brought a “possibly drug related” homicide case with him and wants to run it by his pal from the DEA. Just so happens to be the murder of Gale Boetticher in his apartment. Hank thinks he wouldn’t be of any use, though Tim leaves the files. They found the Lab Notes book belonging to Gale. This could be the beginning of the rise of Schrader once more. Shiiiiiiiet.
Spectacular episode in the way it shows a ruthlessness about Skyler. She’s continually becoming more of a partner in Walt’s business, unconcerned by the fallout of the meth business while she reaps the benefits. Sure, it’s a difficult life to launder money, but she’s only a couple degrees of Kevin Bacon from the addicts and the kids who are dealing or getting shot in the streets. Walt’s majorly at fault. That doesn’t change her guilt being an enabler, willingly using meth money to fund a business she and her husband are buying. She’s concerned about the details of their cover story. In the meantime, people are dying.
“Bullet Points” is next.