"Breaking Bad": A Recap Of Episode 9, "Bug"
Even the best of duos sometimes get ugly. John and Paul didn't always see eye to eye and we all know Kobe and Shaq couldn't make it either. So why then is it so surprising to see our two heroes in a bloody fistfight?
Probably because Walt and Jesse have been through so much (we're talking about two meth cooks, after all) that seeing them really go at it is actually quite visceral and shocking. How did it come to this?
Walt is mostly to blame. The show has really done a 180 with Walt and Jesse this season. Whereas Walt exuded confidence in his planning and in his calculations last season and Jesse was on the precipice of being a dead junkie, it's now Jesse who his assured in his ways and Walt whose paranoia is making his life spiral out of control.
From the onset, Walt struggles with finding a way to keep Mike and his crony Tyrus off his back. To be fair, if you had someone like Tyrus following you and your DEA agent brother-in-law following you around, you’d probably go a bit crazy too.
For several episodes Walt has wanted Jesse to take out Gus but that’s easier said than done. Gus’s empire is starting to really unravel with Hank continuing to dig out clues about his “chicken empire” with Los Pollos Hermanos and the cartel sniping down his men in broad daylight. We know the restaurant and distribution center are just a front for Gus’s meth operation but it’s only a matter of time before Hank has the whole picture.
Walt tries futilely to keep things normal but it’s tough trying to be the average family man who happens to make $500,000 a week cooking meth. How can we not appreciate his macabre sense of humor though when Mike, Jesse and Tyrus wheel in the dead guy into the lab: “So, what is this going to be a regular thing now? Meth cooking and corpse disposal?”
Ultimately, Gus decides that enough is enough with the cartel breathing down his neck. He caves and says “yes” to the demands. But not before daring the sniper to take him down. Is this a man without fear? Or is he a man with a death wish?
When he brings Jesse over for dinner (last season it was Walt in his place), we all assume he is asking Jesse if he can cook Walt’s meth formula because Gus wants to axe Walt. Instead, we find out that it’s because he wants Jesse to go to Mexico and teach the “cartel chemists” Walt’s recipe, as part of their demands (they also apparently get half his empire). “I need you to help prevent an all-out war,” Gus tells Jesse. This is after all “our business,” Gus explains.
Jesse for all his faults has always been loyal to Walt. Didn’t we all legitimately feel for him as he gave a panicked explanation to Walt about how he would need to go to the “jungles” of Mexico and that if he screwed up, he’d be dead? (Also, I, too, would worry about “all the equipment being in Mexican instead of English.”)
All Jesse wants is Walt’s help. It’s not his formula and he doesn’t know the first thing about the chemistry terminology he’d need. We even know he tells the truth about not having a chance to kill Gus using the poison ricin in his cigarette. Unfortunately, the harmless lie about not having met with Gus sends Walt into a fury. “You signed my death warrant,” Walt insists.
That’s not true but in Walt’s world it makes sense. That and he tracked Jesse’s car using Hank’s bug, so he knows Jesse had met with Gus. With his paranoia now satisfied, he verbally assaults Jesse, who has had enough.
An exchange of blows is had and skulls bounce off the ground and glass tables alike. Walt “walks” out a defeated and lonely man and a bloodied Jesse is off to Mexico. The question now posed is do these guys stand any chance going at it on their own?
Reach Salomon here.
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