Breaking Bad: Episode 5.06: Buyout
“Everybody wins,” so Heisenberg says at the conclusion of episode 6, “Buyout.” The familiar refrain surfaces again with this episode—Heisenberg throwing a fly in the ointment of a solid plan. He has done this repeatedly throughout the series and while it is familiar, it does work. Sometimes when something occurs repeatedly, it begins to become tedious and banal. For me, the refrain does work, but I could understand that some might have an entirely different perspective. How many times will Heisenberg pull a MacGyver and get himself out of a sticky situation?
The opening scene is devastating. As the dirt bike is disassembled to allow it to fit better into the chemical barrels, we can’t help think of the 14-year, Drew Sharp, who will be “disassembled” like the dirt bike. As Todd looks for him in the dump truck, his lifeless hand falls loose. It is a chilling scene and a reminder that the “meth” business is mean and cruel. Or at least the folks who make it their trade are.
What’s up with Todd? He is remarkably blasé about the kid as he attempts small talk with Jess. “Shit happens,” he ruminates. For his cavalier attitude, Jesse levels him. But after the three guys interrogate Todd and they decide that they won’t kill him, but keep him on, (much to Jesse’s disagreement) the scene moves to Todd in his car. He has taken the jar with the spider in it and smirks as he looks at it. Interesting, but was that smirk about? I don’t like Todd much.
Next, DEA agents Mike and Gomey are surveilling Mike in a park. Mike is too smart for the surveillance team and leaves them a note—inviting them to do something. But the strain of shaking tails is getting to him. He understands just how precarious the
situation is, even if Heisenberg doesn’t.
The scene with Marie and Skylar reveals something interesting as well. Marie, again donning her favorite color purple, and Skylar talk as Skylar holds Baby Holly. Skylar’s character still engages and through her, we feel the emotional strain of the situation. She misses her kids, and it shows. But the interesting thing uncovered here is something that I assumed she already knew—the half-truth Heisenberg told Marie regarding the Ted affair. As Marie reveals the information that Heisenberg told her, Skylar processes the information—her face conveys slow comprehension. She is starting to fully understand the depths of his duplicity. And, of course, she can’t say anything to Marie about the “truth.” How could she? The scene ends with a note of humor, as Marie says to her sister, “doesn’t that feel better now that you’ve gotten it off your chest?” The funny thing is that Skylar has said little in the scene, but rather processed the treachery of her husband’s little white lie. It was an excellent scene. Will Skylar bring him down? I hope so.
One should enjoy one’s work, but whistling with such gusto and enthusiasm, with the pall of Drew Sharp’s death pervading everything, strikes Jesse as odd. The two
are cooking a batch of top-grade meth in an otherwise ordinary residence, when they stop for lunch. And wouldn’t you know it; a report regarding the missing kid comes on. This floors Jesse and Heisenberg tries to assuage his guilt. Was anyone convinced by Heisenberg’s speech? It seemed just another ploy to pull Jesse in. Carrying on about doing it “our way,” seemed absurd and cruel. Though he claims that he has been up nights thinking about the kid, I frankly don’t believe it. As Jesse breaks down and Heisenberg tells him to knock off early, it seems more like a stunt than an expression of earnest emotions. Further, Jesse seems to grasp this as he hears Heisenberg’s wet whistling as he takes a phone call from Mike. What a jerk, we think.
The last half of the episode worked very well too. Mike and Jesse’s plan for the 1,000 gallons of “meth,” seems sensible. Five million each they could walk away with and be free and clear. But there’s a problem.
Heisenberg invites a surprised Jesse to his house, where Jesse reveals the problem. So what you will about drug kingpins, but they have a strong business sense. Mike’s plan won’t fly without all “Fring’s blue” off the market. So Jesse attempts to persuade Heisenberg to sell his share too. “Absolutely not,” he declares. We learn that the meth will generate 300 million, per Heisenberg’s calculation.
However, Jesse makes strong points about the plan. It will generate a lot of money and allow them to get out of the business. This opportunity has been presented to the characters more than once throughout the series. When Heisenberg tells Jesse that he is in the “empire” business, Jesse can’t understand his position. “Is the meth empire really something to be proud of”? That is the most important question of all, seems to me. It isn’t and while the innocent death of Drew Sharp casts an emotional weight throughout the episode, how many other “innocent” deaths are caused because of the drug? Innocent people dying hardly fazes Heisenberg anymore.
What does the “Gray Matter” story reveal? Heisenberg clearly harbors animosity toward his former partners/friends. We know that he was a spurned lover and perhaps that somehow factors into his long term plan. Does he want to get back at Gretchen and Elliott? This can’t be all there is to the story. I suspect more about this will come up again.
Mike, sensibly, decides to force Heisenberg into accepting his plan. Mike is a smart guy, so when he leaves for a meeting with Hank and Gomey accompanied with his lawyer Saul, he handcuffs Heisenberg to an old-fashioned radiator, lest he do something with the meth. But this won’t stop Heisenberg, as he uses his superior “gray matter” to free himself from the radiator and ultimately foil Mike’s plan. It ends as Mike discovers the meth missing and about to shoot Heisenberg in the head. (I wonder if he will brag about having another gun pointed at this head to Skylar like he did earlier this season.) Like the opening episode, Jesse acts as a mediator, imploring Mike to listen to him. “Everybody wins,” a smirking, snide and hubristic Heisenberg says. But do we believe him? Not a chance. The phrase should be—everyone loses.
I kept wondering, however, why Mike simply does not kill Heisenberg. That would take care of the problem and Mike would be able to move ahead with the plan. Certainly, Mike has got to be fed up with him. Perhaps, Jesse refused to go along. Jesse is loath to kill anyone.
Not as exciting as last week’s caper heist, but still quite a solid episode. With only two more left before the season stops, I can’t wait to see what Team Gilligan has in store for next week’s “Say My Name.” Okay, I will: HEISENBERG.
Reviewed by Ron Peltier