Jun 28, 2013

Breaking Half: "Down"

Down, RV, Breaking Bad, Jesse Pinkman
Aaron Paul
Are you tired of long, tedious accounts of Breaking Bad episode recaps? Then look no further than Breaking Half: a weekly column that takes the good and bad from each week's episode of Breaking Bad and dilutes it down to the core necessities. Each Monday, Breaking Half will attempt to take a few key moments from the episode and boil it down to one juicy paragraph.

Season 2, Episode 4

*NOTE: While not in the actual episode, this song was referenced in a scene and was created as original content for the AMC website.

“Your half? There is no your half of the money. There is only 
my all of it. Do you understand? Why should I be penalized 
because of your sloppiness?” 
-Walter (Bryan Cranston)

After returning home, Walter (Bryan Cranston) must face Skyler (Anna Gunn), who doesn't want anything to do with him. She goes out during the day, leaving him alone to find new ways to try and compensate for his absence. Meanwhile, Jesse (Aaron Paul) is having a wake-up call that his mother (Tess Harper) went into his house and saw the meth laboratory in the basement. He has three days to move out and nowhere to go. He tries crashing on friends' couches before his bike is stolen and all he has is a chance to sneak into Clovis' (Tom Kiesche) car park and sleep in the RV. When Clovis finds him and he is unable to pay, Jesse steals the RV and immediately hightails it to Walter, who at this point doesn't want anything to do with him so that he could fix his family problems. Walter Jr. (R.J. Mitte) is also revealed to have an alter ego called Flynn and is not all too pleased with his father trying to suck up to him. When Skyler reveals that she's had enough of Walter's shenanigans and takes off, Walter is at the end of his ropes. When he sees the RV by the curb, he insults Jesse for being an imbecile for driving it there. However, he eventually grants Jesse access to half of his earnings after he is choked. The episode ends with Skyler, still pregnant, lighting up a cigarette.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Jesse Pinkman, Down, Breaking Bad, Twaugthammer

MVP: Jesse (Aaron Paul)
If you haven't hopped on board the Aaron Paul wagon before this, then this episode must have converted you. This is the lowest that Jesse has gone in probably the series to date. Falling into a porta potty, choking Walter, and even calling his mom a bitch. He has nowhere to go and with Walter having his own issues, this is a very Jesse-centric episode. In a way, this is a showcase for Paul to prove himself as an actor, and he does with such an amazing array of emotions that manage to turn even slamming a phone into the receiver into high stakes drama. This show will continue to get dark, but for the time being, no one is more sympathetic in the show than Jesse, which is odd for a guy who did nothing but sling meth and say yo a lot.

Jesse Pinkman, Down, Breaking Bad, Heisenberg, Walter White
Left to right: Bryan Cranston and Paul

Best scene: There has been some tension between Walter and Jesse in the past, but now we get the first full on argument. With both actors performing at their best, they get into an argument that chooses to bat desperation against capitalism in ways that suggest the unfortunate partnership that would develop. Poor Jesse gets degraded by Walter for being an imbecile, which doesn't help that he is coming off of an odd conversation with Skyler. Tension is high and the scene in the RV in which Jesse strangles Walter best establishes the strengths of the show as well as how desperate they both are to keep the business going.

Come back tomorrow when we recap "Breakage"

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