There are many times in life when we’re forced to make decisions about who we are as individuals. Certain events happen that cause us to shift or rearrange how we conduct ourselves. The Cartel’s head chemist’s asks Jesse “Who do you think you are?” It’s a question four of our main characters must answer by episode’s end.
We knew Skyler would find a way to give Ted the $600 grand he owed the IRS, but the admission to him that the source was her and not some dead Luxemburgian Aunt puts her in a precarious and powerful position. Ted can’t tell anyone; without that money he’d surely be headed to prison. As I speculated last week this sets it up for Skyler to use Ted’s business as a much larger front for her money laundering operation than the car wash ever could be. Ted goes about his business as usual with Skyler pulling the strings from behind the curtain. In the first few seasons of the show she was just a worried house wife. You could even feel sorry for her and understand her decision to help Walt hide his secret instead of turning him in. Laundering money for the wellbeing of your family is one thing, but possibly blackmailing your old boss and digging yourself a deeper hole without consulting with Walt is different. That’s her acting alone, continuing to pave her own road of destruction.
Walter has already paved that road for himself. He’s the biggest monster of all, even bigger than Gus. However, it seems like something may have clicked after last week’s fight with Jesse. Walt is clearly saddened by the situation, wallowing in his own blood long enough for his bed sheet to stick to his face. I think the scenes with Walter Jr are genuine. He’s not crying for the reasons his son believes — the line “I made a mistake…I had it coming” was obviously about Jesse – but those tears are real. He realizes Jesse was right and had every reason to dismiss him from his home in the manor he did. It’s the most human we’ve seen Walt in a very long time and the most extensive, and best, work from R.J. Mitte possibly ever. Walt tells Walt Jr a story about his own father, and how he only has one clear memory of him and how he doesn’t want the same thing happening to his son. Instead, Walt Jr tells Walt he prefers to remember him in this broken down state instead of the stranger he’s been over the past year; uttering the line “you were real.” He’s crossed the line to Heisenberg one too many times for me to think that’s not part of who he is now, but that scene made me think Walt could possibly rethink the direction his life is heading which means it’s likely his cancer is back. That’s the type of speech you give your child when you don’t expect to be around much longer. He told his family he was still in remission, but he said it without great conviction and we never physically saw the results. Maybe the diagnosis that got him into this mess in the first place is changing his emotional course one more time.
The one character who seems to know exactly who he is would be Gus. He’s built his empire without the Cartel’s help and is willing to die to gain revenge on Don Eladio. His position has never waivered. He had a plan the whole time, though the poisoned tequila seemed like an obvious move. It was poetic justice to see Don Eladio die face down in the same pool that soaked up Max’s blood all those years ago.
While Walt is wallowing in self pity under his covers, Jesse is showing off the cooking knowledge he’s learned from Walt to the Cartel. He’s terrified on the ride down and when he’s first presented with a chemistry question he can’t solve, but almost as if a switch had been flipped he turns into an ultra badass and makes the Cartel meet his demands, impressing Gus in the process. It was more of a self preservation move than anything, but Jesse is proving to Gus he has what it takes to be a vital cog in his business. Is that who Jesse wants to be, though? He’s never wanted to be a king pin, or a leader. He was happy being a small time dealer. Gus may be dying from poison, Mike has been shot, you’ve killed another man and you’re in a Cadillac in the middle ofMexico. Which road are you going to take? Who do you think you are, Jesse?