Hi Breaking Bad people. Season 4 Episode 7 recap right here. A few stories are going on this week…Walt resentfully returns the Dodge Charger he bought Junior last week; Walt and Skyler launder the first batch of money at the car wash; Walt’s also still plotting to bump off Gus, and now he tries to involve Jesse; as for Jesse, he tries to decide between loyalty to Walt and loyalty to Gus, while continuing to feel guilty over Gale’s murder; and finally Hank returns to the DEA to reveal the results of his investigations.
It’s a pretty typical Breaking Bad episode for this season…continuations of stuff that’s happened before, all of which are setting up stuff that’s going to happen later. It’s all still building and building and building, hopefully for some kind of huge blowup. Sometimes they get away with that, but sometimes, like this week, it definitely feels like they’re setting up something much cooler to come. Still, lots of stuff to talk about so let’s get to it!
We open in Jesse’s house. He’s playing a zombie first-person shooter on his big-screen. I looked it up and the game’s called Rage, which isn’t even out yet in real life, but that’s not important. Point is, Jesse is playing with a gun-shaped controller and is actually shooting the bad guys
Fun little side note…within the game Jesse’s character walks by some dripping sewer water, and the character’s sidekick yells, “Don’t drink that! No tellin’ what kinda poison’s in it!” (I don’t think Jesse’s character was going to drink it, but whatever). The point is, poison!
Foreshadowing! And I really want to play Rage, even though the characters talk like Duke Nukem
And sure enough, the ol’ sense memory kicks in and Jesse is transported back to the time when he shot a real person, Gale. His prop gun transforms into the Beretta he killed Gale with, and the zombies transform into Gale himself. Jesse gets distracted and the zombies kill his character.
He looks pretty upset. He contemplates quitting the game. But then he gets a second wind and throws himself back into the fighting.
That’s the problem with video games today. They’re so violent they remind you of times when you killed people in real life
Meanwhile, Walt and Skyler are running Junior’s Dodge Charger through the car wash—meaning this is probably taking place the morning after last week’s episode ended, because Skyler told him they would be getting rid of the car “tomorrow”. It looks like things at the car wash are running smoothly with Skyler in charge.
Much of that is the Janet Reno pantsuit, I imagine
Between last night and this morning, presumably Skyler’s been the one to break the bad news to Junior. Predictably, Junior isn’t happy with the situation, but Walt and Skyler let the issue drop—Skyler because she predicted that would happen, and Walt because he doesn’t seem to give a shit that Skyler is getting the short end of the stick.
Skyler’s also made arrangements to return the car to the dealership, and Walt’s going to be the one to drop the car off. Pretty simple assignment. But when Walt hears that the dealership almost didn’t take the car back and is now sticking them with an $800 restocking fee, he bristles. Pretty much all of last week’s episode dealt with what happens when Walt is insulted, and this week’s starting out the same way.
It could just end there. Walt could still swallow his pride and be on his way, but Skyler takes it just a hair too far. She tells Walt not to “tangle” with the general manager at the car dealership, insulting him with her insinuation, and then prods Walt to tip Manuel the car wash employee—his own employee—who’s prepping the Charger.
Someone must pay…
A PARKING LOT SOMEWHERE
Unfortunately Walt doesn’t have a lot of options, so he takes it out on the car itself.
Time to make the passive-aggressive donuts!
Walt does donut after donut in a huge parking lot with kicking music playing. It’s part flipping Skyler the bird, part midlife crisis, part Walt just losing his grip.
Missing from this scene: the ten minutes it took Walt to figure out how to make car donuts before actually doing it. Come on, now. There’s no way he knows how to drive a car this well.
Oh wait…he still doesn’t. I was right…
Now remember, Walt’s returning the car because the family can’t attract any attention to itself and the car does just that. The whole point was to take the car back before anyone noticed. That ship has pretty much sailed now. Someone’s going to notice. There are a couple ways this could play out…
One, Walt calls a tow truck to get the Charger unstuck then drives it over to the dealership like nothing happened, thus minimizing his exposure. Or two, Walt takes the car’s ownership papers out of the glove compartment, rolls them up, sticks them in the gas tank, lights one end with the car’s cigarette lighter, and walks across the parking lot to wait for the Charger to explode.
He goes with the second option.
And not only that, when he calls for a taxi to pick him up, he gives the dispatcher his real name and tells the cab to pick him up at the parking lot. Right next to the forthcoming giant ball of flames.
Now that Walt’s done everything he can to countermand Skyler and blow his own cover, let’s see what happens next!
I know it’s cliché to do the ol’ “this character is so badass, exposions don’t even affect him!” routine, but it gets me every time. Wait, no it doesn’t.
I still thought at this point that somehow Walt could get away with blowing up the car. Maybe it would be so burned up as to be unrecognizable.
The show cuts ahead in time to Walt hanging out at Saul’s office while Saul’s on the phone with some Albuquerque city official or other, getting the guy to sweep this whole thing under the rug. So Walt’s already been caught. Saul has to get the guy into his country club to get the deal done.
Saul hangs up and gives Walt the rundown. Apparently Walt was going to be charged with destruction of property but Saul got it reduced to misdemeanor trash burning. That will keep it out of the system and keep Skyler from finding out about it. Even so, it’s costly—with all the fines, fees, and the loss of the Charger, Walt is out $52K.
And Walt doesn’t even blink. He obviously makes enough money for this not to hurt him financially. Still, Saul wants to know…what gives? Walt’s way smarter than this. Saul guesses, rightly, that it’s Gus, and Walt admits to it. Walt feels like a dead man walking. Gus will never forget all the rules Walt’s broken and someday Walt will pay. And even though, as Saul points out, Walt’s too valuable to be killed, Walt still feels it’s inevitable.
But then Walt’s mood changes. What if it weren’t inevitable? What if Walt could do something about it? Like…hire a hitman! That is, Walt clarifies, if that’s what they’re still called these days, “hitmen”. Or if hitmen are real and not just a product of the movies. For the millionth time Walt’s inexperience with the criminal life comes out.
“Get me good hitman, like a Boba Fett or something. Wait, he was a bounty hunter. Shoot.”
That’s a pretty terrible idea if you ask Saul—getting a hitman to kill freaking GUS. But Walt knows what buttons to push—all Saul has to do is produce a phone number and he’ll get a huge finder’s fee.
Saul starts spitballing. As you imagine it’s not easy to find a hitman in real life, (by “real life” I mean “on a semi-realistic TV show,” I guess), and the only ones Saul even knows about he’s met through Mike. So Plan A won’t work.
Plan B, Saul imagines, would be to go outside his network and post some kind of “hitman wanted ad”…maybe on Craigslist?
Saul’s not very confident in that option because of the unpredictability. Walt gets exasperated. He’d just do it himself, but he’s tried that already and couldn’t get close enough.
And that gives Saul an idea—Jesse’s pretty close to Gus these days. Why not ask him?
Walt pays Jesse a visit. Jesse’s busy painting over the graffiti that’s been sprayed on his walls during his recent weeks of debauchery. So that’s a healthy sign.
There’s a kinda-important distinction at the beginning of this scene, which I didn’t catch the first time around…Walt didn’t know until just now that Jesse has gotten close to Gus. As far as Walt knew, Jesse was only running errands for Mike and Gus was still off in parts unknown.
It’s similar to the surprise Walt had last week when he first learned that Mike was taking Jesse under his wing. That time Walt blew his stack and insulted Jesse—clearly Mike needs something out of Jesse, because there’s no way Jesse offers any useful skills. That didn’t go so well.
But this time Walt keeps his cool. As of right now Jesse still has warm-ish feelings for Gus and Mike thanks to the last couple episodes. Walt’s got to undo that, and he gets to it.
Walt wants to know what exactly happened when Jesse met Gus, and reluctantly, Jesse tells Walt what Gus said, about “seeing things” in people. It was cryptic, and Walt plays that up—what exactly does Gus “see” in Jesse? Apparently Jesse’s having doubts too because he doesn’t have a strong answer.
Walt lays out just how implausible all this is—and, therefore, how clear it is that Gus is manipulating Jesse. Less than a month ago Gus was trying to kill the both of them. Now he “sees something” in Jesse?
But it’s not enough for Walt to just point out the contradiction. Next he starts to push Jesse’s buttons. Doesn’t Jesse remember how Gus (probably) had his girlfriend Andrea’s little brother murdered?
That does it. This reminder, coupled with all of Jesse’s recent torment over Gale, is enough to reignite Jesse’s dormant anger. He’ll kill Gus the first chance he gets.
Over at the car wash, Marie is paying Skyler a visit at the cash register. And Marie, being a pretty, pretty princess, can’t stand the smell of the cheap air fresheners and mocks them. Skyler ignores it.
But Marie’s actually very excited for Skyler and Walt and their new business. To prove it, she tells Skyler about the idea she has for a big grand re-opening to officially mark the transition from the Bogdan regime. They could even use Holly as the mascot.
Skyler smiles, but this idea would never happen if they want to remain inconspicuous. She changes the subject. How’s Hank? Marie fills Sky in. Hank’s finally coming out of his post-op depression and it’s grand to see.
Then Walt arrives with a pallet of sodas for the vending machine. By all outward appearances everyone’s happy. He hugs Marie, then shares an awkward kiss with Skyler.
Well, maybe by some outward appearances. These outward appearances are pretty clear too.
IN THE OFFICE
Sky and Walt move to the office where they can discuss business. We see why Walt was pushing the pallet of Cokes—he was hiding his weekly pay in it.
Skyler rattles off their latest car wash numbers, not noticing the heaps of money Walt’s pulling out. The car wash has already pulled in $3,800! She sounds very proud of herself.
Walt starts piling the stacks of cash into the safe and she finally notices. She’s astounded. How much money does Walt have with him right now? With a pretty heavy dose of self-congratulation, Walt tells her: $274K. And he makes this every two weeks.
Skyler hauls out a calculator and figures out the yearly take-home. And we learn that Walt is making…7.5 million a year! Not long ago Walt was trying to figure out how to make $707K before dying just so he’d set his family up for life. This feels like a different show entirely.
But rather than act impressed at Walt’s skills as a Provider, Skyler’s dumbstruck…um, no car wash makes more than a couple hundred grand in a year. This is waaaaaay too much money to plausibly launder. Maybe now they can see why Saul wanted them to pick a different business than a freaking car wash?
Instead of a car wash, maybe they should have started a business where they turn your entire house gold. Or breed horses that can fly. Or clone dead presidents. What are your business ideas?
And even worse, all of the money is in fifties. Nobody pays for a car wash with a fifty. Have you ever even owned a fifty? I haven’t.
Walt could not care less about any of these concerns. His response? He never asked Skyler to get involved. If she can’t handle it, there’s the door.
That’s all we get of the Money Laundering storyline this week, so let’s keep going.
AT THE LAB
Walt’s at work, alone once again, the security camera still tracking his every move. Just another day in hell. He finishes his task, removes his gas mask, and trudges over to the kitchen for a break.
Only once he gets into the kitchen and out of sight of the camera, he puts the gas mask right back on. He’s been cooking up a little something in the toaster oven: a special batch of ricin.
It’s not the first time Walt’s cooked up some ricin to deal with a problem, (it’s more like the third or fourth), but the show doesn’t bring in any backstory here. If you haven’t seen the first couple seasons of the show and don’t know what I’m talking about, I won’t spoil it for you. Go back and check it out. Walt and Jesse’s Ricin Adventure is seriously some of the best stuff they’ve ever done on this show.
After work Walt heads over to Jesse’s place to give him the tiny tube of ricin and go over the plan. Before they launch into it, though, Jesse calls Walt on the fact that he cooked the ricin to kill Gus IN the freaking lab. But Walt shrugs. To him this seemed fitting.
Then it’s on to the plan. It’s pretty simple: just put the poison in Gus’s food or drink and he will die a day and a half later. They’re opting for ricin because they both know Jesse wouldn’t get very far if he tried a gun. Gus is a little bit tougher than Gale was. They do momentarily consider the possibility that Mike might be suspicious, but Walt dismisses that out of hand. Doesn’t even really give a reason.
Jesse still doesn’t feel confident. He has no way of knowing when he’ll see Gus. So Walt suggests Jesse keep the ricin on his person at all times.
Jesse has a better idea. He takes out his cigarettes, removes one from the pack, dumps out some of the tobacco, slips the ricin inside, and puts it back in the pack upside down.
Some time later, Hank and Junior pull up to Los Pollos. They’re going out to lunch—or at least that’s what it looks like.
I love how they mention that Hank’s forced to wear white Velcro sneakers to do his walking around. Nice touch
Inside, while Gus’s omnipresent security cameras look on, Hank and Junior shoot the shit. Junior’s telling Hank the story of his brief Dodge Charger ownership. Hank’s mystified at how Walt could afford to buy Junior such an amazing car the spur of the moment, but he keeps whatever suspicion he may have under wraps and dishes out some avuncular advice—Junior shouldn’t have guilted Walt into buying him a Charger. He should have guilted him into buying him a shitbox car. That way he’d at least have a car still.
Then, Gus saunters over, in full manager-mode, greeting them both by name. (Both Evil Gus and Manager Gus have crossed paths with Hank before one way or another).
Gus starts working them both. He compliments Hank on a good recovery, and Hank jokes that it’s all because of clean living and vitamin pills. Then…holy shit…he offers Junior a part-time job! What a motherfucker. Before he leaves them, Gus asks if he can get them anything, and Hank asks for a Diet Coke refill.
And outside in the parking lot, as Junior stows Hank’s walker in the trunk, Hank nonchalantly slips his Los Pollos cup into an evidence bag.
Oh my god. There’s so much in this scene, just check out the end of the recap for all of it.
Some time later, Mike and Jesse are on their way to a job somewhere. Jesse asks Mike where they’re going and Mike doesn’t fill him in. All he tells Jesse is to keep his eyes open and his mouth shut.
They pull into the Los Pollos feed lot, where Gus holds the chickens he serves in his restaurants, and where he holds his sensitive negotiations. Mike and Jesse pass several armed guards with earpieces, so it looks like today’s the day Gus is holding the meeting with the Mexican cartels he agreed to last week.
Plus Jesse’s carrying the veggie snack tray, which Gus brings to all of his top secret drug dealer summits. Still cracks me up
Gus emerges from the trailer and motions Mike and Jesse inside. While Mike and Gus begin to go over the security preparations, Mike tells Jesse to make a pot of coffee.
(By the way, I’m pretty sure I heard Mike say that Tyrus is nearby with a “Barrett 50”, or a .50 sniper rifle…that’s the Navy SEAL sniper rifle and it can tear out a car’s engine block. Yikes).
Jesse turns his back to Mike and Gus. Here’s his chance. Intense music picks up. It’s a shrill ringing that makes me feel like I have tinnitus. Jesse takes out his cigarettes…
And Mike taps him on the shoulder. But it’s only to give Jesse a gun. It’s a big step, giving Jesse a gun. Jesse’s asked for one before and been denied. Mike isn’t happy about it, but today’s a big day.
And then the cartels start to arrive. Jesse’s missed his chance, either to kill Gus, or to accidentally kill one of the cartel members and thus spark Drugmageddon.
Jesse and Mike leave the trailer receive the cartel delegation. Inside, Gus takes a sip of the un-spiked coffee.
The cartel guys arrive. One of them was part of the assassin gang that hijacked the Los Pollos refrigerator truck at the beginning of last week. He ate chips while Mike’s guards asphyxiated.
He also looks like my friend John, but with a beard. I don’t think you guys have met John
This my-friend-John-lookalike, it turns out, is the only member of the cartel who will be meeting with Gus. I’m guessing the real decision-makers don’t handle dirty work like this guy does, so it looks like the cartels have sent a low-level guy to represent them. And when Gus realizes that this is the only person representing the cartels, he seems to think that, too. But he doesn’t let the insult shake him for more than an instant, and soon they sit down to talk. If Gus is treating them so deferentially, he must be pretty scared.
It’s not really clear what Gus and the cartel are negotiating about, but it’s pretty darn important, because Gus opens the discussion with an offer of $50 million for the cartels to just go away. But the cartels aren’t here to negotiate. They want something from Gus. Gus knows what that is. All it requires is a yes or no answer.
We don’t get to hear Gus’s response. We’ll definitely be trying to figure out what “it” is at the end of the recap, so stick around.
OUTSIDE THE MEETING ROOM
The show cuts over to Jesse, who’s kicking dirt around waiting for the meeting to end. Soon the cartel guy emerges followed by Gus and Mike. They watch the cartel guy get in his car.
Gus is standing right in front of Jesse, his back to him. Jesse clutches the gun in his pocket. The back of Gus’s head is RIGHT THERE. But he thinks better of it.
The summit is over and Mike and Jesse are returning to Albuquerque. Jesse returns the gun to Mike’s glove compartment, and Mike mentions he’s going have to teach Jesse how to actually use it pretty soon, as things will be getting hairy. (Which I take to mean that Gus did not agree to give the cartel whatever it is they want).
Jesse’s long been uncomfortable with Mike and Gus’s sudden interest in him, and finally he can’t take it any more. He blurts it out…what exactly to Mike and Gus want? What is it Gus “sees” in him?
Mike eyes Jesse, then gives his take, weighing his words carefully. If Mike had to guess, Gus recognizes Jesse’s innate sense of loyalty. Specifically, the loyalty Jesse has toward Walt. And Mike throws a curve—Jesse may be loyal to the wrong guy.
Things shift for the final act of the show this week. The cartel negotiation and the money laundering are set aside in favor of Jesse’s personal demons. When we last left him he was having PTSD flashbacks about Gale.
Now he’s sitting on the steps of one of his old haunts, the church where the Albuquerque Narcotics Anonymous meet. The NA leader, who doesn’t have a name. He’s pretty much Ned Flanders with a dark past. Dark Flanders is surprised to find him here. Jesse hasn’t come by in a while. He leaves the door open for Jesse to come in, if he wants. Very safe and forgiving.
The meeting begins in the church basement. The group leader has a theme for this week’s meeting, and that is, learning to stop beating yourself up. Self-flagellating only ensures that the cycle of addiction continues, etc etc. It might be exactly what Jesse needs to hear…or maybe the total opposite.
Dark Flanders turns the floor over to Jesse. Jesse admits that he’s relapsed, but right now he’s been sober four days. So there’s that.
Jesse also has a story to tell. It’s about how he killed a guy named Gale. Only he replaces “Gale” with “dog”.
“Wait, is there doctor-patient confidentiality at these things? Shoot.”
The group, being so concerned with self-forgiveness, tries to exonerate Jesse at every turn. It’s probably better if I just transcribe the dialogue…
JESSE: So, I killed a dog.
DARK FLANDERS: You ran it over with your car.
JESSE: Nope. I put him down. I watched him go. He didn’t know what was going on and I looked him right in the eye as I did it.
SOME LADY: You did him a kindness. He was suffering.
JESSE: He wasn’t sick. He was a “problem dog”.
SOME LADY: Um…did he bite someone?
JESSE: No! He never bit anybody.
SOME BIKER DUDE: Well…you know…the rock, it makes you do some dark shit.
JESSE: I wasn’t even high. I literally did this for no reason.
DARK FLANDERS: …how’d you feel about what you did, Jesse?
I thought it was pretty funny.
Anyhoo, the aforementioned Some Lady jumps down Jesse’s throat, and the group leader tries to intervene, but Jesse stops him. He wants someone to come after him. He hasn’t been punished at all for the dog/Gale murder and it’s driving him nuts. He feels he should be punished.
And Dark Flanders tries to calm him down, so Jesse lashes out. He’s not a “good guy”. Neither is the group leader who, Jesse reminds everybody, ran over his own kid.
Jesse then says the most horrible thing of all. Everyone at group’s so nice to him, but he only started coming to sell them meth.
At last Dark Flanders draws the line of acceptance, and Jesse gets what he wanted—someone to refuse to forgive his behavior.
AT THE LAB
Woo hoo! That was fun. The episode ends on a way happier note than that. First, a quick lab scene. Walt and Jesse are hard at work when Walt takes Jesse aside to get an update on the plot to assassinate Gus.
It’s been a week, but Jesse shrugs and claims he hasn’t had an opportunity yet. Walt looks a little suspicious.
AT THE DEA BUILDING
And lastly, Hank and Marie walk up to the DEA building in Albuquerque. Gomez greets them. He’s got a goatee now, probably signifying that a ton of time has passed since Hank’s seen him.
Hank makes an effort to be his old self, joking about Gomez’s new look, and refusing help with walking even though he looks like he could use it.
Upstairs, Hank and Gomez sit down with Hank’s old boss, Merkert. Merkert tells Hank what Gomez was too modest to—Gomie’s been promoted. Hank takes the news pretty well, considering.
But Hank’s here for a reason. He’s come to reveal the findings of his investigation into the Heisenberg case. Here we go…
Hank starts with Gale, fills Gomez and Merkert in on Gale’s story—chemistry genius, meth cook, makes blue meth specifically. All signs point to Heisenberg, right? Gomez and Merkert already look dubious. They had trouble believing in a Heisenberg in the first place, so it’s a tough sell. But Gomez humors him.
That’s just the beginning, though. Hank thinks Gale was just in Heisenberg’s employ. Here’s where it gets woolly…in Gale’s apartment, Hank found the serial number to an industrial-strength ventilation unit, the kind you’d put in a superlab.
Is that proof Gale is Heisenberg? Not at all. Gale didn’t have any money and the ventilator cost about $300K. Someone else had to be financing it. Who?
How about local businessman and upstanding citizen Gustavo Fring? Hank found a Los Pollos wrapper in Gales’ apartment, after all. Hank points to a framed picture of Gus on the wall, in which Gus is giving the DEA a huge check.
I’m surprised Gomez and Merkert have let this go on so long. Hank admits he doesn’t have anything firmly linking Gale and Gus aside from the wrapper.
Anything other than Gus’s fingerprints. Which were also found in Gale’s apartment.
-So what does the Cartel want from Gus? Here are some theories…
a) Walt, dead. This is what the cartels wanted last season, as revenge for Tuco being killed. It’s why they sent the twin assassins to America. But the twins are dead now and so is the guy who gave them their marching orders. Other cartel members who want revenge could exist, but I doubt it.
b) For that matter they could want Hank, dead, since Hank actually pulled the trigger on Tuco. But it seems pretty easy for them to kill Hank these days.
c) Walt, alive. To cook for them. This was in the comments on the minicap. It’s a good idea. I’m not totally sure how the cartels think they’d get Walt to agree to work for them
d) The blue meth recipe. This makes the most sense to me. It would explain why the cartels have been knocking over Los Pollos trucks, to get a ton of blue meth. It would explain why Gus would offer them $50 million instead—Coke would never give up its secret recipe, so why would Gus?
What do you think?
-Speaking of Walt getting his salary in all fifties, I remember an article in Slate, (I’m not gonna link, you can Google it), where they said that literally nobody uses fifties and hundreds except for criminals, because nobody ever needs to carry that much cash any more. I guess Walt doesn’t read Slate, because he’s being pretty obvious.
-I still think that somewhere in his gut Hank suspects Walt is Heisenberg. He’s going to figure it out eventually. I think I’ve said this before, but I’ll make it official: if that’s the case, I predict that Walt will eventually have to kill Hank to keep things quiet. You read it here first!
-Do you think this is the last we’ve seen of the Dodge Charger incident? It could so easily come back to bite Walt in the ass.
-Why do you think Gus offered Junior a job? My guess is it’s to try to get even more control over Walt…having Junior close by would really freak Walt out…thoughs?
-I hope Junior takes that job.
-Did you notice how Hank said the exact same joke verbatim both times he was asked how he’s been doing in his recovery? (The joke about “clean living and vitamin pills”). To me that indicates Hank’s trying too hard to act like his old jovial self, but isn’t really feeling it. It’s a reminder that even though he’s way more recovered than he was earlier this season, he’s still majorly fucked up and has a long way to go.
-Doesn’t it seem like Manager Gus comes across a little too sharp? He remembers everyone’s name and what they do for a living, for one thing. If I were him I’d act as dumb as possible.
-I’ve been thinking about why exactly Gus has been buttering Jesse up the last couple weeks, and I think the scene in Act One with Walt pretty much lays it out. It wasn’t really about isolating Walt, but about calming Jesse down. Gus had to recognize that all the evil shit he’s done to Jesse would leave Jesse hungry for revenge. But Gus couldn’t just kill Jesse, so the next best option was to change Jesse’s mind.
-It’s a good thing Jesse didn’t poison Gus’s right here. I don’t happen to agree with Walt that Mike would let Gus’s death go. It would be pretty easy for a private investigator like Mike to retrace Gus’s steps and realize Jesse had access to his coffee. And it’s not like Mike’s above extracting a confession out of somebody by less than savory methods.
Or Jesse could have poisoned the wrong guy and set off a cartel war. Which I’m 99% sure is gonna happen anyway.
Until next week. Thanks for reading!