Picking up where we left off last week, Gus, Mike, and Jesse are in quite a pickle. Gus’s power-play to kill off the entire leadership of the Juarez Cartel has been a success, but now he’s full of poison and Mike’s full of bullets. It’s up to Jesse to get them out of Cartel country THEN find a hospital. How can he possibly pull that off?! He doesn’t even have GPS! That’s the big question leading off the week…
…and it gets resolved pretty much immediately, because it turns out that Gus planned for this exact scenario. Jesse drives them to a deserted warehouse that turns out to contain a makeshift field hospital. One of Gus’s old associates from his Mexico days, a doctor, is waiting with a full staff to treat their ailments. Gus is so well prepared that the field hospital even has spare blood for all three of them, all with the correct blood types. (And best of all, Jesse didn’t know his own blood type until the Mexican doctor told it to him).
Gus and Mike will live. Mike has to stay behind in Mexico to recuperate, but Jesse and Gus can make their way back to the US. As they leave the hospital, Gus makes Jesse a proposal: Jesse has proven himself more than capable in the last few days, and Gus thinks he’s capable of running the lab on his own. Jesse doesn’t like the sound of that. He’s glad to take over, but Gus mustn’t kill Walt. They table the subject for a while. When they reach Albuquerque, they take a detour to Tio’s nursing home so Gus can give him the news. Not only are all of Tio’s old Cartel associates now dead, but the guy Jesse gunned down during the escape turned out to be Tio’s grandson. Gus has stomped Tio into oblivion now, and to punctuate the moment he drops Don Eladio’s medallion in Tio’s shirt-pocket.
Skyler, meanwhile, thought she’d wrapped things up with Ted last week when she convinced him to accept Walt’s “blackjack” (meth) money, but this week she gets a voicemail. Ted’s been thinking over her generosity, and he’s changed his mind. When she confronts him about it he claims it doesn’t “feel right” to use misbegotten money to pay his IRS fines, but Skyler soon surmises that Ted is blackmailing her for more money.
With nowhere else to go, Skyler asks Saul for help. Saul promises to send his “A-Team”—and by “A-Team”, Saul means his heavy named Hewell and a returning Bill Burr. Hewell and Bill Burr show up at Ted’s door playing “good thief, bad thief”…Bill Burr explains that Ted had better write out a check to the IRS or else Hewell will be very upset. Ted realizes that Skyler’s behind all of it. But when he tries to escape, Hewell yanks the carpet out from under him and he goes flying headfirst into his kitchen counter. And not in, like, a funny Three Stooges kind of way…more like a “holy shit Ted just died” kind of way.
But that gets put on the back burner for the main storyline, Walt’s. If he had a choice, Walt would probably gladly trade places with Ted with the way things end up for him this week. Walt’s still working in the lab with no assistance and no word on how Gus’s trip to Mexico went, and he’s getting fed up. And on top of that, Hank is still itching to stakeout Gus’s activities. When Walt accompanies Hank to the Los Pollos chicken farm, he tries to mine Hank for information on any Cartel-related news, but Hank only has rumors of a power-play going on. Hank doesn’t find anything incriminating at the farm and the only uncomfortable part of the trip for Walt is when Hank asks him about his facial brusing. But on their next surveillance trip, Hank reveals that he has a new location he wants to check out: the laundry center, i.e., the location of the Superlab. Walt has to think of something…and the best he can do is swerve into oncoming traffic and cause an accident.
Hank’s search is once again on hold, but when Walt returns to work he learns Hank is the least of his problems. Someone else has been cooking in the lab without him. The only person capable of that is Jesse—meaning, Gus and Jesse are back from the Mexico trip and Walt hasn’t even been kept informed of the situation. Walt pays Jesse a visit to figure out what’s going on. He interrupts Jesse while he’s entertaining Brock and Andrea, (which is yet another huge story development but it gets almost no screen time). Jesse’s furious. Two weeks ago he told Walt never to visit him again and it looks like he meant it. Still smarting from the beatdown Jesse gave him, Walt can only meekly asks if Gus actually is muscling him out, and Jesse simply tells him that he fucked up by not taking care of the Hank situation. Jesse leaves Walt on his lawn, and then, Tyrus appears out of the shadows and Tasers Walt.
When Walt comes to he’s kneeling in the desert with a bag over his head. Soon Gus pulls up in his car. He’s come to fire Walt. Walt will no longer be working for him and can never approach Jesse again under threat of death. While Walt was a blubbering mess last night with Jesse, here he manages to Heisenberg it up, and he correctly points out that Gus doesn’t have as much leverage as he claims he does–if Gus wanted Walt dead he’d have killed him by now. Gus concedes that Walt is right, but that things will change soon. But Walt’s not off the hook yet. Walt promised to keep Hank in the dark, and Gus has decided that Walt has failed. Now Gus is going to resolve the Hank problem, and he promises his method will be direct. And Walt had better not try to protect Hank. If he does, Gus will kill Walt’s whole family. They leave Walt there to find his own way back home.
Walt races over to Saul’s office. Several episodes ago Saul told Walt about a guy who can give people disappear and give them whole new identities, a kind of underworld witness protection program. Walt’s decided it’s time to give that guy a call. Saul warns him that he can never go back and that it’ll be extremely expensive, but Walt has no choice. Saul gives him the number. Walt then asks one more favor: he needs Saul to tip Hank off that Gus is coming to kill him.
After the meeting with Saul Walt heads straight home to gather his meth money so he can pay the disappearer, but when he gets down to the crawlspace he discovers that there isn’t enough. Just then Skyler shows up. Walt’s called her leaving a frantic message and she’s freaking out, but Walt demands to know where all their money has gone. When he learns it went to Ted, he rapidly cycles from enraged to despairing to just fucking amused by the whole ordeal. It looks like Walt is cooked. His savings are virtually gone. He can’t buy his family’s safety and he can’t earn any more meth money. And we learn via a phone call from Marie that Saul has just placed the call to the DEA to warn Hank. The Whites are sitting ducks and Walt can’t protect them.
Two episodes left this season. Then Vince Gilligan says they’re going to do a whole fifth season. I don’t know how they’re going to milk this out much longer but I know somehow they will. Full recap Tuesday.