Breaking Bad: Say My Name

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

"You and your pride and your ego. You just had to be the man."

Last episode, "Buyout," ended with Walter telling both Mike and Jesse that "everybody wins." In "Say My Name," the three men that are the closest associated with Walter prove just how wrong he was, when Walter declared that everybody wins.

First, there is Mike. Likely the most overall competent of the men, if evidenced by none other than his ability to not cross the line. Without the previous infrastructure put in place by Gus, Mike proceeded reluctantly in his partnership with Walter (the time bomb) and Jesse. It was more so to perform damage control and to leave money behind for his granddaughter, than for personal profit.

Due to Walter's mishap with the magnet, the bank account information came into the possession of the DEA, leading to the DEA coming down on Mike and the rest of the men on the hazard pay list. This list had been a thorn in Walter's side, but with Mike's decision to withdraw himself from the business, Mike also offered to cover the hazard pay himself. As the DEA moved in closer on Mike, he decided to follow the piece of advice he had been handing out all along - leave town. It was not an easy decision for Mike, as he watched and listened to the sound of the chains from the swing his daughter was riding on.

Walter, however, could not let Mike just drive away. He wanted the names of the men on the hazard pay list, but Mike refused, so Walter shot him for it. As Mike sat there in his final moments watching the tranquil lake, Walter had to blurt out that he could get the names from Lydia. Mike responded by telling Walter to shut the eff up, and to "let me die in peace."

The second of the three men that is closest to Walter, is Hank. Of all the major characters on the show, Hank is the only one that is motivated to do the right thing. This streak of decency was generously given to Walter over and over again, and now the time had come again, for Walter to once more abuse of Hank's kindness.

All this time, Hank had no idea that his own brother in-law had bugged his office, or all those other atrocities that Walter had sent into Hank's way. Unbeknownst to Hank, Walter was back to take out the bugs. After limping back to get Walter a coffee, Hank did not think twice about not shutting the door on Walter, and unknowingly let Walter in on the DEA coming for Mike.

Lastly, there is Jesse. Although he was a miserable failure in Walter's high school chemistry class, Jesse has proven that he is quite the student of life, able to learn and grow (in a good way, as opposed to Walter) even in the worst learning environments possible. Jesse has now come far enough, that like Mike, it was time for him to leave the business.

All the times that Walter and Jesse have parted ways, they have somehow managed to find themselves back together. In all these times, it was out of financial necessity. But with the new deal, Jesse would get to walk away with five million dollars, and would never have to look back. On top of that, after the beating he took from Hank, the DEA can not afford to keep track of Jesse, the way they did to Mike. With his new found maturity and freedom, Jesse knew that the best option for him was to take the money, and get out while he was ahead.

Enter Mr. White, the devil himself. It was as if Walter did not even hear Jesse having previously said that he wanted out, as Walter was already thinking of starting a second lab. When Jesse was adamant that he wanted out, Walter proceeded to insult Jesse. Walter told him that the only thing that Jesse would end up doing would be playing video games, go-karting, and that Jesse had nobody in his life. This of course, came from the man who was responsible for Jane dying. Walter then said that once Jesse would get tired of video games and go-karting, that he would end up using drugs again.

When Jesse talked about not liking the part of having killed people, Walter pretended that he had remorse for the kid, and even got mad at Jesse. Walter even tried to make it look like that he coped better with death than Jesse, saying that he would not get high to deal with it, as a cheapshot towards how Jesse reacted to killing Gale. On the topic of Gale, Walter made it look like it was a joint decision, when in fact, it was Walter's idea all along.

Walter's last point of persuasion, was to tempt Jesse with money. Noticing that Jesse wanted to just take the money and leave, Walter questioned Jesse, "why?" Walter then promised that there would be more money, and tried to project his own excessive greed on Jesse. Walter even questioned Jesse on his morality, and the cleanliness of the money.

But Jesse did not bite, so Walter threatened to not give Jesse his share of the money (again).

Walter would resolve this by hiring Todd to be his new assistant. Todd proved to be subservient, self-critical, and aware of his place in the pecking order, making him the perfect lackey for Walter.

When Walter started cooking meth, it was so that he could leave his family some money after he died. That was a lie that Walter told himself. Last episode, the truth came out, as Walter told Jesse all about Gray Matter. After walking out on the company he co-started, Walter saw the company grow into an empire worth billions of dollars. Walter sees that empire as his, but has no claim on it, since he sold his share for five thousand dollars. The years since the sale, Walter has been bitter, financially troubled, and pinned down to an unrewarding job at a high school.

After killing Gus, something snapped in Walter. He overcame the unbeatable odds, and that was when he became the full blown Heisenberg. Arguably, the first real sign of it came after the magnet incident, when he was questioned if the magnet worked. He responded angrily that it did, because he said it did. Now Heisenberg controls reality. But like an addict, he wants more. Now he even wants to control the past. What he wants, is an empire that he built. Whether that empire is Gray Matter, or an illegal meth distribution ring is relevant. All that matters is that he is the kingpin.

Tags: Breaking Bad, AMC, Bryan Cranston, Jonathan Banks, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Say My Name, Dead Freight, Buyout

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