Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 3 Recap: Hazard Pay
Jul 31 2012 12:19 pm ET
This week on Breaking Bad, the crew finds a new place to rebuild the meth-making operation, Jesse considers his future with Andrea and Brock, Mike and Walt squabble over money, and Skyler tells Marie to shut up.
Previously on Breaking Bad: Walt wants to start cooking again and enlisted Saul to get the ball rolling. Walt also met with Mike to try to get him in on the gig, but Mike refused. Meanwhile, Mike's former cohorts in the Fring empire are now seen as a potential liability, especially now that the Feds are aware of the payroll accounts originating in the Cayman Islands. Chao is dead, Mike killed Chao's assassin, and was about to kill Lydia, the contact with the hitlist. However, she has access to the methylamine, so Mike decides getting back into cahoots with Walt and Jesse might not be such a bad idea after all.
We are entering a secure facility. No provocative dress! Dennis Markowski's lawyer (and his paralegal) are at the prison to visit the client. The paralegal is Mike, who needs to chat with Dennis about the payroll/hitlist/life on the outside situation. Mike assures Dennis that the deal he made with Fring is still in place, but Dennis is freaking out about the money from the offshore account. Mike tells him the hazard pay will still come through, so Dennis's dependents will be taken care of. Dennis just needs to keep cool and not flip on the rest of the organization. Dennis is on board. Mike and the lawyer leave, but their day is not done. There are nine other guys on the list that require a house call from Mike ASAP. You know how much Mike loves this sort of nonsense, so the lawyer better not expect a jolly car ride.
After the credits, we see Walt hanging clothes in the bedroom closet. It looks like he is moving back to the house. Skyler enters the room and it's immediately apparent that Walt moving in is news to her. Walt says it's what makes sense, but Skyler, still in a semi-catatonic state, asks rhetorically if it is a good idea. Guess who wins that argument?
Speaking of losing battles, Mike works on a crossword puzzle in the lobby of Saul's office. Huell's apnea acts up while he naps, guarding the door to the office. Inside, Saul expresses his resistance to Mike joining Walt and Jesse in the new business venture. He brings up that one time Mike threatened Saul, but Walt says Mike probably threatened people before breakfast this morning. Hehe. "Let it be noted," Saul says, "I do this under duress." He might want to consider changing his slogan from "Better Call Saul" to that. Huell gets the OK to let Mike into the meeting. "Now that we're all together," Mike says, "here are the ground rules." Mike calls dibs on running the business side of the operation while Walt handles the cooking. There is to be no crossover. Walt agrees with this and Jesse doesn't seem to get a vote. As they leave to go on facility tours, Saul asks Walt if he really is okay with that arrangement. "Yes," Walt replies. "He handles the business, and I handle him." Somehow I don't see this working out.
Now for some House Hunters: Albuquerque. The first location is a box factory where the crew can rent out space. There are 16 employees, all illegal and easy to keep quiet. The machinery will be loud and create enough odor to cover the meth production. Walt reminisces about a summer in high school where he worked at a box factory and it turns out the ideal environmental conditions for creating cardboard are the opposite of the ideal conditions for a meth lab. Location two is a tortilla factory, but now it's Jesse mentioning all the negatives. The exposed tortillas would end up smelling of "cat piss" and, as a food producer, would be subject to random government inspections. Location three is rejected outright – the Lazer Base establishment Saul tried to unload before Skyler bought the car wash. Location four is a garage. Jesse doesn't like it at all – the location is too exposed, there's nothing to mask the smell, and the actual square footage is rather small. He left out the part about the lack of granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Walt, on the other hand thinks it's perfect. When asked why, Walt walks over to some wrapped up canvases on a trolley. Hmm?
Later, we watch as an exterminator crew preps the exterior of a house for bug bombing. Walt suggests using the cover of bug bombing to create a roving meth lab. Saul knows a crew (the one that they are watching) that doubles as a robbery ring, so they have accomplices covered. Mike asks to take a vote, but with no dissenting opinions, Walt asks "why?"
Badger and Skinny Pete play around with some instruments at a music store. Pete's a pretty decent keyboard player. A store rep comes by to help them find what they need and the duo orders four roadie cases. The clerk starts to explain the store's layaway policy, but Skinny Pete says he has the cash. As a bonus, the clerk throws in free graphic imprints for the band. We see the cases for Vamanos Pest rolling into the garage. Jesse pays the guys for their trouble and they offer to help out any way they can, looking for a way onto the ground floor of the new venture. Jesse says he can't bring them on, and the guys are disappointed. The guys leave and Mike briefs the fumigators on how the operation will run. The crew will do their standard casing of houses and setups for fumigation, but no more facilitating robberies. When it comes to Walt and Jesse, they are to be treated as ghosts and any necessary contact will be in the form of "Yes, sir" or "No, sir." Mike runs a tight ship.
That evening, Walt and Jesse look over some schematics of how the roadie cases will be set up. Jesse has some concerns about some devices not fitting properly, and offers some suggestions which meet Walter's level of satisfaction. As Jesse goes into some further detail about some ideas he's had about masking odors, Andrea and Brock enter the house. The guys shuffle and hide their papers and Jesse introduces his ladyfriend and her child to Walt. Walt says he heard about Brock's ordeal and that the kid was very brave. Brock gets really shy and Andrea says he probably wants to play his video game. Andrea invites Walt to dinner and she and Jesse head to the kitchen. Walt sits on the couch at the opposite end of where Brock sits with his video game. Brock doesn't seem to recognize Walt, so it continues to remain unclear how exactly Walt got the kid to consume the Lily of the Valley.
Vamanos Pest makes its first business call. The foreman of the crew walks the client through the final paperwork, making sure all pets are out of the house and nothing the family will need for the next week isn't left behind. As the customer signs form after form, he notices the roadie cases rolling into the house. "How much poison do you need?" the customer asks. The foreman assures the client that they want to make sure those bugs are dead. The customer leaves as Walt and Jesse arrive. One of the crew members sheepishly approaches Walt and tells him he disabled a NannyCam he came across during the casing. Walt asks for the crewman's name (Don) and smiles. This leads into a jazzy music video as Walt and Jessy cook in a makeshift greenhouse in the dining room. These interludes are my favorite visual moments of this show.
As the guys wait for the cook to finish, they drink from beer bottles while watching the Three Stooges. Walt opens a chit chat session, saying seeing Jesse and Andrea together looked nice. Jesse smiles. Walt asks if the two are progressing and Jesse says, "it's family, what more can you ask?" Walt then asks what Jesse's plan is in terms of honesty if the relationship continues on this trajectory. Jesse, thinking this might be a trap, assures Mr. White that Andrea knows Jesse is up to something but doesn't know the specifics. Walt actually wasn't trying to trap Jesse, but was warning him. "Secrets can be barriers between people," Walt advises, adding that Jesse will need to come clean about everything at some point. "Everything?" Pinkman asks, "Like Gale?" Walt takes a swig of beer. "She loves you; she'll understand." Vamanos, pest, and leave Jesse alone.
Marie monitors her car getting washed from Skyler's office. She's freaking out about the back-and-forth towel job – circles, man! No streaks! Skyler tells her sister to chill, but Marie says it's a quality control issue. Marie steps away from the window and asks Skyler to guess what good news she has. Skyler doesn't really want to guess. After Marie realizes Skyler doesn't want to play, she says Frank has his job back. She thinks it's kind of a raw deal, since he was practically dead to the DEA while recovering but he figured out the Gus connection so getting the job back was the least the Feds could do even though she thinks it's too little too late oh and his physical therapy is going extremely well thanks so much again for all the financial support. Next on the agenda: Walt's birthday. Marie asks if there are any big plans, particularly since Walt's last birthday was dampened with his cancer diagnosis. Skyler says they will probably do something quiet at home. Marie keeps badgering her sister, causing Skyler to dig into her purse for a cigarette. This causes Marie to have a Class 5 freakout, berating her sister about the health risks, the danger to her baby, and is it even legal to smoke in the office? Skyler can't take it anymore. "SHUT UP MARIE! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!" Skyler breaks down and sobs.
After Walt and Jesse finish the cook (49 pounds – not bad), Mr. White returns home and finds Marie perched on a chair in the living room. She tells Walt about Skyler's breakdown and mentions that she has started smoking. Walt says the smoking is no big deal, but Marie says she isn't leaving until she learns what made Skyler flip out. Is it gambling? Has the cancer returned? She wants the truth. Walt asks if Marie heard about Ted and his accident. Marie hadn't, but even after Walt explains what happened she says that wouldn't have caused Skyler's tirade. Walt says it does: "you must know, right?" Turns out Marie didn't know about the new affair with Ted. Walt says he and Skyler were trying to reconcile but then the accident happened and she has been on edge ever since. Marie is shocked, but seems satisfied with this explanation. She gives Walt a hug and leaves.
Jesse half-watches Brock and Andrea playing a racing game. Andrea looks over and sees Jesse lost in his own thoughts. She asks if he is okay and Jesse says he's fine. He's not fine.
Skyler is sprawled on her bed, staring at the ceiling. This show really hasn't figured out what to do with her this season, which is a shame because I finally came around to sorta liking Skyler. Anyway, she hears noise from the living room and investigates. Walt and the kids are having a giggle-filled time watching Scarface. Uh, nice Mob Week tie-in, AMC. Also, my understanding is that movie is not a comedy, even the "Say hello to my little friend" part. Walt invites Skyler to join them as the baby coos. "Everyone dies in this movie, don't they?" Walt Jr. asks. Um, foreshadowing much?
Walt, Mike and Jesse meet in the office of the garage. Mike has counted out the mine from the latest cook and it totals out to $367,000 each. That doesn't jibe with Walt's math at all, saying each of them should be getting over $600,000. Mike says he had to take out expenses for mules and drivers. Walt says Gus didn't need mules, but that's because Gus had an elaborate network created from 20+ years of work. Mike continues to go through the accounting, shifting stacks of money with each line item. The last one, Legacy Costs, riles up Walt. These are the Hazard Payments for Dennis and the other nine guys on the list. Walt says he didn't agree to pay the employees on someone else's payroll. Mike says this is the cost of doing business adding, "We make 'em whole, one hand washes the other, simple as that." Walt calls it blackmail and the payment should come out of Mike's cut. Jesse, the only one of the three who has not squandered his money, says to take it out of his cut. Walt reluctantly agrees to his own cut getting adjusted. In the end, each guy ends up with $137,000, less than what was made with Fring. "Just because you shot Jesse James doesn't make you Jesse James," Mike lectures.
As Walt and Jesse leave, Walt asks Jesse how he is doing and Jesse reveals he broke things off with Andrea. Walt's question was actually referring to the money. Jesse points out that their last cook was 1/4 the size of what they used to make for Gus, so they are actually making more money in the long run. Walt muses about his relationship with Gus and wonders if maybe things were better in the past. He thinks back to Victor, the guy Gus slashed in the lab. Perhaps Gus was protecting Victor from getting too close to the sun with his enterprising ways. Oh Jesse, get out of there.
Next time on Breaking Bad: Hank is still on the case. Lydia is the next lead in the investigation. Will Walt's new bankroll change Skyler's attitude?
Mike McComb – TVLatest.com
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