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Published on August 8th, 2011 | by Mo Fathelbab


‘Breaking Bad’ Season 4 Episode 4 Review: Bullet Points

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Last week, I gave a so-so review for “Open House”. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it. As a matter of fact, I thought most of the episode was good. But the resolutions to the plots regarding Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Skylar (Anna Gunn) buying the car wash and Hank (David Norris) winding up with Gale’s (David Costabile) notebook were a bit telegraphed. The resolutions needed to happen, most especially the one involving the notebook, so we could get a back-to-be-amazing episode like tonight’s “Bullet Points.” It is very much like how The Sopranos (Breaking Bad’s television soulmate) was structured from Season Four-on.

The episode starts off with literal bullet points as Mike (Jonathan Banks) single handedly offs two machine gun-wielding Mexican cartel thugs who were attempting to stop a truck shipment of some sorts from Gus’ (Giancarlo Esposito) Los Pollos Hermanos. (Something tells me there was more in the back of that truck than liquid grease.) A piece of his right ear dangles off after being grazed by a bullet. It’s gross but it doesn’t faze old Mike. Instead it’s just one of the small annoyances that comes with his line of work. It’s an annoyance that’s on par with one of your officemates accidentally drinking from your coffee mug. It happens, you wash it out, and then you move on.

Most of the other characters were annoyed as well. Walt is annoyed at a lot of things, most especially at Skylar’s insistence on rehearsing the li(n)es they will tell Hank and Walter Junior (Welcome back, RJ Mitte! It’s been a while, bro!) about how Walt had amassed his current fortune –though counting cards at Black Jack (and the truth about buying the car wash). It’s a darkly funny scene as Skylar gives him a script to go over and he responds like a child who isn’t interesting in playing pretend with his friends, especially ones who write terrible dialogue (Skylar probably shouldn’t quit her day job and move to Hollywood to become a screenwriter). When he finally does gives his performance for Hank and Walt Jr., he does so after Hank playfully shows him a video of Gale performing karaoke badly, which he had received as part of his investigation into the former lab assistant’s past life involving crystal meth making.

(Hank is annoyed at Walt, for only a millisecond, when it turns out that Walt knows a whole lot more about the minerals he’s been collecting than he does.)

The scenes following the “confession” were filled with as much tension as the season premiere. Hank is sort of impressed with Walt for living a double life (granted, in Hank’s mind, Walt’s an amazing gambler). They share pleasantries, then offer one another an ear to bend (calling back Mike’s wounded right ear) if the other ever felt like talking. Hank immediately takes Walt on his offer and asks him to read Gale’s notes. Walt immediate knows what the formula in the book is for but Hank has already come to a conclusion: Gale WAS the elusive Heisenberg. He just needs Walt to help him to decipher the other notes, to possibly help him catch other associates. They both notice that the book was dedicated to a “W.W.” Hank jokes that the initials stand for Walter White. Walt quickly finds a poem amongst the notes and figures out that it was written by Walt Whitman, the most likely recipient of Gale’s adoration, he determines. Hank is satisfied by the explanation.

Jesse (Aaron Paul) is annoyed as well. Though he doesn’t notice that Gus’ camera have been trained on him –- and only him -– in the lab, Walt has and not only is her worried that Hank will somehow stumble upon Jesse as being Gale’s murderer, but he’s also concerned that Gus will order Jesse clipped before the DEA and Albuquerque PD get to him. Walt wants him to talk about the night he went over to Gale’s apartment but Jesse refuses, instead paying off his fellow methheads to kick him out of his pad. He’s done thinking about pulling that trigger. He’s done even talking about it. He’s numb.

But he’s maybe too numb. When one of the methheads steals his bag of cash, Jesse doesn’t freak out. Instead, he grabs a strung out young woman and plays a video game with her. When Mike tracks the thief down and brings him back to Jesse’s house bound and blindfolded, Jesse doesn’t bat an eye. Mike threatens to kill the junkie but Jesse doesn’t believe him. Why would Mike go through the trouble to blindfold a man he was going to shoot anyway? He takes back his money and goes back to his bedroom. This stuns Mike. He sees Jesse’s numbness for recklessness and goes to Gus. Something needs to be done about him.

Walt isn’t stupid. After a conversation with Saul (Bob Odenkirk), where he offers to introduce Walt to a man who can help him “disappear” in a criminal version of the Witness Protection Program, Walt races back to Jesse’s house, sensing that his young partner was in danger. He sees that the methheads have all been cleared out. Jesse’s bed is empty and unmade. His cell phone is still on the nightstand. This does not look good. Walt rushes back to the lab, stares into Gus’s camera, and demands to know where he is, like a father looking for his lost child. (And theme that has been excellently executed the last four seasons, and more so in “Bullet Point”.)

The episode ends with Jesse in a car being driven by Mike. They travel on a road somewhere in the New Mexico desert. Mike turns to him. “Wanna ask where we going?” Jesse doesn’t turn his head, answers: “Nope.” There’s a fade to black. Jesse’s fate is unknown.

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    I’m liking all the subtle nuances added to Jesse’s character. He always seem to be a plain vanilla meth head, but the writer’s add just enough distinction from season to season to make him that much more interesting.

    I agree that Jesse is just “numb” to this new world. It’s almost like he’s waiting for death. There was a time when he cared about getting his “fat stacks”, but now he’s lost emotion. It’s a definite switch from when his girlfriend died or any other time he was strung out on meth. 

    I have a feeling that the Chicken Man is going to put Jesse in some kind of rehab program again. With his own war on the way, I don’t think he wants to disrupt Walt’s work.

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