Breaking Bad Roundtable 5.5: Dead Freight

Holy Shit, that just happened.

Dave: Yep, we officially had our first holy shit moment of the season. Walt and Jesse have gone to great lengths in the past to protect “innocents” so it’s going to be very interesting to see how this cold blooded child murder affects all of our main characters. When Todd shot the kid I had totally forgotten about the cold open, which made the scene even that more impactful. I was busy celebrating with them over a caper well done. The scene took me totally by surprise.

Ben: wow…very intense moment, from pure elation to shock over what happens. It definitely happened fast and hell of a note to end the episode on.

Burner: I too had totally forgotten about the kid on the dirt bike.  Apparently the train whistle, which I didn’t hear in the cold open, was the tip off.  I think this will likely be the precipitating event that leads to things coming apart for Walt and Co.   All season there have been indications of Jesse thinking Walt has gone over the edge, I’m thinking approval from Walt for what Todd did could be the wedge that finally drives Jesse away.

Kevin: Unlike you guys I was wondering for most of the episode when that kid was going to make an appearance again. The problem with such a mysterious opening is that you continue to think “well when is this going to become relevant?” The writers normally do this in a much more indirect way – zooming in on a box cutter for example. They did a great job of ramping up the intensity with the train to make me forget about it in the closing moments of the show, but at least when they were installing and filling the big tanks I was wondering if that kid was going to show up and ask them what they were doing. That lessened the wow factor at the end, but Todd’s creepy wave followed by the shot was still pretty disturbing.

Chas: Kevin was in a bad mood when he wrote his roundtable thoughts.

Even before you murder a child it’s polite to give a friendly wave.

Another caper episode, what were your thoughts on the train robbery (pre-child murder)?

Dave: I thought it was incredible. The cinematography was unbelievable. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Southwest and I tend to forget how beautiful it looks when shot correctly. The robbery itself was tense but fun all at the same time. Like I said above, I was celebrating right along with them when the heist went off successfully.

Ben: The theft itself was interesting to watch, but earlier in the episode with the phone tap and threatening the corporate woman wasn’t very exciting. Once they actually started messing around by the train tracks the episode really picks up.

Burner: So, so tense. Like season 2, out in the desert with Tuco tense. I loved the whole train robbery from conception to celebration. It was also good to see Bill Burr didn’t take the fall for the creation of FrankenBeneke, back in action here as the teams on-call con man who stops the train.

Kevin: I thought most of this episode, while great and fun to watch, was utterly ridiculous. Walt magically getting Hank to leave his office AND close the blinds so he could plant the bugs, Lydia’s amazing knowledge about the supply train (she would have no business knowing which car had which chemical, nor would she be privy to detailed railroad plans precisely because of the homeland security guidelines she talks about. She gets the methylamine presumably from a third party that puts it into barrels. There’d be absolutely no reason why a transport company – the RR – would need to provide her with updated information about the product it’s moving for another company), the train being JUST long enough to reach the convenient bridge, and then the 2 RR engineers that didn’t question for a minute a broken down truck on the tracks in the middle of nowhere (what are the odds?). Fun to watch? Yes. Tense? Yes. But also ludicrous and a bit beneath the more believable ideas the show has come up with.

Chas: …

Kevin’s day when he wrote this roundtable

On the heels of last week’s Marie and Skyler episode, we got very little of both characters. I assume this made everyone happy?

Dave: Yes. This was the right amount for my tastes. The A and B plots involved our main characters, Walt, Jesse, Mike, and Hank. Leave Marie, Skyler, and Walt Jr. to the scraps.

Ben: I keep hoping Skyler is going to die, but without her then Walt probably doesn’t have any motivation to stay grounded and he loses depth as a character. That said I really can do with this level of involvement from Sky/Maria. Anymore of them in an episode and I start hoping Señor Ding Ding murders them from the grave.

Burner: Marie is good, but the stuff with Skyler fails on two levels. 1) It’s not very interesting. No one cares what happens to your non-character baby! B) It makes no sense. You cannot indefinitely ship your children off to the in-laws and just never explain why. What’s the end game here?

Kevin: Totally agree with Burner here. Walt and Skylar separated before, just end the damn thing and be done. At first it made sense because Walt wanted to play father to his kids and see them on a regular basis. Now they’re gone again, so there’s no need for them to stay together. And that really wouldn’t be all that suspicious to anyone they know.

Chas: Kevin was in a bad mood when he wrote his roundtable thoughts.

Who was a worse father, psycho Walter White or nutso Hal? Or are you stuck in the middle? HA!

Back to the train heist and the repercussions of the murder. Is this what finally puts Jesse over the edge?

Dave: I never really understood fully why he was still cooking at this point. He has all his money, why not take Mike’s advice and get out of dodge? I feel like the logical storyline is him trying to find a way out at this point.

Ben: I agree with Dave, Jesse really doesn’t have any motivation to keep cooking, unlike Walt and Mike who need it for paying other debts. I’m thinking this is going to set Walt and Jesse against Mike. Even though Walter sold it, the Aztek hasn’t killed anyone in a while and it still lusts for blood.

Burner: Since I already answered this above, I’ll answer Dave’s question. I think Jesse stays because he has no idea what to do with himself. He thinks he’s a terrible and dangerous person because of what he’s done and he’s done it to pursue this goal. To give up now would make things “like Gail” happened for nothing.

Kevin: I don’t think so. He’s not going to be a fan of this, obviously, but that’s not going to stop him from cooking. I’m more interested to see what happens with Todd. Does he get the respect from Mike for doing what needs to be done? Or is he gotten rid of since he (1) jeopardized them, (2) killed a little boy, and (3) knows too much at this point.

Chas: Kevin was in a bad mood when he wrote his roundtable thoughts.

The Aztek still thirsts for the blood of innocents:


What was your favorite scene from this episode?

Dave: It has to be the train robbery, most specifically the shots of the train and the great cinematography I talked about earlier. When they were first scouting the location and then as the train pulled to a stop in front of the “broken down” truck. All of it was beautiful.

Ben: Hard to go wrong with a good heist episode, show how clever the characters are and get that ultimate victory of pulling it off at the last second.

Burner: It does, indeed, have to be the train robbery, so let me pick one part of it: Caper Mastermind Jesse Pinkman. I love the “What about magnets? Let’s measure this out,” Jesse. He gets to be innovative and funny and it’s nice to see a guy who’s been getting beat up a lot lately have a victory or two.

Kevin: Hank, Marie and the purple living room! No, not really. Since you guys went with the train scene, I’ll go with the Lydia interrogation scene with Walt’s “you have no leverage” line. Good stuff.

Chas: Kevin was in a bad mood when he wrote his roundtable thoughts.

Marie sometimes makes Hank dress up as Grimace *shivers*

What were your overall thoughts on this episode?

Dave: This was the best episode of the year as far as I’m concerned and seemingly set up the majority of the conflict going forward. Everything from the early scene with Walt and Hank in his new office all the way through the interrogation of Lydia, the heist, and then of course the ending. A+

Ben: As I said before, I’m guessing the guy was hired by Mike and with the recent tension between Walt and Mike over paying off the guys in prison; odds aren’t looking too good for Mike. Walt and Jesse have always landed on the same side when children’s lives are threatened/taken, even if Walt is responsible. Very good episode, but needed some Saul love. A

Burner: Good stuff on the cook operations side of the story, more boring stuff at home on the other. Through that whole scene with Skyler, I just kept thinking, “Why doesn’t he just divorce her? She keeps laundering the money and he stays away.” Easy as that. Like the stuff with the kids, the whole White’s Domestic Situation plot line doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Though, that was just a minor part of an otherwise excellent episode.

Kevin: Great episode, though I’m not sure it was the best of the season. It was missing a family breakfast scene. That would have made it perfect.

Chas: Kevin was in a bad mood when he wrote his roundtable thoughts. Besides Kevin’s OBVIOUS bad mood, I didn’t weigh in on anything for this entire roundtable but I wanted to say that if the episode ended this way it would have been the best TV episode of any show in the history of television:


468 ad