Breaking Bad Roundtable 5.6: Buyout

There was A LOT going on this episode. What did you guys think of the pacing?

Dave: There was too much going on and really I could have seen this being two or three episodes. While I thought the beginning was great, the rest of the episode just seemed like it was in a big damn hurry. As many critics have pointed out this is probably due to the shortened 8 episode “mini” season.

Kevin: Hmm, I didn’t think this episode suffered from pacing issues at all. It seemed to chug along just fine to me. Great opening, a great line from Saul – “different strokes for different folks, but—he’s just not that into you,” Walt getting out of yet another bind, and an amazing dinner scene. This was no scabby lasagna episode.

Ben: After melting the kid down into goo, they moved on quick to moving the chemicals. It was interesting how they move between the sides of the triumvirate (Walt, Jesse, Mike). It starts out with Walt and Mike against Jesse on keeping the shooter close. Then we progress to Mike and Jesse making their own deal for the chemicals. Finally it ends with Walt and Jesse siding against Mike for the unexplained win/win situation.

Chas:  I don’t think there was that much going on in this episode.  In fact, I think it was generally pretty slow.  They spent about 15 minutes melting that kid and his bike into goo.   That’s more than Gus got…

Every week we rip on Skyler and Marie. Here’s your chance for week 6. Go.

Dave: Actually I didn’t have many problems with them this week. Skyler was actually funny in the dinner scene and with so much else going on they were out of the way for most of the episode.

Still terrible, but not THAT terrible this week

Kevin: Yeah I agree. In fact, I dare say I was up to 50% approving of Skyler screen time this week. The dinner seen was enjoyable, the scene with Marie was awful and boring. So….better than most episodes.

Burner: I continue to have no interest in the Sklyer story line. I think her presence on the show can be largely chalked up to actor inertia, if they were braver they’d find some way to kill her off and soon. I attribute 100% of the enjoyability of the dinner scene to Aaron Paul, his twitchy energy as Jesse went through his various attempts at small talk was great.

Ben: Agreeing with Kevin and Burner, the dinner scene was interesting the but Marie/Skyler scene was forgettable.

Chas: Ben is a succinct genius.

What did you think of Walt’s escape act?

Dave: Not to sound like Kevin here but this one to me seemed a bit over the top and was wrought with symbolism. It also wasn’t very tense as we knew Mike was far away.

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

Burner: I’m reserving judgement until we find out whether he burned the shit out of himself or not. If he comes away from that unharmed then I call bullshit. Also, anyone ever try to expose wire by chewing off the insulation before? Seems like it would be harder than that.

Ben: I don’t see why burning through was necessary; zip-ties are only effective if they contain both hands and prevent you from tampering with the mechanism. In this case a fingernail or a splinter of wood would have been far easier, even pulling through a bit of plastic so the teeth disengage would have been very simple with one hand free.

Necessary?

Chas: I don’t know shit about zip-ties but I find it a bit ridiculous and contrived that Mike had to take care of one thing quickly before making the BIGGEST DEAL OF HIS LIFE.  Also, that he was content with just throwing a zip tie on Walt. In that scenario, where Mike knows he has not only his future on the line but also the financial future of his granddaughter I think he’d be more likely to lock Walt in a box or knock him the fuck out.  One zip tie?  That’s not Mike. Maybe if Jesse or Saul handled it I’d by it but not Mike. Not to sound like Kevin’s overanlysis of the heist but this was just too convenient.

What was your favorite scene from this episode?

Dave: The opening scene was incredibly well done but I couldn’t stop laughing at the dinner scene. We’ve seen far too little of funny Jesse this season. Aaron Paul is amazing.

Kevin: Yeah the dinner scene for sure. Paul was amazing. I felt uncomfortable right along with him. Also, I’m definitely complementing my wife on her purchase of “choice” vegetables in the future.

Burner: What happened to truth in advertising, yo? I would give it to the dinner scene as well, but I think I’ll say a little more about the opening. The elegiac way the dismembering of the dirt bike stood in for the disposal of the kid’s body, with just his hand exposed before the cut to credits was a truly great piece of television .

Chas:  The opening.  The ability to communicate the gravity of what happened without any dialogue was impressive.  The look on Mike’s face, Jesse’s absence, Walt’s matter of fact approach and even FuckTardMcgee (whatever that kid’s name is) nonchalant nature spoke volumes about their characters. I was moved.  The dinner scene was great, if only to remind us of the more dynamic Breaking Bad that existed before the severity of Gus Fring’s situation sent everyone down an intense, depressing trajectory with little room for levity.  Yeah Science!

Amazing Television

What were your overall thoughts on this episode.

Dave: There was too much going on, but at least by the end of it you can tell we’re going to start ramping up to the midseason finale. I expect great things the next two weeks.

Kevin: Possibly my favorite so far. I prefer these episodes, the ones without ludicrous train robberies. I like Walt playing everyone to get what he wants. Skylar also had an enjoyable scene for the first time in who knows how long, so that was an added bonus.

Burner: This was a solid outing for breaking bad. It felt to me as though the whole episode seemed to carry forward the low energy of the open. It also felt a little like pieces being pushed around to me, which is all well and good, but I prefer the ones where exciting shit happens and the stakes just seemed low for most of this episode.

Ben: As I mentioned before, it was interesting how they rotated through each main character, making them each have a portion of the episode as the odd man out. This was a bridge episode after the high tension finish to the last episode and them getting a new plan which will probably reach a boiling point just before the mid-season break

Chas: This is a stopgap episode. Why Kevin would prefer this to last week’s caper boggles my mind to its brain stem.  There are memorably Breaking Bad episodes and there are solid, necessary ones.  This was the latter.  When everyone looks back as this (half)season they’re going to remember the gripping train robbery, not the one where they melted down a kid and his bike and had an awkward dinner with Skylar.  And by “everyone” I also mean Kevin.  He’s not going to remember this damn episode in five years.

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