Breaking Bad is quickly coming to a close (only three left after last night!) and series creator Vince Gilligan's promise that there's "a shitload of story left to tell" definitely seems on point.
While the show is famous for it's Think Episodes (Fly, anyone?) last night was focused on plot. Aided by the brilliant opening montages — that perfect, purposeful combination of "Omg, yes! I totally loved that moment two weeks ago!" "Oh, I forgot about that," and delicious foreshadowing device — the episode moved right along into all the merry members of Albuquerque's meth scene still standing.
But as the final moments reminded us, scheming is good and fun, but at the end of the day, the probability of heads rolling is high.
So, who would win in a gun fight?
The DEA agent certainly is no longer a chump. He knows what Walt's up to and as recent episodes suggests, is wiling to get dirty to get his proof that Heisenberg is Walter White. In this episode, he pulls strings and does a little texting manipulation to great effect. But unable to tell his office that the man he has been after all these years was his brother-in-law, he's an island without reinforcement coming. Jesse Pinkman's dedication to getting Walter captured isn't quite the muscle he needs in a gunfight.
Plus, being on the side of the law and still having some light and love in his heart (Marie, he loves that lilac-covered girl, so!), he can't pull the crazy stuff like blowing up a nursing home to get his way.
The Verdict: Gun fight rule #1: Bring the grenades or go home, and Hank ain't bringing no grenades.
The increasingly cruel and cold Walter White is losing friends but he still has plenty to lean back on. Being a sociopath helps in mass killing, so Walter's willingness to call a hit on his own Best Partner in Crime bodes well on that front. And Walter is smart. He's usually meticulous about pulling out cellphone batteries to avoid being tracked but then again, he's also inexplicably stupid at times. When your brother-in-law who works at the DEA has made you, why aren't you assuming that your car is being tracked again?
Then there's that meth-cooking super ability of his. He makes the stuff better than anyone else and in the economics of drug dealing according to Breaking Bad, quality counts. With his know-how, he has sway over Todd in Team Lydia as well as the #1 murderer for hire in town, Todd's uncle.
But when he'll jet into the middle of the desert because Jesse is telling him "You listen to me bitch… I'm burning 10 grand a minute until you get here," greed has become a controlling mistress. But having barrels and barrels of money does have its perks too.
The Verdict: Walt's getting soft. The money is buried at "the very first place we cooked, like ever," as Jesse notices. Sweet for BFFs, not for the gun fight.
Lydia, the Louboutin-wearing drug kingpin reminds her newest chef Todd that her customers are looking for more than just purity—the blue stuff is also a branding technique. And The Creepiest Man Alive, Todd, seems deeply ashamed that he hasn't lived up to her expectations. He looks somewhere between a child and a puppy (a child who has lost his puppy?) when he hopefully offers, "About the buyers, I could ask my uncle to smooth things over with them." Which sounds all sweet and good until you remember that his uncle kills people for a living with a swatztica tattooed on his hand.
Todd is the show's reining sociopath which, once again, is useful when you need to kill a bunch of people. But is he really that dedicated to Team Lydia? Or is he going to turn as soon as he has mastered the Blue Stuff and cook for himself?
The Verdict: Looks good if Lydia can be the manager behind Todd's cooking and killing brawn. Can we say Gus-in-Céline? With next week's episode named "Ozymandias" after the Percy Shelley poem about a king's lost empire in the desert, dare we say there might be a new big shot in town?