EP. 6:

Great opening this week, with excellent scoring as usual by Dave Porter. The disassembly and dissolution of the bike is amazing; we can watch them do to the machine what we -- and they -- know will have to be done to the body as well, making the whole sequence a deft, emotionally loaded feat of visual substitution. The business-like atmosphere and the look on their faces are pitch perfect. And while it may not seem that striking out of context, the shot above is a wonderful visual moment, as Walt gazes out, waiting, to the dumptruck where Todd is digging out the non-mechanical body. This is what it has come to: dismembering and dissolving the body of a child. The gloves, mask, the filthy garage -- it's a great dialogue-free intro.

As to the subsequent handling of the Todd situation, I guess I'm mostly satisfied. I think they brushed off/played down the utter lack of the murder's necessity, but at least it was sort of debated, with the option of murdering Todd even being raised. While Jesse of course takes the whole thing hardest, it doesn't trip him up to quite the degree I anticipated, at least yet. But this works; it's a reminder that Jesse has changed a lot too, and is more in control of himself than in the past. I'm still wondering where this whole Todd subplot might lead.

As to the rest of the episode, it's probably not one of the most stand-out, but it covers some interesting ground. I didn't anticipate Mike and Jesse simply deciding to pull out (or sell out, rather); it's an interesting problem to throw at Walt, and by the end of the episode he seems to have devised some kind of solution, though we don't yet know what. It can't be some form of coercion, because Jesse wants Mike to hear Walt out and appears amenable to whatever proposition Walt has. But anyway, it's an interesting problem in part because it forces some onscreen confrontation about what Walt is really in this for at this point, because it's clearly not the money itself. "Empire building," Walt claims. I'm on the fence about how compelling "personal revenge against Gray Matter" is as a driving motive, but as Walt points out, he has nothing else left and little chance of getting the things he's lost back. The only direction is forward, deeper, more; in some ways Walt is as addicted to the Blue as his unseen customers. He's begun to remind me a bit of Plainview in There Will Be Blood, actually, and his "I have a competition in me" monologue.

Oh, and while I sometimes find "MacGuyver Walt" a little much, I like the way he gets out of his restraint; like the train robbery last episode, it was a clever twist on an age-old cliche.

K