It is unknown at this point whether Lydia’s nervous demeanour is just an act or if she is another Gus, using a very plain, business like exterior to hide a very black heart underneath. This is one of the themes the show deals with: how ordinary life and an ordinary surface is simple subterfuge to cover an underlying darkness. In fact, one of the key lines of the episode comes when Hank’s former supervisor speaks about Gus Fring:
“I had him out to my house. 4th of July. Cooked out in the backyard, the sun shook the corn, my daughter cooked up potatoes. Fring brought sea bass. Everytime I grill it now I make a little foil pouch just like he showed me. The whole night we were laughing, telling stories, drinking wine. And he’s somebody else completely. Right in front of me. Right under my nose.”
Within that section of dialogue you have images of a normal life, the life that Gus Fring pretended to lead. A life so ordinary and so normal that he was treated as boring, even though in his heart was a web of lies and death. The same can be said for Walt, for Mike, for Jesse etc. To a certain extent the same could be said for Skyler too and in earlier episodes for Marie. We could therefore assume the same theory could be applied to Lydia.
Besides Lydia, this episode of Breaking Bad really serves the character of Mike. Last year we got an episode that was devoted entirely to him and Jesse but now it’s just him and it does give us a real sense of his efficiency and his talent. Jonathan Banks, who plays Mike, is terrific in the role and it is great that he gets his time to shine. Particularly in the scene where Mike is interrogated by Hank, where he keeps his composure, keeps himself calm and remains nonplussed by any of the accusations.
Another thing that stood out with this episode was the directing. Michelle MacLaren returns to the helm of this episode and it is an absolute blessing. She has been consistently one of the series’ best directors. The stylistic choices and the camera angles in this episode are just brilliant. They don’t tend to call attention to themselves upon first viewing but are nonetheless important.
The two scenes we get between Walt and Skyler are examples of her brilliance as a director. The scenes are locked off single takes, no camera movement. The first does not allow Walt’s face into the frame with Skyler, we only see him from the waist down. The second keeps focused on Skyler, a look of fright on her face as she lays in bed and her husband caresses her as he talks about going back into the meth business.
The greatest of effects can be achieved by the most simple of techniques and I guarantee you this: you won’t see a creepier scene in TV or film this year.Previous