Thirty Eight Snub, the title of the second episode in the fourth season of Breaking Bad, is also the subject of the episode’s opening scene. In it, Walter White is purchasing a gun from a shady salesman within the confines of a dark, musty motel room. Notes of Taxi Driver and Down In The Valley ring true as Walt practices his draw in front of the mirror. He purchases the untraceable gun, promising the salesman that it is strictly for “defence.” As stated at the end of last weeks episode, we know he has a far more sinister plan in store.
After the credits role, we find Jesse Pinkman (along with his strung out friends Badger and Skinny Pete) doing lines of meth off a filthy coffee table. Is it possible that Jesse is back in cahoots with his drug problem, or is he merely using to repress the trauma of last weeks blood-spattered confrontation?
With nary a moment wasted, Jesse throws a massive party to take his mind off of Gale, who he murdered at the end of Season 3 and Victor, who Gus brutally eviscerated last week. Jesse fills his house to the brim with the denizens of the deep, who are doing lines off each others bodies and washing it down with high proof liquor.
Jesse’s eyes look not at the people attending his party, but instead through them. There is an all encompassing sea of emotions at a tumult inside him, but he does he best to contain it. How will his emotions come in to play throughout this season? Will he let his deep-hearted morals lead him down the right path (a flash of this arises when he confronts Andrea about the money he sent her), or will the darkness inside him take over?
Meanwhile, Hank is as embittered as ever. He continues to treat Marie as an afterthought, at times verbally abusing her and kicking her out of the bedroom. Marie is deeply saddened by this, but she wastes no breath on complaint. Instead, she helps Hank organize his geode/rock collection (which is still unexplained).
Most interestingly, Mike the cleaner spent the majority of the episode behind a stiff drink. It seems that even he too was affected by Gus’ violent actions. It brought his intimidating persona down a notch, if only for a short while. Early in the episode, Walt asks Mike to see Gus to which he responds, “You will never see him again.”
Later, when Walt visits Mike at the bar and poses the same question, I had presumed that Mike could possibly sympathize with Walt (who was also feeling the aftermath of Gus’ brutality) and set up a meeting. This wasn’t the case though as Mike assumed his old guise and beat Walt to the ground for his disloyal statements.
Finally, Skyler spent her time chatting it up with the owner of the local car wash. As indicated in last season, Skyler wants to purchase this car wash so she can launder Walt’s money through it. However, the owner was not the least bit willing to give up the wash. Where this leg of the story goes is uncertain.
Overall, the episode was strong but by no means memorable. Both Walt and Jessie have strong scenes (their strongest I have left out; you will know when they come), as do supporting characters. This episode acted as a bridge of sorts between the crazy violence of the opening episode and shocking revelations to come.
One thing that didn’t surface was Gale’s notebook, is it at all significant or was it just something to throw audiences off? We’ll have to wait until next week’s episode of Breaking Bad to find out!