Binging Late (S2:E11) – Dr. Feelgood
Watching Combo take one from a lil’ hopper, it was hard not to think back to Omar’s unbefitting demise on The Wire. The parallels end with the unlikeliness of their juvenile assailants, so I won’t stretch it, but that teaser did take me back.
Remember back in Season One, when I wrote about the perils of cheering for villains who inevitably fail? If there’s one set of characters even more frustrating to have an interest in, it has to be drug addicts. As predictable as Landlady Jane’s relapse was once she identified herself as 18 months clean, and as understandable as Jesse’s turning to the needle was in light of Combo’s murder, watching their mutual descent into the black tar was excruciating. In some ways, Jesse meeting Jane seemed like a very positive development for him: she made him happy, encouraged his creativity, and engaged his self-confidence. Now that they’ve turned to enabling one another, there’s no way this ends well.
I feel compelled to toot my horn a little bit for nailing Walt’s rationale for keeping a clumsy lackey like Jesse around for as long as he has. Giancarlo Esposito (does he have a name at this point?) brought it out, with Walt squarely admitting he put up with Jesse because he was obedient, and because he could be trusted. Giancarlo Esposito also planted a hell of a seed, though, when he seared into all of our consciousness: “You can never trust a drug addict.” Oops—looks like Walt wasn’t quite as smart as he thought he was. Again.
Breaking Bad is full of moments where Walt is in a good position to call it quits and leave the path of death and destruction that his cooking has already wrought in the past. And by ‘good position,’ I mean that he achieved his original goal from the enterprise—he could (and should) quit regardless.
And so this episode leaves off at a place where Walter is on the verge of being in the most ideal place for doing so. I can’t remember what I wanted at the end of this episode. If Walt makes the score, then he should be done, right? What possible reason could he have to continue if he gets paid for his 42-lbs of meth?
It doesn’t seem that Doug is experiencing the same problem that the rest of the audience has throughout the series: The desire to root for Walt even as he makes decision after horrible decision, revealing his narcissism and disregard for anyone else in his life. I remember watching this episode and wanting him to make the drop and get his scrilla. But I certainly didn’t want the show to end, nor the swirling devolution of Walter White.