If you’ve been watching AMC’s Breaking Bad starring Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, then you know that the story arc is compact, intense, and full of insanity. Cranston’s character Walt started off as a naive high school chemistry teacher and has evolved into somewhat of a monster. The first episode of season five made to sure to show Walt rearing his ugly head.
It’s Walt’s 52nd birthday and he is eating at Denny’s alone. It’s months after Gustavo’s downfall and he has a head full of hair and a beard. The waitress offers him a free meal, but he turns it down and leaves her a $100 bill under his plate. He gets a package in the restroom and goes out to a vehicle in the parking lot. While switching from one vehicle to another, the audience is shown New Hampshire license plates which reads, “Live Free or Die”. In the trunk of the new car are guns, ammo & instructions.
Cut back to the chain of events following the death of drug lord Gustavo. After speaking to Skyler on the phone and declaring, “I won”, Walt runs to his house and cleans up the kitchen before his wife and Walt Jr. come home. Skyler refuses to speak to him and admits she is afraid of him. Walt interacts with his infant daughter and the audience feels the eery disconnect between Walt the killer and Walt the father.
Uncle Hank inspects Gustavo’s blown up lab. Two bodies found in one corner have “pop corn teeth”. There is a new crime scene fact in every episode of this series whether you are ready for it or not. Hank also finds remnants of a blown up camera which leads him to believe there is footage of the lab and its activities.
Gustavo’s right hand man Mike finds out that Walter killed the boss. He is pretty angry and threatens to shoot Mr. White. But Mike’s new apprentice Jesse tells him, “If you kill him, you’ll have to kill me”. Jesse is extremely loyal to Walt, but this can’t last forever. As an audience we’ve witnessed Walt allow Jesse’s heroin addicted girlfriend to overdose without helping her. Walt also poisoned Jesse’s other girlfriend’s son. These are the two most shady things he has done to Pinkman, but luckily it has worked in keeping his assistant very loyal.
Mike tells the guys that the police department has tagged and filed Gustavo’s security laptop in their evidence room. While Mike and Walt argue about bombs and explosions, simpleton Jesse suggests a magnet. Mike thinks Jesse should dump Walt because the idea is crazy and Walt isn’t worth the risk. Instead, Jesse fronts Walt the money for a big magnet, similar to the one in the scrap yard that all the appliances are afraid of on The Brave Little Toaster.
The magnet destroys most of the evidence in the police department. Walt and Jesse bail, leaving the rent-a-truck in the police parking lot along with the magnet and its system. Mike thinks they are insane, that they have left finger prints, and that it didn’t work. Walt insists that it worked perfectly. When Mike continues to question him asking, “How do you know?” Mr. White answers with a creepy, “Because I say so”. This is alarming because it shows Walt’s evolution from a honest man trying to make money for his family to a greedy, desperate, angry man who cannot be trusted by anyone. He has become everything that he hates.
Skyler visits her boss and lover Ted in the hospital after he was severely injured and threatened with his life. He looks pretty terrible with hardcore gead gear, screws in his shaved skull, and a lot of tubes and wires all over his body. Skyler is in shock to see him. Ted promises that he hasn’t said anything about Walt’s business and will keep it a secret.
Saul the attorney lets Walt know why he allowed Skyler to have primary control over their finances and allowed Ted to receive over $600k. Saul explains that he was honoring Walt’s previous wishes and can’t choose sides in the relationship. Saul feels threatened and says that he is done working for Walt. But White replies with another threat, “We’re done when I say we’re done”.
In the end, he approaches Skyler knowing full well that she is afraid of him and he acknowledges her relationship to Ted. He hugs her, holding her tight and says in her ear, “I forgive you”. Everything in Walt’s life seems to be cyclical. So while Heisenberg thinks he has everything under control right now and may feel pretty badass, this season is letting us know that he will be getting a major wake up call in episodes to come.