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Breaking Bad Series Blog 5.3: Hazard Pay (Contains Spoilers!)

“Just because you shot Jesse James, that doesn’t make you Jesse James.”  

‘All Hail The King’ declared the poster for BREAKING BAD’s fifth and final season, on which a triumphant Walter White sits stern amongst his hard earned cash. However, the battle for the crown is just beginning as Walt, Jesse and Mike begrudgingly unite to run New Mexico’s drug trade. On paper the three are equal partners, but in Walt’s mind there’s no question of who leads the operation: ‘He runs the business, and I run Mike’ claims a defiant Walt.

As the series progresses it’s near impossible to fathom where Walter White ends and Heisenberg begins, with his subtle manipulation of those around him increasing at breakneck speed. ‘Hazard Pay’ saw the return of many BREAKING BAD characters, and the most notable of these being Andrea and Brock. The child that Walt brought to the brink of death bafflingly remains in Jesse’s life — how Andrea never fully questioned Jesse’s knowledge of ricin will forever be a mystery — and has become a dangerous loose end. Walt approaches Jesse with a sympathetic ear and explains that if his relationship with Andrea is progressing then honesty is the best policy. He has ‘earned the right’ to share his dealings with his partner, but Walt is no fool. He may have been naive enough to inform Skylar of his dealings a few seasons back, but Andrea’s knowledge of the business would increase her mortality rate tenfold and Mike would not hesitate to pull the trigger. Fortunately, Jesse is growing wise to the business and ends the relationship off-screen when his guilt becomes too much.

This manipulation extends to the White family, where Walt has Skylar trapped as an emotional prisoner. Previous episodes have seen Walt force himself back into his wife’s bed, who has grown so terrified of his behaviour as The Man Who Knocks that she can barely speak a word. Unluckily for Marie, she has one thing to say to her sister. Repeatedly. ‘Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up’ she screeches in reaction to the mere mention of her husband’s 52nd birthday — on which day he’ll be purchasing some impressive weaponry — leading her, and us, to believe she’s experiencing a full-on breakdown. ‘I won’t leave until I know what’s upset her’ Marie tells Walt, leading him to use Skyler’s affair to expertly cover his tracks. Marie’s DEA agent husband may be onto Mike and his hazard pay, but it’s Marie that’s (unknowingly) onto Walt. Skyler may prove to be a loose end that Walt can’t resolve with a few words and she grows increasingly unstable. Where the season will take their collapsing relationship is anyone’s guess.

The most enjoyable segment of ‘Hazard Pay’ was discovering the new location for the cook. Following Saul’s failed attempts — one pitched idea being the ever-rejected Lazer Base — Walt came upon a truly genius idea… Taking the idea of hiding in plain sight to new heights, the guys behind the blue meth set on creating labs in fumigated houses. The garish green and yellow tents draw attention but no questions, allowing a perfect front that keeps the team on the move. It’s adios to Los Pollos Hermanos and hola to Vamanos Pest!

As noted in last weeks blog, Mike’s competency knows no bounds. This week the hired gun somehow blags his way into a number of prisons despite being hounded by police just days before. You’ve got to admire his guts. In order to keep his men quiet after the demise of Gus Fring, Mike vows to replace their hazard pay Rico-ed by police and subsequently enrages his new business partner. Mike handles the business, and Walt is struggling to handle Mike, leading him to see past encounters through different eyes. “Perhaps he flew too close to the sun,” Walt muses about Victor’s slit throat at the hands of Gus. The right-hand man had taken too many liberties, and in the eyes of Walter White, so has Mike…
Other thoughts:

  • Always fantastic to see Skinny Pete and Badger, though their appearance was overshadowed for me by the return of my favourite bodyguard Huell. When Breaking Bad comes to an end next year I want to see Saul’s A-Team get their own spin-off.
  • I’d like free reign in a tortilla factory.

Joe has a BA in Film and Broadcast Production. He starred as a zombie in E4's Dead Set and can be seen on the DVD extras for literally one frame. His favourite films are Being John Malkovich, Fight Club, Scream and... Bridget Jones's Diary. You can find him on Twitter @karatesluts if you're into that kind of thing.



  1. Ando

    Jul 31, 2012 at 1:53 am

    It’s Walt’s 51st birthday which is approaching, as Marie stated it has been almost a year since Walt was diagnosed with cancer on his 50th birthday. Also, the writing behind Gus’ picture frame has been revealed in episode 5.02 to be an offshore banking account which Gus used to pay his employees.

  2. Joe

    Jul 31, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Walt turned 51 last season in the episode Fifty-One. However, I’ll give you the one about the offshore bank accounts as I was being pretty dense there!

  3. Ando

    Jul 31, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    The episode Fifty-One hasn’t aired yet. It is season 5 episode 4. I think come next week you will realise that he turns 51, one year after his diagnosis! A lot happens in a year, I know.

  4. Joe

    Jul 31, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Haha, just another reason Josh Mills is the one who runs this blog!

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