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JUL
29
2 YEARS

'Breaking Bad' Recap: 'Hazard Pay'

Mike has joined the team, but Walt takes issue with some of his ideas.

Breaking Bad - Hazard Pay - H 2012
AMC
Aaron Paul, Bryan Cranston

As this week's episode opened, we saw Mike visiting the Fring crew members in prison and promising to help them make ends meet since their RICO hazard pay has been stopped as the Feds continue to investigate Fring. Meanwhile, at the White house, Walt is moving his things back in, and Skyler isn't at all comfortable with it. She's clearly jumpy and nervous.

Saul, Jesse and Walt meet with Mike at Saul's office, where Mike lays out his ground rules and Walt closes the meeting telling Saul, "He [Mike] handles the business and I handle him." The new team heads out to scout locations for meth cooking. Walt settles on the idea of cooking in houses that are tented for fumigation, which means they never cook in the same place twice, and the pest control company, Vamanos Pest, becomes part of the operation. Friday Night Lights fans recognized Jesse Plemons (aka Landry) as pest control guy Todd. 

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As preparation for the first cook, Jesse's buddies Badger and Skinny Pete are given the assignment to buy music equipment cases and bring it to Jesse. After they deliver the cases to Jesse, he pays them and sends them on their way. Mike tells the pest control guys, who are a front for a burglary ring, that they cannot hit any of the tented houses used for cooking and they're not to speak to Walt and Jesse unless they're spoken to first.

Walt and Jesse are discussing plans at Jesse's house when Andrea and Brock arrive with groceries for dinner. In a chilling moment, Walt sees Brock for the first time since the Lily of the Valley incident and tells him, "I heard you were in the hospital and you were very brave." Brock doesn't respond, he continues playing his video game. 

Set to a smooth jazz version of "On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever)," we watch the Vamanos Pest team and Walt and Jesse as they methodically tent a house, move the cooking equipment in and the cook begins. As Walt and Jesse wait for part of the cook to finish, Walt asks if Jesse has thought about his plan regarding honesty with Andrea. Jesse says he hasn't told her anything about the business and he will not do so. Walt reminds Jesse that it affects him and that "secrets create barriers between people. If you choose to spend the rest of your life with her, you'll have to choose how much you tell her. I trust you and know you'll make the right call." No pressure there, Jesse, none at all. 

Over at the car wash, Skyler is still skittish and when Marie visits her and asks what she's planning for Walt's upcoming birthday, Marie tells Skyler that Hank is back at work. A shaky Skyler lights a cigarette, which prompts Marie to rant about secondhand smoke and Walt's cancer, and Skyler snaps at her, telling her repeatedly to "Shut up, shut up, shut up!" 

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Wrapping up at the cook house, Walt and Jesse get a good yield but not nearly the volume they did at Fring's factory. When Walt arrives home, he finds Marie, who tells him Skyler had a breakdown and Marie says she's not leaving until Walt tells her everything. Walt tells her about Ted Beneke's "accident" and Skyler's affair with him. He adds that he and Skyler have been trying to patch things up. That's enough to shut Marie up for the moment. Later that evening, Skyler hears the sound of gunshots and walks into the living to find Walt, Walt Jr. and baby Holly watching Scarface. They invite her to join them, but the look on her face tells us she's sickened by this. 

As Mike meets with Walt and Jesse to distribute the money earned from the first cook, we quickly learn the many costs of doing business: the mules who drive the product to dealers, which Walt is surprised to learn is 20 percent of their total, but the real issue Walt has is with the "legacy cost" of keeping Fring's gang quiet. Jesse gets it and tells Mike to take it out of his end but Walt relents and says he'll pay his share. Mike reminds Walt, "Just 'cause you shot Jesse James don't make you Jesse James." He also reminds Walt that the methelyne was free this first time (due to Lydia's rash actions) but next time, it'll cost them. 

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As the episode draws to a close, Jesse tells Walt he broke it off with Andrea but will still support her and Brock. Referring to paying  the legacy costs to Fring's crew, Jesse reminds Walt of his own words, "We're owners now, not employees." This makes Walt think of how Gus Fring slit Victor's throat in front of them last season. Walt muses, "When Victor cooked that batch, maybe he flew too close to the sun." Is Walt having second thoughts about the business? Doubtful. But will he too, try to fly too close the sun? What do you think? Hit the comments and share your thoughts.

Email: diane.gordon@thr.com Twitter @thesurfreport