TV Club

Breaking Bad recap: “Fifty-One”

How long can Walt Jr. remain innocent?

Walter White Jr. (RJ Mitte)
Walter White Jr. (RJ Mitte)

Photograph by Ursula Coyote/AMC.

I’m interested in the speculation in the comments that Mike either a) has an informant in the DEA or b) is watching Lydia’s office. (As Shrek and Jasperinboston point out, the latter is more likely since Mike’s warning came so close to the DEA visit. Besides, we know from seasons past that even Mike—who was a senior member of Gus’ illicit enterprise—used to spend a lot of time sitting in cars surveilling the homes of his operatives.) Still, I can’t help wondering why Hank and Gomez felt the need to schlepp all the way to Houston just to arrest the warehouse foreman. It didn’t seem like they stuck around after the arrest; after all, the conference call was still happening when Lydia returned to her office. Isn’t there someone in the Houston DEA office who could transport the guy to Albuquerque, N.M., for them?

I’m always surprised by the animosity some viewers feel toward Skyler. I completely disagree with commenter Cb Eli, who says every episode “that focuses on Skyler’s whining is a real snoozer”—apart from anything else, Skyler wasn’t “whining,” nor was the episode a snoozer—but I was interested in his suggestion (I very much doubt that a woman would propose such a thing, but correct me if I’m wrong) that Walt should ditch Skyler “and update to a new, younger model of wife.”

Aging was a big part of the characters’ motivation this episode. Yes, the Heisenberg hat set Walt thinking of his cooler, meaner alter ego, but it was also the car repair guy telling him that he would get another 200,000 miles on the Aztek. Now in his sixth decade, Walt can’t take the prospect of many more years sitting in the driver’s seat of a boring, sensible car.

And it was when Walt told Walter Jr. that he would teach him how to drive doughnuts that Skyler really started to worry about the kids. It’s amazing that Walter Jr. hasn’t suspected his father of being a criminal—he fell for the gambling story hook, line, and sinker apparently. But how long can he remain innocent once he’s in a fancy car paid for by drug money and his dad is showing him how to break the law? By the way, I didn’t realize that one needed to be taught how to drive doughnuts, but it’s surely relevant that Walt trashed the red sports car last season by circling round and round and then crashing it. I also can’t help remembering that it was in the Season 4 episode “Cornered,” in which Walt first bought that car for Walter Jr., that Skyler drove to the Four Corners and tossed a coin to figure out whether to stay with her husband. The coin landed in Colorado twice, but she still went home to him. Now it seems she’s regretting that choice.

Seven days without a math error,