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Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 3 Recap: The Business End

The episode starts with Mike visiting a jailed, former employee of Gus, Dennis. Mike poses as a paralegal to see the man, so he can tell him that everything is still in place. All of the men left in the wake of Gus’ passing — the same men Lydia was trying to assassinate in the previous episode — will get their “hazard pay,” Mike reassures. In other words, they’ll get their hush money; they just have to stay hushed.

The rest of the “11” are spooked that Chow was murdered. They might have to resort to squealing in order to save themselves in spite of not receiving their hazard pay, hence Mike’s urgency to skate away from the prison hurriedly, on to visit the next one of his crew.

When we first see Walt this episode, he’s unpacking boxes and moving back into the family home. Skyler asks if this is a good idea, to which Walt replies, “It’s time.”

Walt and Jesse continue their path to rebuilding their meth cook schedule by visiting Saul while Mike sits in the waiting room listening to the large bodyguard breathing heavily. Walt and Jess are proposing, or telling, Saul that Mike is joining their “family” in an adviser/enforcer role. Walt says: “He’s probably threatened someone before breakfast this morning. It’s what he does.”

Once that’s settled, Mike declares himself the business end of their operation. Walt agrees but tells Saul, when asked if he agrees with Mike’s assessment, “He handles the business. I’ll handle him.”

Walt, Jesse and Mike, led by Saul, peruse a proposed new meth factory, but it has machinery that will create too much moisture and ruin the meth. Saul takes them to a tortilla factory next — it’s a no-go, unannounced government food inspections are a deal-breaker. Hinkle Extreme Lazer Tag Lazer Base is next — Saul loves the laser tag place for some reason. The location is immediately rejected by Walt and Jesse. Up next is a car garage; it’s not a keeper, but Walt sees a stack of tarp and says, “It’s perfect.” The rest of the gang looks perplexed.

Walt’s idea is to use a pest-control/breaking and entering ring as a front for short cooks in homes that are being fumigated.The homes are evacuated and covered in tarp. They would have to move the equipment in and out for every cook as they’d be using a different home each time.

“Should we take a vote?” Mike says.

“Why?” Walt says. This goes against what Mike declared earlier about his role in the operation, and he gives Walt a look of displeasure.

Jesse’s former meth-head confidants are playing piano and guitar, respectively, and looking for roll cases at a music equipment store. The large cases are how they’ll transport the equipment in and out of homes. When they return to Jesse with the cases, they offer to help in any fashion. They just want to be part of the team again. Jesse has moved on from the gutter (he’s corporate now) and rejects their offers but does so begrudgingly.

The train to the first cook is picking up steam as Mike lays down the law to the pest-control guys. Jesse and Walt are ghosts, he says. Don’t bother them or talk to them. Have a problem you talk to me, he tells the three or four employees who’ll be the front for Walt and Jesse’s ambitious meth-cooking operation.

Walt and Jesse are discussing logistics at Jesse’s place when Andrea and Brock walk in. Walt meets Brock, the kid he poisoned, and talks him up to no response. Walt seems confident, showing no remorse. When he’s left alone with the boy for a moment, Walt gives him a cold stare, then shrugs his shoulders uncomfortably, a nervous tic he had in earlier seasons that’s slowly been melting off his newly hardened frame. His icy gaze can’t scare away the guilt associated with poisoning a child. Walt isn’t all the way bad…not just yet.

The first cook is about to start, with the big yellow and green tarps covering a home. The male homeowner is amazed by the size of the roll-cases presumably holding the materials needed to kill his bug infestation. As his family leaves, Walt and Jesse show up in pest-control uniforms. A worker tells Walt he’s disabled a nanny cam. It was specifically mentioned by Mike to never speak to Walt and Jesse unless spoken to. Walt gets his name, and now it’s time to go to work.

A tent, similar to the one used to fix up Gus and Mike in Mexico, is set up inside the home. We get a very nice montage of the cook, close-ups and slow-mo’s, a time-lapse shot of the home; it’s all romanticizing the cooking procedure and it’s visually one of the best set pieces thus far this season.

Afterwards, they share a beer while watching an episode of The Three Stooges. Walt talks up the importance of family, fishing to see if Jesse has told Andrea anything. Walt tells Jesse he has a green-light to share his job info with his new family. “I know you’ll make the right call,” Walt says. Jesse looks puzzled and a bit distraught. Nothing of what Walt says can be taken at face value.

At Skyler’s car wash, Skyler’s sister, Marie, is badgering her about quality control. Skyler is uninterested in quality control. She seems almost catatonic. She pulls out a pack of cigs and lights one up. Marie’s badgering only increases until Skyler freaks out, screaming “shut up!” repeatedly in maddened fashion. We’re watching Skyler disassemble.

After Walt and Jesse finish counting the meth they made, Walt arrives home to Marie sitting in the living room. Skyler is having a mental breakdown, she tells Walt. Marie wants answers as to why her sister is going crazy. Walt is thinking. He brings up Ted and his injury. He proposes that Skyler is upset over Ted’s injury because she was romantically involved with him. Walt is effectively throwing Skyler under the bus.

Marie buys Walt’s story, which is partially true, and even consoles him. Walt almost proceeds to talk to Skyler, who has taken up crying alone in their bedroom, but rethinks it and heads to the kitchen to take a bite of an apple. He’s pleased at his ability to iron yet another wrinkle in such quick fashion.

We see Jesse hanging out with his Andrea and Brock. He’s contemplating divulging his meth secrets to his new “family,” his face twisted with anxiety over the decision.

Walt’s watching Scarface (how ironic) with his son and baby. Skyler walks out of the bedroom finally, and gazes upon the scene, saying nothing, watching with saucer eyes. She understands the irony of her husband turning into a Scarface-like character while their son and daughter sit in amusement, unaware and oblivious to what’s going on behind the curtain.

It’s time to divvy out the cash made from the operation’s first cook as Walt, Jesse and Mike stand over a table piled with almost $1 million. As Mike counts the deductions — $275k to mules to distribute the meth (a problem Gus never had because he owned 16 refrigerated trucks), $120k to Jesse for fronting some cash, pest-control guys get some, Saul and his guys get a cut, and over $300k for legacy costs … wait … legacy costs? Walt is puzzled, and pissed.

Mike explains the situation about the hazard pay, aka hush-money, that has to be distributed in order to keep the silence of Fring’s former employees (and because Mike gave them his word). Walt says it’s coming out of Mike’s pay. Mike says this is the business end, and he’s in charge of business. Jesse offers his cut for the “legacy costs” when he sees that Mike and Walt are having one hell of a stalemate.

Walt finally gives in and watches his money-pile dwindle due to all the payouts; he’s left with only $137k, less than he made per cook with Gus. Walt can’t believe that he’s his own boss now and he’s making less than when he was just an employee. Mike then offers some sage advice:

“Just because you shot Jesse James, don’t make you Jesse James.” A little dose of reality.

Jesse broke it off with Andrea, he tells Walt. He just couldn’t come to terms with telling her that he was a meth-cooking murderer. It’s probably a good decision in the long run. Walt doesn’t care about Jesse’s choice to leave them instead of divulging his secret life. He can only think about how short his money-pile was. Walt wants more, just like Scarface.

Walt tells Jesse that he’s been thinking about Victor. He’s been thinking that perhaps Gus wasn’t merely trying to intimidate them. Maybe Gus was trying to tell him something else, to not take liberties. Victor was killed after he made a batch of meth on his own. “He flew too close to the sun,” Walt says before taking off, that quizzical look Walt gets when he’s planning something nefarious in full effect.

Jesse is left contemplating Walt’s parting words.

Is Walt thinking about Mike when talking about taking liberties? It would certainly make sense if Walt went after Mike’s “guys,” as their hush money has much to do with Walt’s miniscule cash yield. Whatever it is that Walt’s planning, you can guarantee it’ll have something to do with making sure a lot less money is being swiped from the table after the next cook.

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