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The Televangelist: 'Breaking Bad' Season 4, Episode 2

Jesse deals with grief by getting his party house kickin' harder than a sensei, while Walt learns how to shoot to kill

Compared to the season opener, "Thirty-Eight Snub" seemed to take us on a whirlwind flight around Albuquerque. The episode was packed with plot-thickening building blocks, starting with the lengthy and somewhat disorienting pre-credits scene. For a minute I felt transported back to "Deadwood," where a resurrected Ellsworth (Jim Beaver) was making a new living selling guns without serial numbers to nervous men in khaki tracksuits (who was "recommended by a lawyer" - so Saul is still in the picture, it seems, if not the country). Walt is back to wearing beige, which defines his uncertainty, but with a bright read shirt underneath that screams, "Don't tell me what I can't do!" We suspect at this point that Walt might be aiming to kill Gus, a hunch not confirmed until later in the episode. But either way, when we see Walt fussing with which side on which to holster his gun, and his fumbling draw, there begins a mounting feeling of dread.
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?Uncertainty also paints the face of Mike the Master of Calm. In a short coffee shop scene that spoke volumes despite almost no dialogue, Mike scrapes blood from his cuff and looks grave and unsure. I pointed out last week that even Mike looked worried during Gus' elaborate and deliberately slow intimidation dance that culminated in the slaying of Victor, and it seems he still questions the direction his boss is taking him and whether the end may be near. Nevertheless, when Walt approaches him (how did he set up that meet?) at the end of the episode and confronts Mike's fears, Mike turns the tables, nearly literally, and assaults Walt for even thinking that rebellion was possible. Is Mike that scared of Gus (as well he should be, I suppose), or were his tactics a proactive measure against spies or wires?

But the real unraveling in "Thirty-Eight Snub" was done by Jesse. Besides the grief coming from his cold-blooded murder of Gale, Jesse was also shell-shocked throughout the horror of Victor's murder and the disposal of his body. And throughout all of this, he doesn't know if he will continue to live to see another day. Yeah … I'd probably go catatonic, too, and that's just what Jesse is hoping to achieve through endless parties and drug binges - a numbness that will stop his reeling mind. Aaron Paul had his Emmy face on, ping ponging through a range of emotions last night, reaching a smoldering peak during his conversation with Andrea. There was so much yearning that seeped through what Jesse hoped was a steel trap, and the results were utterly painful to watch.