The Televangelist: 'Breaking Bad' Season 4, Episode 9

This episode's alternate title should have been: "The track that broke the partnership's back"


There was a moment, when a panting and bleeding Jesse asked a beaten and broken Walt from across the room, "can you walk?" that one felt a sense of relief, maybe even comfort in the trope that the physical fight will lead to emotional catharsis. Walt and Jesse have been bound together in a very uneasy alliance since day dot, with emotions escalated and complicated even further recently by having stared death in the face for the entire season so far. Surely now they would reconcile their differences - Walt might even admit his fears, apologize for all he has asked of Jesse and all he continues to ask. Jesse would forgive him, and the two of them might finally realize that in their unusual friendship lies the only other man who can know what they have been through, and what they feel.

?Instead Jesse said, "get the fuck out and never come back."

?The alternate title to this episode could have been: "The track that broke the partnership's back." I have tried, I have truly tried, to look for anything redeeming in Walt's behavior this season. As is well-documented, my contempt for Walt's completely out of control arrogance and need to control everyone in his life has been without ceasing. But last night I tried to imagine things from strictly Walt's point of view. He's frightened. He's very, very frightened. Yes, maybe some of his abhorrent personality traits did cause the situation with Mike and Gus to go from bad to worse to way worse, but all he knows is that there is a very powerful man, with a very powerful sergeant-at-arms who wants him dead. Meanwhile his partner, for whom he has laid out his own life on several occasions, pulled from the gutter, rehabilitated and saved is lying to him. Walt cannot see what we see - that Jesse is conflicted, that he stood up for Walt to Gus, that he's not as clever or as brave (or just downright foolish) as Walt. That he's not an assassin, and he did not see a clear path to this second murder that Walt has devised for him to carry out. And closing in on yet another flank is Hank's obsession with hunting down Gus. Of course, Walt doesn't even know about the problems Skyler created with her former job at Beneke and the potential investigation stemming therefrom. Can we blame him for being on edge?