Season 2, Episode 4: Down

breaking bad

Jesse at the end of his rope

The title of the episode really captures where the characters are at right now in their lives; “down.” I think this episode has been one of the darkest that I have seen so far, in that the characters are dealing with the intense repercussions from their actions. Even though no drug dealing occurs in this episode, the events and issues that the characters struggle with are probably the most dangerous, because they deal with the individual demons of each character, and the volatile relationships between each of them.A recurring theme in this season, as we see in this particular episode, is the tattered pink teddy bear. Just like the season premiere, the episode opens with a black-and-white scene where we see the pink teddy bear as the only colored object floating in a swimming pool. This time, however, we get to see a bit more of the scene as a person in a hazmat suit scoops the bear out of the pool and places it next to a number of items in plastic evidence-like bags laid out in a line. The last item in the line is a pair of glasses that eerily look like those that belong to Walt. This extra clue into this scene only prompts more guesses into what this foreshadowing might mean for the rest of the season.

In my previous post about the season premiere, I had guessed that the teddy bear would end up being a present to Walt’s unborn baby, and that he would use the bear to smuggle drugs and further conflict his two different lives. Now, however, as we see the man in the hazmat suit, it seems that the teddy bear might be a part of something even more sinister and unpredictable. Maybe the bear still does come as a present to Walt’s child, but lands in the pool as a result of a meth lab explosion. Could members of Walt’s family be hurt or even killed if a scenario like this happens in the season? I can’t wait to find out.

As I mentioned in my first post about the season 2 premiere, this teddy bear shares similar connections with the legendary “girl in red” from Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. Both the teddy bear and little girl are the only objects shown in color in the black-and-white scenes they are shown in. Both seem to be ominous symbols, as the teddy bear is tattered, missing an eye, and being handled by a man in a hazmat suit, while the girl in red is seen at the end of the movie lying in a pile of corpses.

Just in this episode alone we see how dark the situations have gotten for the main characters. Jesse is kicked out of his aunt’s house by his parents, who basically disown him. As he desperately tries to call his friends for a place to stay, he comes to realize that no one is truly there for him. Jesse sees that the one friend who does offer to let him stay has completely moved on from the life that Jesse leads. He has a nice house, a beautiful wife and son, and is a committed father. When his friend is forced by his wife to retract his offer of letting Jesse crash for a few days, Jesse peacefully leaves, jokingly saying how his friend’s life must suck. Truly, this is a life that Jesse could have possibly had if he had not gotten involved in drugs. Jesse finds that he is completely alone. His motorcycle bike is stolen as a hobo looks on saying that “that sucks.” Jesse is looking into the face of someone he might soon become. After falling through a port-a-potty and breaking into his old trailer. Jesse hysterically cries himself to sleep wearing one of his gas masks to cover the smell of himself. He has hit one of his lowest points in the series so far.

Walt is also at one of his lowest points. Although he tries to make up for what he has done to his family by cooking big breakfasts and offering to take Skyler out, his family, and particularly Skyler, have turned their backs on him. Skyler barely speaks to him, often leaving the house and just saying she is going “out” with no hint to where she is going. Walt has tried to explain why Skyler thought he had a second cellphone, to which Skyler simply walks out of the house and drives away. Walt Jr has taken on the nickname “Flynn” instead of going by his father’s name, which is something that Walt takes offense to immediately.

skylerThe tension really comes to a head when Walt asks Skyler to talk to him. They sit on opposite ends of the couch as Walt tries to deliver a “sincere” apology for his actions over the course of his cancer diagnosis. To this, Skyler acknowledges Walt’s apology but has no reply and asks if that is all. It’s clear that this apology has done nothing to change Skyler’s disgust for her husband. To this, Walt blows up, begging Skyler to ask him the questions she is holding back. He swears that he is not having an affair, but Skyler is clearly past this point, to Walt’s dismay. She is on to Walt. She knows there is something going on. She looks Walt straight in the eye and asks him to tell her what has been going on. Walt stares straight-faced back at her and denies that there is anything going on. This is a huge breaking point for the two of them. For a second, I thought Walt might just confess to her…it was that clear that not doing so might finally end their relationship. It seems as if Walt has finally picked the money and drugs over his family.

As Skyler begins to leave the house after this confrontation, Walt runs outside and sees Jesse’s trailer, which he stole from the tow lot, outside his house. He lets Skyler drive away, and he furiously confronts Jesse for coming to his house. It gets so intense between them that they begin physically fighting, with Jesse nearly choking Walt to death. Jesse stops and the two lay on the floor of the trailer panting.

Walt then invites Jesse into his house, where he gives him half of his money and even offers Jesse breakfast. It seems that the most stable relationship that Walt and Jesse have in their lives is with each other. The drug dealing has made it so that everyone in Walt and Jesse’s life have turned away from them, so that now all they truly have is each other. It is a very interesting and complicated dynamic between them. One of the things I am really looking forward to on the show is how their relationship develops for the future. Will they remain partners and even friends? Even after Jesse nearly kills Walt, the two seem to continue where they left off, and even seem more affectionate to one another. Maybe they have both realized how alone they really are now in the world, and look to each other for some type of companionship, even if it is just through drug dealing.

In the last scene of the episode, we see Skyler hesitantly lighting a cigarette. Skyler, who has seemed to be one of the most responsible and rational characters on the show, has also reached her lowest point. Always putting the needs of her unborn baby first, we see her succumb to her stress and depression over the situations with her family. As she takes her first drag from the cigarette, we instantly see the pain vanish from her face, and she thoroughly enjoys her break from the world. The last person we thought that would hit near rock bottom officially has.


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