'Breaking Bad' recap: Salud

bryan-cranston-breaking-bad.jpgHoooooly crap. So, in ascending order of jaw-droppiness:

Skyler faces a week's worth of disappointment when, first, Junior isn't able to successfully fake being happy at her birthday gift of a PT Cruiser (oh, Skyler!), and then when her scheme to use Saul to front Ted Beneke some of her drug money so he can pay his back taxes (through a ruse involving imaginary Luxembourgian aunts), Ted reverts to crappy form by using the money to buy himself a Mercedes. Skyler heads down to Beneke to straighten some **** out, and when Ted persists in his intention to use this found money to re-start his business rather than pay the IRS, Skyler lets him know where his mystery cash really came from.

Meanwhile, Junior finds his father bloodied and looped on painkillers and booze the morning after Walt's big fight with Jesse. A woozy Walt finally allows himself a vulnerable moment, as he explains that the fight he got into was all his fault and he made a mistake. He doesn't tell Junior any of the particulars about the fight (in fact, he lies and says it was about his gambling), but he does call Junior "Jesse" at one point, which should be enough to touch even the most hardened Walt-hater's heart. The next morning, he's back to gruff, secretive Walt, and he tells Junior that loopy and vulnerable is not how he wants his son to remember him. Junior tells him that actually wouldn't be that bad of a way to remember him. Better than the angry shell of a man he's been this past year.

And then there's Mexico. Gus, Mike, and Jesse are taken to the cartel's facility, where Jesse is momentarily thrown when the cartel op calls for more chemistry know-how than he's able to provide. But when the cartel's house chemist challenges him, Jesse is able to harness his greatest attribute: bravado. He tells the house chemist in no uncertain terms that he is Jesse's bitch and his operation is filthy and full of contaminants. He orders the whole place scrubbed, and the proof is in the 96+% pure meth he produces on the first batch. Great news! The delegate/sniper guy then tells Jesse that he will now be staying on as the cartel's in-house cook. Less than great news!