- The main event is that Walt, Jesse, and Mike have to destroy Gus's laptop - now in police possession - because it contains incriminating footage from the cameras from Gus's now-destroyed meth lab. How they do it: use a very strong magnet from a white van parked right outside the police station and evidence room. This part of the episode was of the least interest. I'm not sure how believable it was that they could pull this off without getting caught, either in the process of parking a big white truck by a police station or riding off in it after a catastrophe within the evidence room.
- We also learn that Ted, Skyler's former lover and employer, survived last season finale's injury but has promised Skyler to not reveal anything he knows about the incident or her possible criminal involvement. But this is still a loose end, and I'm guessing that Walt won't want to keep him around as collateral - and because he slept with his wife.
- According to Walt Jr., Hank will become even more of a police celebrity with the revelation that he was right all along about Gus's involvement in the drug trade. We can already see the wheels turning in Walt's mind; he is clearly jealous that his brother-in-law will take credit for his handiwork of bringing down a top drug criminal. His pride and need for recognition have led him to rash, dangerous decisions in the past, and we'll be seeing more of those in the future.
- Jesse still calls Walt "Mr. White," reminding us of the power imbalance in their relationship. Walter will always think himself superior to Jesse, even if Jesse is the one coming up with the smart methods for getting things done. It's the youngster who thinks of a magnet as a way to destroy the laptop without having to get into the evidence room.
- "I forgive you." In classic Walt style, in stead of asking Skyler's forgiveness for all of the danger his choices and actions have put her and their family through, he gives her a cold, scarily controlled hug and whispers, "I forgive you." Her terrified look, along with her earlier telling him that she's afraid of him, sets up the tense dynamic we should expect for the season. I was wondering if there was ever a chance the two of them could reconcile and end up having a stable family again, with their newborn child. This makes the impossiblity of such a case clear. But then there's a problem - why would she remain loyal to him if it seems their relationship is pretty much dead and she doesn't trust him?
- The cold open was the best sequence of the night. Completely out of the context of the rest of the episode, we see a disheveled and bearded Walt at a Denny's, on his birthday and carrying a fake ID, exchange an envelope of money for a car with a machine-gun in the backseat. I loved the meticulous way in which Walt breaks up the bacon on his breakfast plate and arranges the pieces into two numbers that are inversions of each other - a 5 and a 2. One of the reasons why Walt has been successful at his criminal career - or at least survived this far - is his precision and mathematical/scientific mind. He even tells the friendly, talkative waitress about the "great science museum" in Boston. The happiest fate for Walt would be to end up a science professor or researcher, using his intelligence to teach others rather than to cook meth and drag along a malleable young man like Jesse with him. Within this one, relatively short scene, we get plenty of the great Breaking Bad themes, as well as the character traits that make Walt a watchable, engaging protagonist. The rest of the episode gave us the mean, arrogant, and semi-possessed Walt.
This was an episode mainly centered around Walt and Skyler, so I'm guessing we'll get more of Jesse next week. I'm wondering if Mike will continue to play an important role in the show. However much I enjoy his character (he had some great lines), I think it's time for his exit. It makes sense for him to get out of town and break ties with Walt and Jesse. It makes sense for them too, who wouldn't want to be connected at all with Gus's henchman. I loved seeing Bryan Cranston both squirm and act like a confident, criminal warlord ("It's over when I say it's over," he says to Saul after he tries to break off their business relationship); but I miss Jesse and can't wait to see more of him in coming episodes.
This was a promising start, although the middle of the episode was a bit underwhelming. Still, it makes me want to keep watching and wishing next week would arrive all the sooner.