Entertainment Magazine

Review #2936: Breaking Bad 4.3: “Open House”

Posted on the 02 August 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written by Sam Catlin
Directed by David Slade

This was an hour dominated by the women of this show. As expected, both Skyler and Marie now become more active in determining the course of their lives. Their approaches couldn’t be more divergent, however. Skyler is now, much to the disbelief of Walter, an integral part of his larger criminal enterprise. Marie escapes the prison of her own home and her emotionally abusive husband by concocting lies that lead her to a little bit of jail time. This is all not to say that it didn’t have any effect on the men in “Breaking Bad”. The perspectives of both Walter and Hank change by the end of this episode. The complications that should soon arise have me wondering what’s coming next.

Review #2936: Breaking Bad 4.3: “Open House”

It is continually fascinating how Walt doesn’t see how similar Skyler is to him. She is stubborn to a fault, and at the beginning of the episode, Walt doesn’t understand why she has to be so obstinate about getting Bogdan’s car wash. It so parallels Walt’s rise from meek schoolteacher at the beginning of the series to meth cook extraordinaire. Skyler got laughed out of the room on her first attempt to buy the car wash. Walt doesn’t think she can do it. He and Saul try to come up with alternate ideas with her, even suggesting the nail salon. It seems reasonable, but Skyler is intent on getting the car wash.

The Whites’ obsessive need to get every little detail right gives Skyler the perfect solution with little question marks: Pulling a con where she has to explain by proxy how the car wash is violating environmental regulations. It’s so brilliant because it was hilarious to me that Skyler would have the gall to think this ruse up. To Walt, it doesn’t look like it’s going to work. I loved how he kept trying to be encouraging to Skyler because he’s had so much more experience at being a criminal than she has so far. It has only gotten him in trouble with his boss, a black eye from Mike, and a camera watching his and Jesse’s every move in the lab. That’s not working out too well for him right now.

The situation with Marie is such that it led to Hank discovering Gale’s notebook. Had she not continually lied and made up elaborate stories about herself (the commitment to every extending detail being yet apparent in not only Skyler and Walt, but Marie as well), the notebook would never get seen by Hank. Doing it at one home would not have raised suspicion, I think, but doing at three homes was pushing her luck. It’s understandable that she would want to get away from Hank as much as possible, but Marie does have a tendency to get caught. Add the little character trait of her kleptomania (something I don’t think has been seen or even addressed since the first season) and it was bound to catch up to her. The detective friend comes to Marie’s aid and gets the notebook in Hank’s hands.

I would’ve thought they continued with Hank’s laziness and self-loathing and the notebook would just lie there, in the bedroom, like a ticking time bomb. Perhaps the clue lay in something as simple as the rice pudding Marie leaves for Hank. He said he wasn’t hungry, yet we see him eating it when she’s not in the room. He oddly doesn’t want Marie to see certain things that he’s doing. That was Hank’s default setting at the beginning of the episode, which changed by the very end. All because Marie had to go and lie to make herself feel better.

Jesse has little to do in the episode, but he isn’t completely forgotten. His spiral into loneliness and despair continue. He is desperate for some company in order to have a little bit of normalcy in his life. He asks Walt to go out and do something fun — go-karts –in order to escape the madness of the drug business. Walt has more adult responsibilities to attend to and so Jesse is left completely alone to have what little joy remaining in his existence. A full-on brawl breaks out in his house, and he doesn’t care. People are liberally stealing things from his place and painting graffiti on his walls, and he doesn’t give a damn. He only does non-sensical things like flipping something into the mouth of a guy passed out on his floor or throwing money to see the masses scramble to get it in order to amuse himself. It’s an entirely pathetic display and a bit disturbing to watch.

Honestly, I think things promise to get worse, seemingly by the day on this show. Skyler and Walt are in business together and I don’t think Gus will be too happy about that arrangement. One slip-up and the government or something else will bring the entire operation down. Yes, Skyler is right when she says that the “devil is in the details.” The devil will come after you if the details aren’t just right. It has already begun with Hank getting a look at that notebook. He may be out of the DEA, but he is still connected to those within the DEA that are just looking to take down Gus and Walt and Jesse. All of it just has this feeling of Walt and Jesse and now Skyler biting off more than they can possibly chew.

Grade: 8/10

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