“Open House” is a perfect example of why Breaking Bad is so strong and why the writers should remain so damn confident. Bryan Cranston is barely in this one – we open with his furious reaction to the CCTV cameras in the lab, he bickers a bit with Skyler and Saul, and then finally celebrates the purchase of the car wash with a $370 bottle of champagne. All in all I think it makes up five minutes of the episode. The rest is given to Skyler, Hank, and kleptomaniac Marie.
A great bit is given to Jesse as well. His house hast transformed into a non-stop party you might want to hit up to a junkie dog pile. His grief over Gale isn’t getting any better either – it’s getting worse. He can try to numb himself with go-karts (that seem was amazing) and by making it rain on the dregs in his living room, but if he doesn’t get some kind of real help soon he’s going to explode. Aaron Paul kills it every episode and it’s great to see him do it with almost no dialogue. The desperate look in his eyes when he asked Walt to hang out with him killed me.
Marie’s need to feel something besides Hank’s oppressive resentment and impatience has led her back to kleptomania and a bizarre new coping mechanism. The elaborate fictional lives she made up for chatting-up realtors were hilarious – mainly because they made me think of Hank in a space suit. They kept everything fairly humorous until she gets busted and starts crying on the phone with Hank.
As Hank, actor Dean Norris is doing some of his best work confined to a bed. When his cop buddy popped in to ask for help with Gale’s folder, he instantly converted to good ol’ boy Hank pre-shooting. It was a sad and sympathetic display and a testament to Norris’s muscle. I’m stoked to see him play armchair detective.
Skyler continues to “break bad,” last week she fooled the locksmith (using her baby as a tool) and this week she hoodwinked Bogdan out of the car wash. Her refusal to use violence against Bogdan – at the suggestion of Saul – and her overt shock over Walt’s shiner shows that she still has no idea about the violent world she’s entering. It’ll be interesting to see if the whole picture will be revealed to her in the end. The murders.
IN BRIEF: “Open House” was directed by David Slade, who helmed 30 Days of Night. Best Walt quote of the season so far: “Do you have any idea how much I make in a day?”