"Jesse, what's changed?" -WaltExciting and tense and freaky as last week's episode was, "Bit By A Dead Bee" feels even more uniquely "Breaking Bad," if a show on only its 10th episode could be said to have its own unique style.
I've seen the scenario in "Grilled" before, albeit rarely done as well as it was there. But any other show that did it would spend five minutes in the next episode on the story "Breaking Bad" spends this entire hour telling. Anywhere else, and Walt (or his HBO/FX/Showtime equivalent) turns up naked in the supermarket feigning a blackout, and that's that. But nothing is ever that simple on this show, as Vince Gilligan tries to focus on what he calls "those in-between moments."
The blackout explanation only creates another problem Walt has to solve, which he finally does by spinning yet another lie (or, rather, a huge omission of the truth) to the shrink (played by the wonderful Harry Groener). And there's that delicious pause right after he asks about doctor-patient confidentiality when you begin to wonder if he's going to spill his guts about the whole criminal enterprise, just so he can discuss it with someone who's actually a grown-up and not an impatient, over-his-head clown like Jesse.
Even only 10 episodes into the series, the brilliance of Bryan Cranston basically goes without saying, but just watch his mental gears turn in that moment. I've watched it three or four times already, and each time I come away thinking that he almost did tell the doc the truth, or that he was simply calculating how much of the truth (in this case, his unhappiness at home) he needed to tell to be done with this. And if that's not enough Cranston genius, take a second look at Walt, having snuck back into the house to hide the gun and cash, watching Walter Jr. comfort Skyler, realizing his family has already moved on without him. They're like the family depicted in the painting in Walt's hospital room, waving goodbye to the rowboat but perfectly fine on their own without the male adult around.
Jesse's side of the alibi plan was more expected, if only because Tuco died next to his car. Still, there was a lot of tension over whether he could pull it off, with only his cranked-up hooker friend to support the lie, and especially once Tio popped up again. That's two weeks in a row where this old man with his wheelchair and his bell has given me a major freak-out midway through an episode. I feel like they could probably get away with at least three or four more "surprise" Tio appearances in a row before he stopped being so disturbing.
Meanwhile, I've got a bad feeling about the barrel that Jesse entrusted to his friend's cousin. That's got impending disaster written all over it, doesn't it? (And not just because Jesse still doesn't know he can roll the barrel instead of carrying it.) Is Walt going to have to cook up some more castor beans to clean up another mess?
(That situation, by the way, springs up from an unexpected real-life problem, as the owner of the house the production uses as Jesse's decided to sell the place, so the writers quickly had to come up with a reason for him to abandon it.)
Meanwhile, we got an even more extended look at Hank than last week, as we see him trying to put on the expected macho celebratory mood even as you can see that killing Tuco doesn't sit so well with him. Dean Norris is doing some really good work here, and I look forward to the inevitable moment when it finally occurs to Hank that the easiest way to connect all the dots is by placing his genius chemist brother-in-law in the middle of them.
What did everybody else think?