Sunday, March 29, 2009

Breaking Bad, "Down": Lies and the lying liars who tell them

Spoilers for episode four of "Breaking Bad" season two coming up just as soon as I signal for a left-hand turn...
"Shut up and say something that isn't complete bulls--t." -Skyler
Vince Gilligan likes to talk about how "Breaking Bad" is a show about metamorphosis, "a guy transforming from a good, law-abiding citizen to a drug kingpin." And as we watch that transformation in progress, we also see him changing from a fairly sympathetic leading character into a loathsome bastard, someone who's not just a villain in the sense of cops vs. crooks, but in terms of actively (if not always intentionally) inflicting misery on the people around him.

We got signs all through the first season that Walt isn't quite the innocent victim he first appeared to be, most notably the episode involving his ex-partner and ex-girlfriend. But an episode like "Down," in which Walt tries and fails spectacularly to mend fences with Skyler, and in which he continually shouts over Jesse's attempts to explain his dire circumstances, show that his faults have expanded from simple stubborn pride to a dangerous level of willful ignorance. He can't fix things with his wife, and he can't listen to his partner, because he can't even begin to contemplate where they're really coming from.

What's also fascinating about this one -- other than the great work by Cranston, Anna Gunn and Aaron Paul -- is the way that Walt has already crossed the line of no return. When he told Jesse last week that nothing had changed, that they had no choice but to keep cooking, my heart broke a little bit, because Tuco's death should have given him the opportunity to get out clean. But he's been skulking around too long for Skyler to not want answers, and he can't give them to her. Even if he were to say, "I cooked meth for a few months but I've stopped now," they'd be over as a couple, if they aren't already. It's so monstrous what he's done -- even before you factor in the deaths of Crazy 8, Tuco, et al -- that Skyler wouldn't be able to get past it, and her BS detector is too well-honed for him to slip anything short of the awful truth past her. His choice has already damned him, so he might as well keep on going and hope he can come up with enough money(*) to provide for Skyler and "Flynn" after he's gone(**).

(*) Note that, when he's counting the rolls of banded money and realizes there's an odd number, he thinks for only half a moment before keeping the extra one for himself, rather than splitting it between himself and Jesse.

(**) As others have pointed out, it's hard not to notice how relatively healthy Walt has seemed for the last few episodes, moving around easily and with a minimum of coughing. Wouldn't it be just the right sick touch for the treatment to work and the cancer to go into remission after Walt's already charged this unbreakable course towards Hell?

Jesse's storyline, moving in parallel to Walt's, was of the so-sad-it's-funny (or vice versa) variety. The moment where Jesse slammed the phone down on the counter, only to see it immediately scooped up by the mover, was the funniest thing on TV in the last week to not involve Liz Lemon as a Muppet. I thought the glimpse of his old bandmate, now clean-cut with a wife and a kid while Jesse's a dirtball who sells drugs and falls into outdoor toilets, brought home how far he's fallen even more than our previous glimpses of his normal suburban family. Jesse, like Walt, has had opportunities to do something other than get sucked deeper into the drug game, and he hasn't taken them. And even though you can tell he wants nothing more than to get away from his surprisingly dangerous old science teacher and maybe pursue the life his parents always had in mind for him, he's just as stuck, too. No house, minimal money, and nothing going for him except a mobile drug lab. Poor bastard; he's just as trapped as Walt.

Great episode. Dark episode, but what else do you expect at this point?

What did everybody else think?

38 comments:

Robert Cervantes said...

I must say that it really does seem like Walt has been very healthy of late. If it wasn't for Jesse's choking, Walt probably wouldn't have coughed at all.

You're right Alan. Walt is going down a very evil well and every episode he's finding it harder and harder to dig himself out. He can tell Jesse to stay away till his lungs hurt, but you know in his right mind he wants to have a chance to cook again.

With Jesse's aunt home gone, how soon till they discover the bathtub incident. I honestly believe it's only a matter of time before Jesse's parents start making a riot because of it.

Alan, I was thinking you were going to use the "as soon as I make a "insert type of omelet" omelet for your opener. Try to guess right the next time.

I'm surprised you didn't talk more about Skyler's smoking at the end. I mean, the whole episode we keep thinking about that Skyler is doing something crazy when in fact, she's just having a smoke because of all the stress at home. Really got me going there for a bit.

This has to be one of the few times that the intro wasn't a part of the episode. I am still scratching my head on the pink teddy bear and what it's about.

Surprised Walt Jr aka Flynn even is getting a chance to drive. His condition doesn't seem like the type that will let him pass the DMV test, but he's a beast with the two feet method. Bravo to him.

Teresa said...

I totally forgot about the intro, Robert. Hmmm.

Alan, I still find Walt sympathetic. In fact, I hated Skyler in this episode. Not sure what that says about me. :-O

Anonymous said...

At first I was impatient with the pace of this episode. At the halfway point I was thinking, "Really, we're spending an hour with Jesse trying to find a home?" Oh, yes, they both are. And at the end all they have to turn toward is each other. When Walt asked Jesse if he wanted some breakfast, my heart broke. They are moving toward an inexorable conclusion, which was reinforced by the opening scene. We don't normally see much of Skylar, but I really noticed how little Walt saw of her. Beautiful acting showcase by our three principles. Talking Heads' "This Must Be the Place" is running through my head. Brilliant stuff - deliberately paced and some of the most thoughtful character storytelling on TV.

Alan Sepinwall said...

At first I was impatient with the pace of this episode.

At this point? Haven't they made it clear by now that they're gonna move a tortoise pace?

Anonymous said...

Re the pace: I guess TV gives me ADD. Regardless of what I've been told about a show, it's surprising (to me anyway) to spend so much time with someone who is so clearly outside of normal society grapple with the consequences of who he is and what he has wrought. I guess it's a good juxtaposition with what Walt hath wrought - he's more "normal" so my sympathies are more with him (and his family) than with Jesse. I'm still a little mind-bent by years of the X-Files. There was plenty of character development, but also lots of plot and monsters. John Shiban's name in the credits reinforced the expectation for more plot. Mea culpa. I did start getting into the episode's groove just after the halfway point, though.

Kensington said...

So have we seen this teddy bear before, outside of its other appearance in the season premiere opening sequence? Does Walt have a swimming pool? I assume not, based on the financial straits he's been in since the first episode, but am I mistaken?

Now we know for sure that the teddy bear is part of an evidence trail, and I've long suspected that Walt might be arrested at the end of the season. That might be too advanced a development, but it's really hard to see how much longer they can drag this out. The tension is almost unbearable as it is, and let's face it, how much farther can Walt go, aside from murdering someone innocent, maybe even someone in his family.

Now that would make this a classical tragedy, wouldn't it? A man ends up destroying his family, despite trying to save them, because of his hubris, arrogance and pride. It's all so magnificent in its sheer horror, but, again, how long can something like this be dragged out? How many seasons can this go on?

Another season ending possibility is the discovery that Walt's cancer is in remission, as some others have pointed out, but the foreshadowing of the teddy bear, used twice now, would seem to point at something more visceral involving the police.

Alan, do you know how many episodes are planned for this season?

Kensington said...

Oh, yes, and top marks to Aaron Paul this episode. I almost couldn't bear to watch him sobbing like a child on the floor of the RV. Too, too painful and pathetic.

Anonymous said...

The confrontation between Walt and Skyler was devastating! I wonder if The Godfather influenced the writers in any way there.

When Walt tells Skyler that he would tell her whatever it was she wanted know if she would just ASK, and she does ("Tell me what's going on") - he pauses for a beat, similar to the way he paused before answering the psych doctor in the last episode, and you can see him calculating his response in his facial expression - his response his "Tell you what?", I immediately flashed to the final scene of The Godfather, when Michael tells Kay he'll let her ask him about his business, this one time. She asks her question, he answers, she witnesses that his response was a complete lie, and the door closes shut *end scene*.

It would make sense; both characters are on the same trajectory: fledgling heads of ongoing criminal conspiracies, gone too far (or simply too singularly stubborn-minded) to turn back, lying to 'protect the family', upending and/or destroying the lives of those immediately connected to them...you can pretty much see where Walt's course is headed.

I gotta say, I haven't been this engaged in a TV series since The Wire ended.

Jeff L said...

Kensington already mentioned it, but I want to also say: How good is Aaron Paul? Bryan Cranston (deservedly!) gets most of the attention, but Paul was simply brilliant tonight. Jesse was all over the map emotionally, and Paul played each note beautifully.

Best show on TV at the moment, without a doubt!

Anonymous said...

@Robert mentioned: "This has to be one of the few times that the intro wasn't a part of the episode. I am still scratching my head on the pink teddy bear and what it's about."

I'm wondering if it's a flash forward. Notice that the last item in the line-up is a pair of glasses. Could these be Walt's?
-- anonymoose

Anonymous said...

@anonymoose: "I'm wondering if it's a flash forward. Notice that the last item in the line-up is a pair of glasses. Could these be Walt's?"

Definitely a flash-forward methinks, and of course the first thought is of Walt's glasses. But they looked more like safety goggles.

SJ said...

Loving this show more and more. The interaction between Walt and his wife is great TV.

Also becoming more sympathetic towards Jesse for some reason...anyone do a slight fist pump with him running away with his van?

cal said...

The Whites have a pool. The first episode of the season made a point of having a scene set next to it. The flash forward is of the same pool, and as anonymoose notes the evidence chain ended with what looked like Walt's glasses. Some have suggested they've seen the teddy bear in the kids room, but I can't recall seeing it. Things will not end well.

Edd said...

cal said...
The flash forward is of the same pool, and as anonymoose notes the evidence chain ended with what looked like Walt's glasses.


The scene struck me as a flash forward too. It wasn't as clear this time, but the first time we saw the pink teddy bear, it was half burned. That seems foreboding. I'm thinking meth labs explode. Could this mean Walt will cook in his own home with bad results? Hope not.

K J Gillenwater said...

That was definitely Walt's house with the pool and the teddy bear...and the guy in the full-on breathing apparatus/biohazard suit. I am going with the idea that, yes, he turns his own house into a meth lab. I'm guessing AFTER his wife and son move out.

If he believes he is going to die (which I'm still not buying), and the wife and son leave b/c of his lies and deception, all he would have left is the meth money to leave his family when he is gone in order to appear as a 'good guy' to them after he's dead. It's the only thing he CAN do at this point, since he's dug himself such a huge hole.

I saw Skyler's smoking as a sign that she is detaching herself from her baby...Walt's baby. She doesn't care anymore about her child...which was a little disturbing to me. I could be wrong about that...but I am assuming this is what she's been doing while Walt waited for her at home. Instead of playing the good wife and pregnant woman, she's saying to Walt, "screw you."

Very dark, but very very good. The whole incident with Jesse was heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time. In some ways, I was cheering for Jesse when he attacked Walt. Because, face it, since Walt came into his life, things have really gone downhill.

Anonymous said...

Even with the fight and their 50/50 arrangement, I don't think Walt would have given in to Jesse. That money really does belong to Walt. Jesse by being careless has just stumbled into a 75-25 split. That's just not fair and someone as self absorbed as Walt wouldn't back down.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Jesse wasn't being careless with the money, though. He was trying to get out of town with it when Tuco kidnapped him, and he didn't exactly have time to get it out of the Monte Carlo when Hank pulled up to Tuco's trailer. That Walt still had his cut (which he was getting ready to move when Jesse and Tuco showed up) and Jesse didn't is simply blind luck.

Anonymous said...

“I guess it's a good juxtaposition with what Walt hath wrought - he's more "normal" so my sympathies are more with him (and his family) than with Jesse”

Interesting, I actually see Jesse as being more normal. I don’t find a family man deciding all of a sudden to cook meth to get money normal. Expectedly when he has other options open to him.
However, some druggie kid whose family has to give up on him. My guess is that this situation happens way more then Walt’s in the real world.

About Jesse not deserving 50%, don't forget that Walt took Jesse's gun and left him without any protection. This made it easier for Tuco to kidnap him.
And it was Walt's idea to get involved with Tuco to begin with, Jesse was very much against it.

Yet another anonymous said...

I saw Skyler's smoking as a sign that she is detaching herself from her baby...Walt's baby. She doesn't care anymore about her child...which was a little disturbing to me. I could be wrong about that...but I am assuming this is what she's been doing while Walt waited for her at home. Instead of playing the good wife and pregnant woman, she's saying to Walt, "screw you."

I was thinking more in terms of how with his actions - and his turn toward the 'dark side' of morality, Walt was dragging down everyone around him, even those who weren't specifically involved with the meth.

I also think it would be an interesting twist if Walt is in remission, too. Can't really see him going back to teaching chemistry.

And OT, I apologize, but upstream someone mentioned the beloved Wire - Alan, did you see David Simon's comments about how the disappearing newspaper business would increase corruption overall? I'm paraphrasing dreadfully, because there were more nuances to what he said, but you get my drift.

Holden Caulfield said...

I was glad to see Skyler call bulls**t on Walt. I was afraid that he would lie his way out of this. When she walks out on his cell phone lie, it was great. She knew it was a lie and wasn't going to listen to another word of it. Is she trying to perform a self-abortion with the cigarette or is it that her whole life is so messed up she doesn't care either way? It seems as thought the charred bunny in the pool is some long incredibly slow reveal that will coalesce in the season finale.

Mark B said...

Both Robert Cervantes and K J Gillenwater comment on a pregnant Skyler smoking a cigarette to help ease the pain of knowing that her husband Walt, dying as he is, is lying to her for reasons she can not comprehend. It is an exquisitely constructed scene where she, with a glance at a disapproving stranger, silently acknowledges the social approbation of the healthy lifestyle and willfully violates the recommended prohibition anyway.

In an age where life is understood to be a complex system of chemistry, the role of psychoactive molecules is topic of dispute. Biochemistry in the pursuit of happiness by organic chemical constructions is apparently dependent on the definition of happiness. The Shield and Sons of Anarchy both touch upon the drug market in their storylines, however, Breaking Bad makes drugs the central axis around which family, money and murder revolve. This is a tremendous episode in one the best overall series on the tube.

Question Mark said...

Is it weird that for all of the terrible things that Walt did in this episode and has done in the past, I still reacted more viscerally against Skyler smoking than I did for anything Walt's ever done?

Test said...

Oh Alan just how did this one not start:

Spoilers for episode four of "Breaking Bad" season two coming up just as as I find someone to repair my antique Irish bicycle... " ??

Alan pointed it out before, and its being continued here. We are seeing a series of flash forwards being linked together, slowly expanding what is going to happen, presumably continuing to the point where the event itself unfolds, perhaps at the end of the season.

The toy had its eye fished out of the pool, it was clearly Walt's pool. Now the entire toy is fished out, and we see the eye already in a bag, along with a wallet and what are almost certainly walts glasses, and various other items all in evidence bags. So this is the police, or the DEA, this is Walt's house, and they are wearing biohazard suits and breathing apparatus. So self spolier - clearly the house has been used for something that has caused toxic fumes to be present, and clearly something has gone seriously wrong and forced someone to leave in a hurry or possibly worse be taken against their will.

Has someone blown up a cooking attempt and brought the police to the site? Is Walt in custody? Has someone given them away to the DEA? Has someone made a last second escape from a VERY tight situation? Is Vince Gilligan planing the end of the series at the end of these 13 episodes or is all this just setting up season 3?

I too am glad Skyler has called Walt's bluff. He's gotten away with way too much for far too long, and it's appropriate that when he finds he cant push any further it has ending up being the catalyst for he himself finally losing it completely. He has indeed treated everyone like garbage, and I found even his idea of "fun" with Walt Jr to be quite "out there" taking him on a driving lesson - something it seemed quite apparent WJ wasnt all that into and certainly wasnt appreciating by the end of the excercise.

Even though he's certainly made his share of mistakes to get him where he is you almost end up sorry for Jesse. By the time Walt's made the bad decision of going back to Tuco and started the whole scenario that got his share of the money lost, his parents have disowned him and gotten him homeless, nobody will give him a roof, his bike gets stolen and hes fallen literally into deep Sh**, you've got to wonder just how much worse it could possibly get for him. In all the sadness that is Walt's desperately sad life it was almost improbable that anyone elses could be made to look more bleak and yet Jesse's did this ep.

Walt's got little left to lose except his family and his life. I strongly suspect the family is about to go, and strangely like Alan I find the beautiful fairness in life that in real life so often gets thrownb out the window will indeed get tossed here too, in that his one self argument that well he can just lose is own life now too and it wont matter will not happen and life will laugh at him and put his cancer into remission. If that were to happen I can not wait to see if it brings a sense of passion for life or as i suspect simply just utter rage against everything in his the world.

I know there are comments about the deliberate slow speedwith which the main body of each episode moves, but personally I find that SO refreshing, so full of detail and so realistic and lifelike, and so UNlike how TV episodes usually work, that it just continually rivets me to the screen and the episodes just seem shorter and shorter. Then there is this very subtle but very infomative lead in sequence that Gilligan is playing out, so totally like his story telling style at its best in the X-Files. (A show I all but prayed to in the 90s). It's all going so slow in one sense, and yet you're also being so massively fast tracked in another sense: and it's that juxtaposition and the suspense in how and when the two aspects will inevitably be brought together that makes it all the more enthralling.

Dan Jardine said...

Excellent observations, one and all.

My take on the flash-forward is that it is a set-up by Walt to hide his disappearance. The DEA is moving in on him, and he has to manufacture a way out of getting nailed, so this is it.

Anonymous said...

The toy had its eye fished out of the pool, it was clearly Walt's pool.

I guess some of us are still gun-shy in the wake of the great BSG earth swap caper of 2008. Maybe it just looks like Walt's pool; I didn't see any distinguishing lawn furniture! Aaak!

I still reacted more viscerally against Skyler smoking . . .
You're probably not alone in that feeling since most perceive the unborn child as an innocent 3rd party in this context and that the mother's role should be to protect & even sacrifice for her child if necessary. (That's intended as a simple assertion of our collective psychology & not as a partisan point. I'm pleading agnostic on where it falls on the social construction-biological imprint continuum.)
--anonymoose

Chris said...

Dan --

I'm in total agreement here. Walt is really smart. He's already lied about his "fugue state" to get him out of a jam, so why wouldn't he stage something to attempt to fix all of this? And considering his luck, his plan will be successful, but something unforeseen at the end will ruin it anyway.

(I have not seen or read any spoilers yet, this is just speculation based on the flash-forwards and my understanding of Walt)

dez said...

Also becoming more sympathetic towards Jesse for some reason...anyone do a slight fist pump with him running away with his van?

Yep, I sure did. I also can't believe how much sympathy I have for the little druggie now.

The more the season goes on, the more I dread finding out why that pink teddy bear is floating in the pool.

Test said...

anonymoose said...

(The toy had its eye fished out of the pool, it was clearly Walt's pool.)

I guess some of us are still gun-shy in the wake of the great BSG earth swap caper of 2008. Maybe it just looks like Walt's pool; I didn't see any distinguishing lawn furniture! Aaak!


Actually the pool furniture was pretty distinguishing if you were investigating, but never mind that. At the start of Episode 1 of season 2 (Seven Thirty-seven) we see the first flashback, and one shot at the very start goes backward briefly to the house and shows the covered area where in Episode 4 of season 1 (Cancer Man) we saw everyone outside at the BBQ before Walt spilled the beans. More definitively, Cancer Man had a scene later where Walt and Jesse argue outside the same area in front of the concrete chimney which has an extremely distinctive logo/graphic on it which can clearly be made out in the Seven Thirty-seven shot. It is certainly Walt's house.

Kinda interestingly (don't you think) I was wrong when I commented earlier that the eyeball had been fished out of the pool previously and is then seen in the evidence bag. The eyeball of course actually went down the filter system... meaning whoever is gathering evidence has actually gone through the contents of the pool filter and emptied it...

Kinda even more interestingly (I'm pretty sure you'll think and nobody has mentioned...) in each of the two flashback scenes the pink bear is the only damn thing seen in color with everything else shot in black and white. Gilligan the visuals magician - so subtle and so obvious - and yet so not...

And correct me if I'm wrong... but to take a moment hare and harp back on the "oh these episodes move so slow" theme, and my response that "yes but then again they spin you so far forward via these flashbacks too" etc, also add to that something else I don't recall anyone mentioning before: the incredible and repeated previous use of stunning time-lapse shots in setting scenes and passing time. Another utterly brilliant and utterly opposite visual direction to that deliberate "long-drawn-out" aspect of the show.

There's what looks like a lipstick and a definitely a hairbrush in those evidence bags as well - what kind of a possible "set-up" might that foretell? If it perhaps was one, is Skyler by then in on it too?

Kinda really interesting (if you're still with me and haven't fallen asleep here) is that Mr Pinkybear is in a swimming pool (not a place known to generally be conducive to a state of combustion) and yet he is all burnt down one side... Just what happened to him and how did he get here.. and just quietly what the hell value is THAT to a set up scenario??

Kinda super seriously interesting (for totally anal people like me and you folk that go how the hell did you SEE this sh**) is that Mr Pinkybear is all burnt down his LEFT side with his LEFT eye missing in episode one... and then upside down (which itself is wrong but might be explainable if you were Jesse on 99.7% pure Meth, but still couldn’t explain that...) with his RIGHT side all burnt and his RIGHT eye missing in episode 4... Rotation and direction both inverted... I so love to hate your brilliance Mr Gilligan.

Oh how much you can get out of 145 seconds of television!

Test said...

And going WAY out on a very thin limb here.. Pink bear & Pinkerton ... any kind of link?

chiefdeputy said...

Skyler is the worst. Her kid has cerebral palsy - whch can be caused by smoking during pregnancy. Now she has a high risk pregnancy, and is deliberately smoking to passive/aggressively punish her family. Walt at least wants to leave something for his family so he won't be remembered (or forgotten) as a loser.

What does Skyler want her legacy to be? I prefer Tuco to her.

Evie Garland said...

I think it's interesting that commenters are having such a reaction to Skyler's smoking! I myself thought, wow, I bet that cigarette tastes good!! Yes, it is very dangerous to smoke while pregnant, and I would never do it myself (except maybe if I were married to a meth-dealing cancer patient), but smoking one cigarette is not going to "abort" her baby, as "Holden Caulfield" would suggest.

I did, however, see it as a sign of Walt poisoning everything around him. If Skyler leaves him (which I hope she does), it will be interesting to see how the new baby--and whether she lets Walt see him/her--comes into play as a bargaining chip.

On the other hand...what if Walt tells her and she's cool with it? We assume she'd leave him immediately, but she IS badass enough to be SMOKING during PREGNANCY!!

Oboe said...

What do you guys think Walt & Jesse should do about the mechanic/tow truck driver they screwed over? Go back and pay him his money or kill him?
Afterall, he knows what they've been up to and now that he's out of money he may go to the cops.

Anonymous said...

Great comments and a great episode.

Not sure if I'm reading way too much into it, but Skylar's smoking seemed to be linked to Walt Jr.'s cerebral palsy. I would think that Walt is also aware that her smoking during the first pregnancy could have caused the disability (something they would have both decided to keep from their son). Now she's lapsing while fighting her own personal demons.

Anonymous said...

Great comments and a great episode.

Perhaps I'm reading way too much into this, but I thought Skylar's smoking was linked to Walt Jr.'s condition. My guess is Walt is also aware that her smoking during the first pregnancy could have caused their son's cerebral palsy(and something they both would have decided to keep from Walt Jr.)

Now, she's lapsed and fighting her own personal demons.

digamma said...

At this point? Haven't they made it clear by now that they're gonna move a tortoise pace?

Not exactly. The first three episodes were packed with gunplay and tight squeezes. This episode was almost entirely character development.

I'm as ADD as the next guy, and very capable of getting annoyed at TV episodes wherein "nothing happens", but I thought this one was magnificent. Cranston and Gunn are dynamite together.

Anonymous said...

Wondering why no one has yet mentioned that fact that the GUN was missing from the heating duct when Walt gathered up Jesse's share of the money. I can only conclude that Walt Jr. found it. Skyler would have confronted Walt with it, and with the money.

ap said...

I liked how when Skyler pulled out a cigarette and saw that other pregnant woman shooting her dirty looks she just gave her a look back and inhaled like, "You have no idea what I've been through so back off."

How untruthful did Walt sound as he rattled on to Skyler about the alarm sound on his phone? When Skyler was first giving Walt the silent treatment, I was irritated at her and then I remembered how in the dark she's been, cooped up at home not knowing where her dying husband is and expecting a child she didn't plan for.

I definitely agree with the comments on "The Godfather" feel to the episode. Skyler, like Kay, is not one to stick around her lying husband.

Anonymous said...

I still feel for Walt who made horrible, destructive decisions while experiencing the crisis of facing death Sklyer, on the other hand, is awful. As far as she knows, Walt's behavioral changes may be attributable to depression, anxiety, fear--all the feelings people facing death experience. Why would her first reaction be suspicion (even if she's right), rather than patience and understanding--particularly since she pushed him into debilitating treatment she knows he doesn't want. If Walt were really beyond redemption, he would use (or manufacture) physical and psychological pain to deflect Skyler's suspicion, but he doesn't.