WALT’S KARMA-ESQUE WONDERLAND
Symbolic indicators, recurring elements and outcomes, poetic justice, karma-based consequences, (the latter has been pointed out by Vince Gilligan on several occasions.) all lead us to wonder whether Walt’s story is taking place in some sort of a subconscious dreamland. The fact that Walt himself acknowledges the strangeness of the rowboat painting reappearing out of nowhere, or some art warehouse, makes us viewers doubt the reliability of his narration. Interestingly, this is not the only significant painting that reappears in the show’s universe; the landscape painting from the clinic in the Pilot reappears in Walt’s apartment in 3.06 “Sunset”, grabs his attention him before a phone call snaps him out of it:
- Other occurrences of these weird ‘universal’ indicators are: The “intimidating employer effect” as witnessed in cases of Tuco and Gus – Walt Whitman’s book, a gift from Gale, bringing Walt poetic justice (as of 5.08) – Reappearance of real/toy tarantulas – The return of the fly in 5.08 – Similarity between the cold open shots of 2.01 and the final sequence of 5.08 – The eyeball – Death shots…As unlikely as it sounds, Breaking Bad could be one of the few shows in which an “it was all a dream” ending would actually work with the right twists and turns!
Instead of the regular colors we usually see on the show, such as [greedy] green for Walt, [restrictive] blue for Skyler, [living-on-the-edge] red/black combination for Jesse, etc. this time we get tints and shades in significant character moments:
- Marie: “Hank? He’s indestructible, you know that!” – Ironically, Hank almost hits bottom after the Cousins’ assassination attempt causing his temporary paralysis. Then of course he rises again thanks to the Heisenberg case.
- The low-angle shot of Jesse and Walt digging the gun out resembles the opening of 1.03 when they clean-up the remains of Emilio:
- Badger jokes about Jesse’s basement lab resembling Willy Wonka’s establishment. Interestingly, when in “Bullet points” Hank stumbles upon the W.W. abbreviation he mentions the name again. Both Wonka and Walt have a history of victimizing children through their actions!
- Compare this shot of Jesse watching the RV being transported to other situations when it’s being lifted or crushed. Both Walt and Jesse clearly care for their Crystal ship:
- Much like the events leading to the prison massacre in 5.08, there are several shots of characters through window blinds, most likely hinting at the characters’ inner struggles:
- According to Gomie, Hector is famous for keeping his mouth shut for 17 years in prison. Brings to mind the subliminal message regarding his “nobility” from 2.02.
- There’s a recurring Western genre visual motif in almost every one of the show’s desert scenes. Side shots, aerial shots, into the horizon, etc. Here are a few examples from this episode and two others:
- The episode title, “But by a dead bee” comes from the movie “To have and have not” – probably referring to the effects Tuco’s death has brought on Walt, Jesse and Hank’s lives. This particular dialogue line sounds interesting: “You gotta be careful of dead bees, if you go around barefooted. Cause if you step on ‘em they can sting you just as bad as if they was alive, especially is they was kinda mad when they got killed.”
Keeping track of Heisenberg resurfacing:
- Walt comes clean about why he’s distancing himself from his family.
- Heisenberg decides to go back into the meth business, with Tuco gone, despite all the risks.