YELLOW for delight and repulsion
Jesse and Jane’s ominous yellow bed sheets make a return, symbolizing their doomed relationship. Notice Gus and Saul wearing yellow, hinting at their hazardous and yet delightfully cunning nature, respectively and interchangeably. And then there’s the table at Beneke’s awkwardly repulsive birthday.
BLUE for safety and confinement
Skyler rocks in her signature purplish blue dress as she’s ultimately bound to clean up Ted’s financial mess. Also notice the red/yellow/blue tone of the Pollos Hermanos restaurant interior and exterior, bringing us back to Walt’s transitional yellow-to-red fluids and putting him in a blue atmosphere of uncertainty before meeting with Gus.
GRAY for neutrality and confusion
Most characters are seen wearing gray, indicating their uncertain inner state. Walt and Skyler are faced with a lifesaving opportunity, Jesse is devastated by Combo’s death, Jane has to make a decision whether to leave Jesse to start using alone or stay with him, Tomas is caught between turf disputes and of course Saul is a man of many colors who tries his best to take no sides, but ultimately goes with the winner.
BLACK and WHITE for the extremes
Notice the contrast in Jesse and Walt’s clothes (which is nothing new, by the way) as the deal with Gus puts a distance between them. Combo and the rival dealers stand on opposite ends of the spectrum. Skyler and Ted appear in serious black and white on separate occasions; later they fail to see eye to eye on the subject of the under-reported revenues.
Keeping track of Heisenberg resurfacing:
- Combo’s death wounds Heisenberg’s pride more than anything and pushes him to seek the help of a professional distributor, which makes Jesse wonder as in 5.06 if his partner is in the meth business or the money business. Notice how Walt explains his desperate need to move forward (which partly roots from having to pay for his surgery): “Things have changed.”, which contradicts his motivational line from 2.03: “What’s changed?” – Now he’s truly faced the perils of this business, but even that doesn’t stop him from flying towards the sun.
- Having tested his power of intimidation in 2.10, now in the presence of his flawless counterpart, Gus Fring, Heisenberg shines as the puppeteer and stops at nothing to persuade the Kingpin to take him under his wing. While the kindhearted Walter White cares for Jesse, his innocent yet misguided disciple, the merciless Heisenberg only sees him as a pawn who should be manipulated so he could fulfill his deeds. He reassures Gus that Jesse would not be a major problem: “You won’t see him, you won’t interact with him. Forget he exists!” Note that this line, besides the addiction problem, only adds to Gus’s reluctance to work with Jesse; that is, until Season 4. “Because he does what I say, because I can trust him.” – Gus learns that Jesse is indeed loyal only a bit too late in Season 4, after Walt proves that he’s willing to sacrifice everything and everyone that stands in his way to preserve his authority. But neither Walt nor Gus cared to anticipate that Jesse’s repressed but easily awakened conscience will ultimately get in their way and sabotage their plans.
Related – Breaking Bad Observations Archive