A STRONG FORCE OF ATTRACTION
We find Walt teaching yet another symbolic chemistry lesson, this time on bonds: “Chemical bonds are what make matter, matter…what hold the physical world together, what hold us together.” – Other than the drug world bonds, this theme is incorporated in two storylines; with Jesse and Jane holding hands in the end, and to a degree, when Skyler’s bond with Walt starts to break and she is instead attracted towards Ted Beneke.
- Walt introduces himself to Jane as Jesse’s dad: there’s a deeper father –son/teacher-student bond between the two, as we see Walt in “Salud”, at his most vulnerable, mistakenly call Junior ‘Jesse’. No matter how much Walt cares for his second son, Jesse, their bond is badly twisted when it gets in the way of Heisenberg’s greed; in which case it turns from fatherhood and concern to manipulation. “Damn druggie idiot! Is this what you’ve been doing the whole time I’ve been trying to reach you?!” – Heisenberg always uses Jesse’s drug problem to humiliate him, as seen in 2.04 or 5.07.
- Jane sees her own father Donald, in Walt: always a bit controlling. Therefore she sympathizes with Jesse, creates a bond with him, to the point of even relapsing into addiction later on. Moreover there are other signs showing how Jesse and Jane are in sync: They both wear black, have secrets and sketch superheroes and such. But even as much as she grows fond of Jesse, at times even she becomes unsympathetic, distant and even manipulative, particularly when she finds out how much money Walt owes to him. Notice that she’s drawing a horned female angel, probably hinting at the duality of their relationship. Jesse asks her: “What kind of tattoo artist has no tattoos?” – Jane: “That’s way too big a commitment.”. Indeed, every bond requires adjustment and commitment. You might also remember how Jane initially wouldn’t share much about her father with Jesse in 2.10: “Who’s ‘you and me’?!”.
- You can hear the church bells from afar when Jesse is about to leave the back porch, as if foreshadowing that his relationship with Jane is doomed from the start. The binding blue screen says: “Searching…,” fitting how the tension and longing grows between them with each second. Finally they connect before the TV and cable do.
I don’t get involved in family
Before we move on to Skyler, let’s see if Jane would make a worthy enemy for Heisenberg…
- Basically when it comes to his fatherly pride, Walt doesn’t take kindly to people who threaten it. And it’s the same thing with both Junior and his figurative son, Jesse: He is jealous of Hank because he thinks Junior sees a better father-figure in the uncle (preferring to be called Flynn instead of Walter Jr. doesn’t help either.), fears for his life when Gus starts seeing greater potential in Jesse (season 4) and hates Mike because he takes Jesse under his wings and Jesse looked up to him as a mentor (see 5.07).
- This also happens to be true about Jane, as she eventually becomes more intimate with Jesse, causing him to distance himself from Walt: “I’m your partner!” (2.10) – Likewise, Walt showing up at Jesse’s doorstep (and knocking repeatedly) throughout this season becomes a recurring element, going from comical to tragic, ending in Jane’s death.
- Even though Heisenberg mostly uses Jesse as a puppet, Walt ultimately needs him and without him he’ll be devastated. So it comes as no surprise the people who’ve tried to take Jesse away from him (or at least that’s what he believes to be true), have ended up dead or forgotten.
- Mr. Grabby-hands, or whatever other reason Skyler had left Beneke’s the first time, apparently she’d kept Ted in her mind all this time, as with the photo of them that we get to see in 2.01. A picture’s worth a thousand words…no wonder Skyler almost drops Walt and Junior’s framed picture while putting her stuff in the office, as if symbolically becoming growing distant from her husband, breaking the bond. Similar to Jesse and Jane’s scenario, there’s an unspoken longing between Ted and Skyler as visually highlighted when they’re separated by blinds:
- Ted and Skyler’s relationship and their subsequent affair very much resembles a thematically similar situation in The Sopranos [SPOILERS AHEAD] when Carmela starts dating AJ’s school guidance counselor, David Wegler, in the fifth season. In both scenarios, Skyler and Carmela have an affair with those guys while separated from their ‘lying’ husbands. [END OF SPOILERS for The Sopranos]
Next: “The Spectrum”