THROUGH THE SHADES
What more can we extract from the episode? Visual/narrative symbolism? Easter eggs? Let’s find out!
Choices, prophylactic half-measures and colors were frequently referred to in the episode:
- There’s the bewilderment of Herr Schuler in the opening, but the combination of honey-mustard, and his numbness as a result of knowing his eventual demise, also brought the Pilot episode to mind; where Walt became ‘fixated’ on a mustard stain on the doctor’s coat when being told about his condition.
- Different sauces targeted at different customers in a crystal-clear kitchen-lab, somehow mirrors Gus’ super-lab and the meth formulas that led Walt and Gale there.
- We got a number of ‘see-through’ low-angle shots, revealing different recipes being prepared/tested — for Schuler it came with a bitter taste of death, for Walt it was the loss of his dignity.
- From the not-so-special ketchup, to Schuler’s red tie, to the ultra-red restroom, all the Red failed to ignite passion in Herr Schuler as he died a bloodless (!) death.
- We saw a ‘framed’ photo of Gus standing with his partner Max, Schuler and George…and in those pictures there’s no sign of the stone-cold criminal that he was. I guess he managed to ‘smile-away’ in the formal occasions!
- The way Schuler takes off his coat in the bathroom, brings a similar scene to mind (season 4’s “Salud”) where Gus calmly gambles on his life to avenge his partner. Though for Schuler it was a safe bet!
- We discussed the visual significance of mirror shots in the previous Afterthoughts. Here we see an empty, Walt-less reflection as he’s flushing the remains of his ricin-cigarette con; and most of his former values.
- There are lots of items scattered around Jesse’s house reflecting his innocence; crayons (of different ‘colors’ of course), DVDs, video games etc. Remember how Walt and Jesse messed up the place in a nasty fight last season? Well, the same way Walt managed to ‘heal’ their wounded relationship through deceit, the visuals also illustrate that restoration: as Walt and Jesse team-up to look for the cigarette and possibly clean up the place (and the stains) afterwards. There are also some inanimate-POV shots during the montage, as if the house has grown “eyes and ears” for these two guys!
- Talking about Jesse’s inanimate stuff, one of the amazing things about this show is how it’s introduced us to the character of Roomba ‘the overseer'(!), same way Pixar animations tend to do. There’s a shot in which it passes a large pile of cigarettes (not to mention the window lights of ‘revelation!), foreshadowing Walt’s ‘magic trick’ (as he’s wearing the ‘mystical’ violet shirt). And finally, the poor thing ends up becoming Walt’s tool of deception as it’s opened up by Jesse. 😀
- It’s not exactly symbolic, but noteworthy how Walt and Jesse carry the flat-screen TV around, the same one Jane would watch with Jesse, leading to their intimacy. The burden of her death still lies on their shoulders.
- Mike’s wearing almost the exact same gray outfit from Kaylee’s drawing! 😀
- Will Mike go through the same motions as in The Caine Mutiny?…I’m guessing Walt is the ship commander!
- Good to see Hank pretty much walking on his own down the DEA staircase, unlike a similar shot from last season. Every time Gomie talks about Hank’s achievements he never gets too excited. I guess that’s a contrast between him and Walt we didn’t foresee in the Pilot.
- If Walt hadn’t gone with the whole magnet plan, the DEA wouldn’t have acquired the ‘fresh’ evidence. Besides, as Hank mentioned, Gus’ laptop was encrypted anyway. Funny how Hank’s managed to get hold of nearly “All” the players in Walt’s blue-meth business; Jesse, Mike, Gus, Tuco, Gale, Tio, Badger etc…either through interrogation or their deaths (!), except Walt who’s of course the missing piece.
- The whole night, Gus seemed like a decent fellow to George, laughing, telling stories…much like the night over at Hank’s place when he showed Walt the ‘Gale’ eveidence. It never occurred to him The mighty Heisenberg was right in front of him
- No Skyler at breakfast table…and Raisin Bran cereal? I swear I almost misread it as “Ricin”!!
- There were below-the-waist shots of Walter standing above the ‘petrified’ Skyler. As if there’s nothing left in the man except his “male” Domination; No more weak-in-bed Walt from Season 1.
- Nice transition: After Walt gives a speech about why they have to gather all the “Gold” in the streets, we see Mike and Kaylee playing “Hungry Hungry Hippos”; Kaylee’s way too good when it comes to collecting the marbles!
- Colors everywhere: sauces, crayons, and now a moment of “true colors” in Lydia’s place. There’s a color-splattered wall, colorful cushions and Lydia’s daughter is practicing Spanish colors with the maid…how about that? The colors are, yellow, pink (instead of red?), blue, green, brown and orange…you can find nearly all of them among the sauces and the cushions too.
- And afterwards, there’s Mike waiting in the ‘dark’…
- Walt’s illusion of power is well framed in this shot of him between his plants, only obscured slightly by (what I assume is) Lily of the Valley — his seeds of corruption.
A great Mike-centric episode, in which the man spoke all about his emotions through expressions.
- I wonder if the Madrigal boss is actually involved in the ‘business’ as well; judging from his desire to provide full cooperation to the DEA, much like the late Gus.
- The voice-over on Walt’s fake cigarette-crafting scene worked better than Saul’s somehow convenient explanation from last episode.
Both Mike and Jesse eventually succumbed to Walt’s new business plan. Will the partnership break up at some point? Will Lydia play a part in ending Walt’s reign come his 52nd birthday?
9/10 Seriable stars