After taking desperate measures to make up for the breakage, Jesse ends up being more traumatized. Meanwhile Walt’s medical bill lie starts to unravel when he uses the opportunity to get back at his former partner and perhaps restore his illusion of authority.
WARNING: Spoilers from Breaking Bad Seasons 1-5 follow
JESSE’S KAFKAESQUE WONDERLAND *
Jesse’s payback visit turns into a symbolic quest of self-discovery, as it becomes less about the product breakage and more about the innocent child caught in the middle. On a deeper level, Spooge’s family represents a dramatically twisted and nightmarish version of Jesse’s own household and upbringings. The kid, of course, represents Jesse himself.
- The similarities become apparent from the opening sequence, as we see Jesse curiously playing with a beetle, until Skinny Pete arrives and accidentally squashes this playful fantasy. We’ve talked about how the opening of “Peekaboo” partially mirrors that of “Dead Freight” as in the latter we get introduced to a curious kid who plays with and collects a tarantula. Both Drew and Jesse wear similarly yellow clothing articles. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that both episodes also feature trains and railroads:
- As previously mentioned, Jesse encounters more than a few kids on his spiritual journey, with whom he’s exceptionally good. They could represent Jesse’s own childhood, his innocence, curiosity and also the growth and maturation he undergoes throughout the series as opposed to Walt’s gradual decay. Most of these kids, however, have directly/indirectly fallen victim to Walt’s schemes, just like Jesse himself who’s arguably the show’s most tragic character. Spooge’s kid is no exception; in fact, not only is he neglected by his parents like Jesse (not to mention there’s an extra lock on his door!) and consequentially lacks proper social skills, decent clothes, is unbathed etc (Remember how Jesse got “blue” in 2.04?) but he literally impersonates Jesse’s gestures on a few occasions, or you could say reflects him like a mirror! Take a look at these three examples:
- It seems as if they’re spiritually connected, reciprocating one another; notice how when the mother hits Jesse in the head, the pain is emotionally transferred to the kid and he holds his head as if hurt. Also notice the presence of mirrors in these shots:
- Oddly enough, both Jesse and the boy own tarantula toys, Drew however, finds a live one; perhaps the creature best symbolizes their innocence, curiosity and at the same time despair and transformation (in Jesse’s case, cultivation):
- Moreover, the way Jesse watches the kid eat his sandwich is reminiscent of the scene in “Down” where he sits across from Paul’s little son, only drastically different in context:
- Both Jesse and Spooge’s kid are bound to witness traumatic and violent scenes: the kid appears to be symbolically willingly watching a highly boring knife advertisement on TV (which is BTW, the only thing available on their television set: Aestheticization of violence, you could say – more on this subject in the following section) and later on Spooge draws a switchblade on Jesse…steel knockout!
- Speaking of Spooge’s household resembling that of Jesse’s, he begins criticizing the woman for not taking care of her kid properly (“You two are never getting high again, I will make it my life’s mission!”) much like complaining to his own mother about unfairly kicking him out of the house he’d rightfully earned, in “Down”.
* Find out about Walt’s wonderland here.
Next: “It’s just part of the game..”