After Sunday’s episode we have only one episode left before the mid-season break. This season is flying by so far, but has left me with one sentiment so far. With each episode I think there is no way this show will either top the last one, and yet, each week, the newest episode manages to not only further the story but to have at least one moment where I’m taken back yet again. Episode 7, ‘Say My Name’ is no different.
At the end of the episode ‘Buyout’ we saw the tables turned once again on Mike and Jesse. Walt had once again trumped the plans set in motion to end his charade. Dealer busts. What saved Walt from a bullet to the head was a plan that we were left to find out on this latest episode. And it wasted no time getting to it. ‘Say My Name’ started out with Mike, Jesse, and Walt driving out to the middle of the desert to meet with the group they had proposed to sell the Methylamine to. Mike firmly stood his ground by telling Walt that this was his show and his plan, and the outcome lay squarely on Walt’s head.
His plan was simple, but also genius in its own way. Walt spoke to the group (which outnumbered the 3 men) in defiant tones. Tossing a bag of the blue meth to the ground, Walt rattled off the number of ways this groups pale imitation to his product was vastly inferior. Pointing out that they could stand to make more money from using his product, he told them that he would allow them to be his distributers if they would take a smaller cut and pay Mike off so he could get out of the business. Invoking the title of this episode, Walt demanded that the men say his name. At first they balked, saying they didn’t know him, Walt again stated the facts; he was the man who killed Gus Fring, the man whose product was in demand, and the man who now knocks. Even though this season has left me hating Walt, and hoping for his destruction, I must say this scene was pretty bad ass, with the last lines before the opening credits.
Walt: Say my name.
Walt: You’re goddamn right.
From there, the episode was off and running. As Mike packed his things, he told Walt to take the bug out of the DEA’s office, and to also watch his ego and his pride, that they are getting the better of him. Walt went to the defense that he is doing this for his family, which Mike laughed off. Jesse also told Walt that he still wanted out as well, which Walt blew off, thinking he could convince Jesse to stay. Any protest Jesse made was written off as just jitters and Walt pressed him over and over, thinking he still had his thumb directly over Jesse. In a heated argument at a new cook, Jesse put his foot down saying that he wouldn’t cook for Walt anymore and all he wanted was his money and to get out of the business. Walt countered by telling Jesse that he has nothing in his life, and that they both have blood on their hands, and not just from the young boy who got killed. Instead of Walt calling himself out of the people whose lives he’s taken, the only one he brought up was Gale, playing on Jesse’s inner turmoil and guilt for taking his life. Jesse wasn’t having it and even when Walt threatened to not give Jesse his cut because it was still ‘blood money’, Jesse walked out the door saying he didn’t even care, he just wanted out.
Without his cook (or more like it-gopher), Walt turned to Todd to pick up Jesse’s slack. Walt passive-aggressively chastised Todd for not doing the cook perfectly, but his options are little to none, so he had to keep him on. That night while unpacking his TV dinner, he told Skyler of his frustration. At his first words of looking for any sympathy or even conversation, she grabbed her glass of wine, and walked away without saying a word, leaving Walt sitting alone at the table. A striking image, which defines the Walt of season 5. Alone and wretched. He no longer has anyone he cares for at his side. His actions have definite repercussions, and he’s finding out quickly that it is lonely at the top.
We find out that Mike hired a lawyer (other than Saul) to help distribute the cash to his ‘guys’ in prison, using lock boxes at a bank, with the rest of Mike’s 5 million being stashed away for his granddaughter. When at the DEA to take the bug out of Hank’s office, Walt overhears Gomez informing Hank that they know of the lawyer and have tracked him down to the bank, with the knowledge that they can make him talk and get Mike through his confession. Walt informs Mike just in time for Mike to slip away from the cops and start going on the run. Walt and Jesse meet up with Saul to decide what they need to do when Mike calls and says he needs his gear and bag from the car he stashed earlier in the episode. Saul won’t touch it and Jesse shows a bit of hesitation, which Walt jumps at the chance to take advantage of.
Meeting Mike way off the beaten path, Walt confronts him once again, telling him that he at least deserves a ‘Thank You’, which sets Mike off. Walt is so caught up in this need for power, he can’t even just let Mike go, even though their business together is over. After Mike refuses to give Walt the names of his guys and gets in his car to get away from this maniac and start a new life, we see Walt rush back to his car. In this episode’s huge twist, we see that Walt stole Mike’s gun from his bag, he rushes up beside the car and shoots Mike point blank in the stomach. Mike speeds away but quickly crashes the car and is able to crawl out and down an embankment. When Walt finds him, we see Mike staring off into the distance, watching a river flow and we know right away that Mike is not going to make it out of this alive. Walt tries to apologize to Mike and then reminds himself that he could have just gotten the names from Lydia. Mike tells Walt to just shut up and let him die in peace, which he does slumping over into the reeds, leaving Walt once again, alone.
The cracks in the foundation of Walt’s empire are growing larger by the minute. He no longer has anyone he can trust watching his back. Though he didn’t like Mike, at least Mike wasn’t sending him into danger. Walt is now the king ruling alone. His new distribution team is made up of men that he doesn’t know, men who could kill him at any point, and his first impression with them being one of forced obedience, his standing with them is likely not very high. He’s lost his trusted cook in Jesse and is now forced to work with the uneducated and unpredictable Todd. His family is gone and all he is left with now is a business that he doesn’t understand how to run, and the pressure of meeting expectations under the threat of his life. He’s now starting to understand what little control he has over his empire and even over himself. He was not able to convince Jesse (his loyal dog or so he thought) to stay on with him. With his rash decision to shoot Mike, he is now realizing he is in over his head. Mike didn’t need to die, but because of his hubris, Walt killed him without any rationalization. The ‘fun’ of being the king is gone. All that is left is the quiet and the waiting. The understanding that every king’s reign comes to an end and normally when it does, it is not peaceful, but with bloodshed and pain.