Ah, the power of transformations! As Season 1 draws to a close (only one more episode left), we are here with an episode based on transformations and reactions (chemical and then some). Take Walter White for example. He begins the episode as a weak, frail man as the effects of chemotherapy begin to settle in. He is puking in the school bathroom’s toilet and clumps of hair is falling out. He also lies to Skylar about his long absences and the money he uses to pay for the treatment. Skylar is led to believe that Walt likes nature, and that Elliot is paying for the treatment. Well, you will come to see that Mr. White is the king of bullshit! (and in an entertaining way). But by the end of the episode, Walter becomes such a “badass” (thanks, Walter Jr.) due to the events of this episode. It is the power of characters why I loved this episode and in general this much. We see such transformations over the course of an episode, and it is incredible how Vince Gilligan pulls this off. As such, this episode has an amazing conclusion and it really sets up what seems to be a fantastic finale.
In this episode, “Crazy Handful of Nothin'”, Walter begins his chemo but he also starts to cook meth with Jesse again. Jesse begins to sell their product on the streets, but Walt is furious at the low-end returns because $1300 is not enough to cover one week’s worth of treatment. Walt calls Jesse lazy, but he realizes that they will need a wholesale distributor if they are to make any decent money. They seek out a big-time distributor named Tuco Salamanca (Raymond Cruz), and they soon realize that Tuco does not do business the right way. Walt becomes a new person as he let Tuco knows that he is no longer Walter White, but he is Heisenberg. Meanwhile, Hank traces the gas mask found in the desert to Walt’s school, where the custodian is arrested on charges of marijuana possession. So it seems the DEA is nearing closer and closer to Walt’s true identity.
The acting remains a high point in the series. Bryan Cranston continues to deliver the goods. Even though he continually lies to his wife, we feel his pain as cancer treatment makes him weak. But he truly shines in the end. As he and Jesse make business with Tuco, the situation becomes precarious after Tuco initially refuses to work with them. In order to convince them Walt is not to be trifled with, Walt uses mercury fulminate to blow some serious shit up! This is where he becomes Heisenberg. Walt is a new man. The ending where he sits down at the dinner table with confidence and a shaved head is priceless. Especially seeing the surprised looks on the faces of his family. Good job, Cranston! Aaron Paul remains as a good as ever. Just watch the scene where he schools Walt in the business of selling drugs. Finally, I think Raymond Cruz knocks it out of the park as Tuco. From first look, you can tell that Tuco is crazy. After all, he beats Jesse up with a sack of money. Damn!
Overall, this is a fantastic penultimate episode. The entire episode makes for a tense watch, especially during the second half. With what is happening at his school and with his new meth distributor, Walt realizes he is never safe. I loved this episode. Let’s hope the finale lives up to the high expectations set from this episode.
My Grade: A+