These scenes leave us with questions that may or may not be answered by the end of the episode. Other times the opening sequence features familiar characters doing things that coincide with the storyline that’s been revealed to us at that point.
This week’s opening scene falls into the category of the former, opening with a young boy riding through a desert on his dirt bike when he comes to a stop.
Four seasons into this show there was no telling what the boy managed to come across out there that made him stop but rather than finding something heinous, he knelt down to pick up a tarantula.
After toying with the spider for a few moments, the boy places it into a jar and rides of to the sound of a train horn heard off in the distance.
The scene left me saying “What the hell?” But it did eventually connect with the rest of the story arch. I’ll reveal how later.
Walt makes a trip down to Hank’s new office under the pretense of thanking him and Marie for watching his children, asking for permission to visit them and express some “true feelings.”
In reality, Walt is only there to bug Hank’s computer and office before his first rendezvous with Lydia.
From there we witness Lydia being handcuffed to some sort of grate table in an empty warehouse and instructed by Mike to read a script to Hank over the phone. Mike gives some very simple instructions and states the rules very matter-of-factly:
“Now here are the rules: If you yell for help, try to give the man some kind of coded message or otherwise tip him off, I’m going to pull out my pistol and shoot you in the head. Same goes for panicking, breaking down into tears—remember how you like to do that. If it happens this time I am going to pull my pistol out and shoot you in the head.”
Mike then proceeds to call Hank and hand her the phone as Jesse, Walt and himself listen in. She tells Hank that she found a tracking device on the outside of one of the methylamine barrels and asks for instructions on what to do about the situation.
Immediately after the call, Hank asks agent Gomez if he knows anything about a tracking device on barrels, to which he replies: No. This scenario proves Mike to be right about her planting the tracking device on the barrel herself and the team votes 2-1 to kill her.
Just as they are about to leave, Hank places a call to an “Agent Doughty from the Houston office,” who reveals that him and his team did place tracking devices on all of the barrels at the Madrigal warehouse.
Despite that revelation, Mike still wants to kill her. In order to save her own ass, Lydia reveals another way of getting methylamine.
Lydia tells Walt there is a regular train delivery of 24,000 gallons of methylamine that makes a train trip from California to places like Texas and Oklahoma in order to be used in pesticides.
There is a three-mile “dead zone” in the trip where there is no access to cell phones. Mike thinks there is no way they can rob the train without killing the two men who operate the train.
Jesse wonders aloud “What if we can rip off that train and no one ever knows it got robbed,” once again revealing Jesse’s growing ability to think critically.
The gang heads over to the train tracks to scout the area and measure a stretch of track when they find an open area underneath a small section of the track.
The gang buries two enormous plastic containers underneath the ground next to that section of track. Todd (from the pesticide company) comes by to fill one of them with water.
Walt and Jesse explain to Todd that their plan is to fill one drum with 1,000 gallons of methylamine, then replace the missing chemical with water. When the train is weighed in a few days there will be no difference.
On the day of the heist we get a Bill Burr (Kuby) appearance as the driver of a large dump truck that “breaks down” on the train tracks. He flags down the train, which manages to stop just a few feet before hitting the truck.
As soon as the train stops, Todd climbs atop the tanker, removes bolts and sticks in the water hose. At the same time Jesse goes underneath the train and connects a hose.
Kuby continues to stall and everything appears to be going quite smoothly until a “good Samaritan” arrives driving a truck capable of pushing Kuby’s out of the way.
Mike tells Walt to stop the operation, but with the job incomplete Walt ignores him and instructs Jesse and Todd to continue.
Todd and Jesse are able to finish up in time, with Todd having to jump off the moving train the and Jesse having to lie underneath the train as it moves over top of him.
As the guys laugh and celebrate, Walt looks over and sees the kid from the opening scene on his dirtbike. He looks at them and gives them an odd wave. Todd waves back then reaches into his belt and pulls out a gun and shoots the boy, while Jesse screams “No!”
Roll credits …
Overall, this was a great train robbery episode that also allowed us to gain more insight into how dark Walt has grown. He is willing to kill Lydia, the two train conductors and risks the lives of Todd and Jesse during the robbery.
How much lower will he stoop before his inevitable collapse?