"Half Measures" Review
“Half Measures” begins with Wendy. She hasn’t been around all season (at least I don’t think she has), and we’re given a half funny, half tragic look at her life. That was an insightful way to start “Half Measures” because the episode has a few humorous moments, but a ton of heart wrenching scenes.
From the start, Skyler tries to get more involved in Walt’s drug business. There was a great negotiation scene between the two of them. It’s clear that Skyler sees Walter as only a business partner - nothing more. Still, deep down she must feel something towards him, right? I don’t know, she’s a tough character to figure out. I wasn’t a huge fan of her teaming up with Walt last week, but in usual Breaking Bad fashion, something horrible happened to change the plot direction. Only this time, Jesse is the victim. By the end of “Half Measures,” Skyler and her financial scheme seems like nothing compared to everything else that’s happened.
Jesse’s plan to kill the two dealers does seem crazy at first. Walt made some good points about murder not being part of the twelve step program. But as “Half Measures” progressed, Jesse’s motivations became a bit more clear. He’s not after the kid - he’s after the men using kids to deal drugs. Jesse knows how bad the drug business is - we’ve seen the stuff he’s gone through. Forcing that lifestyle on a child is just wrong.
Walt is more than concerned about Jesse’s decision. There’s an amazing scene with Mike (glad he’s back this episode) where Mike explains the difference between a half and a full measure. I love how we’re given more insight into Mike’s personal life. I feel like there’s a lot of history there.
Gus continues to show his ruthlessness during an intervention. Gus is a character that is usually upfront and direct… but we’ve seen his schemes in action, too. Here, Gus decides to intervene and bring all the sources of conflict together. The whole thing felt like a trip to the principal’s office - and here, the principal was pissed. Seeing Gus angry is frightening because you can tell he’s trying to restrain himself - props to Giancarlo Esposito. Props to all the actors on this show. But regardless of Gus’s coldness, it was nice to see him agree with Jesse and demand no more children for drug deals.
There were some humorous moments thrown in to “Half Measures” and a few nods to previous episodes. I loved the scene between Hank and Marie in the hospital. It was a really lighthearted way to get Hank out of the hospital - I think part of him wanted to get out of there, even if it means in a wheelchair. Marie’s line to give her “one minute” was a great juxtaposition to the episode “One Minute” that put Hank in the hospital. It really shows how different a minute of time can be.
A few other nods to previous episodes include Walt’s answer to the Jeopardy question about Walt Whitman. Remember Gale’s favorite poetry book, Leaves of Grass? In case you don’t know, that’s by Walt Whitman, too. I also liked the reference to Walter, Jr.’s driving with two feet. It was nice that Walt was okay with it this time, “as long as it gets him from point A to point B safely.”
Okay, that’s enough on everything else, I can’t take it anymore: the ending. That was simply amazing. I don’t know what else to say. I thought I was going to throw up by the time Vince Gilligan’s name appeared on the screen. At first I was just blown away by the turn of events, but after, the motivations began to sink in. Walt really cares for Jesse. They’ve always had a strange relationship, but Walt realized that Jesse was right here. I think he saw a bit of himself in Jesse - both were trying to do what they thought was right, and Walt knows the consequences of acting on emotion.
In the end, Walt couldn’t let Jesse be a murderer and get killed for it. When the chips are down, Walt will risk his own life for Jesse. “Half Measures” is an episode that proves that Walt is nothing like Gus. Gus is cold and calculating. Walt has a bit of that, but he’s much more hot blooded and acts on feelings, too. Jesse, on the other hand, acts on only impulses, which leads to so much trouble. This season, we’ve watched Walt become more like Gus with every minute. In “Half Measures,” Walt goes full circle.
I don’t need to say much more about “Half Measures.” It’s a brilliant episode, and it has me counting down the minutes to see the “Full Measure” unfold. Anyone else feel the same way?