Observations: “'A fly in the ointment’ is a saying which captures a running motif in Walt’s life. When he is overwhelmed by his situation he focuses on a small imperfection that he can obsess on instead. When he received his cancer diagnosis (1x01) he responded to the doctor’s dire warning by pointing out a mustard stain on his shirt. Recently we have seen him spend time cutting sandwiches (3x06), skimming pools (3x02) or fixing tables (3x07). Now apparently he wishes he was dead and not having to fret over being under threat from Gus so he fixates on the fly. – Robin Pierson’s review of 3x10
Observations: This episode is the first appearance of the infamous book, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Coincidentally, this book is introduced during a phone conversation between Walt and Hank. This conversation is the first time Walt feels the pressure of Hank’s investigation, as Hank has made the connection between Jesse and Winnebago meth lab.
Bonus factoid: The book prop will be on display at the upcoming Breaking Bad exhibit at the Museum of Moving Image, running July 26 - Oct. 27 in Astoria, NY.
Fun Factoids: The condo that Walt moves into after he signs the divorce paperwork is actually the show runner, Vince Gilligan’s condo in Albuquerque. The painting of the Sandia Mountains in his living room is the same one in the doctor’s office when Walt receives his cancer diagnosis.
When I heard the learn’d astronomer; When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me; When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them; When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick; Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself, In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
– Gale reciting the “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” by Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass
Fun Factoids: The part of Gale Boetticher (played by David Costabile) was created with Philip Seymour Hoffman in mind, according to the Breaking Bad Insider podcast (ep. 503). “(During Season 3) we had heard that Philip Seymour Hoffman might be interested in being on Breaking Bad,” explains writer Tom Schnauz, “and we came up with the role of Gale thinking ‘Oh, maybe we’ll offer this to him.’ I don’t know if he wasn’t interested or was busy, but that’s the reason we got Gale in the first place.“ Vince Gilligan added, "That’s right, we’d heard he liked the show. Little did we realize that does not equate in any way, shape or form to wanting to be on the show.” Hoffman went to NYU Film School the same year as Gilligan and Schnauz.
Observations: “In this scene, Walt and Gale are bonding at the end of their first day. Walt is simultaneously concerned about Gale’s origins, concerned that he may be training Gale as his own eventual replacement. The symmetry of the composition, accentuated by the pair of matching blue tray stacks, draws a comparison between Walt and Gale, giving a sense of similarity between them. However, the other compositional elements seek to portray comparison negatively by visualizing Walt’s fears: the geometric silhouette that surrounds them constricts them to the center of the frame, tightly boxing them in, giving a sense of claustrophobia, and introducing the idea that the lab may not be big enough for the two of them. This is reinforced by the silhouette between them, which divides their similar backgrounds, seemingly putting them at odds with each other." — from The Cinematography of ‘Breaking Bad’ by Benjamin Kantor