Thursday, July 19, 2012

Breaking Bad: Jesse and Jane Part 1

Breaking Bad returned last sunday but it was pretty low on the angst. In fact, it was a bit low on the Jesse in general. So, to make up for it, I thought I'd go full out Jesse angst by discussing his doomed relationship with Jane.

Peekabo!! Oh wait... that's the next episode. 
First of all, watching all the Jesse/Jane scenes in isolation really knocks home how depressing this storyline was. Poor Jesse! Poor Jane! Just say no, kids! For realz, yo.

Aaron Paul and Krysten Ritter as Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E06 Negro y Azul Jesse and Jane Breaking Bad
Jesse and Jane meet after Jesse's parents kick him out of "his" house and Jesse needs a new place to live. Jane tries to do things by the book, but Jesse's oh-so-charming just give me a chance speech wins her over. She lets him move in despite his lack of all things legit. Don't worry, Jane. I get it. I have a soft spot for charming stoner dudes too.

Aaron Paul and Krysten Ritter as Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E06 Negro y Azul Jesse and Jane Breaking Bad
Their relationship begins with one of those moments that makes Breaking Bad the amazingness that it is. The television can't find the satellite signal. They sit there and watch the blue screen as it tries to connect. Maybe the satellite can't connect, but Jane and Jesse can. And do.

Aaron Paul Krysten Ritter Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E08 Better Call Saul Jesse Jane Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman Aaron Paul
When Jane heads out at the beginning of the next episode, Jesse asks, "We cool?" Jane's response: "The satellite's on, by the way." Which means yes. They are cool. Satellite connection metaphor complete.

Aaron Paul Krysten Ritter Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E08 Better Call Saul Jesse Jane Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman Aaron Paul
I wish Jesse could meet a girl (or anyone...) who had a firmer grasp on stability. As the submissive type, Jesse needs someone who's like, "Let's go to museums and I have no plans to introduce you to heroin at any point in our relationship!" But I guess baggage attracts baggage. Maybe that kind of person would never lease him an apartment. Maybe that kind of person would never have slept with him.

Aaron Paul Krysten Ritter Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E08 Better Call Saul Jesse Jane Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman Aaron Paul
Jane's obvious intellectual superiority is one of the cutest elements of the Jane/Jesse dynamic. There's no condescension when she tells him that only female kangaroos have pouches - thus crushing his KangaMan superhero. Nor when she explains to him who Georgia O'Keeffe is. If only drugs weren't a part of the mix, Jane would have been a positive influence on Jesse. But alas...

Aaron Paul Krysten Ritter Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E09 4 Days Out Jesse Jane Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman Aaron Paul
Then Walt calls and lies to Jesse - forcing him out into the desert to cook up some meth. If Jesse wasn't so trusting, maybe he'd check up on Walt's assertion that the methylamine is going bad. Or if he was smarter, he'd just know that doesn't make sense. But he's trusting and dumb. A bad combo. And so the triangle of Jane-Jesse-Walt begins. It's a tug of war in which Jesse looses any which way you slice it.

Aaron Paul Krysten Ritter Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E09 4 Days Out Jesse Jane Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman Aaron Paul
But for a time, J and J are happy. Jesse cooks her breakfast. She pretends that the food is appetizing. They talk about drawings and childhood and all is well.

Aaron Paul Krysten Ritter Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E10 Over Jesse Jane Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman Aaron Paul
But even in these early moments, you can see that they have the potential to be poisonous to each other. It's only a short time before Jane bends the no smoking in the house rule. And you know what they say - it's just one small step from smoking in the house to shooting up heroin.

Aaron Paul Krysten Ritter Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E10 Over Jesse Jane Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman Aaron Paul
They have their first (and really only...) fight when Jane doesn't introduce Jesse to her father. In fact, she calls Jesse the stoner dude she's sleeping with. Understandably, Jesse is stung. But Jane's made it clear from the beginning that commitment isn't her thing (it's why she has no tattoos). And Jesse's default response to feeling shitty is to self medicate in some way. So it's back to the meth he goes.

Aaron Paul Krysten Ritter Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis on Breaking Bad S02E10 Over Jesse Jane Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman Aaron Paul
Jane apologizes and the two reconnect. But Jesse's reestablished his I-feel-bad-therefore-I-get-high routine. Jane should walk away. And perhaps the stable, put-together person who wouldn't have leased Jesse the apartment in the first place would. But Jane does not. And she pays for it. 


The angsty bit of the Jesse/Jane saga is still to come. Check out Jesse and Jane Part 2 here

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