Breaking Bad Review: “Dead Freight”

Alright, Breaking Bad, you may be starting to lose me a bit. For as much as I wished that last season things would move a bit faster, this week’s episode wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

It was undeniably tense, yes, but I think the show may be overdosing on the shock factor a little bit, to the point where it doesn’t make sense for the plot.

We’ll start at the end and talk about exactly what I’m referring to. That kid dying did not produce the intended result for me. It was supposed to be shocking, and it was, but a few seconds later I was immediately shaking my head saying “wow, that was really stupid.”

Mayyyybe his helmet saved him?

There are a million things they could have said to avoid killing him, like I don’t know, “Hey kid, we’re engineers and we’re helping to refuel the train after it broke down.”  Or they could have said nothing and the kid would have just driven away and told his parents he saw some weird guys in the desert near a train. As the train wasn’t going to be reported as being robbed anyway, that never would have gotten back to them. As an adult if I saw some guys with pipes and work gear doing stuff to a train, I wouldn’t think twice.

I suppose the show wants to just blame it all on the rash stupidity of Todd, but even if they want to play that angle, his character transformation came out of NOWHERE. Granted, we don’t know much about him, but how you get from small-time house burglar to headshotting children without so much as a moment’s hesitation, I’m not sure. Even cold-blooded killer Mike didn’t want to kill the adult innocent engineers, much less a kid. Unless Todd is secretly a serial killer the whole “shooting a kid to prove his worth to Walt and Jesse” thing is not a remotely plausible plot development, and I think it was a cheap trick.

I had no problem with the rest of the episode, though I guess the kid killing made the train heist look sane by comparison. It seemed a bit crazy, but I like Jesse continuing to evolve as a criminal mastermind, always thinking up the correct plan in a tricky situation.


Walt, meanwhile, had a few tricks up his sleeve as well. Bugging Hank’s office is a new level of espionage for him, and I guess Hank really is his chief rival this season. Though it seems that things are starting to boil with Mike.

My prediction is that Walt is going to lose it completely and kill someone, be it Mike or Skylar. Not Jesse. That would be too far. And remember we still have to get to the point where he’s grown his hair back and is wandering around a different state with a machine gun. Though I bet that will be in the second half of this season.

This episode just left a weird taste in my mouth. It just seemed like such a far cry from a tearful Jesse being forced to kill Gale in season three. Here, we have a character who has been in only one other episode doing the worst thing that’s probably ever happened in the show, and it’s just way too far outside the bounds of plausibility for me.

But the question remains, what happens now? Do they bury the kid in the desert? Do they bury Todd along with him? I may have hated the plot development, but I’ll be damned if I don’t want to see how it’s resolved.

Similar Posts


  1. The conversation between Jesse, Walter, and Todd setup the shooting of the kid. It didn’t come out of nowhere.

    Walter and Jesse made it a point to tell Todd that nobody else can know about the robbery. Walter even double checked if Todd understood. Todd was just trying to do what he thought they wanted him to do.

    The murder of that kid is totally on Walter and Jesse and I have a hunch that it’s going to be the catalyst for a huge rift between the two of them.

  2. They got me. That was the hardest ending of an episode to watch. Left me with a bad taste in my mouth, not because of plot points, just because its a horrible scenario.

  3. How can you say it was pointless? It was the perfect way to show how Walt has become the man he declared was so evil. The thing that started the kill Gus plot was the fact that Gus hired people that killed children then Walt used that to his advantage so he could dupe Jesse into thinking Gus was a monster that would kill Brock. Like Shiner_Man said, it was laid out through the episode. I agree with most of your review but to say Landry killing the kid was only for shock and out of place is preposterous.

  4. I recognize the “no one can know” speech is what’s supposed to have inspired this, but that doesn’t make it seem any less ridiculous to me. There’s a difference between “don’t tell anyone about this robbery plan” and “shoot any children nearby that may or may not have any clue as to what’s going on.”

  5. If Walt or Jesse had shot the kid that would be one thing, but considering it was this new guy that nobody really knows it didn’t throw me off at all. I just assumed he wants to get in good with Walt and Jesse and just wanted to impress them.

  6. Who do you know who would shoot a random child without a MOMENT’S hesitation to “impress” two people he barely knows? This isn’t some Mexican cartel hitman, it’s a goofy ginger kid who occasionally burgles empty houses.

  7. It was out out of place though. I have to agree with Paul. One of my biggest issues with BB is that it seems like the writers come up with a big explosive plot point and then write the script up to that point.

    Its like the plane crash in season 2. You know that the writers said “Hey, lets have 2 planes colliding in the finale!” instead of writing the show and seeing where it goes. The same thing happened here.

    I understand that Todd was doing what he was told but these guys can come up with ways to rob a train, outsmart the DEA, beat the cartel etc. but cant come up with something to tell some little kid?

    Regardless I really enjoyed the episode and this season so far, but it is not without it’s issues.

  8. Somebody innocent had to die to prove that Walt’s operation is harming innocent people. So far it appears that even when Walt takes evil actions (poisoning a kid) everything will turn out fine. Now we know it doesn’t.

    Todd – we don’t know him well but what we do know is that he is a cold person with initiative who does what he wants. He was told by Mike NOT to talk to Jesse and Walt as they entered the house and he stopped them and informed them that he turned off a camera for them – he wants to rise up a criminal organisation and he will ignore commands if he can get attention.

    He was then told that there could not witnesses and he decided to bring a gun and kill any witnesses that come along. In Todd’s mind, the riskiest thing would be to let somebody witness the robbery and live, even a small % that it comes back to them isn’t worth the risk – easier to just kill the kid. More than likely they have somehow ended up with a sociopathic criminal wannabe in their group and now they need to deal with it.

    Hank mentioned the movie Heat earlier in the episode, where a group of robbers end up with a new guy during a heist who turns out to be a loose cannon.

  9. For all we know, Todd is a sociopath. What other person would move that quickly from “pest control” to “robbing a fucking train” without hesitation?

  10. Usually I am in agreement with you Paul, but I had the opposite reaction to the end.

    There was lead up all through the episode mentioning that there are the heist that go right and the heist where there are witnesses. We have seen that the guy who shot the kid wants to impress Walt and Jesse. But most of all, this show has been dealing a lot with how Walt’s business impacts friends/family/ coworkers. We have seen little on what happens to the innocent. This was a great way to start that discussion and begin a divide between Walt and Jesse. Walt will most likely attempt to rationalize this. Jesse wont. Tension will build and things will explode.

    I found this episode to be a masterful hour of television.

  11. This was one of the best non-finale episodes the show has ever done. You’re crazy. I mean, it’s opinion, obviously, but… you’re crazy. That was awesome. 59 minutes of borderline-lighthearted fun and then one of the darkest, most thematically robust minutes the show has ever done. It was heartwrenching.

  12. Glad I wasn’t the only one thinking like… who wouldn’t just say “Hey, kid, you should keep away from the train while maintenance is in progress.”

    Yeah, it was a surprise ending, but a bit off the wall.

    Also, is it just me, or has the show progressed from like mostly filming at Walt’s house in the morning (season 1, the light seems to come in at an angle) to mid day (season 2) to sunset and dusk (season 4, all the lighting is angled and orange) and now having all home shots at night (season 5)? I’m certain it’s intentional, but I don’t recall hearing about it.

  13. Have to agree with Ted, dead burger and others, that was one of the best episodes of Breaking Bad I’ve seen, and as such it’s one of the best episodes of television I’ve seen.

  14. Couldn’t disagree more with this review. Great episode, and I can’t wait to see how this plays out. Something tells me Walt likes the new guy.. -_^

  15. I disagree that it came out of nowhere. Remember how earlier in the season, Mike was talking up Walt and Jesse to the pest control crew like they were a couple of hardcore badasses? This was just Todd trying to fit in with what he thought were hardcore gangsters after being explicitly told that no one can know about the robbery.

  16. I missed the beginning of this episode and part of the end…damn my arachnophobia. Almost threw up on my computer. That being said, I agree, if I saw some guys in the desert near a train with hoses and such I wouldn’t think twice either. But I’m more leaning towards the idea of what everyone else said, Todd mistook Walter’s instructions. While Walter and Jesse would have said something to help the situation, Todd was the first one to act and in a completely amateur move thought killing the witness would be his best bet.

    I wouldn’t call it stupid. I can see how you wouldn’t like it Paul BUT considering the whole point of “Breaking Bad” is the idea of being careful. Walter and Jesse are unfamiliar with Todd and working with unfamiliar people has it’s major drawbacks. Lydia, Walter, Mike and Jesse planned the perfect crime. Those 4 knew what they were doing, Todd wasn’t in the loop and therefore acted irrationally. That’s what happens when someone isn’t thinking, now Walter and Jesse have to deal with an obvious hiccup.

    Think back to Season 2, Walter had NO IDEA Tuco would kidnap him. Jesse had no idea Combo would get shot and Skinny Pete would get robbed. It’s all about the unpredictability of how horribly a situation can go wrong. Great episode minus the eight-legged demon from hell.

  17. It doesn’t matter what kind of excuse they say to the kid; he’s a witness. Imagine that they don’t kill him and, when/if the DEA finds out about the heist, they start investigating and something leads them to that kid and, when Hank questions him, he describes Walt, Jesse and Mike, and, back on the spotlight. I know it’s far-fetched, but, fot me, it isn’t important if the show isn’t that realistic.

  18. I am afraid I disagree with this one. It was amazing. I did not expect Todd to do that at all. Jessie and Walt were clearly in a state of shock about what to do in the situation. They were clearly trying to think of something and then Todd just blows him away revealing himself to be a psychopath, before they had a chance.

  19. i disagree as well with Paul. this episode was awesome and drew the line for the final episodes coming up. the kid had to die like everyone already stated. he was a witness and with a heist theyre are people who get away with it and people who get caught because of witnesses. todd was doing what he needed to do to prove to the guys that no one else could know about the robbery. with breaking bad there has always been positive and negative reactions. something good happens then something bad happens. rob the train without any problems then the writers hit us with something bad. shit is going to hit the fan the in the final episodes of the season. jessie could turn back to drugs, mike is going to go nuts on todd for killing that kid etc. and the last thing i want to point out is rewatch that scene when the kid gets shot. Walt doesnt move an inch when Todd goes for his gun and is about to shoot the kid and jessie is screaming reaching for todd. the only reaction we see out walt is flinching when the gun goes off and clearing anyone would flinch with a gun shot but he makes NO gesture or sound to have him stop what he is doing. great episode, great writing great final scene at the end.

  20. This episode, like all episodes of this show, transcends television into the realm of enduring, timeless art. Perhaps you should stick to reviewing shows more in line with your obviously mediocre intelligence level, like, I don’t know, CSI Sacramento or whatever. Honestly, you having the temerity to criticize this show would be akin to me thinking myself qualified to go over Stephen Hawking’s latest work on String Theory.

  21. Such a great episode. Couldn’t stay seated while watching part of the train robbery sequence. Initially was so mad at the ending that I quickly vowed to stop watching BB. Have calmed down since and am thinking the kid’s helmet probably saved his life. There’s probably more to Todd than meets the eye — maybe he’s a sharp-shooter and knew exactly where to hit the kid so that he wouldn’t be hurt/die. Or, if the kid does die, maybe Walt now will wake up to what Skyler has been telling him — that kids will get hurt somehow. Will have to wait and see as I continue to watch this amazingly written series.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.