Why Do You Hate This? Breaking Bad’s “Fly”
In many critically acclaimed series there are always polarizing episodes somewhere along the run of the series. Breaking Bad is no exception. Season three’s episode “Fly” is frequently deemed “the worst episode of Breaking Bad” or “the best episode of Breaking Bad.” As you can tell by the title of this column, it’s at least one of the best episodes of Breaking Bad.
The episode follows a simple storyline throughout, Walter finds a fly in the lab and he wants to get rid of it and eventually recruits his partner Jesse to help. That’s generally the reason why this episode is disliked, because its plot is more simple when compared to other episodes, almost cartoon-like even. But despite its simple plot and little to no change of sets (it’s a bottle episode), “Fly” has a lot more depth and complications than other episodes of Breaking Bad. This is the first episode where Jesse starts to skim the product and when Walt starts to realize he’s in over his head.
As we’ve seen before, Walt tends to obsess over the most minor things when he knows he should be focusing it elsewhere so his obsession over the containment fly is already understood. The episode also presents us with Walt’s “perfect time to die.” The heartbreaking scene of him telling a barely listening Jesse about Jane’s untimely fate is another series high. It reminds the viewers that yes, we remember that moment and it’ll be revisited soon. Jesse’s line about her “I miss her though. God, I do” is enough to make us depressed for the rest of the season.
Another episode high point that ties into Walt’s obsession is the speculation between Jesse’s aunt’s cancer situation and Walt’s. Jesse tells a story about his aunt believing there was a possum underneath her house even though there wasn’t (it was exterminated) and she ended up having brain cancer leads us to believe that maybe this fly situation is a result of Walt’s cancer yet again. Considering this is one of the very few times where Walt’s cancer has come back into conversation late in the series, it’s very possible that it is back and maybe this episode is hinting at that plot point again. Something to consider as we go into the fifth and final season later this year.
Overall, “Fly” is a characterization packed episode. It’s no “One Minute” as it’s more “Four Days Out.” It’s an episode that the season needed. It let the characters we love talk, hang out, and “relax” for a bit before the fantastic and action packed finale.