I got to thinking some more today about S05 and realized that basically everyone gets screwed over by Walt in this show. Hank gets shot and thus Marie almost loses her husband, Skyler loses her family and freedom, Tuco, Gus, Gale, Mike, and many others lose their lives…but perhaps the most damaging losses of all have been Jesse’s. OK, so he is pretty low on the social totem pole due to his drug addiction and his general slouchy attitude. But, we have seen so many times in this show that he really tries to get it together and somehow Walt manages to destroy everything and keep him under his thumb (well, until late in this season in any case). Remember back in, what was it, S02?, that Jesse was in love with Jane and Walt enabled her to choke on her vomit and die? Back then, I thought, well it is true that she pushed Jesse into heroin and even blackmailed Walt, but then he did also fall in love and he had planned on leaving with her and I was rooting for them to get out together…the fallout from that death was of course the finale in S02 with the airplane crash due to the bereft father/air traffic controller. Jesse is always looking for a father figure and for love in general and has this love/hate relationship with Walt throughout and Walt abuses this power over Jesse more and more to get what he wants. Back in season 4, he attempts to kill Brock to drive a wedge between Jesse and Gus and still manages to convince him that it was Gus that made the hit. The couple stays together, but when Walt sees the relationship with Andrea interfering with Jesse’s loyalty, he undermines it by convincing Jesse to come clean with her about the business which naturally destroys the couple. But all this fidelity to Walt is never rewarded and as a final straw, when he wants to join Mike by “getting out”, Walt withholds his share of the profits until the very last episode where he once again plays with Jesse’s mind by evoking memories of their heydays of cooking and then leaving him with a duffel bag full of cash. My point here is that the manifestation of evil in Walt is perhaps best demonstrated by this total lack of human consideration or compassion for the one person that stood by him more or less throughout the entire adventure (excepting when he (rightly) suspected Walt of poisoning Walt and threatened to blow his head off) – remember that it was Jesse that got Wendy to deliver the ricin, it was Jesse that shot Gale, it was Jesse that came up with the train robbery idea…and yet it is Walt that must always be in total, tyrannical control.
Walt has become completely and utterly ego-centric and toxic to everyone around him. It is hard not to pity Jesse when we see him near the end of E08 alone in his apartment post-Andrea, alternatively smoking or taking meth and just totally utterly alone. Actually, when I think about it, almost all of the characters in this show are now completely isolated. Skyler is a prisoner that holds this terrible secret and enables Walt in order to hold on to a scant hope to be with her kids again, Hank is isolated in his obsessive search for Heisenberg, Walter, Jr is estranged from everyone but his school friends, Marie feels the distance between her and Hank, Saul is alone drinking in his office…and then there is Jesse adrift in the wake of millions of dollars but no one left in his world to share it with. Perhaps this is one of the key elements to the pathos of this series – and one of its lessons.