This episode shows exactly what Walt would have become if he had been a good capitalist, ditching the flashy methventures for his true gift of turning people into soup.
No, but really, there is no way they accidentally cast and dressed a guy who brought about a certain eau de Breaking Bad to the whole episode. I could be disgusted by the blatant ripoff, but I won't lie, it worked for me. I found him more terrifying by the association. As if I needed any help after they called him "The Stewmaker." Yeeech.
Still, that was just a whole lot of wrinkly moobs. Like dried apricots that had been poorly vacuum sealed into a ziploc bag of flesh. Double Yeeech.
The high point of the episode for me was Spader's terrifying monologue as he slowly approaches The Stewmaker. It was as if the writers had heard my concerns about his lack of depth and responded post-haste. I love having that kind of relationship with a show--when I start to get antsy for something more, only to find out they were working toward it all along. That payoff, even more than the well-paced action, is what encourages me about this show.
The Trouble Areas
They're hitting kind of a strange note with the tension between Keen and her husband. I think the tells are downright terrifying, and I'm dying to know more, but I feel like they could play a little more with the inner conflict Elizabeth must be going through. Instead, it's just kinda strange that she's living with a guy that obviously has some crazy dark stuff going on.
I don't want to be watching scenes of her homelife with a cocked head and an overall "huh" reaction. Is she certain he isn't evil, and striving to track down proof of that? Or is she playing the game, her marriage turned into a nightmare until she has enough intel to trap him? I don't know. And apparently, neither does she. But not in an interesting, conflicted way.
There was some unevenness with the writing in the climatic scene: Elizabeth yells at Spader that The Stewmaker "couldn't help it," with "it" being his drive to turn all of us into primordial ooze. But literally moments later, she calls Spader a monster. Am I the only one left at a bit of a loss over this obviously ability to see the complexity of human nature, and then the abrupt transition to absolutes? Again, that's just poor writing that they should have caught when they shot the scene.
I leave with one final note--what the weird tender hug with Robot Alpha Male Agent? Is that a thing? Are they trying to make that a thing? It eludes me.