Breaking Bad Review – “Ozymandias” S5E14

Spoilers ahead

Agreed.
Agreed.

That shit was bonkers.

But before we get to that… let’s start off with the teaser. Enter the RV. And may I say, I’m so glad we get a glimpse of the RV one more time. It has been such a symbol to represent the show and I for one have truly missed it. We are at the first cook, as made clear by Walt’s lack of clothing and tighty whities. Jesse asks Walt questions about the cook and Walt says “The reaction has begun.” A great use of dialogue to sum up what that first cook really was. The reaction began for everything and everyone else in the series. Walt and Jesse step out of the RV and we get a close up of Walt calling Skyler with the background of the desert, the RV and Jesse practicing his karate moves. Walter tells the lie that starts all the lies that Bogdan has a “bug up his butt” and is making Walt stay late. The use of the “bug” in this episode is a nice little twist on the symbol. Meanwhile, Skyler is packing up ceramic crying clown that is dressed in blue and white, just like how Walt is dressed in the shootout from last week. The clown is also creepily crying red tears. The tears of the clown is usually an expression for someone realizing truths of their own life and it becomes too hard to handle for them. Once we come back to the shootout scene, it becomes clear the situation is too much for Walt. The fading of the first cook scene to present day is so well done. First Jesse and Walt fade, then the RV fades and then we just have the desert. From then until now has been quite a journey.

We join our BrBa buddies with the big shoot-out behind us. The gun smoke has cleared the air and we see that Steve Gomez lies lifeless on the desert floor, with Hank having a rather painful bullet wound in his leg – this guy just can’t catch a break. As Hank army-crawls towards Gomey’s shotgun, Uncle Jack and his crew find out that Hank and his partner are indeed law enforcement. The apathetic reaction that Grand Dragon Jack has to this news suggests that it wouldn’t have changed the initiation of their encounter a bit. As Jack reaches for his pistol to finish off Hank, Walter pleads with Jack to spare his brother-in-law, and everybody can just go on their separate ways, pretending that none of this ever happened. Walt even tries to buy Hank’s life by offering up the 80 million. Fat chance, Heisenberg. Walt also insists upon Jack using Hank’s name when before he was referred to as “fed”. Respect is a big deal to Walt and using one’s name is the utmost sign of respect. In what might have been his most heroic act of the series, Hank recognizes his fate and looks death straight in the eye, telling the head of the Aryan brotherhood to go fuck himself and taking back his name by not just being called Hank, but dying with his life’s work, ASAC (Assistant Special Agent in Charge) Schrader. Hank is a proud man, too, and decided to take control of his title directly tying it to his life’s work. Walt expects that Hank will want to save himself and in what will become one of the most memorable lines of the series, Hank looks up at Walt and says, “You’re one of the smartest people I’ve ever met and you’re too stupid to see he made up his mind ten minutes ago.” And then Jack shoots Hank point-blank in the head. It was so hard to watch, and the scene cut away before we even see Hank really fall. It wasn’t nice, but it was the what had to happen for the rest of the story to continue. Hank spent the entire time we have known him trying to take down the Heisenberg, and seemingly, he actually did it, because his own death is what set in motion Walt fleeing town at the end of the episode.

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

After Hank is shot, Walt falls to his knees. He lays on his side and cries uncontrollably. Todd looks at him and wipes his nose. Again, Todd is a reflection of Walt and feels bad for Walt’s loss, as he says a few minutes later. The similarity between Walt and Gus crying over the death of a loved one must be noted. Through the broken glass of Hank’s suburban, we see a shovel being pulled out of a car. Jack tells Walt that his directions were so specific. He knows the money is buried at those coordinates because Walt was too specific on where to go. He goes to look for Jesse by Hank’s car, but says there is no sign of him. I find this odd because we find out that Jesse is under the car. Who wouldn’t look under the car for someone? One man is sent to look for Jesse and the others uncover Walt’s money. They pull out the barrels and move Gomez’ and Hank’s bodies into the grave that Walt dug. Amazing imagery of the place that once held Walt’s money now holds his family. Jack tells a catatonic Walt that he is leaving Walt a barrel of his own money. Jack then tells Walt that Todd would be unhappy if anything were to “go the other way.” In this scene, Jack leaves Walt little choice to accept his terms, and in the same way that Walt embraced Jesse when he asked him to “start over” in “Rabid Dog,” the handshake here is a symbol of submission. Walt better accept that the two parties are even, or the Neo-Nazis will murder him and his family with the same reckless abandon that they just dusted two highly-ranked lawmen. Walt then does something unexpected; amongst all the calamity of watching his family member die in front of him, he reminds Jack that the deal is not complete until they kill Pinkman.

Why the importance of ending Jesse’s life? It’s evident that Walt holds Jesse accountable for Hank’s death (although it was Walt that figuratively and literally dug Hank’s grave), but why is it so paramount that Jesse is the last loose end? Even as they brush off his request with a “sure, if you find him, we’ll do it,” Walt has already spotted him underneath the Chrysler 300 and orders they end his life. The drag Jesse who is kicking and screaming from underneath the car. After a season of spiraling out of control and being lost in the abyss all fifth season, it was gut-wrenching to see Jesse finally fight to live. As Jesse kneels on the ground before Walt, he looks up at two black birds flying free in the sky, almost poetically, to explore the unknown blue, wild and free. I was almost convinced they would end his life there, until Todd saves the day, suggesting that perhaps they should find out what Jesse has told the feds before “doing the job.” Todd says that Jesse and he have “history,” which should somehow help him get information more easily, I guess. Having a history with Todd hasn’t been too much help for anybody thus far in the series and it no doubt insinuates torture and death for Jesse, a fate that Walt agrees with. As they drag Jesse’s defeated body away, Walt has one last anecdote to share with his former partner. “I killed Jane. I was there and I watched her die. I could have saved her, but I didn’t.”

I could have saved her...
I could have saved her…

I am not sure he said this line just to spite Jesse. The look in his eyes and the tone of his voice say that he is saying it to make himself feel better. It is something Walt has held in for a long time and this is his moment to get it off his chest. Jesse is put in the Aryan’s sedan and they drive away leaving Walt in the desert. The scene pulls back and we get a long shot very similar to the end of the teaser, this time Walt alone in the desert.

By the time we come back, the episode is at his halfway mark, but we just now get the credits. It doesn’t mean much for the episode, but it is worth noting. Walt looks at his reflection in the rear view mirror and quickly turns the mirror to look behind him at the desert. Not only does Walt not want to look at his reflection (reflection is a common theme in this episode), but he is looking at the scene behind him where Hank now rests. As Walt drives away, his car makes strange sounds and he sees he is out of gas. He gets out of the car and looks under it to see a gas leak. The next shot is so great because it is exactly the cinematography that matters in Breaking Bad. Walt stands to look at the bullet hole in the side of his car. The sole intent of the scene was not to show that we know why the gas is leaking, but we see Walt’s reflection in the car several times over. The most obvious reflection is Walt’s face with the bullet hole in his forehead. And for me, this confirms that Walt dies at the end of the series.

Good thing this show doesn't ever use foreshadowing... oops!
Good thing this show doesn’t ever use foreshadowing… oops!

We then see Walt rolling his one barrel of money through the vast desert. Several things are of note here. 1. Walt has finally learned to roll the barrel, unlike his grand theft of the barrel of Methylamine with Jesse. 2. He passes by the pants he loses in the Pilot episode, the same episode Ozymandias” flashes back to. 3. The song playing to the epic rolling. It is called “Time’s a Gettin’ Hard” by Eddy Arnold. In the lyrics played, we hear the chorus of the song, “Take my true love by her hand/Lead her through the town/ Say goodbye to everyone.” The rest of the song that we don’t hear is just as interesting, mentioning being happy a year ago, having a house, the money being scarce and having no place to go. My question is, who is his true love? It isn’t Skyler. Is it the money or the blue? This will most likely be answered once we find out why Walt comes back to Albuquerque.

Walt rolls the barrel to a man’s home on the To’hajiilee Reservation. The man looks out his window and sees Walt’s reflection coming up to his property. Walt offers to buy the man’s truck, and the man says its not for sale. But Walt is actually able to buy his way in this situation offering the man a stack of cash. Walt has the truck and loads up the barrel of money.

In the next scene, Marie enters the carwash to talk to Skyler. I love the production’s attention to detail. Marie is wearing black in this scene, a very rare occurrence when she normally wears her signature purple. The death of Hank touches everything. The two sisters sit in Skyler’s office. The shot of them sitting across from each other, Skyler wearing white, Marie wearing black and a purple orchid sitting between the two is striking. With a smug look on her face, Marie gloats that Hank had won, “dead to rights,” she believes was the way Hank put it. As much as it pained us to see Hank go, I was personally satisfied to see Skyler’s world turn to shit by it. Marie corners Skyler, telling her to give up the fake videotape she and Walt made and give up everything she knows to get herself off the hook, on the condition that Skyler tell Walt, Jr. everything. Of all the things I dislike Marie for, the prospect of making Jr. find out the truth from his family before a random officer was the closest endearing moment she’s had this season. Skyler goes from kingpin’s wife and accomplice to total victim in five seconds flat. In my opinion, she’s a total wuss and is willing to sell her husband down the river to save her own skin, using the children as a shield to hide behind.

The scene shifts to Jesse, who is chained like a dog in an empty cellar and has had the utter shit beaten out of him. Again. It seems as though the Aryans have already interrogated him for information, or fun, when the gate opens suddenly, sending Jesse whimpering and crawling into the corner. The right side of Jesse’s face is so beaten in that his eye is swollen shut, and it almost looks like it is missing. The symbol of “one eye” has recurred throughout the series and particularly in this season.

Eye See You.
Eye See You.

In total gentlemanly fashion, Todd lifts Jesse out of the grated pit and shows him their super secret meth hideout. Classic Bond villain mistake. Which brings the comparison of Jesse and James Bond in last week’s episode a little more to fruition. After chaining Jesse to a sliding ceiling pole, it becomes apparent that Todd’s plan all along was to have Jesse teach Todd to cook the blue. Now, while the words “Todd” and “plan” are seldom mentioned in the same sentence, it shows that Todd is not just a pawn in his uncle’s scheme, but is capable of his own actions outside of Jack’s posse. It can be assumed that he’s keeping Jesse a secret from the rest of the Aryans and we predict that, since thinking is not Todd’s strong suit, his journey will end in death during the next episode, in the way of some good old fashion Red Phosphorus to the face via Jesse, especially since Jesse sees a picture of Andrea and Brock hanging in Todd’s lab. This would give Jesse even more reason to kill the guy who either has a creepy obsession or is planning a future hit.

Back in the carwash office, Jr. is visibly upset and calls Skyler and Marie out on lying. But really, who is telling the customer’s to have an A1 day now that no one is manning the cash register? Anyway, Jr. calls them out and demands to talk to Walt. After realizing that Walt is supposed to be in jail, he wants to call Hank. Hank and Marie have always been better parents to Jr. than his own parents have been. Back at the house, Walt frantically packs his clothes and his family’s clothes. In the car, Jr. tells Skyler she is “as bad as he is.” It’s about damn time someone told her that. The shot of them in the car is also ominous. It’s usually not a good thing when the camera is following someone from behind, because they usually die soon after. We see the back of Skyler and Jr.’s head and Holly faces the camera. Is Holly the only one to make it out alive?

As the family comes together in the house, Walt yells to everyone to pack the things that are most important to them, Jr. wants to know if what Skyler and Marie told him was true, and Skyler is bent on why Walt is there and what happened to Hank. Walt tells her he negotiated and Skyler becomes increasingly angry demanding to know what happened. Walt says, “everything’s going to be fine,” the same thing Hank told Marie on the phone in their last conversation. Walt also tells Skyler that he “needs” her to trust him, just like he needed Jesse to trust him regarding Mike. No one trusts Walt anymore. Continuing the reflections of past conversations, Walt also tells Skyler that he has 11 million dollars and they can go and do whatever they want, very similarly to the conversation Jesse and Jane have when they want to take their money and go to New Zealand. Skyler then calls Walt out for murdering Hank. He yells that he didn’t but that he tried to save him. Walt will never blame himself for anything.

Skyler turns and in the same shot from the flashback, we are facing Skyler and into the hallway of the home. The phone and the block of knives are sitting on the kitchen island. Skyler grabs a knife, enters the hallway and puts her hand on Jr. to block him from her future attack. She tells Walt to leave and when he refuses she slices the palm of his hand. In a very dramatic scene, Skyler and Walt wrestle to the ground with the knife. It was terrifying to think that either one of them could be mortally stabbed in the fight. Due to Jr.’s abnormal forearm strength, he is able to put his dad in a headlock and save his mother. Jr. then calls 911 and lies that Walt attacked Skyler with a knife. Walt gets his bags, grabs Holly and goes to his new truck. Skyler realizes he has taken Holly and runs out of the house screaming. Walt backs out of the driveway, pushing Skyler’s car out of his way while she chases after the truck screaming. It’s a scene that the neighbors definitely overheard, as is the Amber Alert then put out on Walt for baby Holly.

Walt takes Holly to what we assume to be a restaurant bathroom (Koala Kare stations are usually only found in restaurants and airports) and changes her, taking an intimate moment out of his frantic life to be the father that, up to that point, he has not been. In large, Holly has been but a prop to Walt – a means to justify the monstrous acts committed throughout the series. Holly begins saying “mama” repeatedly, showing Walt that Holly is indeed not his, but Skyler’s. He has effectively missed the very precious moments that he hoped to cherish by making and selling meth in the first place. With his terminal cancer back and currently a fugitive on the run with no place to turn, Walter White commits the single most selfless act throughout the series. He calls Skyler and berates her for being a terrible person, mother and accomplice, implying that she could not follow instructions and that she should “toe the line, or end up just like Hank.” While viewers can follow that he is upset with her, he is uncharacteristically violent in his words towards her. It’s not until you see tears streaming down his face that the audience realizes that he knows he is being recorded and that he is going out of his way to clear her name of all charges, an act that Skyler would never do for her husband. He fights back the sorrow as he explains to Skyler that they will never see Hank again, sending Marie into hysterics and, in turn, accepting responsibility for his murder. Accepting that a lonely and shameful end is not one to be shared with his estranged infant daughter, Walt leaves Holly inside of the cab of a firetruck with what can be considered the least-attentive fire-fighters in the world.

Yes, I'd like one Hoover Max Extract PressurePro model 60 and a piece of my soul back, please.
Yes, I’d like one Hoover Max Extract PressurePro model 60 and a piece of my soul back, please.

As Walt takes his last barrel of money to meet the disappearer the following day, it brings up the question of where Walt was the previous night. It’s a pretty big blank page to fill; we know that he had to have called Saul to arrange for a new vacuum cleaner because he meets at the same spot Jesse met Saul’s “guy,” but we don’t get many answers as to what links this moment to the flashbacks in the beginning and mid-season premieres. It’s great symbolism that the viewers don’t even get a glimpse of who the guy doing the disappearing is. What we do get, however, is a closing season of the van driving away, likely to the Granite State of New Hampshire, and a dog running across the scene – noticeably without a leash. This has been a symbol for Jesse, the “Rabid Dog,” a “Problem Dog” and now a dog on a leash while Walt is the stray dog with no place to go. The news of Jane’s death being a play of Walt’s hand will not be taken without vengeance. We both firmly believe that Jesse will follow Hammurabi’s Code, taking a lover for a lover and, gulp, a son for a son.

Predictions for the rest of the series are wild in theory, but one thing is for certain – the secret is out. Marie, by way of Skyler and the confession tape Jesse made for Hank and Gomez, will out Walter White as the notorious meth kingpin of Albuquerque, and Carol will lose her oranges somewhere in the process. We believe in a future where Jesse or the Aryans murder the remainder of Walt’s family, save for little Holly, and spray “Heisenberg” sarcastically in yellow. We also predict a ricin-flavored cup of tea for Lydia, who is really the only loose end that needs to be dealt with subtlety. And we believe an epic showdown between the Whites and the whites are going to bring the series to a close.

Hush Comics gives Breaking Bad‘s “Ozymandias” an A+(++…+). A beautifully shot and written episode that tugs at the heart-strings and makes you cheer for others’ misfortunes. After watching the episode, the viewer feels like a true Heisenberg. There’s no going back now, as we are two weeks away from ending this tragic journey. Thanks to The Heisenberg Chronicles and AMC for the pictures in this week’s review.

written by Adrian Puryear and Sherif Elkhatib
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Breaking Bad Review – “Rabid Dog” S5E12

Spoiler City ahead.

Poor Jesse. No one cares about him. This makes me really sad. I care about Jesse. Skyler wants him dead, Saul wants him dead, Hank doesn’t care if he’s dead or alive, and Walt just put out a hit on him (it can be assumed the last statement is true). Everyone’s reaction to Jesse throughout the episode is as if he is a “rabid dog”, except for Walt (until the end), and maybe Marie’s gesture of coffee. Hank even points out that Walt cares about Jesse, as proven by Jesse’s confession tape and Jesse responds:

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It’s not only funny, but draws back to when Jesse calls Walt gay for stripping down in the RV before cooking the meth. Funny enough, Walt strips down in this episode, too. But instead of stripping down to avoid the toxic smell, he strips down to add the toxic smell. He even has his gun tucked in the back of his whitey tighties like in the Pilot episode. After coming home to find his home broken into and soaked in gasoline, Walt devises a plan. Before I get to that, the beginning teaser was the best scene of the episode. The suspense that was built when Walt is walking through his home with a gun entering the different rooms of his home until he gets to his bedroom was exhilarating.

walt

So Walt devises his plan to cover the gasoline smell. He tries getting the carpet cleaned and when that doesn’t work, he douses his clothes and car in gasoline. Then he tries to pass off the worse lie ever, a gas pump malfunction, on Skyler and Walt Jr. Even Walt Jr. can see through it. Jr. thinks Walt may have passed out while pumping gas. That would have been a better story than a “malfunction.” Why is the lie so bad? Perhaps this is the first time that Walt has really ever been scared of Jesse. He was very close to going through with burning the house down, and Walt thinks he had a “change of heart”, but isn’t sure what that change was. He is still banking on the fact that their partnership means something.

Several times through the episode, Walt proves his love for Jesse. He calls Jesse after he finds his house gassed down and tells him he wants to talk and to fix whatever it is that’s wrong. He calls again and sets up a time and meeting place to hash it out. And when Jesse shows up, it looks like Walt has brought backup, but really Walt did show up to talk. He may actually care about Jesse, in his own sick manipulative way.

What about those keys? Why was Walt so crazy about those keys? It makes sense that he doesn’t want Skyler to know the truth, but in great BrBa fashion, there is a reason that Walt was so bent on the fact the keys had to stay the old set. This will come up again. Along those same lines, when Walt and Jr. are talking by the pool, Walt tells Jr. that cancer will not kill him. I know I’ve thought it before, but what if Walt really does die of cancer? It wouldn’t be the best ending, but ironic, no? And Marie casually mentioning to her therapist that she thinks about poisoning Walt. She has even gone so far as to look up different ways to poison people. Well, at least she’s not stealing anymore.

Because of the carpet ordeal, the Whites go to a hotel. Outside of the hotel, Walt meets with Saul and Kuby in a car. Saul utters the best line of the episode to Kuby, “I never should have let my dojo membership run out.” Yeah that dojo membership would have really helped contain Jesse last week. To Walt’s surprise, Saul’s face is the work of Jesse and Saul says, “Yeah, but you gotta understand that deep down he loves me.” The subject of abuse is used sarcastically here, but everyone is in an abusive relationship, mostly with Walt, a theme that is becoming more and more relevant. It is discussed that Jesse cannot be found, not even with Badger (Beaver?) or Skinny Pete, although they have moved away from Star Trek and have moved on to Babylon 5. Saul then suggests that once they find Jesse, he should be put down like Old Yeller. Later when Skyler goes all Mrs. Heisenberg and suggests that talking to Jesse is not enough, Walt becomes very defensive to both Saul and Skyler. He insists that killing Jesse is not an option, even though they both think it is. His reaction to it suggests he is as loyal to keeping Jesse alive as he is Hank.

When Jesse is in the midst of dousing the White residence down, Hank enters. I gotta say, I knew that Hank was leaving work to go to confront Walt. I am glad I was right, but from here on out, I am not happy with the result. It would have been nice to see Jesse and Walt team back up like the good ole days, but it seems that will not happen again. Jesse goes back to Hank’s house and eventually tells his story to Hank and Gomey, who is now in on the investigation. Jesse being allowed in to a DEA agents home is interesting for two reasons. Its safer for Jesse, but more dangerous for Hank. Not only does Jesse, a meth addict and murderer, know where Hank lives, but Hank could also be fired for harboring a known criminal and not turning that known criminal in. I think what Hank did there was illegal. And he and Gomez both agree with Jesse that there is no physical evidence in Jesse’s account, though Jesse did give them a lot of info. They still have the possibility of Lydia, Saul and Todd. Instead, they decide to wire Jesse. Jesse tells them that wiring is not going to work. He fears that Walt has set up to kill him. He lets Hank and Gomez know that Walt is smarter than they are. He is still a little enchanted by Walt. He calls him The Devil, but makes it clear that Walt is very intelligent, lucky and is capable of anything.

Jesse’s confession isn’t seen on camera, but we do know that he gave up a lot based off things Hank mentions after the taping. But the one thing we do see is Jesse say that Walt was his teacher. Has Jesse finally learned from Walt how to beat Walt? When he goes to the Plaza with the wire to talk with Walt, he thinks he will be killed by a guy who turns out to be a random bystander. Instead, he calls Walt from a pay phone and tells him that next time he is going to go after Walt where he “really lives.”

This is not the face of someone who is playing nice anymore.
This is not the face of someone who is playing nice anymore.

Where does Walt really live? Is it his family? Is Jesse outsmarting Walt by saying this, or killing himself? When Hank picks him up in the van, Jesse tells Hank he has a “better way” of getting Walt. What is this better way? Hank won’t go for killing the family. It seems a little willy-nilly on Jesse’s part, but I hope he has something fantastical up his sleeve. And of course, Walt has things up his sleeve. The episode closes with Walt calling Todd asking for his uncle to do a job for him. Walt knows that Jesse is threatening his family and as loyal as Walt has been to Jesse, it is clear Jesse is no longer loyal to him.

Little Things

-Jesse drinks his coffee out of a DEA mug.

-Hank calls Jesse “partner” after he puts the wire on Jesse. Jesse pauses for a moment. He will never be Hank’s partner. He’s being used in an even more obvious way than Walt has been working him over.

– Gus Fring also hired other people to do his dirty work, but as we saw in last weeks episode, Todd’s uncle is not the clean killer Victor was. It won’t just go off without a hitch.

– Where is Lydia?

-The Hello Kitty phone. And that awesome ringtone. Is Hello Kitty the mascot of season 5b like the teddy bear was to season 2?

Predictions

I have said that the M-60 has got to be for the Aryan gang and that they aren’t happy with Walt. My new theory is that either Todd or the Uncle come to kill Jesse and Jesse kills them first, leaving the rest of the Aryans to think Walt set them up and now they are after him.

Hush Comics gives Breaking Bad‘s “Rabid Dog” a B+. Too much time was spent on the fake gasoline story and not enough time on what Jesse said to Hank or what he was thinking threatening Walt. Props to the acting, the suspense in the teaser scene, the emergence of Mrs. Heisenberg, and Jesse’s newly discovered leadership.

written by Adrian Puryear

Breaking Bad Review – “Confessions” S5E11

You know the deal.. there will be spoilers.

Breaking Bad‘s “Confessions” started right off with a confession… of sorts.  Like most dialogue in the show and particularly this episode, the confession is only a half-truth.  The “loose end” still running around, Todd, calls Walt from a cell phone off of Route 66.  He leaves a voicemail and is so polite.  That Todd is really a gem.  He, much like Jesse, addresses Walt as “Mr. White” and is cordial enough to consider his “retirement”.  He then confesses to Walt that Declan and he had a disagreement.  But he leaves out some very important stuff.  That Declan was murdered, that Declan’s whole crew was murdered, that Lydia called the hit and and that Todd and his Uncle’s Aryan gang stole Declan’s meth lab.  He also neglects to say that he, Todd, is now the meth cook and that the cook will be coming back to Albuquerque.  I still believe that this could become a factor in the DEA’s investigation, if there is one.  Todd and the two head guy’s of the Aryan gang eat at a diner while Todd excitedly divulges the details of the train heist.  The one he wasn’t supposed to talk about.  To anyone!  And of course the other two are eating up his wild tale.  And I say tale because Todd leaves out the most important part of the heist: Drew Sharp’s murder.  The older men joke about Todd being like Burt Reynolds in a 70’s film called Hooper, about a stuntman who is the best in Hollywood.  Todd is far from Burt Reynolds.

Todd could never pull that look off... even if he can jump off a moving train.
Todd could never pull that look off… even if he can jump off a moving train.

Todd’s Uncle and cohort ask Todd if he is ready to run his own lab and Todd assures them that he is.  Is Todd really ready?  He started a fire at his last cook and no longer has Walt to guide him.  Todd being the cook will not work out well.  The two older Aryans go to the restroom and one of them wipes his bloody shoe with a wet paper towel and then flushes it. Sloppy.  Dirty.  Not a Gus.  Not a Heisenberg.  These guys will be caught or they will continue to play a dirty game.  I’m still guessing that the final showdown will be between Walt and the gang.  I believe the shot of them driving the barrel of methylamine to the Land of Enchantment will be known as classis in Breaking Bad.

We then come to Jesse in the interrogation room.  We see the asshole cops questioning him from his perspective in fast motion.  Then Hank enters.  From this moment on, this episode was a roller coaster.  Such suspense.  Hank turns off the video tape.  Hank then offers Jesse the deal:  He knows the Heisenberg is his brother-in-law… so Jesse must give up Walt and then his own charges will disappear.  Hank reads the situation very well.  He predicts problems with Jesse and Walt.  But Jesse easily throws the last encounter he had with Hank in his face, recalling when Hank beat the living shit out of Jesse.  Hank then says something that becomes very important for Jesse, “He really did a number on you, didn’t he?”  Well of course he did.  He’s done a number on everyone.  Hank then tries to empathize with Jesse and the relationship they both have with Walt and their hatred for him.  He asks Jesse if he wants to talk and Jesse says, “Not to you.”  Does this mean that he will talk to someone else?  It’s a possibility I will not reject yet.  Saul enters the interrogation room and he is not happy.  He also infers that Jesse was told about Hank’s revelation.  We cut to Walt on his cell phone (is it the second cell phone?) demanding Saul use the money Walt paid him to bail Jesse out.  Walt Jr. comes home and asks Walt about his whereabouts the night before.  Walt uses make-up to cover his bruises from his fall.  Walt Jr. tells Walt that he is going to Marie’s because she needs help with her computer.  And then Walt stops his son from leaving.  If you watched “Talking Bad” Sam Jackson said that Walt doesn’t play his family, but he does!  He plays Walt Jr. by choosing the moment when Marie is going to tell Jr. about his dad’s drug business to confess his cancer is back.  The Heisenberg has worked his magic on his son just to ensure that his reputation isn’t damaged.

Hank comes home and tells Marie that he didn’t tell the DEA.  She is very upset.  Hank’s pride gets in the way and he tells her he needs to follow his leads.  We cut to the White bedroom.  Skyler asks Walter if he is “sure” and he assures her “it is the only way”.  He sits down on the bed and Skyler has a video camera set up in front of Walt.  Is this about to be the worst sex tape ever, you ask?  No.  It is Walt’s confession, homage to the pilot episode and Walt’s selfie video-taped confession.  But that was back when Walt was still Mr. White.  This is Heisenberg’s confession laced with the weavings of Mrs. Heisenberg.  Also, Walt’s middle name is said again.  Hartwell, in case that ever comes up.

Skyler and Walt wait at a table in a brightly colored Mexican restaurant in silence while festive music plays in the background.  Hank and Marie sit with them and the tension is thick. Everyone is sitting stiff and staring at each other. And then in the most uncomfortable, yet much needed way, the server Trent welcome the group in a very excited way.  Can anyone say a w k w a r d?

Not the family dinner I'm used to.
Not the family dinner I’m used to.

Walt tells the Schraders that this meeting is not about the business or a confession, but rather about the safety of Walt Jr. and luring him is not going to work.  There is a lot of back and forth about the investigation and the children’s safety and Walt’s cancer.  And then Marie says the most extreme thing possible.  Walt should commit suicide.  To which Hank and Skyler both say no, obviously for much different reasons.  Hank tells Walt to be a man and then Walt and Skyler leave, leaving the DVD of Walt’s confession on the table.  I am hoping because of this discussion and what winds up being on that tape, this is the last family moment we see.  Nothing good can come for anything like that again. UPDATE: After re-watching the episode, I notice during this scene that Skyler and Walt are both wearing white while the Schrader’s are wearing dark colors. Good vs Evil?  Who should we be rooting for here?  It’s been something viewers have been asking themselves for years.

Hank and Marie go home and watch the tape.  It begins with Walt saying that if the tape is being watched, he is dead and has been murdered by Hank himself.  He then so intricately goes into the details as to why Hank is the ring leader of the meth empire.  He links Hank to the drug bust he and Walt went to in the first episode, to Gus Fring as his partner, to the money used to pay for Hank’s medical bills, Hector Salamanca, Walt’s children staying with Hank and that Hank used Walt as his cook the whole time.  Hank quickly realizes this is Walt’s threat if Hank continues the investigation.  Hank also figures out that Marie knows about the specific amount Walt mentions in the tape.  Hank now knows that he can very easily be pegged as the Heisenberg because his medical debts were paid with meth money.

Saul and Jesse are in the desert waiting for Walt.  A tarantula crawls by.  The last time we saw a tarantula was when Todd kept the one that Drew Sharp had been keeping in a jar, just like Walt holds on to his murder victims “trinkets”.This tarantula is loose here because the secrets are out, or they will be.  Walt arrives and checks Saul’s car for bugs.  Jesse and Walt discuss Jesse’s meeting with Hank.  When Saul mentions that Jesse’s antics cost Walt a lot of money, Walt asks Saul to step away.  Walt then suggests to Jesse that if he wants to be happy, he should start over and not look back.  He then mentions the man Saul knows who can create new lives.  Walt tells Jesse it would be a “clean slate.”  Walt says that he wishes he could do the same.  But now we know, that the future scenes are exactly that: somehow they have “switched” and Walt has opted for a clean slate.  Jesse sees through Walt and tells him to drop the act.  Jesse knows that he needs to leave or Walt will kill him, just like Mike.  Jesse flips Walt’s own words on him saying “Tell me you NEED this!”  Jesse breaks down and Walt gives him an awesome hug.  It was a sincere moment in acting.  Jesse is broken and Walt is still playing Jesse for a fool, or so he thinks.

At the car wash, Walt assures Skyler their plan worked.  As he talks to her, he is standing in the shadows and his silhouette looks incredibly ominous while Skyler sits in the light.  When She turns to look at him, half her face is covered in shadows.  The imagery is a beautiful way of saying that without Walt, Skyler wouldn’t be bad.  At the station, Gomez asks Hank why there are DEA agents following Jesse.  Hank tells him to remove the agents without explanation.  At this point, Hank is at a standstill with his investigation.  Saul and Jesse discuss the importance of the call Saul will make for Jesse’s new life.  Saul calls and asks for a new dust filter for his Hoover Max Extract PressurePro model 60.  Ya know, in case you need to know that too.  Saul gives Jesse money to start his life while Jesse lights up a joint from his pocket.  Saul gets very stern about not smoking pot.  Jesse is clearly nervous about starting over.  Is it because of what he is leaving behind?  Is it the uncertainty of the future?  We will never know.  Saul gives Jesse a phone in case anything happens.  Jesse is not happy with the Hello Kitty phone.

Seriously?  Thank you to the Heisenberg Chronicles for this one.
Seriously? Thank you to the Heisenberg Chronicles for this one.

Jesse says he wants to go to Alaska.  Maybe Jesse is a fan of “Into the Wild”.  As Jesse leaves Saul’s office, Huell very quickly takes Jesse’s baggie of weed out of his pocket.

Since there was so much speculation on this on the net tonight, I wanted to show the baggie being taken.  Jesse is a smart guy.
Since there was so much speculation on this on the net tonight, I wanted to show the baggie being taken. Jesse is a smart guy.  He did not jump to conclusions.

As Jesse waits for his ride to Alaska, he looks for the baggie, but realizes it is gone.  He looks at his pack of cigarettes and realizes this isn’t the first time that someone has taken something out of his pocket.  He realizes the ricin in the Roomba couldn’t have been ricin and that Walt really did poison Brock.  He chooses not to take the ride in the red mini van, but walks back to town.

Jesse in a rage busts into Saul’s office and confronts him about Huell taking things out of his pocket.  Saul tries to reach for a gun, but Jesse is quicker at grabbing it.  Jesse then clarifies that the ricin cigarette is what Huell stole.  Aaron Paul’s acting in this scene is phenomenal.  He is so scary, so outraged it is palpable.

That is the face of a desperate man.
That is the face of a desperate man.

Saul admits the ricin was lifted but that Walt made him.  He also claims to not know about Brock being poisoned.  Jesse steals Saul’s keys and as he leaves, Saul calls Walt.  Walt then speeds to the car wash and tries to act cavalier to Skyler, talking inanely about the latch on the soda machine.  He opens the machine up and gets a gun out of the bottom.  The gun is frozen.  Would a frozen gun really work?  I’ll tell ya, I’m not gonna keep my guns in the freezer.  It’s just not trusty.

Then in the last scene, Jesse pulls something that I’m not sure whether to cheer or yell W.T.F.?!  He speeds to the White residence (saying house sounds too weird), takes a gas tank out of Saul’s trunk, kicks in Walt’s door (like Hank threatened to do earlier in the episode), and starts spreading the gasoline throughout the living room. AHHHHHH!  What will happen now?  It is doubtful Jesse will be able to pull off torching the house.  It isn’t burnt in the flash-forwards.  Will Walt’s children strike a chord in Jesse’s heart?  Will he narc Walt out?  Will Walt kill Jesse?  I don’t know, but I do know that this episode was fantastic!  I am super stoked for next week.

Hush Comics gives “Confessions” an A +, for Heisenberg coming back in true form, for the return of the Hello Kitty phone, ultimate suspense throughout, and for the phenomenal acting that Aaron Paul put on as the tragic Jesse Pinkman

written by Adrian Puryear

Breaking Bad Review – “Blood Money” S5E9

Warning!  Major Spoilers ahead…

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The long awaited (a whole year!) 9th episode of Breaking Bad‘s season 5 premiered on AMC tonight, and opened where we left off at the beginning of the episode 5.01 “Live Free or Die” prologue.  We hear loud noises and see skateboarders.  As the camera pans out, the skaters are using the White’s now empty family pool.  Walt, with hair and new glasses (proving this starts from where we left off) gets out of the car he was given the keys to at the Denny’s.  He is parked in front of the White home, which is now gated, boarded up, and obviously abandoned.  He opens the trunk and we get a glimpse of the gun he illegally bought at Denny’s (and who hasn’t seen some crazy shit happen at Denny’s?) and pulls out a crow bar.  Walt then breaks into his own home.  As the camera pans out, we see that someone has graffitied on the main wall in the living room in bright yellow “Heisenberg”.  The house is empty, yet trashed.  None of the furniture is there, but there are papers scattered and the home has been vandalized.  Where did the furniture go?  And clearly, it is well known who the Heisenberg is, since his name is so glaringly scrolled across the wall.  Walt looks through the blinds after hearing laughter and sees the teens skating in the pool.  He slowly walks down the hall, and in a symbol that has appeared throughout the series, flies are seen and heard in the kitchen.  Walt continues to the bedroom and the door has been been knocked off the hinges, is laying on the floor in the room, and what seems most odd is that it is really bashed in.  Walt then heads for the outlet, unscrews it with a quarter, and pulls the ricin pack off that he left there after bringing it to his Czech Republic meeting with Lydia.  He closes his eyes and seems to reflect for a moment.  On what? Perhaps on everything that we don’t know that has happened to get to this point.  Maybe on what he is about to do with ricin?  Who does he plan to use it on?  Is it for himself?  Is he ready to go out, guns-a-blazin’ and then end himself with the ricin?  He then goes back outside, puts the crow bar back in the trunk and turns to see his old neighbor.  She is holding bags of groceries.  Walt says, “Hello, Carol.”  She drops her groceries (Trivia: When Carol drops her groceries, oranges roll out of the bag and down the driveway. This could be a shout out to The Godfather, where oranges often symbolize death. Earlier in Breaking Bad, when Ted puts himself in the hospital, several oranges fall on his body when he slams into the kitchen cabinets).  And it was almost as if she had seen a ghost.  Why would the house be in this condition?  Number one, shit has hit the fan.  Heisenberg is not only caught by Hank, but he is outed by other people in the biz, and they are mad.  Where are the kids?  Where is Skyler?  My guess is that Skyler is dead, and most likely, the kids are either being taken care of by Hank (if he is alive at this point) and Marie, or also dead.  And more than likely, people either know that Walt fled, or that he may have faked his own death.  Perhaps the reason for Carols’ reaction.  EIther way, he is now back, and it looks like he is out for vengeance.

Coming back to present day, we come back where we left off at the end of 5.08 “Gliding Over All”.   Hank leaves the restroom, his breathing is labored and he is visibly upset. He puts Leaves of Grass in his bag and stares at Walt through the sliding glass door.  When he finally opens the door, we hear Marie jokingly tell Walt, “You’re the Devil!”  Not only is this what Hank is thinking, but it is a continuation of a Breaking Bad theme: God.  It seems odd that in a story about meth and many an un-Godly thing, that God could be a theme, but here he is.  In the past, we have heard Walt say he prayed to God the RV wouldn’t crap out and that if Jesse believes in Hell, they are both going there.  We will hear more about God in this episode, but I’ll get to that in due time. Hank goes out to the patio where the family is having a fun time and tells them he doesn’t feel 100%.  Hank and Marie leave and the White family walks them out.  Walt asks Hank if he is alright to drive, which we will find out he’s not.  As the White’s go back up their driveway, Walt turns and greets the neighbor, “Hello, Carol.”

Hank and Marie’s drive home does not end well.  Not only is Hank tuning out Marie’s surprise at Skyler’s idea of going to Europe, which she apparently mentions on the patio (is this where the White family is in the future?) but Hank is having tunnel vision.  He Is mad.  He is mad at Walt.  He is mad at himself.  And he is afraid.  Because he knows who The Heisenberg is and what exactly he is capable of.  Hank crashes, and then is taken to the ER for a possible heart attack.  Hank and Marie return home and Marie is warned to not tell Skyler about the incident.  Then Hank goes to the garage and pulls a single manila envelope off a top shelf with the label “Boetticher, Gale.”  Isn’t it odd that this file is at Hank’s home and not the office?  He has continued to obsess over it because he knows the story doesn’t fully add up.  He pulls the copied notebook of Gale’s and matches the handwriting to the inscription in Walt’s book, confirming something we have long known.

Walt comes to work at the car wash and opens the garage.  And then something happens that hasn’t happened in SEASONS.  Skyler greets Walt.  And they are nice to each other.  And they are working together.  When did Walt start actually working at the car wash?  He has obviously quit being the cook.  And something else of note, yet another symbol.  The color they are wearing.  In the past, Walt has been notorious for wearing green (money) or red (blood) and Skyler wears blue (pure, her name is Skyler, or the reason in the first place for cooking the blue stuff) but here, at the car wash, with all their niceties, the Whites are wearing… White, to keep up with their lily-white facade.  The facade that Walter White is a good man.  The facade that Walter White still really exists.  And that Skyler is just as innocent.  But then Walt tells her, “The story is”.  And he ropes her into the facade again with the car wash (even though the car wash was all Skyler’s idea) because Skyler has been and always will be Walt’s greatest alibi and he trusts her more than anyone.  But why this moment to talk about what their story is?  Walt doesn’t know that Hank is on to him.  Walt has been out of the business for a little while.  What is he scared of that he reminds Skyler of the “story”?  TIme will tell.  Enter Lydia, the lovely basket case who is Walt’s old connection to the Czech’s and all that money.  She tries to speaking to Walt about coming back because the product is only at 68% pure rather than the 99.1% that Walt used to make.  So who is making the new stuff?  Todd?  The people from Phoenix?  My bet is on Todd.  And Todd knows too much (The train, the kid at the train, the meth recipe, and Mike).  More than likely, he will be a liability later.  The best part of Lydia pleading for Walt to come back to fix things, because she is scared for her life, is that Walt has an extremely Gus Fring attitude toward her.  She talks meth business, he talks car wash business.  Not too long ago, Walt was talking meth business and Gus was talking fried chicken business.  Skyler realizes something is amiss because Lydia brought a rental car to be washed and Skyler sees an ulterior motive.  When Walt admits who she is, Skyler gains the upper hand over everyone and tells Lydia to never come back.  Not only is Lydia Skyler’s bitch right then, so is Walt.  As much as Walt can suggest moving soda cans, or buying another car wash, Skyler is running the show right now.

Hello!  We're the White Family and we are upstanding people wearing our white clothing!
Hello! We’re the White Family and we are upstanding people wearing our white clothing!

At the Schrader house, Hank has the DEA bring him boxes of evidence, much to the dismay of Marie, as Hank should be “recovering.”  As he opens the boxes and files, we see a lot of things we haven’t seen in a long time bringing many things full circle.  Here are some things I noticed: a picture of the DEA and Gus shaking hands over a check for an anti-meth program, a close up of Gus, a Los Pollos Hermanos bag with the Madrigal serial number, The Salamanca brothers, the cars at the Hank/Tuco shoot out, including Jesse’s license plate “THECAPN”, Combo’s dead body and his grade school picture, Tio Salamanca young and old, Mike Ehrmantraut, Chow close up and Chow dead, gas mask found in desert, close up of Gale,  Ron (the guy Lydia gives up the DEA), Gus’s guard Tyrus, the burnt meth lab below the laundromat, the guy who was cut in half at the junkyard who Hank poses with, the video of Walt and Jesse stealing a barrel of methylamine, which is too grainy for Hank to see who it is, and of course, the sketch of Heisenberg himself (For the full list of case files, click here).

About halfway into the episode we finally see Jesse sitting in his living room and high.  Skinny Pete and Badger have really funny banter about Star Trek and Badger’s screenplay he wrote for it.  In the middle, Jesse gets up, goes to the bedroom, comes back with the two bags of money Walt gave him not so long ago, and leaves the house.  As a side note, who thought that Badger and Skinny Pete would be Trekkies?  And to know the difference between the original and Voyager?  Impressive.  Jesse takes the bags to Saul Goodman’s office.  After finally making it into the office (after blatantly smoking weed to be let in ahead of the packed room) and catching Saul at a bad time with a lady friend, Jesse gives Saul the money to give to two people: Albert Sharp and Kaylee Ehrmantraut.  Albert Sharp turns out to be the father of the little boy, Drew, who was killed after the train robbery.  Again we see Jesse’s affinity for children, proving Jesse’s moral compass compared to the rest of the characters and maybe even how feels about himself, a misguided child.  Saul strongly advises Jesse not to give the money away as it may tip people off as to why.  He also asks Jesse if he has had contact with Mike.  Walt and Todd still are the only people to know what happened to him.  Jesse leaves Saul’s office and tells him to take care of it.  But as always, when Jesse is in trouble, Saul calls Walt to clean Jesse up.  As a side note, when Saul opens up his drawer of phones, does anyone else notice that one of his phones has Hello Kitty on it?!  When Walt talks to Saul and assures him he will take care of it, we find out for sure that Walt’s Cancer has returned.  This is something I have predicted for a while as we have never found out the test results of Walt’s MRIs.

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Badger gets all philosophical-like with Skinny Pete about Star Trek.

Jesse looks at his reflection in his dirty coffee table and another bug crawls across, this time a cockroach.  Walt knocks on the door and brings back Jesse’s money.  This is one of the most important scenes of the episode.  Walt asks Jesse if he has an explanation to which Jesse replies, “It’s like you said, it’s Blood Money.”  And now we know the meaning of the title of the episode.  But then Walt says a curious thing, something i don’t believe Walt has ever said before.  He admits he said it was blood money in the heat of the moment and that … wait for it… that Walt was wrong.  Since when has Walt admitted fault?  The scenes layers unfold as Walt begins to tells Jesse to let bygones be bygones.  He places his hand on Jesse’s knee and calls him “Son”.  Jesse isn’t looking at Walt.  For a long time, Walt has been a very twisted father figure to Jesse, giving him guidance in a world that Jesse knew, but Walt recreated.  Is this why Jesse has such empathy for children, because he still is one?  Has Walt been more of a father to Jesse than to Walt Jr.?  Walt tells Jesse that he has been out of the business for about a month and Jesse looks at him.  Then Walt does something he has always done: push buttons.  He asks why give the money to Kaylee Ehrmantraut.  And then short dialogue, very common in Breaking Bad, leads to Jesse letting Walt know that he thinks Mike is dead and he thinks Walt did it.  Walt is adamant that he did not kill Mike.  Again, Walt is not lying to Jesse to protect Jesse, but to protect himself and his newly adopted pure persona.  Walt tells Jesse he needs to believe him, that Walt needs this to happen, placing Jesse as his partner, his son, and his friend again.  But the silence that Jesse gives Walt fills in the blanks.  Jesse knows this is Walt’s classic way of manipulating him.

Jesse doesn't believe Walt anymore.
Jesse doesn’t believe Walt anymore.

During a rare family dinner, Walt runs to the restroom; the effects of the chemo are hitting him.  As he sits on the floor by the toilet throwing up, he notices the Leaves of Grass book missing (Trivia: Walt places a towel under his knees while vomiting, an act that Gus Fring did while at Don Eladio’s home to expose of the poison he ingested. Walt’s behavior is consistently imitating Gus’ even in subtle ways.  And this is not the first time this has happened.  Since season 1, Walt has eaten crustless sandwiches, like his first victim Krazy-8 and now drinks scotch on the rocks like Mike.).  Later he asks Skyler if she has seen the book.  Walter puts it together.  In the middle of the night, he goes out to his car and finds a GPS device attached the back passenger wheel.  He knows Hank knows.  Jesse, presumably high, is passed out in his car in a parking lot when a homeless man begs for change.  Jesse gives him a stack of cash from the bag.  He then drives down a street that looks similar to the street Andrea used to live on and throws stacks of cash onto the lawns of the neighborhood and crying as he does so.  Is he now the Robin Hood of the meth business ala Omar from The Wire?

In the last scene, (which happened a lot sooner than expected) Walt comes to Hank’s house to “check on his health”.  They have small talk about the other one’s life, and again as so often, the silence fills in the blank.  They both know why Walt is really there.  Walt even makes it apparent by resting his hand on one of the boxes of evidence.  As Walt leaves, he stops himself and confronts Hank about the GPS.  He chooses his language carefully to note the bond Hank and Walt had chasing Gus Fring.  He asks if it is the same device they used on Gus when it was “just the two” of them.  Hank closes the garage and then does the best thing Hank has done since collecting minerals.  He punches the shit out of Walt’s face.  I mean he reared back and that fist smashed hard.  He picks him up and lists all the things he could think of that Walt had done to throw Hank off and ends by declaring he knows that Walt is the Heisenberg.  Again with God, Hank says “I swear to Christ, I will put you under the jail!”  Walt then uses his manipulative tactics to choose this time to tell anyone, much less Hank, that he has cancer again.  Hank doesn’t sympathize that easily, though.  Walt declares he is fighting like hell and then let’s Hank know he has 6 months to live, and therefore will have no way to be ever put behind bars as he will be dead before it happens.  “I am a dying man who runs a car wash. My right hand to God, that’s all I have.”  Hank tells Walt that he doesn’t know who he is.  And Walt, or rather Heisenberg, tells Hank, “If you don’t know who I am, then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly.”  As Hank looks at him, it becomes clear he can’t look at Walt and see this monster, all he sees is the brother-in-law who betrayed him.  Will Hank tread lightly?  Or will he be looking for revenge?

Walt tells Hank he's the Heisenberg without saying much at all.
Walt tells Hank he’s the Heisenberg without saying much at all.

With all the classic Breaking Bad devices used in this episode, the flash forward and the inevitable Hank/Walt confrontation I give “Blood Money” an “A”.

written by Adrian Puryear (with mad props yo to Sherif Elkhatib, Taylor Lowe and Evan Lowe)

*All pictures and video content courtesy of AMC TV.