Breaking Bad Review – “Granite State” S5E15

But it was personal… only read ahead if you are cool with spoilers…

This episode was considerably slower than last week’s “Ozymandias”.  Many scenes were quiet, and that is one reason Breaking Bad has been so great.  The premise is about drugs and guns, but the majority of scenes don’t involve either.  “Granite State” was quiet, but hard-hitting.  There were several scenes that were very hard to watch, or had you on edge of your seat.  It was what the audience needed after such mayhem just a week ago.

At the beginning of the episode, the ominous red van pulls up to … an actual vacuum repair shop… with front of the building’s design resembling the pick up spot.  Now you’ll never be able to go to the vacuum repair shop/U-Haul rental down the street without wondering what kind of criminal petri dish is hiding in the basement.  The Exterminator (that’s what I’m calling him) gets out and Saul follows, which was very unexpected.  It was unclear if this was how he came to ABQ or how he left, but we quickly find out it is how he left.  For the first time since the end of the 2nd season, Saul is not wearing his blue ribbon, which symbolizes McGill (Goodman’s real name) finally shedding his scumbag lawyer facade and becomes “just another douchebag with a job and three pairs of Dockers.”  Robert Forster (Jackie Brown) as The Exterminator takes Saul’s new ID picture in the shop, directing Saul to fix his hair.  Saul flicks his hair back like a woman preening in the mirror.

I'm so pretty, so pretty...
I’m so pretty, so pretty…

The exterminator makes the Nebraska ID.  Saul asks, “What’s in Nebraska?” a question which many people have thought of themselves.  The Exterminator tells him it will be a few days before he can get Saul out of New Mexico, but it will have to be faster than normal since his ads are still plastered all over the city.  Saul will have a roomie, and Saul looks at surveillance footage of Walt throwing a temper tantrum in his room.

Marie is in the DEA car.  She is being told by other DEA agents that they will find Hank.  Sadly, it is after the death of her husband that we find Marie the most attractive Marie has ever been.  As they arrive at the Schrader house, it is clear it has been broken into.  I guess we got this wrong last week.  I never thought the Aryans would actually go get a tape they weren’t sure even really existed.  As the agents realize the house has been compromised, two agents hop out and Marie is whisked away. I have no doubt that this will not be the last time we see the lady in purple.

In the background the viewer hears Jesse’s voice on the confession tape.  We see Jesse on the TV and the Aryans watching the video while drinking beers.  Todd looks at the video like he is proud while Jesse describes the “Opie dead-eyed piece of shit” murdering Drew Sharp.  The Aryan’s go out to Jesse’s dog-pound and Jack is ready to kill Jesse because of the tape.  Todd stands up for Jesse, saving him once more and then Jack realizes that Todd likes Lydia.  That would be the only reason to keep cooking meth after they have so much money. Jack also likens the uptight Lydia’s lady parts to a wood chipper.  Ouch.  In the dog-pound, Jesse pulls out the picture of Andrea and Brock from Todd’s meth lab.  He takes the paperclip from it and begins to pick the locks on his cuffs.

Back at the vacuum shop, Saul and Walt are having a jammy party in the basement, waiting for their new lives.  Walt asks Saul for a list of five hit-men.  Walt wants to kill the Aryans to avenge Hank and Walt’s money.  Saul says he doesn’t know any hit-men.  Walt tells him “you know a guy who knows a guy”, something that is classic about Saul.  Saul then gives Walt is first tid-bit of free advice: if he leaves, he is leaving his family high and dry and in danger.  He tells Walt that without him giving himself up, he is putting Skyler in jail because she would have no leverage for the lawyers to offer a plea.  The money and house will be gone and everything will be tapped.  Walt tells Saul he doesn’t want to leave and he will give all of his money to his children.  He must kill Jack and his crew, get his money back and then he will be through.  We’ve heard Walt say he will be through many times before.  He is also jumping the shark by believing he alone can take out Jack’s crew.  The Exterminator enters and tells Saul he’s ready to go.  Walt tells him that Saul and he will being going together.  “I’m not your lawyer anymore.”  Walt backs Saul into the wall and tries to use his best Heisenberg voice on him before he has a nasty attack of cancer-cough.  Saul tells Walt, “It’s over.”  And for Saul, it really is.

At the lawyer’s office Skyler, wearing her, of late, signature white, is hearing the white-noise of lawyers going back on forth on her case.  Her lawyer, certainly no Saul Goodman, looks over at her like a deer in headlights, which oddly enough is how he is referred to later in the episode.  When Skyler comes to, she answers the lawyers pleas for giving up Walt and she admits she doesn’t know where he is.  At the house, the police watch the White residence.  Skyler looks out her window at the beat down cop car and takes a drag off her cigarette, her vice when she is stressed the whole series.  Holly cries and she goes to check on the baby.  Three of the Aryan’s dressed in black with masks are in the nursery.  Todd talks calmly to Skyler.  She pleads for them to not hurt Holly and Todd tells her that he respects her husband.  He then tells her to not say anything about Lydia to the police.  We see Todd’s love for Lydia here, because it seems odd that she would be who he is worried about in Skyler’s confession to the police.  As he leaves, he touches her shoulder in such an odd, reassuring way.  Todd is so icky!

At the coffee house where Lydia and Walt first make the Czech deal, Todd dressed for a date and sipping a cup of Lydia’s signature tea and waits for Lydia.  Lydia refuses to sit with him, which visibly hurts Todd’s feelings, and lets him know she is going to back out of their deal, even saying they are going to take a break (ouch), because she is worried about being given up to the police.  He tells her his batch of meth is at 92% (Heisenberg Level!) because of Jesse.  Todd turns in his chair to look at Lydia.  He talks of their partnership as being more than just the meth deal.  He thinks they are in an actual relationship.  If anyone in that coffee shop were to look at them, they would think he was just as creepy.  He picks the lint off her blazer.  Weird-o!

Hey Girl.
Hey Girl. you can’t spell methylamene without ‘me.’

Walt is in the bottom of a propane truck.  He gets out of the awkward holding cell, and enters the cold, snowy emptiness of New Hampshire.  The Exterminator greets him as Mr. Lambert.  In the long shot, similar to the ones we get of the New Mexican desert, we see the vast amount of snow and trees and a very tiny cabin that will be Walt’s new home.  It will be a lonely life in the forest.

Walt wheels in his barrel of money into his new shack.  The Exterminator gives him the grand tour and gives him the all the downsides to the place (no internet, no TV, no phone).  Walt finds the two copies of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (Mr. Magorium dies of cancer just like Walt, although his Emporium is way cooler than Walt’s).  The Exterminator tells him that he will make a supply-run for him in a month.  Walt is paying him a substantial amount of money to come back and check on him every month.  For news, Walt will get the Albuquerque newspaper.  Walt is insistent that he still has business to conduct, presumably killing Jack and the clan.  The Exterminator lets Walt know that he is wanted nationally by the DEA and that his face is all over the news.  He will surely be caught if he leaves.  The Exterminator says his goodbye.  Walt opens his bin of money and takes some cash out.  In classic Heisenberg fashion, Walt puts on the pork-pie hat, smoothing the rim.

Say my name.
Say my name.

He walks in a determined pace to the gate and sees the long roadway with nothing in else in sight.  Walt has a coughing fit, closes the gate and promises himself he will go to the town “tomorrow.”  The Heisenberg is still determined, but Walt still has cancer.

Back in the dog-pound, Jesse has uncuffed himself.  and he is struggling to reach the grate at the top of the cage.  He hears the voices clan and Todd walks to the cage.  Jesse is laying on his mat, cuffed again.  Todd lowers a bucket to Jesse with two different flavors of Ben and Jerry’s.  It is a “prize” for cooking 96% percent (closer to Heisenberg level) in the last batch.  Todd lights up a cigarette and watches Jesse eat his ice cream.  Jesse asks Todd to keep the tarp off the cage because he wants to “see the stars”, appealing to Todd’s softer side.  In a mad dash, Jesse takes the cuffs off again, piles this blankets and bucket to balance on and in the coolest Mission Impossible stunt, Jesse Tom Cruise’s his way to the top of the cage, hanging by one arm off the grate.

For a meth-head, he's pretty strong.
For a meth-head, he’s pretty strong.

He finally is able to get both arms on the grate, unlock it and run.  He sees the long fence surrounding the property, but does not see the cameras.  As he climbs the clan surround him.  He turns around and asks them to kill him.  Aaron Paul’s intensity is mind-blowing here.  The way he screams at them, especially the use of the F-bomb is so real.

Todd walks up to what we know is Andrea’s house.  It was hard to deny what was coming next.  This time, it is Todd who knocks.  Todd kindly approaches Andrea and as per usual, is very polite to her.  He lures her out by telling her that Jesse is out in the truck outside.  Considering this girl grew up in the hood, its amazing she falls for this.  But she does and Todd being so fucking polite tells her “Just so you know, this isn’t personal” and shoots her in the head.

What is it with AMC and killing off "Andrea"?
What is it with AMC and killing off “Andrea”?

I really can’t wait until that fucker dies.  Jesse looks on crying and screaming uncontrollably.  Todd gets back in the car and Jack warns Jesse that he needs to settle down and that “the kid” is still to be killed.  This was one of the hardest scenes to watch in all of BrBa history.  I didn’t have much of an attachment to Andrea, but rather what she represented for Jesse and any kind of normalcy he knew in the series.  Poor street smarts or not, Andrea was the last presence of innocence left in all of Albuquerque.  Forcing him to watch her die really could be the factor that causes him to go psycho on the psychos.

This was too heartbreaking to watch.
This was too heartbreaking to watch.

Back in New Hampshire, Walt is a little snow bunny.  He walks to his gate to let The Exterminator in for his monthly drop.  Walt did not choose to go out “tomorrow.”  He now has hair and a full beard.  The Exterminator brings Walt new glasses, as his aren’t working anymore (now we know how he got that look).  He updates Walt on his families well-being.  She and the kids don’t live in the house anymore, she works as a taxi dispatcher and she is using her maiden name (also Lambert).  The house is fenced in because it has become a tourist attraction.  The Exterminator pulls out the chemotherapy IV.  He assures Walt he can administer the needle because he watched YouTube videos (yikes!).  The IV hangs from the deer antlers on the wall where the pork pie hung earlier in the episode.  After the needle goes in, The Exterminator gets ready to leave.  Walt offers him 10,000 dollars to keep him company.  It is a new kind of sad and lonely for Walt to have to pay a stranger to sit with him in his condition.  As The Exterminator deals cards, it is hard not to notice the wall Walt has created of all the news paper clippings of his pictures and claims against Skyler from the newspapers.  Walt asks The Exterminator to give his money to his family after his death.  It becomes clear, this would not be the case, because who would rightfully give a free 11 million to who it belongs to?  Later, a very thin and sickly Walt wakes up form a nap.  His wedding ring has fallen off his finger due to his weight loss.  He ties the ring around his neck, still trying to keep his family a part of his being.  He looks at the boxes of Ensure The Exterminator brought him to gain weight and gets an idea.  He was warned to not wire the money, but not to mail it.  He puts the money in the ensure boxes and finally makes his trek to the one horse town.  Walt is clearly weaker.  He walks slowly and is coughing more.  Also, a note on AMC’s choice of commercials: whose idea was it to go from the shot from behind Walt walking into the stark snow to a back shot of Rick from The Walking Dead waking up to a zombie apocalypse.  Talk about a shitty transition.

Back in Albuquerque, “Flynn White” is called to the principal’s office, but not for anything his fault.  Carmen, the administrator Walt used to have a crush on tells him that his Aunt Marie is on the phone.  A fat biker lady is on the other line in a bar.  Walt takes a hold of the pay phone and tells his son why he did what he did.  He then tells him that he sent him a box of money for the family to Jr.’s friend, Louis.  Walt is degrading himself for not doing more.  Flynn has the opposite reaction Walt expects and freaks out about Hank and the money.  Walt says, “It can’t all be for nothing” while Flynn screams at him to “Just die already.” Again,  Walt is defeated.  It really could all be for nothing and his son hates him, an opposite reflection of when Flynn gets so mad that Walt won’t get chemo in the first season, telling him to die.  When the line is cut off, Walt makes another call, to the Albuquerque DEA.  It’s pretty amazing he knows their number by heart.  Anyway, he asks for the agent in charge of the investigation and tells them it is Walter White.  At this point, with nothing left that matters, he is ready to just give it up.  He leaves the phone hanging and is knowingly and willingly about to go down as the kingpin of Albuquerque.  He grabs a drink at the bar, “dimple pinch neat”, and watches the TV.  He asks the bartender to stop on a channel where he sees his old pals Elliott and Gretchen Schwartz being interviewed about their contribution to drug rehab facilities in the Southwest United States.  They are asked if this contribution was to cut the ties of Walter White “the methanphetamine kingpin” being the co-founder of Grey Matter.  They say that Walt had nothing to do with the company and where it went other than the name.  There is also a mention of the blue still being sold in the Southwest and Europe, even though the Walt is not the cook any longer.  When asked if Walt is still out there, Gretchen is sure that he is not.  Now that Walt has lost his family and his money, he now looks at the TV and realizes that his pride and legacy are gone, too.

Walt is all about his pride.  He will not take being an Ozymandias.
Walt is all about his pride. He will not take being an Ozymandias.

Walt’s life has come full circle.  He lost all credit for everything he did for Grey Matter, and now he has lost control of his precious blue meth.  Pride gets the best of him, as it should, or the story wouldn’t be consistent.  The theme song plays as the New Hampshire police swarm the bar.  As the enter we get a shot of Walt’s drink, the tip and an empty seat.  One of the best uses of music this series.

Nothing but the drink.
Nothing but the drink.

Hush Comics gives “Granite State” an A.  It’s hard to knock the writing, because it is Breaking Bad and the second to last episode.  It is hard to tell how much of this episode will effect what happens next week.  After the lack of movement in this episode, and how little we saw of Skyler or Jesse in the several month period, it is hard to see how the entire series will culminate in only an hour and fifteen minutes.  But as always, amazing acting and amazing character development. It was a bit disappointing to not end this episode where the season premiere started. There were about four months of time skipped to convey Walt’s physical depreciation, desperation and loneliness instead of focusing on other major characters and their lives during this  pandemonium.

written by Adrian Puryear

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 – “To’hajiilee” S5E13

Spoilers below! Be warned… if you have yet to watch “To’hajiilee” the following will absolutely ruin it for you. Do not read if you don’t want to be spoiled. I highly suggest you do not read this if you have not watched the episode because the thrill of it will be lost on you once you do watch it… that being said… here is my recap and review.

jesse happy

So the above is pretty much my face after watching this episode. But before I get to that epic-ness, the rest of the episode is pretty darn important, too.

We start off in the meth lab the Aryans have made. Lydia is with Todd, his Uncle Jack and the other creepy white guy. Todd tests the meth he just made and it is at 76%. The best part of the two older Aryans interactions are their references to pop culture. They tell Lydia that the best the “Wolverine” look-a-like made was less than 70%, referring to Declan. I notice that Lydia is always wearing her blue jacket now-a-days. She represents “the blue” that she so desperately wants to attain again. Apparently she is dressing for the job she wants, not the job she has. The men all discuss that they believe the meth is tinted blue, even though Lydia has made it clear the product needs to be blue and it is not. The Aryans suggest they add food coloring to the mix, just like it is done to salmon. This just shows how little these men care about quality. Later on, Todd makes Lydia tea, addressing her politely as Miss Quayle, and then he tries in a very uncomfortable manner to hit on Lydia. Isn’t Todd like 18? It’s just gross. When she leaves, he rubs her lipstick on her cup and then drinks out of it. Before that, he receives the call (with the ringtone, “She Blinded me with Science”…is this only Walt’s ringtone on Todd’s phone, or everyone’s?) from Walt to kill Jesse. Todd asks no questions and offers to set up a meeting with his uncle.

Hank and Gomez meet up in a tunnel. Gomez then says that Jesse is safer behind bars than out in town in “open season”. I only note the importance of this because it becomes open season later in the episode. The tunnel they are in looks exactly like the one Jesse picks up his meth money from Victor. Oddly enough, Jesse then tells them his brilliant plan is to go after Walt’s money. That is where he really lives. I promised I would give a shout out to my friend Evan Lowe for getting that one right last week.

Back at Hank’s house, Gomez comes in with a brown paper bag. They have a cryptic discussion about another DEA agent not asking questions, but agreeing to “babysitting”. Gomez also lets Hank know that if “he” (at first I assumed he meant Jesse, but now I realize it is Huell) gets a lawyer, Gomez will put a stop to the whole thing. It is the first time Gomez has really stood up to Hank. It will probably be the last time. Hank takes out a brain (animal) and puts it on the kitchen floor. He turns to Jesse and says, “You’re up.” ‘What the hell does that turn out to be?” were my initial thoughts. Hank and Gomez go to an apartment where Huell is being babysat. They let Huell know, in a very large ploy, that he is on Walt’s hit list. They bluff and say Kuby is already missing. Hank also shows him a picture of “dead Jesse”.

You spilled something.
You spilled something.

Huell easily gives up that he moved the money to the barrels from the storage unit. He lets them know the details of the van, its dirt, where it came from, the shovel, and the exact description of the barrels. It seems that all this questioning of Huell and keeping him in the apartment is illegal. Even if it all worked out for Hank, would Huell’s testimony mean anything to a judge?

At the Aryan’s house, Walt, Todd, Uncle Jack and the other white guy discuss the price for killing Jesse. They assume Jesse is a rat and Walt states very clearly that “Jesse is not a rat.” Little do any of them know. He tells them that Jesse is “angry.” Again the Aryans and their pop culture references, asking if Jesse is The Hulk, Rambo or James Bond (ummmm is James Bond angry???). Walt tells Uncle Jack that Jesse is like family, so he can’t do it himself. When he says this Todd looks at Walt like he is hurt that Jesse is considered family. Uncle Jack agrees to the hit, but the price isn’t money, no matter how much Walt is willing to throw out there; it is to be their cook. Walt is very reluctant to agree, but eventually says he will do one cook after the hit is done. It seems strange that they would be so trusting that Walt would actually do a cook for them after the fact. They offer to do it that night, and Walt tells them he has to “flush him out” referring to Jesse. The tic-tac-toe game is in full swing. Who will flush the other one out first?

Walt goes to Andrea’s house and gives her the story that he can’t find Jesse. Andrea invites him in which seems odd because of her problems with Jesse and that she has only met Walt once at Jesse’s house. Walt greets Brock and Brock gives him one of these:

Da fuk you doin' here?
Da fuk you doin’ here?

I think it is clear that Brock recognizes Walt as someone more than just Jesse’s friend. Andrea calls Jesse’s phone and leaves a message. Walt tells her that he will call her later because he has her number. If I were Andrea, I would wonder why he had my number. She seems pretty cavalier about it all. Walt then goes to his car and instructs Uncle Jack and crew to wait for Jesse and not to alarm Andrea or Brock.

Hank listens to Andrea’s message on Jesse’s Hello Kitty cell phone. I know I mention this phone in every recap, but who thought it would become the symbol of season 5b? It is a reminder of the pink teddy bear; a cute children’s toy that has its innocence destroyed. After Hank hears the message he says, “Nice try, asshole,” mimicking Jesse saying the same thing to Walt in “Rabid Dog.” Hank doesn’t tell them about Andrea’s message, but does say they are going to continue the game by making Walt think there was a GPS on the van he used to bury the money.

Walt Jr. and Skyler are at the carwash. Skyler is teaching him the cash register, but she is really keeping him away from the house in case there are more problems. Saul Goodman enters the car wash. Skyler is freaked out that he is there and Jr. is starstruck. Walt approaches Saul as to why he’s there. They discuss that Huell is missing and that Jesse is still AWOL. Saul tells Walt that Jesse isn’t as dumb as Walt thinks. Walt has yet to find this out for himself.

Better call Saul!
Better call Saul!

Walt goes back inside. He lightly touches his jacket pocket checking for his gun. He looks on at his family in deep thought. And then the beginning of the end happens. Walt gets a picture message of a barrel of his money, or so he thinks. Immediately he gets a call from Jesse saying, “Did you get my photo, Bitch?” Yes! A bitch moment! Walt runs out of the car wash and gets in his car. Jesse tells him he is burning the money unless Walt comes to him. It is surprising Walt fell for this. He believes the van had a GPS and that Jesse has found the money. It is strange that Walt never realized on the way there what was really happening. But it shows what Walt really cares about and how blinded he is by the money. In this moment when Walt is speeding like a maniac to the desert and Jesse is playing him on the phone, Jesse pulls out one of the best “bitches” in BrBa history, “Fire in the hole, Bitch. There goes 10 G’s. Ah, nice orange flame.” Walt later confesses on the phone pretty much everything he has done, including killing Emilio and Krazy 8, killing Gus and poisoning Brock all the way down to how he did it. He never mentioned cooking meth or Gale. If this conversation is tapped, it still wouldn’t be admissible in court. Hasn’t Hank watched The Wire!? Walt arrives to To’hajiilee and realizes it was a set up. Walt lets out his own “son of a bitch.” He takes the battery out of his phone and drops it. He runs to the top of a cliff and then when he sees a car in the distance he runs back down, gets the phone, puts the phone back together, and calls Uncle Jack. When Walt realizes that it’s not just Jesse, but his brother-in-law and Gomez he tells Uncle Jack to forget the hit and hangs up. Hank looks all around Walt’s car and calls out his name. And for once we see authentic emotion from Walt.

You have something in your eye, Mr. White.
You have something in your eye, Mr. White.

After the last commercial break, the shots of the desert linger on screen. It is very reminiscent of when the cooking was happening out there. Walt shows himself. He drops his gun and walks to Hank with his arms up. This moment reminded me so much of when Gus walked right towards the cartel with his arms in the air. And then the moment that we have all waited for since the first cook, Walt is arrested. It seems like such a moment of relief, yet we all know that it can’t end like this. It is too easy. And illegal still because Hank and Gomez don’t have a warrant for the things they have done. But it still felt good to see it.

Gotchya, Bitch.
Gotchya, Bitch.

Jesse mentions that this is the first place they ever cooked together. Every episode of season 5b has allowed the audience to come full circle with the first season and particularly the first episode. During this whole scene suspense builds. It isn’t quite clear what we are supposed to be anxious about, but with Jesse hanging out in the background, it was hard not to wonder if he would be sniped by Uncle Jack. Gomez searches Walt and takes his car keys. I feel that this will be very important next week if anyone ends up getting out and using Walt’s car to do so. As Walt is being read his rights he is staring at Jesse like he is filth. He finally calls Jesse a “Coward” with hate in his voice. Jesse approaches him and does what everyone else has wanted to do at some point…

You have something on your face, Mr. White.
You have something on your face, Mr. White.

Finally, someone spit on Walt. It must feel awful to have a drug addict spit in your face. After their confrontation, Hank and Gomez take Walt and Jesse to different cars. Walt is in Hank’s truck and Jesse is in Walt’s car. Hank gives Marie a call to let her know he got Walt. Marie answers the phone and says the best Marie line of all time, “Hank, why is there what looks like brains in our garbage can?” While Hank is on the phone with her, he foreshadows the outcome of the end of this episode. “It’s gonna be a rough couple of weeks, but it’ll get better.” He also says “It may be a while before I get home.” Does Hank die? Or does he get seriously injured like he did at Salamanca twin incident? I find it interesting that Hank is wearing an orange shirt here, similar to the one in the Tuco Salamanca shootout scene.

Bad Ass orange shirts.
Bad Ass orange shirt.

As Walt is looking out the car window, he sees the Aryan’s cars pull up. He starts to yell for Hank, but Hank ignores him. Unfortunately, this could have probably been avoided had Hank gotten the hint and they hit the road. But they don’t and the Aryan’s pull up. Uncle Jack, Kenny (the guy I’ve been calling “the other white guy”) Todd and really another white guy point their guns at Hank and Gomez. Hank has a pistol and Gomez has a rifle. They are outnumbered and outgunned, as the main two Aryan’s have assault rifles. Walt attempts to yell for Jack to stop, but Jack ignores him. When Hank and Gomez don’t show their police badges, all out war begins. The Aryans are not afraid to use their ammo.

Holy bejeezus.
Holy bejeezus.

They go for the car Walt is handcuffed in because it is the car Hank and Gomez hide behind. Jesse seemingly starts to get out of Walt’s car. Walt is forced to weasel his way in between the seats of Hank’s car. It seems dumb for the Aryan’s to shoot up the car that their new cook is in, but they haven’t ever been for details I suppose. And then it ends. What?! Why?! Who lives? Who dies?

I truly believe that Gomez will die at the least. Of course Walt doesn’t. It is getting so close to the end and even harder to figure out how all these loose ends will tie up.

Hush Comics gives Breaking Bad‘s “To’hajiilee” an A+. It was great to see who could outsmart each other better. Jesse and Hank are worthy adversaries. Walt finally was cuffed and cried. A likable moment for Marie And the cliffhanger ending was b-a-n-a-n-a-s. I have nothing to fault this episode for.

Before I end, did anyone else notice that Todd had the sissy gun??

todd pew pewwatch-out-we-got-a-badass-over-here-meme

written by Adrian Puryear

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:

tumblr_msh93lYgxu1qhuajdo2_250

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 – “Buried” S5E10

Tonight, Breaking Bad‘s new episode “Buried” aired.  After last weeks big confrontation, it was expected this week’s episode would have some big bangs.  But there weren’t big bangs.  There were a lot of small bangs that seemingly is setting up for big things to come.  And with as many loose ends as there were last week, there seem to be even more after tonight.

Now.. here be spoilers..

You tell 'em, Huell.
You tell ’em, Huell.

The episode starts with one of the recipients of Jesse’s money finding it on his front lawn and seeing other neighbors who have stacks of cash on their lawns.  The man then finds Jesse in the park beyond the neighborhood.  Was Jesse purposefully waiting there?  Did he want to be arrested?  Is he still empty inside?  Unfortunately, we don’t find out in this episode, but Jesse obviously doesn’t care about anything anymore.

Next, Walt and Hank have a pretty good stare down on Hank’s driveway.  Walt tries to call Skyler, but Hank beat him to it.  Skyler then meets Hank at a restaurant.  The scene, like many throughout this episode is a lot of Hank talking at Skyler rather than an actual conversation.  Hank is very calm towards Skyler, almost babying her to give Walt up, yet when he talks about Walt, he gets angry, gritting his teeth, and he never calls Walt by name, but rather “animal” and “monster”, distancing himself from Walt by not calling him by name.  Skyler is calculating as Hank talks to her.  She wants to make sure she isn’t involved in Hank’s mind.  When she realizes she is not on Hank’s radar, she states she needs a lawyer for her own protection; she is not thinking about Walt or the kids.  She is thinking of what her crimes are and, I think, she is really thinking about Ted and how she is responsible for his injury.  Then Skyler does the very Skyler thing and causes a scene in the middle of the restaurant yelling, “Am I under arrest?!”  very much like her outburst to Marie to “SHUT UP!”

The comedic break of the episode was my favorite.  Saul’s henchmen, Huell and Kuby, go to the White storage unit to move the money.  Upon seeing the amount of cash, Huell feels it absolutely necessary to lay down on the bed of money.  After making fun of Huell with “We’re here to do a job, not channel Scrooge McDuck”, Kuby lays down in the money, too.  Really, who wouldn’t lay down in a bed of money if they saw it?

Walt is in Saul’s office and Saul is calling Jesse.  He tells Jesse’s voicemail to hide the money, but obviously, they don’t know what Jesse has done with it.  Saul suggests to Walt that he give Hank the same vacation Mike is having in “Belize.”  It is funny that this is how Saul words it, but it also proves that Saul knows that Mike is dead.  Walt’s reaction is important for two reasons: 1. He doesn’t deny that Mike is dead and 2. He exclaims that Hank is family.  This temporarily puts the kabosh on the theory that Walt will kill Hank.  This could change, because everything in Breaking Bad changes, but Walt is so angry when he says it, I think he may actually stick to not killing his family member.  There is a knock at the door, and Walt casually says “Belize.  I’ll send you to Belize.”  Does he??? If Walt kills Saul, that would be pretty messed up.  I hope this was not foreshadowing.

Huell and Kuby return with the money in barrels in a white van.  Walt gives them and Saul a cut, adding they need to find Jesse before he drives to the New Mexico desert.  He drives to what looks like the same spot he and Jesse do their first cook.  He pulls out a pick axe and shovel and begins digging.  Back in the ABQ, Marie approaches Skyler at the White residence.  Marie talks at Skyler about how long she has known Walt was the guy, without Skyler saying much if anything to Marie.  And then Marie slaps the shit out of Skyler’s face.  Those Schraders sure are violent people.  Marie yells “You won’t talk to Hank because you think Walt is going to get away with this.”  Which is the truth.  Then crazy klepto Marie tries to kidnap baby Holly.  After Hank intervenes in that hot mess, Marie gives Holly back to Skyler.  Later, Walt is still digging to some pretty awesome Mexican music.  He makes sure he finds his GPS location and memorizes it.  When he returns home, he pins a lotto ticket to the fridge marking the same numbers of where his money is buried.  Two thoughts on that lotto ticket.  If Hank is able to get back in the house, and sees that ticket, he will be smart enough to wonder why the Kingpin of Albuquerque is playing the lottery.  Also, what if Walt won the lottery?  Wouldn’t that be kinda cool?

Walt then goes to take a shower and Skyler talks at him asking if he moved the money and that Hank knows nothing.  Walt does not respond, per usual, but then he collapses half naked in the bathroom.  When he comes to, Skyler tells him she knows the cancer is back.  He asks her if she is happy that the cancer is back and she says she can’t remember the last time she was happy.  The scene is touching in a way because it seems that Skyler still does love Walt.  He tells her that he wants to give himself up as long as she and the kids have the money.  After everything Walt has done, its hard not to feel sorry for him.  At the crux of it all, it was all for her and their families well-being.  I think Skyler knows that.  Plus, she won’t narc if it means being rich, which we know Skyler wants.  Skyler informs Walt that Hank doesn’t seem to have real proof, and echoing Walt’s “best move” speech from last week, she advises Walt that their “best move is to stay quiet.”

Lydia arrives blindfolded to a junky looking desert area.  Once Declan appears, we can assume this is the desert of Phoenix, AZ.  Lydia is told she can take her blindfold off and confronts Declan about the low-quality blue his cook is producing as the Czech’s aren’t happy.  She asks to see the lab and she is taken to a man hole.  She goes down and comments on the filth of the place and that Todd (who by the by I was wrong about last week) should be cooking as his quality was better.  Lydia then clicks a button on her watch.  Instantaneously, there is a problem above and Lydia stays in the lab.  She checks her phone and then seeks cover.  There is a struggle above and then gun shots.  Lydia set up this hit.  When the dust settles, a voice so politely asks Lydia if she is ok.  Todd is above and helps her out of the hole.  She refuses to look at the bodies of the dead men (even though she virtually pulled the trigger), so Todd navigates her through the carnage as her eyes are closed.  Todd is freakishly polite for someone who is quick to kill little children.  We see that the Arizona guys have been taken out by the White Supremacist group who orchestrated Walt’s prison hits.  It seems to me that these are the people Walt must be at war with in our future scenes.  He wouldn’t bring a gun like that to a one man show.  Also, now that Todd will be cooking again,  it seems that the blue stuff will be coming back to Albuquerque, which could throw the DEA off it’s investigation as to who Heisenberg is.  Just a thought.  But the killing of the AZ guys by the Aryan guys is where we have created so many more questions.  There are a lot of holes to fill between now and the final moments of the series.

At the Schrader residence, Marie instructs Hank that he must involve the DEA into the investigation of Walt.  Hank knows that if he tells his partners and boss this information, he will be done in his career.  He insists that when he brings it up, he will have the proof and be the guy who brought the Heisenberg down.  And I think this may be Hank’s undoing.  Just like Walt, Hank is a prideful man.  He must be the hero and the winner.  Will he do something illegal in order to get Walt and in the process not be able to get him behind bars because of it?  Marie tells Hank he must tell or else he will be in trouble for not once the DEA finds out.  Hank goes into work asks Gomez to set up a conference call with their boss.  Before Gomez does, he tells Hank that Jesse is in interrogation for throwing money.  We cut to Jesse and see his favorite douchebag cops talking at him.  Jesse doesn’t respond.  Hank, going against Marie’s demands,  asks the cops to go in and then we get the credits.  The credits!  So upsetting, but a brilliant cliffhanger.

Theories:

Will Jesse flip on Walt?  In the past we have seen Hector flip on Gus because of Walt’s way with words (and bomb making).  Will Hank’s smooth talking get Jesse to talk?  I think he may.  But I fear that means Jesse will die.

Next week’s episode is titled “Confessions.” This may not refer to Jesse talking to Hank, but it could mean Walt confessing some if not all his infractions to Jesse.

Lydia just has to die.  Maybe not next week, but eventually.

Neither Hank nor Walt will bring each other down.  Their own pride will be their own downfall.

“Buried” gets a B+.  Jesse had practically no screen time and no dialogue.  Otherwise, Hank is treading hard, Blue Sky is on its way back to ABQ, making money angels, and Walt and Skyler 2gether 4eva.

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. 

Denver Comic-Con 2013

After going to San Diego Comic Con last summer and not being able to get tickets for this year, going to the 2013 Denver Comic Con seemed like the second best choice.  Albeit, we were disappointed with my choice at first, well because, it’s San Diego.  But after attending Denver’s 2nd con, our first time going, we were pleasantly entertained the whole weekend.  Friday night was good for 2 things: seeing the line and getting an idea of the layout of the exhibition hall.  The line was ridiculous, a gripe to be heard around Denver for days to come. By the time we arrived at about 5 p.m. people were told that if they did not pre-pay for a ticket, they would need to leave the line because tickets had sold out.  But as we found out later, this was not the case.  Several people in the Hush family were still able to get tickets for the weekend.  That night we checked out the main hall.  The goodies were pretty good.  The Artist Alley had some pretty good pickings.  Our friend Zak Kinsella was in attendance with his comic series MidspaceJenny Parks  was there with her illustrations of cats as superheroes.  We picked up these four:

catman and mewane
Batman and Bane by Jenny Parks
Katniss and Black Widow by Jenny Parks

Blake Henriksen had a booth, too.  We had picked up some of his art at Denver’s Starfest.  His Ninja Turtles were such good art, we couldn’t pass them up.  There was also a booth for Sparkle Jewelry designs where we bought this awesome Breaking Bad necklace charm.

Breaking Bad Charm
Breaking Bad Charm

Spending all your money on the first day can be a curse or a blessing, but for us, it worked out well, because we weren’t tempted to blow money we didn’t have the rest of the weekend.  The highlight of the evening for Adrian was meeting J. August Richards, notably from Angel and soon to be notably in Joss Whedon’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Obviously, I’m a huge Whedon fan.  Growing up watching Buffy and then Angel, I (Adrian) looked up to Charles Gunn a lot.  He was the best character on Angel consistently.  Meeting him was a real pleasure.  He is very down to earth and really cares about his fans and their reaction to him.  It was really refreshing.  A lot of people in the entertainment industry can be nice and laid back, but with J., it really felt as though he could be your best buddy.  We like best buddies.

J. August Richards, Adrian and Sherif
J. August Richards, Adrian and Sherif

Saturday was really the day to be there.  Yes, the line to get in even if you had a badge was ridiculous.  I hope that with all the backlash, next year will be a smoother process.  However, being that it is only the second year of its existence, and that it is now half the size of the international con, I imagine that there weren’t enough volunteers to keep up with the masses.  Our day started off great.  Sherif, Taylor, Evan, and Adrian all dressed as meth cooks from Breaking Bad.  Sherif, Taylor and Evan were Walt White and Adrian was Jesse Pinkman.  We all dressed in yellow chemical suits.  The guys had different aspects of Walt, but all wore his glasses and facial hair.  Adrian wore yellow shoes and a yellow striped beanie to match the suit.  It was a lot of fun getting stopped all the time to take pictures.  We even gave out samples of our “blue stuff” (which was really just rock candy) to people who wanted our picture.  But there is a down side to this costume.  Have you ever worn a chemical suit?  It’s hot.  Have you ever worn a chemical suit in a room with 40,000 other people?  Oh dear God.  Never been so sweaty and stinky.  But when you dress up as meth cooks, bad hygiene seems to be part of the costume.

Sherif and Adrian aka Walt and Jesse
Sherif and Adrian aka Walt and Jesse
Taylor and Evan aka Walt and Walt
Taylor and Evan aka Walt and Walt

Sherif and Adrian went to J. August Richards’ panel on his new project called The Hypnotist.  It was a short featuring Lisa Gay Hamilton and Sharif Atkins.  The story is simple: a man goes to a hypnotist to cure his smoking addiction.  But the ideas behind the story are brilliantly complex.  The cast is black, and of course J. is black.  What is great about this all-black cast is that it doesn’t matter the race of the characters, the story is relatable to everyone, which is exactly what J. wanted.  Of course because Richards is brilliant, the writing is impeccable.  The characters are both easy to relate to.  The theme of African-American history is apparent in the story, but more importantly, it is direct symbolism.  I love when little details mean so much to a story.  It shows a high intelligence of literary tools.  There should be more coming soon with different characters being hypnotized.  J. did say that he doesn’t want to put it online.  In today’s society, it really does need to be online for people to want to watch it.  He said he doesn’t want people to be flipping between tabs while his story is on in the background.  I, for one, would not do that because the story is really compelling.  I think it would be great if he could sell it to Netflix to avoid that, but with each story being so short, I don’t know if that is a possibility.  Congratulations to J. and his new project.  I hope the public gets to see the rest of his brilliance.

Evan and Taylor also got to experience the Star Wars trivia event, hosted by Geeks who Drink.  This event was the most exciting and disheartening experience Taylor had all weekend long – allow me to explain.  I’ve only ever participated in one other general public Star Wars trivia event in my life.  During that faithful day I choked on a relatively easy question and knocked myself out of the running for first place (I had to settle for third… shameful, I know).  This day at DCC would serve as redemption and was guaranteed to put me in a room with dozens of other fanatics just like me.  While the competition was indeed exciting and my brain-farts were gratifyingly limited I was overall disappointed in my fellow enthusiasts.  Plain and simple – they were jerks.  Now, I’m not speaking for everyone – my experience is limited to the extents of my sight and hearing of my immediate surroundings – but since when did SW fanboys become the elite of the nerd world?  Before the competition I enjoyed the prospect of happy and accepting fans congregating and sharing a common passion.  By the time we left I was practically holding my brother back from “unleashing The Force” all over an exceptionally snobby guy that had been sitting next to us the whole time.  Overall the experience was enjoyable, but I hate that it was cheapened by those who weren’t there just to have fun.  That being said – one of our Hush goals is to foster a nerd-universe where all are welcomed, accepted and wanted regardless of depth of knowledge or interest.  If you’re a fan/enthusiast – don’t disservice the passion you have by putting down others who aren’t at your level.  Share the love and knowledge and I guarantee everybody wins.

During the day, Sherif and Adrian met with J. August Richards again, Clare Kramer from Buffy, and the awesome, “it’s ok” to be George Takei.  All are wonderful people.  And all were willing to sign our official Hush Comics poster.  It was lovely!  George is a fun guy who loves to talk.  He also has really good penmanship.

It's definitely ok to be George Takei!
It’s definitely ok to be George Takei!

To spare you reading a novel of my (Taylor’s) adventures over the day and a half of my time spent at the convention, I’ll share just a few highlights.  First being the time my little bro and I spent just walking around.  This was neat for the obvious reasons (people watching, ogling artwork and crafts, stalking famous people), but was enhanced by what my brother and I were wearing.  What I mean to say is that we were in costume as well.  Anybody watch Breaking Bad?  If you do then picture Walter White in his yellow haz-mat suit (respirator and all) carrying around little sample baggies of that crystal blue meth.  Got the image?  That was me and Evan at DCC (our meth was actually candy though – just for the record).  What made this uncomfortable experience so worth it (hazardous material suits don’t breathe people… not one bit) was really feeling like you were a part of it all.  I mean really, really feeling a part.  I know I would have loved it had I gone in normal people clothes, but there’s something extra special about a Storm Trooper coming up and asking to get a picture with you.

Taylor and said Storm Trooper
Taylor and said Storm Trooper

Saturday was a good day for all of us.  Being in a land of nerdom was like being at home.  There were so many people who shared our interests.  It was really inspiring.  We plan on holding a booth there next year!

On Sunday, Sherif and Adrian went to the Whedon panel, which featured J. August Richards and Clare Kramer.  J. of course played Charles Gunn on Angel and Clare Kramer played Glory on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  It was a little like a town hall meeting.  They talked about their time working with Joss and their stories of being hired.  It was very informative to listen how the business works for actors.  Clare had an easier time than J. did with being hired.  Both actors recalled big learning experiences with Joss and the other actors on both series.  J. told the audience that his favorite actor to work with was Andy Hallett, who played Lorne on Angel and has since passed away.  Clare talked about being given the “reward” of being able to do her own stunt in her last scene in season 5 where she is thrown through the brick wall.  She also talked about doing fight scenes with Sarah Michelle Gellar and their stunt doubles.  It was interesting to hear how those scenes are filmed, because as Clare said, one time, she hit Sarah’s stunt so hard that she got a black eye and a huge bump on her head for 3 weeks.  They also talked briefly about their new endeavors.  Clare works on her website geeknation.com while J. is working on The Hypnotist and the upcoming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  J. was mum about what his role would be in the series, but from previews it looks like he will be a mutant.  Overall, it was a great panel.  There were many tid-bits fans wouldn’t get from any other source.

The rest of our day was just walking around and observing the costumes.  Our costumes were ditched the day before.  We couldn’t handle two days of being Walt and Jesse.  Their life is beyond our realm…  The weekend was a success.  We had fun, saw some things we hadn’t seen before, met new people and enjoyed being ourselves.  We can’t wait until next year!

written by Adrian Puryear, Sherif Elkhatib and Taylor Lowe