This episode felt a lot quicker than last week’s, but definitely not due to a lack of intensity or awesomeness. Perhaps we’ve all finally gotten settled back into the swing of these characters. Either that or it was so tense that the hour just flew by. Possibly both.
In typical Breaking Bad style, we start with some weird character we’ve never seen before — an old guy leaving his house to get into his car. Move over, Carol, this man is now my favorite. He suddenly spots a stack of cash that Santa Jesse left for him in the night, and follows a trail of to the man himself, who’s lying on a dark green playground Merry-go-round, spinning it around with his feet.
The green is important here — it’s very reminiscent of Jesse’s first scene last episode, and it’s the first actual color that Walt started to wear when he began cooking. And, of course, it’s the color of the title credits, which show up right about now.
After the title, we end up right back where we were at the end of last week, though this time we’re outside of the Shraeder garage. The door slowly opens back up and Walt steps foward to his own car, giving Hank one last look. God, the end of that conversation must have been awkward. Did Hank tell him to get out or did Walt have to ask him to lift the door up, or what?
They stare each other down again and Hank lowers the door dramatically, and then the fervent drum beat that tells you things are very stressful right now picks up as Walt jumps into his car and takes off, almost driving over that kid’s yellow RC car.
He doesn’t get very far before he stops suddenly in the middle of the street and calls the carwash, hoping to speak to Skyler. Except Skyler’s already on the phone — with Hank. And Walt, who can see Hank emerging from his garage with cellphone in hand, knows it. We see a shot of her ignoring his call and another scene of Walt racing through the carwash trying to find her just to confirm it, but yeah, Skyler’s definitely meeting with Hank.
Hank is waiting for Skyler at a diner — though not the one where Mike would meet Lydia, I don’t think — and the second he sees her, he gives her a warm, understanding hug. He’s pretty convinced she’s innocent at this point, though he does know that she knows and cites some of her recent behavior as evidence. “So much makes sense to me now – you jumping in the pool, you sending us your kids. I get it. I just wish I’d seen it sooner. He’s a monster.” She goes along with him silently with her head bowed, waiting to see how much he knows, right up until he pulls out a tape recorder and tells her to tell him everything.
Skyler, understandably, balks at this. “Here? Right now?” Hank backs down a little in the most half-hearted way possible, but tells her that he doesn’t want to see Walt run out the clock on him. And that’s how Skyler finds out the cancer is back. Nice, Hank. I know your brother in law is a murderous drug dealer, but come on.
Then Skyler very pragmatically asks for a lawyer, and as Hank tries to talk her down from this, she makes a scene in order to get out of there as quickly as possible. First she tells him that he clearly isn’t motivated by family, that, “it sounds like what you want is to get Walt at all costs,” And then she starts shouting, “Am I under arrest? Are you arresting me?” over and over again as she runs the hell out. Someone was quoted on Talking Bad later in the night as saying that Anna Gunn should now try to skip out on all her meal tabs by doing that, which would be genius.
Next we see Huell and, Bill Burr — Hi, Bill Burr! — with the unlaundered money at its location in the storage facility. They have an adorable minute together “channeling Scrooge McDuck,” and then it’s off to deliver the money to Walt.
He’s with Saul at the law office trying to figure out what options they have. Saul suggests that maybe they send Hank on a “trip to Belize.” You know, what Walt did with Mike (so we’re definitely very sure that Saul knows Mike is dead now). Walt erupts in anger at the suggestion, as Hank is family and family is still off-limits. “Send him to Belize… I should send you to Belize,” he grumbles. Pretty sure he won’t, unless the rumors that Vince Gilligan wants to do a Saul spin-off are just to throw us off the scent. Actually, come to think of it now, I wouldn’t put it past the guy.
At the end of the scene, Saul goes off to look for Jesse (Saul is wearing purple too, by the way — ironically considering he suggested killing Marie’s husband) and Walt takes the money, now in a bunch of containers, and goes to bury it in the desert. The scene is incredibly reminiscent of the opening desert scene in the pilot, right down to the eerie silence and even the camera angle on the rocks.
Back at the White house, the Schraders are here to talk some sense into Skyler. Marie now knows everything and sits down with her sister in an attempt to get her to open up. Naturally, it has the opposite effect. Hank seems to think that Skyler found out around the time that she walked into the pool, but Marie believes it goes back deeper, to before the gambling story Skyler made up to save their asses. Then she asks the worst question possible: “Did you know since before Hank was shot?”
Skyler’s silence says it all, and Marie responds by slapping her across the face. “You won’t talk to Hank because you think Walt is going to get away with this,” she says, and she’s completely right. She storms out of the room and Skyler follows her, in one agonizingly claustrophobic take, and comes across her taking Holly out of the house. The two sisters shout over each other as baby Holly cries until Hank comes in and tells Marie to give the baby up. This scene, by the way, is incredibly hard to watch. I know that it’s a fake baby for half of it and a real baby dubbed over with louder screams for the other half, but damn if it doesn’t make me feel really anxious.
We come back to Walt digging away in the desert, his immaculately beige clothes now stained with dirt. In some of the farther shots he looks weirdly like a caricature of Bin Laden, with the t-shirt turban on his head and with his weirdly dark beard.
Because Walt is a terrible genius, he’s bought a GPS, memorizes the coordinates of the money, then smashes the GPS and buy a lottery ticket with the memorized numbers to make sure he doesn’t forget them.
Upon hearing him come home to the darkened kitchen, Skyler opens the door to the bedroom — and we get a sudden interesting shot of her standing in shadow with the light illumating the door behind her. She asks Walt questions about the money as he undresses to bathe, and while she’s telling him that she didn’t tell Hank anything and he’s standing there in his trademark tighty-whiteys, he collapses on the bathroom floor.
Walt wakes up on the floor wrapped in a pastel colored comforter — similar to the clothing that Skyler’s wearing, come to think of it. He’s been out about 4 hours and asks Skyler if the fact that his cancer is back “is making him happy.” “I can’t remember the last time I was happy,” she responds. He then groggily tells Skyler that he’s sure she made a deal with Hank, but she can’t let him take the money — that it has to go to their children. “Please don’t let me have done all this for nothing.” Odd, how he’s still clinging to the idea that he did this for his family and not to feel like an empowered, successful person for the first time in his life, but okay.
And then something I wasn’t expecting happens: Skyler pulls a Heisenberg (or a Skysenberg — thanks again, Talking Bad) and says this. “The way Hank talks, he’s got his suspicions… but not much else. You can’t give yourself up without giving up the money[…]. So maybe our best move here is to stay quiet.” Jesus Christ, Skyler.
There’s an interesting cut to Lydia blindfolded in a car — I almost think they’re trying to draw parallels between the two characters, as both women seem to want to reap the benefits of the dangerous business they’re in without actually getting their hands dirty. Anyway, we soon realize that Lydia’s been brought to a junkyard to speak to her current meth cookers. She demands to see the lab, citing that their dip in quality has contributed to a $50 million shortfall. Dang, who knew meth heads were so committed to quality?
We follow her and the head meth cooker (I know he’s been on the show before but I can’t remember his name, and it’s really not going to be that important in a few minutes) down a tunnel into what basically looks like an underground RV full of meth equipment. Lydia, by the way, is wearing expensive Louboutin heels to a freaking meth lab, making her officially the worst.
The conversation continues: Lydia’s says that their current product is “not up to the standards of your predecessor.” That might not matter to their domestic buyers, but Lydia’s contact in the Czech Republic are not happy. We also learn that Todd hasn’t actually been working here after all, because the meth cooker doesn’t trust him. Oh, irony.
The guy keeping watch on top of the lab calls down that there’s a problem, and everyone goes back up except Lydia, who… immediately ducks down and covers her delicate ears. Uh oh. We hear shouting. Uh oh. And then shooting. A shell even comes down into the lab and fall near where Lydia is crouched. Then the door opens above and it’s Todd.
Mother. fucking. TODD.
He helps Lydia up to the surface and guides her around the dead bodies, because of course she doesn’t want to see the carnage she helped to create and decides to close her eyes so she can successfully ignore it. There’s an amazing shot (I couldn’t get a decent screencap but it’s pretty striking) of the red bottoms of her dusty Louboutins as they step over the red blood in the dirt, and I really should have seen this coming given Gilligan’s penchant for dressing someone in red right before they kill somebody: And of course it would be on the one part of Lydia’s body that you can’t see just from looking at her standing there, as she wants to pretend that death is not something that she could be responsible for even though she is, constantly.
Speaking of which, Meth Cooker guy isn’t dead yet, so somebody finished him off with a single shot to the head and Lydia starts as if she’s about to collapse. Girl! Really? You’re making the rest of us look bad here.
Finally we swing back around to Hank and Marie. Surprisingly Marie is still wearing her usual purple — I kind of thought that she’d have started to move on after what happened in her last scene, but maybe instead she’s clinging to her standard color more then ever now. She’s insistent that he tell the other guys at the DEA about his suspicions but Hank is wary. He doesn’t want to “admit that the person i’ve been chasing the pat year is my own brother-in-law,” and thinks it will end his career. But, Marie tells him, what if they catch Walt without Hank’s help and find out that he knew all along but didn’t say anything?
That seems enough to get Hank’s butt into a suit and out the door, and next we see home walking into the office and standing alone at his desk. Everybody’s favorite sidekick Steve Gomez comes in to bring him up to speed, but not without dropping a bomb on Hank’s day: Jesse’s been arrested, and he’s currently being interviewed about the mysterious millions he’s been tossing out his car window around town.
We cut to the two cops interrogating Jesse — if they look familiar, it’s because they’re also the cops who interrogated him when Brock was poisoned back in Season 4. I find myself hoping that Hank will recognize the same look of Walt! depression on Jesse’s face that we sometimes see on Skyler’s, because it’s clear that he’s 500% done with everything right now.
One of the cops sees Hank in the window and they walk outside to talk to him. “I have a history with Jesse Pinkman,” Hank says, and tells them that he wants to get him “cranked up enough that he starts yapping” to see if he knows anything about an “active case” that Hank is working on.
It’s interesting here to see how Hank is able to so easily manipulate these two police officers where he failed in manipulating Skyler. What he says to them isn’t necessarily false — he is working on another case, and he does probably think that speaking to Jesse will rile him up enough to get the information that those other cops are looking for. But the way he says it is much, much smoother than the way he sounds when he’s trying to dissuade Skyler from getting a lawyer. Is it that he’s had enough time to emotionally prepare himself for this particular lie? After all, he met with Skyler only minutes after his encounter with Walt. Or is it simply that he understands the politics of law enforcement much better than he does the politics of his own family dynamic?
Either way, the cops are very amenable to Hank’s proposal and step aside, allowing Hank in to see Jesse. We watch him open the door with his back facing us, then he closes the door —
AND THE EPISODE ENDS.
Six episodes left, guys. Still not sure how we’re going to get to flash-foward Walt’s giant gun and empty house, but the gears are definitely being set into motion here.
- This animation Star Trek bit from last week’s premiere is just priceless
- Need a reminder of the last 4 1/2 seasons? This actually helps a lot.
- Darth Heisenberg. ‘Nuff said.