Usually I start writing these recaps immediately after the episode ends. This time I needed an extra half hour to collect myself because holy god, if that wasn’t the most nerve-wracking live hour of television I’ve ever witnessed. And to think that people were watching the VMAs instead.
We start with Todd — which, looking back on the rest of the episode, really should have been a dead giveaway that things were about to go straight to hell. He’s standing outside a diner leaving a voicemail for Walt to tell him about what went down with Deckland (oh, so that was his name!) It’s terrifyingly creepy how nonchalant he is when he says, “We had some differences of opinion and it got a little… messy.” Then he goes back in and brags to the rest of his crew about how “perfect” the train heist from the beginning of the fifth season was, conveniently ignoring the part where he shot a little kid in cold blood. After staring down the waitress and stopping in the bathroom to wipe the blood off their shoes, they all decide to move the operation back to New Mexico. So look out for that, I guess. I’m sure Todd will show up at Walt’s house during a really unfortunate time and everything will hit the fan, or something along those lines.
After a commercial we come back to Jesse in the interrogation room with the two cops from last week. In a brilliant editing move, time has slowed down to an agonizing crawl for Jesse while it’s sped up for the cops until it rights itself when Hank walks in. He immediately turns off the camera in the room and appeals to Jesse, who isn’t even looking at him, and his voice gets progressively lower and lower as he explain what he knows about Walt. Is he scared that someone will overhear them, or is this a negotiation tactic he’s using to make Jesse pay closer attention to him? Either way, Jesse is about to take the bait when Saul barges in shouting about civil rights and how Hank beat the kid to a pulp last time they were alone together. God damn it, Saul, you’re not wrong but you have the worst timing.
Cut to Walt shouting at Saul over the phone, probably to get Jesse’s bail posted. Walter Junior comes home and from off-screen, we hear him yell that Walt is late for work and that he’s going over to Marie’s to do some kind of errand for her. That would be a pretty smart move on Marie’s part if we weren’t dealing with Heisenberg here — Walt immediately figures out what she’s trying to do and grabs Junior on his way out the door to tell him aaaall about how his cancer’s back, because that’s not emotionally manipulative or anything.
RJ Mitte is especially great in these scene, by the way. He’s doing “quiet panic” real well, and it’s a shame we haven’t gotten to see that much of him this season. I suspect Junior’s not going to get out of this series without hearing more about the terrible things his father has done, so that’s going to be something to look forward to. You know, like in that way that people look forward to midterms or dental surgery.
After a quick scene with Marie and Hank where we learn that he still hasn’t told anyone else at the DEA about his brother and law, we cut back to Skyler and Walt. He’s sitting on the bed and she has a video camera aimed at him, and in a fantastic callback to the first dialogue from the pilot episode, he begins to say, “My name is Walter Hartwell White. I live at 308 Negra Arroyo Lane, Albuquerque, New Mexico… this is my confession.” Oh shit.
Unfortunately we’re not immediately treated to a rousing cover of Confessions Part II. Instead we get a commercial break, and when we come back, Walt and Skyler are sitting at a Mexican restaurant with two empty chairs in front of them. Hank and Marie walk in, of course, and sit down in the seats — Hank across from Walt, Marie across from Skyler. Gosh, and you thought the dinner between Walt, Skyler, and Jesse was awkward. That poor waiter is not going to be able to sleep tonight and he will have no idea why.
Since you all know how obsessed I am with the Color Theory, it’s worth noting that Walt and Skyler are wearing light colors, while Hank and Marie are in darker ones. Marie is not in her usual purple — she’s got on a black dress. This is going to feel real thematically appropriate six seconds from now. Similarly, Skyler’s turtleneck and Walt’s buttoned up shirt and sweater provide an interesting contrast to Hank and Marie’s more open necklines. These are things I notice because I’m a dork with an English degree who spent a lot of formative years watching What Not To Wear.
Not surprisingly, the conversation begins about Junior. Walt feels that Marie was trying to lure their children to the Shraeder house and warns against doing that in the future. Skyler adds that whatever they think Walt did, “this is not an ongoing situation. It’s in the past. There is nothing to go after here.” Marie counters by suggesting that Walter go ahead and kill himself, since that’ll save them all the trouble of waiting for the cancer. See, what did I tell you? Her dress is black just like her broken, damaged soul. Everybody gives Marie a weird look and the Whites decide they’re done with this conversation, but not before slowly sliding a DVD over the table.
I unfortunately didn’t get much of a chance to transcribe what Walter says on the DVD past “this is my confession” because I was too busy doing this:
Basically, Walt “confesses” that all along it’s been Hank who’s been running his meth empire along with Gus Fring, and that he’s been blackmailing poor cancer-ridden Walter into cooking meth for him. He even goes so far as to say that Hank forced him to pay his medical bills after a failed hit by Gus, that he made Walt create the bomb that blew up Gus and Hector, and that he then kidnapped Walt’s children for three months to keep him in line. It’s a stunning performance, both for Walter and for Bryan Cranston, and it’s basically the perfect piece of reverse-blackmail.
Speaking of which, did you guys remember that the Whites paid for all of Hank’s medical bills after getting shot? Because Hank had no idea — Marie told him that their insurance that covered it. He starts to lay into her, and this is when I started shouting at my TV, because damn it that’s not Marie’s fault!
We cut to the desert, where Saul and Jesse are hanging out. Jesse’s watching a tarantula — just like the one owned by that the kid that Todd shot, because the universe is out to make Jesse feel bad constantly all the time about everything.
Walt rolls up and asks Jesse about what Hank knows. “I don’t think he’s told the rest of the DEA,” Jesse admits, which is definitely what Walt wants to hear. He remarks that he doesn’t like to see Jesse suffering and suggests that he get in touch with the guy Saul knows who can erase your entire identity and give you a fresh start somewhere else — maybe find a girl to settle down with. “You know, since I let your last one die while choking on his own vomit!” He does not say that, but he might as well, because Jesse’s not having it.
“Would you just, for once, stop working me?,” Jesse replies. “Just drop the whole concerned dad thing and tell me the truth. You’re acting like me leaving town is all about me – but it’s really about you. You need me gone because your dickhead brother-in-law is never going to let up. Just say so! Just ask me for a favor. Just tell me you don’t give a shit about me and that it’s either this or you’ll kill me the same way you killed Mike. Isn’t that what this is all about, us meeting all the way out here – in case I say no? Just tell me you need this.”
Someone please give Aaron Paul an Emmy? And also wrap him in a blanket and tell him everything will be okay. Maybe a soothing lullaby as well. And some puppies. Heck, Will Graham over on Hannibal‘s got six of ‘em and they seem to make everybody in that fandom feel a whole lot better.
Walter White does the next
worst best thing, which is to hug Jesse. In my notes I called it a “Voldemort hug of awkward sadness” and I feel this to be an accurate description:
After yet another commercial break, everyone is bummed out. Walt walks into the office to find Skyler staring blankly at the wall in front of her. Hank shuffles some papers at the DEA and gives up a trail he’s put on Jesse when Gomez calls him out on it. Saul and Jesse make the call to the identity-erasing guy and Jesse’s hands are shaking the entire time. He starts trying to smoke pot in Saul office, but Saul isn’t having any of it — apparently the guy won’t take Jesse in if he shows up high. Jesse stops lighting the joint but refuses to get rid of it. He’s clearly about to do something real awful, but Saul and Huell doesn’t seem to notice or care. Instead they set him up with a Hello Kitty-themed burner phone and drop him off by the side of the road.
Now alone and still depressed as heck, Jesse digs into his pocket, only to find that all he’s got are cigarettes — Huell must have taken the pot when he bumped into him just minutes before . Wait a second — things missing from pockets? Cigarettes? Oh SHIT
To bring it back to Hannibal, this is definitely Jesse’s Will Graham moment.
Here are what my notes say about the next ten minutes of show, verbatim:
oh my mfbegbj;wgbwejt FUCK
saul going for
he’s still going for
Now let me translate that into normal human language: Jesse barges back into Saul’s office and beats the actual crap out of him. Saul tries to reach for a gun to defend himself but Jesse gets to it first — he wants to know what Saul knows about the ricin cigarette that went missing. He’s also figured out that Walt (He still calls him “Mr. White,” bless his adorable little heart) poisoned Brock now and he is maaaad. Mad enough, in fact, to grab Saul’s car keys and get the hell out of there.
So of course, who does Saul call? That asshole, Mr. White.
We briefly cut to the most tense carwash on the face of the Earth and and oh god a car races up and wow, that’s the first time in three seasons that I’ve been relieved to see Walt. You know how when you were a kid and you were late to a class and you’d run through the hallways and slow down whenever you passed an open classroom door? That’s sort of what Walt does here, and Skyler is the door.
“Whoops don’t mind me just need to check the vending machine which definitely doesn’t have a gun hidden inside and haha silly me now I have an errand to run!”
For the amazing liar that he is, though, White really can’t get anything past Skyler. She knows something’s up.
What she probably doesn’t suspect is up is Jesse Pinkman breaking into their home and pouring gasoline all over everything. A big red jug of it, in fact. Y’all know what red means.
Okay, but really, I don’t think he’s going to do it. That that I don’t think he isn’t completely serious about setting everything on fire, but that house in the flash forward didn’t seem to have any burn damage anywhere. Someone’s going to stop him before he gets to finish the job, right? Right? Oh god, screw Jesse — somebody bring me a puppy. I can’t take much more of this.
Meanwhile in related links
- Check out this cover of the Breaking Bad theme song
- At least we’ll always have this Star Trek bit animation
- Darth Heisenberg’s looking more and more accurate now