With last week’s tension-filled ending, it was clear that we are in for one exciting half-season. This episode was even more high-tension than the last, with the Schraders pitted against the Whites and the drug empire that Heisenberg left behind suffering a coup. My highlights of the episode were: Marie’s return to kleptomania; Todd’s scarily cheerful and gentlemanly veneer; and Jesse’s return to a catatonic state.
Jesse in the Playground
What a haunting scene. The creakiness of that roundabout was just perfect. Though I question why the old man hung around for so long; I mean, sure I’d be curious about this huge amount of money but at some point, you gotta think, “There’s no way this amount of money is legit…” and just leave. I definitely would not try approaching the guy who’s aimlessly going around a child’s play park and has a body bag full of cash in his car. Poor Jesse though, I really don’t know what this season has installed for him, but then again, it doesn’t look like Jesse does either.
Walt vs Hank
I was totally expecting Walt to run over that little kid’s remote control car. Secondly, that phone call scene was brilliant. I loved the fact that Walt was so calm in the garage with Hank, then instantly panicked as he couldn’t get a hold of Skyler. The seamless transition from Heisenberg into Walter is getting better and better.
Hank vs Skylar
I have to say, I was one of those people who hated Skyler in the early seasons. These last two seasons though, she has really shone through both as a character and in Anna Gunn’s performance of her. This episode was a continuation of that awesome badass Skyler that I now love. Despite her terrified expression, she managed to hold her own against Hank and not succumb to his rather obvious ploys.
When he pulled that voice recorder out, I cringed so hard. It really goes to show how underestimated Skyler is. She’s made some questionable decisions in the past (-cough- Ted) but she really has made the most out of a really crappy situation – she’s clever, resourceful, and incredibly strong to have survived so much.
Glad to see even Huel gets a bit of character exposition. It occurred to me that this being the last season for everyone, perhaps the writers are making sure everyone gets one last swansong. Last week was Badger and Skinny Pete’s amazing stoner talk, this week was probably Huel and Kuby’s last major scene and it was a great send off to be able to lie down on that giant pile of money.
Saul, again, stealing the show with his amazing “Send him to Berlize” line, then Walt’s joking “I’ll send you to Belize!” Hopefully that isn’t foreshadowing any kind of Walt murdering Saul scene in future episodes, I’ll be devastated if Saul doesn’t make it through to the end.
Skyler vs Marie
Oh thank god, someone told Marie. I kind of hoped there would be a few more episodes before she found out, if only so she could say inappropriate things and be completely confused by everyone’s dark demeanour. But she’s back in her trademark purple, and boy is she as annoying as ever. Her little clash with Skyler seemed incredibly over-dramatic – I mean, was that slap really necessary? Marie is just far too underdeveloped of a character to suddenly have any major role in this season. Hopefully this was her defining moment and we won’t have to watch her be so crazy again. I mean, especially when against the masterful Anna Gunn, I just don’t feel like Betsy Brandt can hold up to her. Though I did enjoy her pathetic attempt to steal the baby, but once again, Anna Gunn just commanded that scene entirely.
The Return of Todd
I’m fascinated by Lydia as a character. She is just a complete mess of cognitive dissonance. At first, I wondered what the purpose of all those close up shots of her stilettos and legs were, because Breaking Bad rarely sexualises its female characters like that. But as that scene went on, I came to realise what it stood for. She puts on this act of being a straight-lace, rather uptight and incredibly paranoid perfect princess (and that’s what the heels correspond to), but in reality, she orchestrated a mass murder of some of the biggest names in the meth-dealing world. She is under enormous pressure from her contact in the Czech Republic, but she knows exactly how to deal with it. A bit scary how she always jumps to murder to solve her problems, but hey, it seems to work. Then of course, back to being Miss Princess, she doesn’t want to see any of the slaughter and blindly stumbles through it, back into her safe little world. I hope we see much more of her, because I suspect there’s a lot more to her than meets the eye.
Todd terrifies me though. Here’s a boy, who for all appearances, doesn’t look like the sharpest tool in the box. But then, he (with help from his uncle), calmly pulls off a huge coup against Declan’s gang without any worries or hesitation at all. Then, the way he guides Lydia through the bodies, and comforts her and reassures her…it’s chilling. This guy is a psychopath. We watched him shoot down a young boy unquestioningly in the last season. I cower in fear at what he will accomplish this season.
The Return of Walt
Oooh, coordinates on a lottery ticket? I can’t tell if that’s really smart or really stupid. Because I mean, if that lottery ticket stays on the fridge door for very long, it’s going to look insanely suspicious (who keeps weeks-old lottery tickets?). Plus, are the Whites the sort of family who buy lottery tickets? I don’t know, I think this will come back to bite Walter in the ass.
I do feel sorry for Skyler in this scene. Remember that Walt thinks Skyler just went talking to Hank straight away. I was so scared for her – what if this is the unforgiveable Heisenberg moment that Vince Gilligan has hinted at for so long? What if Walt is so angry at Skyler that he can’t contain himself and this is her end?
So I was incredibly relieved when Walt fainted…and then incredibly touched when he woke up, Skyler curled up next to him, blanket and pillow around him and a towel on his head. I think people forget that before all this happened, Skyler and Walt were happy together and had been for decades. I liked this little moment, because it really reconnected the two, and reaffirmed the deep connection that they had and lost and now regained.
Then Walt, with his plea that all of this wouldn’t be for naught, for a moment resembled the Walter White we knew back in Season 1, who was just doing all this for his family. You know, the Walter White we could actually sympathise with. Once again, the callback to how it all started, is so vitally important in telling this story: the story of turning Mr Chips into Scarface. So sure, he might be sympathetic in our eyes right now, but I am eagerly anticipating when that is all going to change.
And then of course, Skyler is just so astute. She knows she is the key to Hank’s investigation, and she won’t give it up. I honestly do think she cares about Walt, but I think she also has the sense of prioritising herself and her children too. I will be so angry if Skyler ends up betraying Walt (unless Walt does something to provoke that) because I really do think she’s strongest when she’s fighting. Hank made the mistake of thinking Skyler was a victim; she was, but she’s also a survivor, and that is going to make all the difference.
Thank god they addressed the problem that Hank faces if he goes in with accusations against his brother-in-law. I mean, to some extent, it feels like a lazy plot device so that Hank can go all Rambo with his investigation of Walt. The show wouldn’t be nearly as exciting if the DEA had to jump through all the administrative hoops to take down Heisenberg. No, for entertainment value, I’d much prefer watching Hank go lone wolf on this one. So I was glad that this seems to be going in that direction, though I worry that Hank is being a bit reckless with it all.
The last scene with Jesse and the two interrogators was just golden. It served as such a contrast to when he was last in the interrogation room and was such a loud-mouth with that fabricated story about Wendy the prostitute. Then Hank’s sweet-talking of the two interrogators was perfectly pitched, though I wonder for what good it will be. I can’t see Jesse just spilling the beans straight away. He’s come way too far for that to happen. I hope we get to see some explosive showdown between the two, and honestly, I hope Jesse gets the upper hand. It would be too easy for Hank otherwise.
I should have done this in my last blog post but hey, I wanted to put down some predictions about the major characters here just on the off chance I can say “Ha I saw it coming!” in a few week’s time (or just forget about everything if they’re wrong).
Walter – Dead, irredeemably dead, going to have a hubris-fuelled downfall (definitely not dead to cancer)
Skyler – Alive, has a moment of redemption and complete badassery, gets away with the kids
Walt Jnr and Holly – Both alive, but never find out the full story though Walt Jnr has his suspicions, and he makes up with his mother
Hank – Alive, proves Walter’s guilt to the DEA but Walter dies before he can be prosecuted/imprisoned, career ends in tatters
Marie – Alive, still a crazy kleptomaniac, probably won’t see much more of her in a major situation for the rest of the season
Jesse – Alive, but mentally traumatised forever, won’t turn on Walt to the DEA but orchestrates own way to get back at him or is somehow forced to get back at Walt; I think there will be a scene with Jesse and Walt pointing guns at each other, but I don’t know how that’ll end…I hope he’s the one that brings down Walt
Saul Goodman and Crew – All alive, but probably going to end up in jail
Lydia – Dead as a result of this major drug war she’s started
Todd – Also dead, or at least imprisoned