Yesterday was D-Day with the final countdown to Breaking Bad’s end starting in earnest and from the looks of things throughout the week in New York, people could not wait to see how the end of Heisenberg will come about. There was a Breaking Bad marathon being shown at Lincoln Center a couple weeks ago, the Museum of the Moving Image recently opened up a Breaking Bad exhibit, as well as numerous screening parties last night….one of which I went to. It was complete with Los Pollos Hermanos chicken and biscuits (Hell yes), Breaking Bad themed cocktails, and blue meth that they were giving to the audience that were used as props on the show. I would have stayed at the place until the end of the show if it wasn’t chock full of Breaking Bad fans who were ready to feast their eyes on Blood Money….which I bet most of the screening parties throughout the city were like. I felt like a fish in a sardine can. That’s no way to watch any episode of Breaking Bad….there’s enough tension and stress in each episode let alone having to deal with any outside of it.
And boy, did this episode start off with a flash forward bang. We find out the White family’s house has been taped off and stripped by the police. Local kids are using the pool as a mini skate park and the walls of the house have been graffiti’ed. However, Walt can’t help but go back. As we watch him walk through his former house for the first time since he’s been exposed (and who exposes him? Jesse? Hank? Skyler? All three of them have an arc in this episode of which Walt is a central figure.), we take in the scope of the situation. Everyone knows who he is and he’s lost what he had. We find out that he’s also there to get the last vial of ricin. Who the hell is it for? And why the hell does he need an M-60?!?! The opening scene was executed perfectly because the only piece of dialogue was Walt greeting his neighbor with a frightening “Hello, Carol” which was perfect because it gave the viewer a chance to chew and digest the scenery of the White house.
Skyler’s arc in this episode is that of someone who still wants to salvage Walt from rotting. Walt plays the role of good father and owner of a car wash well but there are still forces at play that attempt to pull Heisenberg out to control the vessel…whether it be Lydia trying to get him back into the game or Saul needing help to get Jesse to chill the hell out. Skyler is trying desperately to keep Heisenberg at bay and recoils at any talk about Walt’s former criminal life. When she finds out what Lydia is there for, she goes medieval on that ass. And hell, it’s always entertaining watching Lydia react to getting yelled at or being intimidated.
Jesse’s arc in this episode was about being emo and trying to salvage something that resembles a soul. Badger’s Star Trek script that he tells Skinny Pete about now seems like an allegory of how Jesse tried to win but got his guts painfully phased out in the process. He bore witness to the murder of a child last season. He also knows that the only true father figure he really had, Mike the cleaner, is dead. It’s painfully obvious to him despite any of the lies Walter or Saul tell him. He tries to deal by trying to get Saul to give boatloads of cash to Drew Sharp’s family and Mike’s daughter. However, Walt and Saul let Jesse know that that can’t happen. So Jesse copes by giving the money away to anyone who may need it.
However, Hank’s arc is the one that is focal to the episode. We start where we left off last half-season….with Hank’s realization that Walt is Heisenberg. Heisenberg is Walt. He’s leaves the bathroom to put “Leaves of Grass” in his bag and when he opens the sliding door to get to Walt’s backyard, it happens to be at the same moment that Marie mentions the devil. Coincidence? I think not. Hank’s drive home ends with a panic attack that results in a hospital visit. However, we all know that Hank isn’t going to take a break from work. He is going to review all of the Heisenberg files to find where he actually dropped the ball. In the meantime, Walt figures out he’s missing “Leaves of Grass” and finds out that there’s a GPS tracker on his car. Walt drives to Hank’s house the next moment he gets a chance to to check on how Hank has been doing since his hospital visit. Right when Walt is about to leave, the Heisenberg hubris peers his ugly head. He needs to confront Hank about the GPS tracker. Hank decides, “Fuck it” and wallops Walt right in the grill with declarations of “IT WAS YOU. IT WAS YOU ALL ALONG” and stuff about how Walt doesn’t care about family. Heisenberg does not give a rat’s ass though. He tells Hank that it doesn’t matter what he does from here on out…because cancer will kill him soon anyways so what’s the point? The episode ends with Hank stating that he feels like he doesn’t know who Walt is anymore and Walt chillingly telling Hank that if he doesn’t know who he’s dealing with, then he should “tread lightly”. Ooooooooooooooooooooooohweeeeeeeeeee!
I feel like the cat and mouse game between Hank and Heisenberg will be the most interesting part of the season by far. I didn’t think a confrontation between Hank and Walt would happen so soon and I thought it’d be a slow burn like the start of most of the seasons in Breaking Bad but it seems like Vince Gilligan wanted us to jump right in to the cooker. We can only guess what happens in the 7 episodes between now and Walt’s trip home to get the other ricin capsule.