The eternal desire for endlessness born when indulging a series that enters a league of exceptionless has been stored in the bellies of every Breaking Bad fan since the series hit a status of critical acclaim. When it’s good, you want it to last forever; a stream of never-ending adventures containing all the elements that attributed in your heads-over-heels emotional connection with characters and their fictional existence. BUT WHEN IT’S GREAT, the looming end is the destination you await like Christmas or any other gift-giving holiday, and Breaking Bad has long crossed that line.
The ending is the most anticipated televised event that has attracted massive attention. This entire tangent has unsuccessfully exclaimed a universal excitement for the final 8 episodes which will coffin a series that will resurface in our children children’s heyday. Vince Gilligan’s masterpiece is a rare modern classic worthy of Nick-At-Nite syndication; which is like being inducted in the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. The next 8 weeks isn’t me attempting to review with biased eyes, but to document my thoughts on this rollercoaster.
“Blood Money”, Season 5 Episode 9 begins where Episode 1 of Season 5 begun, in an unknown period with a Walter White looking more like a meth user than successful Scarface entrepreneur. We last saw him leaving a diner in New Hampshire on his 52nd birthday, now he’s returned to his former home, abandoned, boarded, and the headquarters for skating teens shredding in the dried pool . He breaks in, and you notice the word “Heisenberg” graffiti on the wall, an indication that his double life identity has been publicly unearthed. Once recovering the hidden vial of Ricin, Walt returns outside where his neighbor Carol catches a glimpse of his escape, her terrified expression and horrified shriek again confirms that the world has been brought into the loop; he’s obviously on the run, and equipped with Ricin and an M60 machine gun. I foresee a war is brewing.
The next scene returns to the present. Hank is still suffering from uncovering the truth that Walter White and Heisenberg is one and the same. His expression is a bull imprison in a crimson painted room. Before leaving the bathroom, Hank steals Walt’s copy of “Leaves of Grass”, the eye-opening evidence and rushes his wife Marie away blaming an illness for his abrupt behavior. One of my favorite scenes was Hank’s panic attack while driving home. The anxiety is suffocating and his reaction had to be perfect. 5 seasons of building and the dispelling of Walter’s illusion couldn’t be simply Yeezus shrugged away. The car crash, the panic attack, all perfectly aligns with the agonizing complexity of realities revelation.
The focus then returns to Walter, adjusting to life as a successful Car Wash owner. The history repentance of most drug kingpins is that they aren’t able to readjust into normality, they live and die by their empire, but Walt has accomplished acquiring unimaginable riches and now lives to love his family and business. He even inquirers about expanding. I was surprised by the early return of Lydia, and the swiftness that the foundation Walt created has started to crumble since the Blue Crystals potency has dropped 67% since Heisenberg hung up his apron. She pleads for the iron chef’s return, but is quickly dismissed. Skylar’s verbal assault awakened the idea that she is content with Walt’s reforming, but fears any chance that he’ll relapse back into the darker life. This speaks volumes of their relationship, have they re-achieved their happily ever after or simply business partners?
Jesse Pinkman, the knight to a malevolent king. Jesse Pinkman, the angel born in hell. Jesse Pinkman finally achieved the fat stacks he’s been yearning, but conquering a shallow dream through nightmarish solutions has his soul anchored by guilt. With 2.5 million dollars in two duffle bags, Jesse returns to Saul requesting the money be delivered to Mike Ehrmantraut’s granddaughter and the family of Drew Sharp. Of course Saul snitches to Walt, he fears that this large donation would attract unwarranted attention and do more harm than good. Walt’s returning of funds to Jesse shows their first interaction in quiet sometime. The teacher and student sit in a room, arm’s length apart but the atmosphere represents how far they’ve drifted apart. Walt wants Jesse to live without being tormented by their sins, Jesse accuses Walt of killing Mike, which Walt does his best to reiterate the lie about Mike’s sudden disappearance. There’s very little eye contact between the two, Jesse’s distrust aids in their growing distance. This will be key as the series creeps toward the ending. Regardless if acknowledged or not, Walt’s survival has only been prolonged because of his partner’s assistance. Later we see Jesse playing Robin Hood by giving money to a bum, which turns into a sporadic paperboy throwing scene of making it rain across Albuquerque, a grand total of $10,000 dollar being sprawled across lawns, bushes, and into the hands of the homeless. Don’t be surprise if he’s getting baptized in a few episodes, reading the holy book, and preaching the based god’s good word. He’s searching for redemption, a road that doesn’t easily forgive.
We start to see Hank’s brain moving in overdrive, taking a week off work while trying to fill in gaps that strengthens Walt’s connection as Heisenberg. While Walt begins to get suspicious, he still has the paranoia of a hustler, while throwing up one night, he realizes his “Leaves of Grass” is missing, which brings him outside finding a planted GPS tracker on his car, the same tracker that him and Hank used when tracing Gus in Season 4. This shows Walt’s genius – his ability to process situations with the smallest resources – in comparison to Hank who needs a welcome mat at his feet before reaching the solution. Windows 98 vs a OS X Mountain Lion (version 10.8) .The next day, Walt pays Hank a visit, a surprise confrontation. The small talk doesn’t last long especially when Walt reveals the tracker; Hank is completely overflowing with the rage of a thousand Charizards. There’s this moment, where Hank clicks a button to drop the garage door blocking any escape is done so smoothly, the dark room being the setting of one magnetic moment where before any words are spoken the eyes have their own dialogue. I always suspected once Hank uncovered the truth, he’d be conflicted; trapped in a vacuum of denial, but the conviction of his punch reassured me he cared nothing of the man who stood before him. It was the Cassius Clay right hook of justice, a punch that Walt never expected to receive.
Their conversation is intense; Hank can barely contain the lust to kill, his eyes, HIS EYES they are glossed with murderer reliance, while Walt reflects innocence. Even his soul feels he’s being unjustly accused, while being showered with accusations of truth, Walt says “My right hand to God. I’m just a guy who owns a car wash who’s dying of cancer. That’s all I am. What’s the point of coming after me?” The pity party invite was just delivered. Blood Money showed Walt return to chemotherapy, so there’re strong suspicions that the cancer has returned like the phantom menace and Walt has only 6 months to live. He tells all this to Hank, stating that despite all your saying, “I’ll never see a jail cell.” He never denies or confirms his second life, while Hank begins to slowly lose control of the situation; Season 5 of being punched and Walt has the chill of an ice cream sandwich between the bosoms of Kate Upton in a blizzard. Hank’s request to remove the kids from the house is met with the face of Hinesburg. Once Walt refuses to overturn the kids and Hank confesses, “I don’t even know you anymore”, lead to probably the most quotable line of the night “If you don’t know who I am… my advice would be to tread lightly.” Boom.
The war isn’t over, but round one is a draw from my perspective. Despite physical damage, Walt has emotional control, while Hank is completely erratic, rattled, and slowly walking the plank toward a sea of insanity. The pacing is a mix of the turtle and the hare, with only 8 episodes to complete, and a lot of story to cover, every scene is meant to propel the plot into its final conclusions. I commend Peter Gould’s prowess for dialogue, but high praises to the actors and actress that body language and facial expressions spoke to the audience in ways that words just wouldn’t do justice.