Major spoilers if you haven't seen tonight's episode of Breaking Bad ("Blood Money")!
The above video takes a look at the making of the final scene in "Blood Money." Directed by Bryan Cranston, the episode saw Walt and Hank face off against one another in scene that apparently played out without stunt doubles. A lot of padding was used to keep the actors safe as they threw down in what may very well have been one of the most heated and emotional moments of the series.
Let's talk about the insanity that was the final scene of "Blood Money." We've been left hanging since last year over Hank's realization that Walter White - his brother-in-law and friend - may be the very man he's been looking for all this time. The elusive Heisenberg has been under Hank's nose since before his origin story began and he was never the wiser until he made that connection while sitting on the throne in the White's bathroom. Tonight's mid-season premiere did what Breaking Bad has been doing since its first season - it delivered and then some. Not only did we get to see the full explosion of Hank's reaction, but the series took it a step further in staging the very confrontation I would've sworn we would be waiting for until the finale. Honestly, did anyone actually think we'd see Walt and Hank head-to-head so soon?
I thought they'd drag it out. I thought we'd spend the whole season watching Hank try to find solid proof that Walt is Heisenberg. But that's what I love so much about Breaking Bad. It's never entirely predictable, which leaves plenty of room for surprises. Who would have guessed that Walt would've discovered the missing book or the tracking device on his car so quickly? And I never would have predicted that he'd confront Hank so quickly either. Then again, given Walt's ego, I can't say I'm entirely surprised. But the moment that garage door went down, I did fear for Hank's safety and actually found myself wondering if this was really happening. Were they really going to admit that they know to each other like this? I'll admit, I was holding my breath through that entire fight, amazed to see Hank calling Walt out, not only for being Heisenberg, but for all of the betrayals. He's made all of the connections and realizes that this person he trusted was involved in or responsible for some major problems in his life over the past year. And while all of this is happening, I'm wondering how this scene could possibly end with both men surviving. How do they walk away from this? We don't know that yet, but it ended with a threat from Walt: "If you don't know who I am, then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly."
As scary as Walt's words were, I'll admit, I'm kind relieved. For one thing, it looks like Hank can walk away from this, at least for now. The threat suggests that Walt thinks he can get the upper hand on Hank simply by scaring him and also throwing in the near certainty that he's not going to survive the cancer this time around. That buys Hank some time, at the very least. Because I really don't want Hank to die. In fact, I'm pulling for Hank to come out of this series a winner, whether or not he survives. For everything he's been through, I feel like he deserves it. But people don't always get what they deserve on this show, so whether or not Hank wins is anyone's guess. That brings me to the next positive thing to pull from those final moments. Hank realizes he doesn't know Walt. That's huge. It could be the thing that keeps him alive. Because if Hank believed there was much or any of the Walter White he once knew in the man standing in front of him, he might let even the tiniest part of his guard down and that could be his undoing. He sees a stranger in front of him. Maybe he has some chance of surviving this situation and eventually taking Walt down.
Kudos to Bryan Cranston and Dean Norris for taking on this fight scene themselves. It worked beautifully.
We'll have a full recap of tonight's episode up by tomorrow. In the meantime, check out AMC's inside look at the episode: