During my recent re-watch of AMC's Breaking Bad, I've becoming increasingly more interested in Dean Norris' character Hank. Much of the series' attention is focused on Hank's pursuit of Heisenberg. Of all of the things I'm most hopeful for in the series' final season, Hank's eventual discovery of Walt and the major confrontation that could ensue is at the top of the list. It just has to happen. Whether or not it will, as well as the how and the when, remains to be seen. In the meantime, this clip from next Sunday night's episode seems like a barely-veiled nod to that.
We're in the aftermath of Gus' demise, and that evidently includes getting to see some of the reactions of the people who knew him, including the DEA Chief George Merkert, Hank's boss. As a drug kingpin, Gus hid in plain sight, and he was ballsy enough to make connections with the DEA, including Merkert, who until recently, obviously had no clue who Gus really was. The clip below has Merkert talking about Gus and feeling pretty foolish for not seeing what was right in front of him.
The best part is at the end, when he's saying, "…right in front of me. Right under my nose." Um, yeah. So what is Hank thinking? Is this situation going to make him start to question what's right under his nose?
My recent semi-obsession with Hank's story arc includes the question of whether or not his closeness to Walt has made it more difficult for him to catch Heisenberg than it would have if he was just any other criminal and not a relative. Because the easier question is really, how can he not see? But looking closely at Hank's role in this story and some of the things he's been through, I'm more convinced that he's been at a disadvantage here, not only because Walter doesn't exactly come off as drug-dealer material, but also because Walt has had the advantage of knowing his brother-in-law is DEA and finding ways to benefit from that closeness to Hank on numerous occasions.
One of the biggest examples is when Hank was literally standing outside the RV in Season 3, just feet away from Jesse and Walt, who were hiding inside. Walt was able to get rid of Hank by having Saul call him and tell him that Marie was in the hospital (one of the best Hank moments of the series). Any other criminal might not have had enough personal information to set up such a perfect (and brutal) distraction. Hank didn't even hesitate. He took off to get to Marie, giving Walt and Jesse time to destroy the RV.
Being reminded of the above scene makes me more hopeful that we're going to see a confrontation between Hank and Walt (and Marie and Skylar!). Hank has been through a lot in his pursuit of Heisenberg, and he's almost died on more than one occasion (tortuga). If there's anyone who truly deserves to take Walt down, it's him. But the real question is, will he ever see what's been right under his nose?
Breaking Bad airs Sundays at 10/9c on AMC. Here's the trailer for "Madrigal:"
And you can watch the full first episode of Season 5 here.