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This week's episode of Breaking Bad is a step up from the season opener and as the fallout begins the battle for Skyler gets pretty intense.
This episode is comprised of just a couple of scenes for the most part and most of them revolve around all of the adult players in the episode interacting with Skyler. The first to get to her is Hank as she is the first person he calls once he closes that garage door behind Walt. Dean Norris and Anna Gunn are sensational in that restaurant booth as Hank can barely breathe, let alone talk, as he tries to get Skyler to roll over on Walt. Norris is incredible as Hank calmly boils over with anger, but very well may be trying to let Skyler take herself down with Walt just so he can get his man. Gunn is just as great as Norris though as she realizes Hank might not care about her at this moment and wisely requests a lawyer before getting the hell out of there. What is Skyler going to say at that moment? I'm not really sure, but the fact that she doesn't go with Hank and take down Walt could be out of stupidity, fear or the fact that she might just be back on Walt's side.
Before she gets to Walt, Skyler has to go through Marie, and this was the showdown of the night. Skyler barely says a word as Marie's line of questioning slowly figure things out and between her and Hank they got the whole story; they just need the evidence. Again, the actors are spectacular here as Betsy Brandt just looks destroyed as the two sit on the bed. Gunn quietly melts down as she is forced to realize how long she has deceived her family. Even more revealing is that Marie, seemingly, correctly predicts that Skyler thinks that she and Walt can still win; another bridge Skyler has crossed that doesn't have a way back. The intensity of the scene in the bedroom culminates with a hell of a slap, but things are just getting started in the White household. It's no surprise that Marie goes for the baby, nor that Hank knows they have to leave Holly behind, but I was on the edge of my seat for the minute or two as the sisters go at it over the safety of Holly. This was the most intense moment of the episode and it serves as a friendly reminder at the lives and stakes that are on the line in the ensuing aftermath that is going to unfold over the coming weeks.
When Skyler and Walt finally catch up to each other their scene is possibly the sweetest and most sincere the two have had since the first season. As an exhausted, and outed for cancer man, Walt makes, possibly, one final good gesture to Skyler; he's willing to turn himself in and take the fall as long as she keeps the money. "Don't let me have done this for nothing," Gunn is great throughout the episode, but Cranston is amazing in these waking moments. We haven't seen this side of Walt in ages, and I believe his words that he is willing to take the fall, but it's all the more sad that based on the flash-forwards this reality isn't going to happen.
What will happen with the money is another question though, as Walt has moved it somewhere in the middle of the desert that only a lottery ticket can find. The few scenes set away from Skyler were focused mainly on Walt and the money and it was some excellent work by Gilligan and his team to use these scenes to break up the intense drama between the White's and the Schrader's with some important plot and much needed comic relief. Huell and Kuby in the storage locker were hilarious, as was Saul with lines like, "It's an option that's worked really well for you," but the most telling thing to come out of these scenes was Walt claiming he won't kill Hank because he is family. Between these signs of compassion in Walt this week and my current favorite crazy theory about the flash-forwards in that Walt is coming back to save Jesse in the end makes me think they might try to redeem him before it's all said and done. I'm sure next week's discussion between Hank and Jesse might give us a clearer picture of where things are heading, but I'll just say that I am more upset at Gilligan and his team for cliffhanging the episode where they did tonight than I am at Walt right now.
One last important development of the episode was the excellent little short film of sorts surrounding Lydia and her taking out the Arizona suppliers with the assistance of Todd and his white supremacist uncles. It's nice to have Jesse Plemons back. The mystery surrounding his and Lydia's plan leaves one very curious, especially with Todd's uncles in the mix, but it was nice to have one piece of the show raise more questions than answers heading into next week.
I enjoyed this week's episode of Breaking Bad much more than the premiere which was a strong start in the first place. The show has a lot to get through and it doesn't feel like it is rushing along to get to the end, but as long as the show's this good I won't be complaining. After Hank and Jesse get their moment next week most of the groundwork will probably have been laid and we will be right in the thick of the final gauntlet of the show before we know it. I can't wait.
-This guy is going to take all of the money.
-What a shot and sound effect for Jesse on the merry go round.
-Hank is all in on "monster."
-"I got to do it man," "Not channel Scrooge McDuck," "All I'm sayin," great stuff from Huell and Kuby.
-This episode has been gorgeous, Michelle MacLaren shot the hell out of this thing.
-If Hank wired Marie...
-Damn...and the baby snatch.
-"You have to get him."
-At least it is just the money that gets "Buried"?
-Lottery ticket, love it. How is that going to come back?
-"Does that make you happy?"
-"Our best move here," 'Our,' the key word there.
-Don't, fuck, with Lydia.
-"Fire in the hole."
-"10 seconds after I tell this story, I'm a civilian."
-Jesse got arrested! Oh, no.
-That blue shirted cop sounds exactly like Walt.
-OH MY GOD. Damn you Cliffhanger!