Breaking Bad came roaring back after readjusting the playing field last week, as the back and forth between Hank/Jesse and Walt leads to some of the most intense television you will ever see.
But before we get into the episode; REALLY! Again with the cliffhanger! The lead up to and the eventual shootout was intense enough, but I am going to have to endure more next week. Are you trying to kill me Breaking Bad? Plus, how is Rian Johnson going to take over that scene in the director’s chair from MacLaren next week?
Let’s rewind for a moment though. Last week I proclaimed the episode, which was good, to be one of the worst episodes of the show in years and I will stick to that. The characters made decisions that felt forced and the tension never worked for me as I couldn’t buy what the cast was selling. This week the show feels like it got right back in its groove as it expertly builds towards the aforementioned final confrontation.
Picking up in the cold open with Todd, Lydia and the White Supremacist Duo, we see their new lab and that Todd can cook at about 76% purity, sans the Heisenberg blue tint. Not good, Todd! His “failure” eventually leads the WSD (White Supremacist Duo) to trade the hit on Jesse for a new cook from Walt, but Todd and Lydia’s “relationship” I feel will prove to be the most important event for the future drama of the season. Todd is smitten and Lydia is already trying to exploit it, “this is really important to me,” but I can’t imagine they would drop such a clearly growing obsession by the world’s nicest murderer without it having some sort of dramatic pay off by the end. I’d bet Todd might save Lydia against his uncles if the situation so arises.
Jesse’s plan to really get Walt is a smart one, go for the money, and watching Hank and Gomez sniff it out is both smart and a lot of fun for the viewer. A fake Jesse murder photo (mmm, cow brains) and a fast one on poor Huell and the trio get a beat on Walt’s money, but the stroke of genius is how they convince him that they have it. Faking it in Hank’s back yard works like a charm and the ensuing race by Walt back to the money kick-starts some of the most intense scenes of the year found anywhere.
Before we get to the finale lets give a shout out to some much deserving bits throughout the episode. Bob Odenkirk is fantastic in his brief stopover and the car wash, as the moment is riddled with great writing. From Junior’s excitement at seeing Saul (we forget he is a local celebrity), lines like, "Don't drink and drive. But if you do, call me," or Walt darting out of the office with the baby, the scene was full of laughs. In fact, the whole episode was. Aaron Paul’s face in the “murder” picture, the always great banter between the WSD ("That dude that looked like Wolverine couldn't crack 70."), and Lavell Crawford’s hilarious work as Huell. It’s great when the show is as funny as it is here, especially when Gilligan and his team try and kill us with tension for the final third of the episode.
Michelle MacLaren’s swan song from Breaking Bad was tonight and while it wasn’t her most gorgeous episode it was still an impressive night of television. She ratchets the tension to 11 and never lets up once Walt goes zooming out of town and I loved the shots chasing after Walt’s car. We got another cocky “Bitch” out Jesse, two maybe, as Paul’s best work of the night was when he wasn’t even on the screen, taunting Walt through the cell phone. Cranston really shines though as he panics out in the desert and culminates his emotional resignation with that amazing slow zoom in from MacLaren on Walt’s face. That’s it, Walt quits, he can’t call a hit on actual family and he is ready to turn himself in. Walt seemed tired of all this the last couple weeks, but he made his phone call to the WSD and friends a moment too soon as all hell breaks loose in the desert. For five minutes I was just yelling at Hank, Gomez and Jesse to just get out of there and even if they cheated with the arrival time of Todd and his friends, you can let it slide as MacLaren and team perfectly executed the scene’s tension. Hank’s, probable, goodbye to Marie seemed like a death sentence for him on the show, but the fact that they ended the episode on a cliffhanger leaves me hope that we haven't seen the end of Hank, Gomez and Jesse.
A return to form for Breaking Bad as it shoots us out of the cannon for the final three episodes. Walt has to get out of town shortly after this mess and I look forward to what director Rian Johnson does behind the camera next week. Until then, I have no idea what is going to happen.
-That's not Blue.
-"Its bluish." "If it catches the light just right."
-"Science!" That is some positive reinforcement mantra ringtone for Todd.
-Hank's arrogance is going to screw him over and get Jesse killed.
-”Nice poker face.”
-Love Hank playing on Walt's intelligence.
-"Jesse is like family to me."
-"We want you to cook for us."
-A game of back and forth here. "I know how to flush him out."
-If they kidnap Brock...
-Heisenberg, always the better actor.
-Hank intercepts, but how is he going to use that message to manipulate Jesse?
-Uh oh, Junior is out in the open. Collateral damage.
-"Don't drink and drive. But if you do, call me." - One of the best lines ever uttered.
-"The kid is not as dumb as you think."
-"Got my photo bitch?!"
-"Fire in the hole bitch."
-Oh shit, three on assault rifles is not good.
-I thought this locale looked familiar, the first cook.
-JUST GET OUT OF HERE!
-No, Gomez! And Jesse, get out! Don’t wait for the local PD.
-Get out of this place!
-Famous last words?