Last week’s episode Blood Money set up everything so perfectly for the rest of the season. With so little time to pack in so much exposition and action, it has to carefully pick the best scenes, motivations and developments for each and every character. Every scene and character will be used to the maximum effect as they are all important. This episode slowly builds and propels the tension very well that the eventual payoff will be explosive.
It starts off with an old man on his way to work in the middle of the night. As he starts his truck, he notices a wad of cash in the middle of his driveway. He picks it up and checks to make sure it’s real and no one else is watching. He sees another and picks it up. Soon he has several stacks of money. Breaking Bad openings usually start off so ominous and creepy so I thought nothing good can come from this. They do ambiguous beginnings better than anybody. The old man follows the trail of money to a car parked in the park, door open. He goes up to the car and sees a duffle bag full of cash wide open. Then he notices Jesse mindlessly spinning on the merry go round, starring at the night sky with no real direction or reason. It almost seems like he is comatose but still functioning. He could have ended up beat up, robbed or dead but Jesse has no feeling for his life or anyone else’s whatsoever. It’s so haunting to see him this way that nothing will change his current outlook.
Love how they start things off exactly where they ended. Walter leaves Hanks garage only to have that one last faceoff from his car. The garage door closes as Walter begins to drive away. He makes a phone call to Skylar to warn her about Hank but is found out to be on the line with someone else. Walter finds out its Hank as he sees him open the garage door on the phone talking to Skylar. Walter drives off in a huff to catch Skylar before she meets with Hank. This is the beginning of a personal chess match that will culminate at the finale. But a chess match that Walter and Hank have been in since the series beginning. Walter rushes to the car wash to find that Skylar has left, not saying where she went. She meets with Hank in a diner. Skylar is obviously mortified to speak with a DEA agent about her meth cooking drug lord husband, so she treads carefully when talking to Hank to find out what he knows. Hank tries to dig deep into the sordid details of the relationship Skylar has with Walter and the reasons why she kept his secrets for this long. Watching Skylar in this scene, you could see the terror in her face. She looks as white as a ghost, going well with her all white/beige wardrobe and bleach blonde hair. He takes out a tape recorder to document whatever information she may have. Skylar doesn’t budge but Hank insists the monster that Walter has become needs to be stopped no matter what the cost. Skylar asks if she could see her lawyer which Hank is adamantly against as his influence diminishes greatly. And Saul would rip Hank a new one anyway. Skylar sees how far Hank will go to catch Walter and doesn’t want to go down that road. Hank asks to bring the kids over to his house but Skylar keeps on screaming if she’s under arrest. She begins to make a scene as to get out of the diner as soon as possible. For anybody that said Skylar was useless, this proves her volubility with quick thinking and cunning that is very useful when married to a drug lord. She knows Hank has nothing but only suspicions and Skylar will now do whatever it takes to protect her husband and kids. Being married to a gangster has forced her to take on those traits of deception, lying, and covering up ones tracks. She lied to the IRS, covering up for Ted Beneke who was under investigation for tax fraud, she made up the gambling story for Walter, cleans all of Walters drug money and is basically the one two punch with Walter. She is just as smart and quick thinking as Walter.
Saul’s go to team of Huell and Kuby go to the storage locker to move the millions of dollars out of there. Not before lying on the tens of millions of cash doing their best Scrooge McDuck. In fear of retaliation, Kuby mentions to Huell how Heisenberg killed ten men in a two minute window. The stories of Heisenberg’s exploits are already rampant among the criminal element and will continue to do so. Walter meets with his consigliore to go over certain issues. It’s good to have a criminal lawyer like Saul around as he instructs Walter to not answer his phone and take out the battery so authorities don’t track him. But stupidly offers a hit on Hank, saying it’s worked for him in the past like Mike. It was stupid to say but needed as Saul would need to know how deep he would go to protect himself. And it may be something that Walter will eventually do. Huell and Kuby return with the cash in the back of the law office. Walter makes sure it’s all there, paying off the men for their services and more importantly giving money for Saul if he needs him. It won’t be if he needs him but when he needs him. Using a getaway is an all but 100% certainty. And Walter was very close to using the getaway route in the episode Crawlspace before Skylar gave all of his money to Ted Beneke. Walter drives off into the desert to bury the dirty money hidden from everyone and anyone. The fact that he went by himself shows that he doesn’t want anybody being traced back to it or take it for themselves. Otherwise he’d just have more lose ends to tie up.
Skylar is obviously worried that she can’t find Walter and calls Saul to see if he’s heard anything. They don’t say if they do or not leaving her more distressed. She hears a loud knock at the door and hears its Marie, looking out the window to see Hank outside. She eventually lets Marie in and they talk. Marie asks if it’s true over and over, saying it can’t be true. She then goes down memory lane trying to trace back when she found out, which she learned was months and months ago. Skylar says she’s sorry tearfully and gets a raucous slap in the face when she knew of Walters exploits as Hank was nearly killed. Marie runs off to take Hailey to her house. An argument ensues with the baby crying. Both yelling unintelligibly, with Marie wanting to protect the baby and Skylar doing anything to get her baby back. Marie relents when Hank tells her to put her back, as they both leave. That whole scene was just heartbreaking. The acting by both actresses was top notch, the emotions felt painfully real, and a line was crossed that may never be undone. The similarities of Marie confronting Skylar and Walter confronting Hank are eerie. Both Skylar and Walter get slapped and punch with force after an extended silence after heartbreaking information was found out. I don’t think Marie will ever forgive Skylar and she also doesn’t know of her other crimes like Hank doesn’t know of Walters other crimes. If Marie knew Skylar committed tax fraud with her boss who she was also sleeping with, and then later intimidated him to sign the tax forms leaving him paralyzed, shed turn her in in a second. The scene ends with a stone face Marie in the car saying to Hank, you have to catch him. Hanks hungry determination grows as he gets support from his most loyal partner, that being his wife Marie.
By himself Walter manages to dig a nearly six foot deep six feet wide hole and bury eight drums filled to the brim with money. The fact that a man with terminal cancer managed to do that with no help whatsoever shows the determination and guts he has to not get caught at all by any means necessary. This was a good sequence as it reminded me of the marathon cook sessions he had with Jesse in the crystal ship. I also liked the point of view shot that was put on the drum as it falls into the whole that they usually put in with these sequences. Walt wisely gets the coordinates down and makes them look like lottery numbers on a ticket. He puts on the fridge, which may or may be helpful. This will come into play later. Skylar is awoken to see Walter emotionless walking into the bathroom. He calmly removes his dirty clothes as he turns on the shower. Skylar keeps on telling Walter that she didn’t say anything to Hank. As Skylar waits for a response, Walter collapses from exhaustion. He awakes on the bathroom floor, Skylar tending to him. Skylar asks how Hank found out and Walter responds with I screwed up. It's Funny hearing Walter saying that as he has always been so careful even with his huge ego. Skylar asks if it’s true about the returning cancer, and Walt says if she’s happy about it. Skylar says she can’t remember the last time she was happy. That may be one of the most depressing things I’ve heard on this show. The fact that neither of them has been really happy in forever oddly goes against the success of Walter as a drug kingpin and Skylar as a successful car wash owner. But success doesn’t always breed happiness. They go over their options like any gangster couple, with Walt saying he’ll turn himself in leaving the money for the kids. But Skylar knows the money will be found and asks him to stay put, plan for the next move. Not too surprising hearing Skylar say that and is on his side as she’s in just as deep as Walter. She’s already proven how valuable she can be in helping Walter escape the authorities.
Lydia is set to meet the cartel blindfolded in the desert. She talks to Declan about the problems with the product and how to fix it. Declan could care less as any meeting is a waste of time. He shows her the lab and is disgusted. There was not just a drop-off in quality, but cleanliness and order as the lab is awful. Lydia wants to have something like Heisenberg but Declan tried it that way and the customers don’t care. Lydia responds with if your selling to tweekers than why should it. It doesn’t matter to Declan but it matters to the buyer in the Czech Republic who makes more money off the meth than in Arizona. Lydia suggests Todd but Declan doesn’t trust Todd and wants to do things his way. Lydia is disappointed as trouble is heard up above. The men leave to arguments and later gun shots. Lydia goes to the entryway to see Todd greet her. He helps her out asking her to shut her eyes and guiding her through the trail of dead bodies. Todd was surprisingly sweet for a psychopathic child killer with familial ties to a Nazi gang. With Lydia allowing a takeover over the cartel, the Nazis seize everything in the lab ready to control the territory with their own meth. It’s crazy to think oh right there are the Nazis who may come back and start some shit.
Hank is reading documents and files looking for anything he can use. He sees Marie as she pulls for Hank to tell the DEA but Hank has no evidence and knows if he goes now he’ll lose his job and credibility. Marie wants someone to be told so asks for Gomey to help him out. I am loving the women in these guys’ lives, both pushing for their respective husbands offering advice when they go the other way. If it was up to Walter and Hank, Walter would give himself up and Hank would give up. Hank returns to the office, acting strangely. When he gets to his office, he rearranges a meeting with Gomey to go over some information. He then finds out that Jesse was arrested for slinging cash all over town. He is grilled by the same two cops who questioned him about the ricin possibly poisoning Brock. Jesse is giving no emotion to anything, blank and stone-faced like he doesn’t even know he is arrested. Hank asks for some leeway with the cops as they have a history together. The episode ends with a shutting door as Hank walks in the interrogation room. Jesse is definitely going for a major change as I can’t see him getting out of this unscathed. He may turn if he ever lives that long.
This episode ended the same way as Blood Money did with Hank questioning the meth cooking super duo and a shutting door. All the confrontations have been expertly played out so far but the one I am anticipating now is the Nazis and Walter. This clearly sets up a chess match and a battle of wills and wits. The battle lines are clearly drawn in the sand. All that is needed in a war now is the first casualty. With so many episodes left, it can happen at any time to anyone.