Holy smokes! After watching this week’s episode of “Breaking Bad,” I feel like my guts have been ripped out and stuffed back into my body willy-nilly. Oh Hank. Oh Walt. Oh Skyler. Oh Marie. Oh Junior. Oh Jesse. I don’t know who had it worse in this episode. Ok, it’s pretty clear that Hank did.
But at least we learned that Walt does indeed still have a conscience buried somewhere in there, particularly when it comes to little Holly. In short, it was an amazing hour of television.
Things started with a flashback. All the way back to the same spot as the shoot-out last week, only way, way back to Walt and Jesse’s first cook in the RV at that very location. Oh how times have changed. Back then, Jesse was a smart-mouth kid, and Walt was a father figure.
Walt – in his underwear – was explaining the scientific process of cooking to the youngster. Then Walt – who also had hair back then – phoned pregnant Skyler, who was wrapping up that “hideous crying clown” to ship off to an eBay buyer (“Got 9 bucks more than I paid for it,” she said).
The happy couple chatted about this and that. Walt made up a story about why he’d be late. She asked him to bring pizza home. Asked how he felt about “Holly” as a name for the baby. You know, family stuff.
Walt was more innocent back then, but you can see the devious mind starting to evolve. Makes you wonder what he was like before the series started and he was just a chemistry teacher. Did he lie back then, too?
Then, the RV vanishes off the screen, and we’re back to the present, after that Wild West shoot-out from last week. Hank’s been hit and clutches his bleeding leg with one hand and his tiny gun with the other. Gomez is dead, and Hank does the death crawl over to the bigger gun lying beside Gomez.
“Whoa! Simmer down there, Sparky!” says Jack, putting his foot on the gun. You just have no idea where this is going, but you’re pretty sure Hank is dead meat at this point. And Jesse is nowhere in sight.
Upon learning that “these guys are DEA,” Jack points a gun at Hank’s head, at which point Walt jumps out of the car and stops Jack from shooting Hank. Discussion ensues.
“This is between him and me,” Walt tells Jack. “The DEA doesn’t know about this … Hank, nothing can change what happened here. But you can walk out of here alive, if you just tell us you’ll let this go.” Right. No problemo. We’ll just call it good and forget the whole thing happened!
Walt also dangles the $80 million beneath their feet at Jack – if he’ll let them go. I think Walt would be doing just about anything to stay alive at this point, but Hank is the moral high ground of Hank. He just sits there and takes the bullet. Yep, Hank is gone.
Walt drops to the ground in sheer disbelief (even though this kind of solves one problem for him), and Jack’s thugs dig up the barrels, leaving one for Walt.
Todd unlocks Walt’s cuffs and says, “Sorry for your loss.”
“My nephew here respects you. He would never forgive me if things … went another way,” says Jack, telling Walt to get in his car and drive away. They even shake hands like they’ve just sealed the deal on a nice clean acquisition merger or something.
“Pinkman … Pinkman … you still owe me,” Walt tells Jack. Jesse is lurking underneath the car, and Jack’s guy drags him out. That’s cold, Walt. Cold. Todd comes over and says maybe they should find out what Jesse told the feds. Take him home. “We’ve got history,” says Todd, adding that he can get some info out of him.
But Walt is ready for Jesse to die right then and there. And if that isn’t enough, he tops it off by telling Jesse: “I watched Jane die. I was there, and I watched her die. I watched her overdose and choke to death. I could have saved her, but I didn’t.”
When the guys take a terrified Jesse away (oh that sad face peering out the back window of the car), Walt realizes there’s no gas in the vehicle they left behind, thanks to a wayward bullet. So he pushes the barrel pathetically through the desert, comes across an old shack, and buys a guy’s pickup right out of his driveway.
Had to laugh at the song playing in the background during the barrel roll. The chorus was originally in Carl Sandburg’s book “American Songbag” (1927), and Lee Hays of The Weavers wrote the verses:
Times are gettin’ hard, boys
Money’s gettin’ scarce
If times don’t get much better, boys
goin’ to leave this place
Took my true by the hand
wandered through the town
Said goodbye to everyone
Goodbye to everyone
Of course, in this case, Walt’s true love appears to be money.
Meanwhile, Jesse’s chained up like a slave in the underground bunker beneath Todd’s “kitchen.” He tells Todd to go to go to Walt’s house and get the tape. Instead, Todd brings Jesse, who can barely stand up, to the kitchen, rearranges the chains and says, “Let’s cook.” Oh, and there’s a photo of Andrea and Brock there. Rub some salt in that open wound.
Marie goes to the car wash and things go from bad to worse. Marie tells Sky that Hank called her with the news that he got Walt.
“Hank is booking Walt as we speak, and I for one could not be happier,” says Marie. She’ll support Sky, but she wants every single copy of the DVD that Walt made indicting Hank. Also, Sky needs to tell Walt Jr. everything, or Marie will tell him.
Sky tells Walt Jr. the whole story, and he’s flabbergasted. “So you’re saying, all this time, you were lying about this … you just admitted it. Were you lying then or are you lying now? Which is it?’
“This is bullshit,” says Junior. He wants to talk to Walt, but can’t get hold of him. He starts to call hank, but Marie says he’s probably occupied with bringing Walt in.
As Sky drives the kids home, Junior says, “If all this is true and you knew about it, then you’re as bad as him.” Ouch.
When they get home, Walt is there and tells Sky and Junior to get inside and pack. But Sky wants to know what’s going on. And where is Hank?
“Everything is gonna be fine, but we need to leave right now,” says Walt. “I need both of you to trust me right now. Please just work with me here, and I promise you I’ll explain everything later.” He says he has $11 million in cash outside, and all they have to do is go, right now.
“You killed him,” says Sky. Then she goes into the kitchen and gets a knife. “Get out,” she says, brandishing the knife. She and Walt roll on the floor, and Junior piles on and tries to protect Sky. Then Junior calls the cops.
“What is wrong with you!? We’re a family!” says Walt, grabbing baby Holly and taking off in the pickup, a terrified Sky running after them. I think Walt is just so strung out and angry with Sky that maybe he took the baby to get back at her. I mean, seriously, it’s the most attention he’s showed that kid in the show’s entire five season run.
Cut to Walt changing the baby’s diaper in a restroom, but she starts crying for her mama (and how did they get that baby to do that on cue!?). The cops are at Walt’s house when Walt calls Sky.
“Are you alone? No police?” he says.
“No. No police,” lies Sky.
Then Walt starts talking smack to Sky. “What the hell is wrong with you?! Why can’t you do one thing I say? Always whining and complaining about how I make my money, just dragging me down, while I do everything … and now you tell my son what I do after I told you and told you to keep your mouth shut! You stupid bitch! How dare you?!”
I think part of this is pure honesty on Walt’s part, but I also think part of it’s a tiny redeeming moment for him. He might have been leading the cops away from Sky by talking like a movie bad guy here. Because of COURSE he knew the cops were there. Walt’s too smart to not know that.
I’m sorry,” says Sky, but Walt continues. “You have no right to discuss anything about what I do. What the hell do you know about it anyway? I built this, me alone, and nobody else! You mark my words, Skyler. Tow the line, or you will wind up just like Hank.”
She asks where Hank is, and Walt continues on. “You’re never gonna see Hank again. He crossed me. You think about that. Family or no. You let that sink in.” Walt is crying now, which confirms my suspicions that he’s trying to give Sky a way out of this.
She pleads with him to bring Holly home, but Walt says, “I’ve still got things left to do.” We see now that he’s at the Albuquerque Fire Station. When the lights on one of the trucks start flashing, the guys come out and find baby Holly in the truck. Walt is gone. I really do think Walt cares about his family.
Things end with Walt sitting by the side of the road with his luggage and barrel of cash. I assume it’s Saul’s “New Identity Guy” who picks Walt up and drives off.
Whew. What did you guys think of this episode? Two episodes left!