For your pleasure, I will be recapping the last 8 episodes of Breaking Bad. Sharing my thoughts and expressing my opinions on the final stretch of this thrill ride of a show. This goes without saying, but there will be SPOILERS ahead, so if you haven’t watched episode 9, stop reading this right now!
Well, I warned you.
Quickly, let’s recap where the show left off a year ago, after having 9 of Gus Fring’s ex-employees killed while they were hanging out in prison, also killing Mike because they could all be traced back to Heisenberg, Walter finally told Skylar he would once and for all leave the meth cooking business and try to somehow ease himself back into a normal life. They already had a stack full of money it was going to take decades to launder through the car wash without raising any eyebrows. He was retiring from the empire building business. Of course, just when he thought he’d gotten away with everything and could now relax into a quiet, uneventful existence, Hank decides he needs to use the bathroom. This wouldn’t be worth noting, except that Hank grabs for something to read to help the time pass while he’s stuck on the toilet with not much else to do. It’s a common thing, however the book he chooses is “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman. The inscription, “To my other favorite W.W. It’s an honour working with you. Fondly, G.B.” Why couldn’t he have grabbed the Family Circle magazine? But, he quickly makes the connection. His own brother-in-law has been behind everything. And we’ve been waiting a year to find out what Hank was going to do with this epiphany.
So, episode 9 of season 5, entitled “Blood Money” starts out, with kids skateboarding in an empty swimming pool? Huh? Was my first thought. Am I watching “Lords of Dogtown”? But, in classic Vince Gilligan fashion, he gives you little clues, that don’t really make much sense at first, but slowly reveal themselves to be a part of the bigger picture. As the camera pans back, we see they are in an abandoned back yard. Then, we are shown the front of the house, and the grim reality. This is the former residence of the White family. But, now it’s all condemned, covered with graffiti, with a gate and several warning “No Trespassing” signs hung all over. We aren’t even given a second to postulate over what could have happened before the beat-down, head full of hair, Walter, we met at the beginning of season 5 shows up. We don’t know much about him. We know he appears to be alone and still in possession of the M60 machine gun he purchased at the beginning of the season. He grabs a crowbar, and eases himself through the gate, using the crowbar to bust the lock on the door open. He is thoughtful enough to close the door behind him. The inside looks worse than the outside. Something very bad has happened here. He looks around at scattered remnants of trash and whatnot all over the floor. “Heisenberg” is painted in big yellow letters on the wall. At the moment, we don’t know who did this or why. He hears laughter and goes to the window the see the skaters in what used to be his pool. Obviously, he isn’t there to chase them away, so he turns away and goes about his business. Upon further inspection, the house just gets worse and more depressing. He takes brief moments to pause here and there, like Holly’s former room, before going into what used to be his and Skylar’s bedroom. He takes a small coin out of his pocket, unscrews a socket from the wall, and gets what looks like the Ricin vial.
Next, he is leaving, putting the crowbar back in the trunk, before he gets in the car, he pauses, turns around to see his neighbour, frozen in what looks like shock and fear, holding a bag of groceries. “Hello Carol” he offers, without even the slightest hint of a friendly tone, causing her to drop her bag to her feet, spilling her oranges all over the driveway.
And we cut to the Breaking Bad title sequence. Welcome back, b***h.
Without any explanation as to what we just saw, we go right back to where the last episode left off. Hank comes out of the toilet with a look of shock and disbelief. He can barely walk, as he clutches the book, like the weight of this discovery is just too much for him to handle. Also, of course his still has the limp from being shot to near death a couple of seasons ago, but the look on his face tells you, he is a little more than overwhelmed. He finds Marie’s purple bag, and stashes the book away, before rejoining the family gathering, and fakes ill to make with a fast getaway.
Everyone is saying their goodbyes, and clueless Marie is making plans for everyone to go bowling. Walt stops Hank’s car door before it closes, checks he’s OK to drive, and the exchange is intense. Hank clearly cannot stay in his presence another minute. Walt knows this is out of the ordinary, but lets him go. Skylar is telling Flynn/Walter Jr. he will now be washing dishes. Walt gives a friendly, “Hello Carol” to the aforementioned neighbour, who turns while watering her plants and returns with a “Hi, Walt!” and goes back to watering her garden instead of being paralyzed with fear.
As Hank and Marie are driving home, she’s going on about Europe and Hank is clearly near the boiling point. He starts to swerve, Marie gets hysterical, Hank crashes into someone’s yard, and here come the panic attacks. We are familiar with these, as Hank had a few after the shootout with Tuco. Hank is obviously someone who doesn’t handle stress well.
They get back home after a quick trip to the hospital to rule out a heart attack. Marie is yammering on about him seeing another doctor about what could have been a heart attack. Hank brushes it off, insisting she not tell Skylar. He goes to the evidence file, and compares the handwriting. It matches. S**t. Surprise! That meth cooking kingpin you’ve been following all along, was the very last person you would have suspected.
We join Walt and Skylar at the carwash where things seem to be moving along in a very normal fashion. They are wishing people an “A1 day” which made me kind of want to punch them. Walter mentions to Skylar, now that he is totally out of the meth cooking business, and they have too much money to launder in their lifetimes, why not open two car washes. So, he can still be in the empire building business, only now, it will be car washes. It’s seems like a win win proposal. There is a Gentle Hands car wash, Skylar really likes the location of, so she says she’ll think about it, and we go back to being normal. Until Skylar approaches a young woman wanting her car washed. Skylar offers the premium service but the lady, who we, the viewer know as Lydia, refuses. Skylar hands her a ticket and wishes her an “A1 day”, but something about the lingering look of confusion on Skylar’s face tells us she knows this lady didn’t just come in for a car wash.
Lydia approaches Walter and complains about the quality of the new meth production, and begs him to come back. She says they will make it worth his while, but he still stands firm on the promise he is out of the business for good and that her problems are no longer his and but she should still have an “A1 day” (literally, I’m not kidding, I think they said it like, 48 times) Lydia leaves in a huff, and Skylar asks, Walter who in the heck would have their rental car cleaned? That, Skylar, she does not miss a beat. Walter, lo and behold, tells her the truth, for once. Leading us to believe he has really turned over a new leaf. Maybe be really does want to go legit. To this end, Skylar marches to where Lydia is standing, tells the guy working on her car that they are done, and in no uncertain terms, demands Lydia never come back. At first, Lydia acts like she has no idea what’s going on, but Skylar gives her that cold stare she is famous for and yells, “Go”. And Lydia, sensing she has enough problems without Skylar’s foot being shoved up her ass, she does as told and scrams.
Back to Detective Schrader’s home, he’s turned his basement into command central, having boxes of evidence delivered to him, and we get to enjoy a montage of him pouring over crime scene photos and mug shots and finally ending on that picture of Heisenberg the cousins left lying at that alter. Looks like you’ve finally got your man, Hank. Now, how are you going to play this without destroying your entire family?
We find Jesse at his house where he is sitting in a chair, but his dazed expression suggests he is miles away, or just so baked out of his mind he can’t see straight. Badger and Skinny Pete are there debating the beaming up of people in Star Trek and how it’s doesn’t actually beam you anyway, but basically Xeroxes a carbon copy of you into another place. So, you allow yourself you be vaporized in one place, only to be recreated into another. Skinny Pete also gives us the best quote of the season so far, “Why do you think McCoy never liked to beam nowhere, cause he’s a doctor, b***h. Look it up. It’s science.” We know a lot about science. Badger gives Skinny Pete the plot of a Star Trek script he’s been working on, which involves I think a blueberry pie eating contest and someone’s guts being blasted into space. (who knew they were such Trekkies?). Skinny Pete gets so excited about he almost shreds a throw pillow. The whole time, in the background, Jesse is collecting to giant duffle bags and leaves the house.
Side note: I know there is a rumoured Breaking Bad spin-off with Saul Goodman, but I would also like to suggest, I would watch the Badger and Skinny Pete show. Just a thought. Back to the recap at hand.
Jesse left the Trekkies behind and is now sitting in the waiting room full of other lowlives waiting to see Saul Goodman. When Jesse gets tired of sitting around, he lights up a joint, despite being told by Goodman’s guard, “You can’t smoke that up in here.” Jesse defiantly blows smoke in his general direction. Saul’s blackmailing receptionist curtly announces to Saul “Yeah, Jesse Pinkman’s out here smoking pot.”, then yells, “Pinkman, he’ll see you now” A green sleeved arm ushers him into the office, where a masseuse is packing up her table, before awkward telling Saul his barn door is open. He quickly zips his fly, and asks about Walt, which Jesse dismisses admitting he hasn’t seen him. Jesse gets straight to business and tells Saul he wants one of the bags full of money to go to Kaylee, Mike’s granddaughter, and the other, Drew Sharpe’s parents. (You will remember him as the dirt bike riding, spider collecting, waving at the wrong damn people at the wrong damn time, kid.) Both bags total to 5 million. Saul advises against this plan. For one reason, the Feds have snatched up Kaylee’s money twice, and Drew’s parents just wanna know where their kid is, and a bag full of two and a half million dollars is going to raise more questions about that than it answers. Jesse says he’ll do it himself, and Saul stops him, relenting and agreeing to get it done. Jesse leaves, Saul calls Heisenberg, who looks to be having a chemo treatment. If you’ll recall, at the end of last season he goes to the doctor for a check-up, but we were not immediately given the results. I’m guessing they weren’t great.
We’re back at Jesse’s looking at a disgusting table while a roach crawls around, when there is a knock at the door. Who in the world could that be, we wonder? Why, it’s Mr. White. And he’s brought the bags of money back. Jesse looks less than thrilled to see his former partner, and just walks away from the open door. Mr. White would like to know the method behind Jesse’s madness, in wanting to just give two bags full of a whole freaking lot of money to two complete strangers. He wants an explanation. Jesse reminds him it’s blood money. Mr. White responses with in an exasperated, “Hey, you got the wrong idea about this”, manor. He only said it in the heat of the moment to win an argument. But, Jesse should keep the money, even giving him a reassuring, “It’s your money, you’ve earned it.” Like he were congratulating a kid who’d just worked hard at a lemonade stand and not someone who is responsible for actual murder. He urges Jesse to put the darkness behind him and try to live a decent life. The subject of the whereabouts of our favourite Hitman Mike. Jesse knows he isn’t coming back. Mr. White is thorough, and with him killing those 9 guys, he knows he wouldn’t have let Mike just slip by. Mr. White bold-faced lies and says Mike is long gone. On the lamb. But, he’s good. No need to worry. “Jesse, I need you to believe me”. And he really does. Jesse is unraveling before our very eyes.
Side note: Aaron Paul’s acting just keeps getting better and better. His torment is heart-breaking and unflinching.
Back at the White homestead, things are still looking picture perfect, with Skylar talking with Flynn/Walt Jr. about college. But, hey, Hank still isn’t feeling well, so no bowling tonight. Walt seems a tad concerned, but later, during diner he excuses himself to vomit. Side effects from the chemo, I’m guessing. He looks up at the magazine basket and notices, “Leaves of Grass” is gone. He throws up again.
Later, he’s in his dressing gown with a flashlight looking under the bed. Clearly, the books disappearance is troubling. He asks Skylar, but she didn’t even know there was a copy in the house, and when Walter suggests maybe Flynn/Walt Jr. borrowed it, she’s like, “Have you met him?”
Unable to sleep, he gets up, goes to the driveway and begins to inspect the underside of his car. He finds what he suspected would be hidden there. A GPS tracker. The very same one Hank used to track Gus, and Walter used to track Jesse. Heisenberg is no fool.
A passed out and still very much tortured Jesse is awakened in his car by a bum begging for spare change, in the parking lot of a dive called ‘The Dog House’. Guessing Mr. White’s pep talk did nothing to assuage Jesse’s all-consuming guilt. Instead of spare change, Jesse gives the man a stack of hundred dollar bills. The bum is hesitant, but Jesse urges him to take it. Jesse then proceeds to drive through an impoverished part of town tossing, “fat stacks” at random. If someone finds it, they don’t have to know it was blood money. But Jesse is finding it hard to live with.
Lastly, we go back to Hank at command central where there is a kid playing with a remote control car in the driveway. I don’t know if it was the same kid, who was doing the same thing a few seasons ago and had purple-loving Marie run it over, but if it is, jeez, kid. Learn your lesson much? Hank is having more boxes of evidence delivers, when Walt pulls up. Hank is noticeably displeased to see him. Walt makes small talk with the guys, and Hanks barks they should get back to work. As they leave, Hank quickly scoops up the paperwork giving away his investigation, while Walt walks up the driveway. Walt and Hank make small talk about how Hank is feeling. Walter suggests going to a doctor, especially if it lasts more than three days. Hanks asks about the car wash and the mood is tense and strained. Walt starts to leave, wishing Hank to feel better, but he pauses. Maybe he was going to just leave and thought better of it. He turns back around to face Hank, and in a you won’t believe this manor, says, “hey look what I found under my car” and produces the tracker from his pocket. Walt reminds him it was the same tracker they used to track Gus, and Hank wouldn’t happen to know anything about it. Without a word, Hank grabs the garage door remote and begins to lower the door. Walt knows this isn’t going to a good place, and tells Hank, he doesn’t particularly care for the way he’s eyeballing him. Hank just gives him a further look of utter contempt and then punches him right in the face. Walt goes flying into the evidence boxes and Hank charges forward, yanking him up and throwing him against the garage door, cuffing him with his fist around the collar.
“All along, it was YOU!” Hank yells, with disgust. “You son of a b***h! You drove into traffic to keep me away from that laundry.” He spits, gabbing Walt by the back of the head.
Walt begs him to calm down, but Hank just starts giving him a list of all his misdeeds.
“Heisenberg. You lying, two-faced, sack of s**t.” So, Hank is not a fan of his brother in law’s new, or former line of work.
Walter tries to deny it, saying he has no idea where this is coming from, but it’s a thin defense. He ain’t getting out of this one with a lie. Hank’s got him in a corner, and he lets him know as much when he promises, “I will put you under the jail.”
Walt begs him to listen to himself and these, “wild accusations.” That could destroy the family. Hank thinks Walt doesn’t care about family. Then, Walt confesses his cancer is back. His days are now numbered. Hank responds by suggesting he rot. Walt wishes he didn’t feel that way, but says he wants to beat this thing. He is back on chemo and fighting like hell, but the grim truth is, even is Hank were to pursue convicting Walt and even if he could make it stick, he’ll more than likely be dead before he sees the inside of a prison. He’s a dying man, who runs a carwash, raises his hand to God and swears that’s all he is now. Hank says, bring Skylar and the kids here and they’ll talk. Walter says no way. Hanks just looks at him and says, he doesn’t even know who he is. Heisenberg replies with, “If that’s true, if you don’t know who I am, then maybe your best course, would be to tread lightly.”
Hank looks at him, horrified. The last shot is the two men staring each other down.
Also, the episode is dedicated to their friend Kevin Cordasco, who internet research tells me, was a a sixteen year old kid, who sadly lost his 9 year battle with Neuroblastoma. RiP Kevin.
That’s where we they left us. And now we have to somehow get on with our lives while waiting for next week’s episode. At least we don’t have to wait a year this time.
So, theories, questions, concerns. Let’s discuss them all in the comments.
I just can’t wait to find out just what the hell happened that scared the hell out of Carol.