September 29, 2013 will mark one of the saddest days in television history: The conclusion of Vince Gilligan’s game-changing dramatic series, Breaking Bad.
Truly, few samples of film, standalone or episodic, can match the skillful pacing or narrative flair of this show. And for that reason, I will pay my personal homage through the blogosphere: Episode-by-episode critiques and recaps of the final 8 installments of the series.
Be warned, there will likely be spoilers abound. This is primarily for fans who crave a post-viewing play-by-play. Comments are encouraged.
So without further ado:
Season 5 Episode 9 (Original Air Date: August 11, 2013)
The first few frames remind me how little I enjoy skateboarders. They’re loud, for one. And they’ll literally convert anything into their own little skatepark. What’s worse is when they do it to your emptied in-ground pool. But wait, is that Walt’s? It’s a flash forward to the future and this shit’s straight up destitute.
We see Walt, totally feral, approach his dilapidated former home. He’s armed with a crowbar and is (per usual) up to no good. He breaks in, scans over the abandoned property and uncovers a tiny vial of ricin. What could he be up to?
You would like to know, wouldn’t you? But not now. For after all, horrible things happen to those who wait (in Gilligan’s world), and you’re surely not going anywhere. So we’ll just let this hang there for a second, shall we?
Let’s snap back, picking up exactly where Episode 8 left off, as Hank totally flips shit over the “Leaves of Grass” discovery linking Walt to Gale. Panties-in-a-twist, Hank makes a hasty retreat with the wife who won’t stop talking and… yep. Drives straight into a neighbor’s lawn.
Later, an oblivious Walt and Skyler go about their carwash business as if everything’s just dandy. Lydia pays Walt a visit, and begs him for tips to enhance her declining product. Walt politely declines and Skyler tells the bitch off for good measure.
Meanwhile, Hank is totally hung up on the whole Oh-crap-my-brother-in-law-is-a-ruthless-druglord thing and has missed a lot of work over it. He has some of the guys send over years of police files on every major villainous player in the series and attempts fruitlessly to find some really solid, totally damning evidence against Walt.
You may be wondering what Jesse is up to? Well, his soul is clearly broken. And only partly because of Badger’s horrendous pitch of an unwritten Star Trek script. Eyes glazed and bloodshot, he quietly leaves his lowlife former business associates with the crap-ton of money Walt gave him.
Naturally, he takes it to Saul’s office. Here we’re briefly reacquainted with Saul’s bodyguard Huell (the big black one who inadvertently gave Ted a coma). Jesse tells Saul he wants his $5 mill split between Mike’s grandkid and the parents of Drew Sharp, the boy needlessly murdered by Todd Alquist earlier in the season. Saul reluctantly agrees, but calls Walt in a panic to inform him of Jesse’s state. Walt takes the call in the midst of chemo treatment and assures Saul that everything’s under control.
He pays Jesse a visit at his home and the two chit-chat about Mike’s disappearance and why Jesse shouldn’t be handing out large amounts of money all willy-nilly. Jesse’s no dummy, he knows that odds are Walt is Mike’s killer. But Walt flexes his incredible capacity for denial til Jesse verbally complies then leaves him with his blood money.
It’s dinnertime at the Whites’ residence and Walt gets sick, no doubt due to his weakened state and continued treatment. He barfs a bit and conveniently notices the dumbest decision he’s made in the entire series (one of the few I have a really hard time buying). Where’s my book? You know, the one laying around in plain view for my DEA in-law to find? Nice going, Heisenberg.
Just when he thought it couldn’t get worse, Skyler informs Walt that Hank’s been home sick all week. She nods off and he does what any informed major drug king-pin would do in this situation: check his vehicle to make sure its not– oh no. Its bugged.
Zombie Jesse finds himself rudely awakened by a dirty homeless person in the Dog House parking lot. His highly visible cash bags ride shotgun, and suddenly he gets an idea. Enter: sketchy neighborhood in the dead of night. Jesse plays paperboy, only instead of newspapers, he’s tossing large denominations of banded money. Its red-neck Christmas.
Then comes one of the series’ most intense confrontations to date.
Its day-time, and buzzing loudly is a remote controlled toy car at the very bottom of Hank’s driveway (Sound familiar?). The remnants of his week-long re-investigation are strewn about, and his officer buddies are there for moral support.
Then comes Walt.
Hank shoos them away and they talk, man-to-man. Civil, if awkward, conversation. “How’s the carwash?” “Hope you’re feeling better.” “Call me if you need anything.” It’s pleasant all ’round.
Walt turns to leave and the buzzing rages. He hesitates. Then he turns back, reaches into his coat pocket…
And that’s all I’ll give ya. The following 5 minutes or so will blow your mind, but typing it all out here would be a disservice. Let’s put it this way: the end is imminent. And with the direction the final episodes are going, it will surely make for a satisfying payoff. Hold on to your butts, folks.
See y’all next Monday!
Inline photos borrowed from http://whatculture.com/tv/breaking-bad-5-9-blood-money-review.php – check it out!