Breaking Bad. It’s back. And I am way too excited. And sad. And anxious. I have a lot of emotions going on right now. Yes, I get way too attached to television shows. But this is BREAKING BAD! One of the best television shows ever in history. All I know is I want to squeeze every bit of time that I can out of the remaining eight episodes of this magnificent show, so its recap time.
Season 5B opens on yet another use of the White swimming pool to ominously foreshadow the future. Stuffed bear eyeball, a despondent Skyler, and now what appear to be relatively talented skateboarders have populated the concrete walls of the pool in the past two years. Is it just me, or is it odd that we have never once actually seen a person actually swim in that pool? I guess not, given that the White household hasn’t been a bastion of happiness over the course of the series.
Walt sneaks into the house, and takes pause at a large “Heisenberg” sprayed on the wall. He must be thinking that the addition of electric yellow spray paint is definitely an improvement over the 1970’s wood paneling in the entry way. Now that I think about it, Walt was a man that had given up on life to such an extent that he couldn’t bother to slap a coat of paint on that sucker. C’mon man, it’s the first thing people see when they walk in. Well, now the yellow “Heisenberg” is. Like I said. Improvement.
Walt wanders down the hallway to the bedroom and takes some change out of his pocket to make a phone call. No, wait….makeshift screwdriver. He extracts the vial of ricin from its hidey hole. He saunters back outside and runs into his neighbor Carol. She promptly drops her groceries in shock. It must be because she hasn’t seen Walt with hair in almost two years. That’s totally it.
Back to the present, in the modestly appointed White homestead. The shot slowly tracks in on the bathroom door, and oh baby it’s viewer payoff time. The scene we’ve been waiting for since last summer. Hank’s reaction. And it’s a doozy. He is in the middle of what appears to be the worst panic attack ever. I think I would be rattled too if I found out my mild mannered brother in law was a drug kingpin whilst mid-poop. I hope he flushed. Hank flies home in a blur, plowing directly into a mailbox.
Home from a three hour hospital visit, Marie refrigerates things that were sitting in a car in New Mexico during a three hour hospital visit. Marie, I think you can throw that stuff away honey. Maybe pay attention to what your husband is doing in the garage instead. Hank matches the handwriting, and validates what he already knew.
The next morning at the car wash, the new uniform of A1A management appears to be khaki casual. Walt mentions buying another car wash, and Skyler seems into it.
Lydia drives up and requests a standard car wash, immune to Skyler’s upsell. I mean, why would she care about water spots? She has a rental car! Seriously? How on earth Lydia can be the mastermind of an international drug ring, but neglect details such as removing an incriminating rental tag from her keys is beyond me. She goes inside to whine to Walt about her problem. 68% and falling.
Lydia is a dangerously anxious ball of crazy, and she twitches her way through this conversation with Walt, her black outfit starkly contrasting with Walt’s head-to-toe Gap ensemble. After getting sharply rebuffed she shoves her sunglasses back on, and man this woman is in desperate need of some Xanax. She shuffles out of the building and is confronted by an unwavering Skyler with lips pursed in a determined line. Props to Skyler because she’s come a long way since shakily confronting Jesse in season one, but it feels like a big mistake. One shouldn’t poke crazy.
Hank calls out of work to shuffle through boxes of evidence. Fun montage ensues. Even more fun – lyrics to the song can be found here and weirdly include “they're geeks biting chicken-heads off with their witty / rejoinders they ain't nothing but greasy fast food”. Hank squints at the footage of two shadowy figures stealing the methylamine, and flips through shots of familiar faces, all of who have been casualties of Heisenberg’s reign. Hank takes pause at the crude sketch of Heisenberg, but must realize that a drawing isn’t actual concrete proof, right?
Following the montage, we are treated to a refreshing stoner scene. Skinny Pete and Badger engage in some amusing banter about Star Trek while Jesse has an existential crisis backlit by wavy screensaver. Just as I start daydreaming about how amazing a sitcom spin off with these three might be, Jesse abruptly leaves the house, duffle bags in tow.
Jesse stomps into Saul’s office, otherwise known as the DMV waiting room of my nightmares. Huell is chillin like a blob, and watches as Jesse takes a doobie out of his pack and takes a deep defiant drag. (Side Note – As Huell eyes Jesse’s cigarette pack, I can’t help but think back to when he frisked Jesse to get the ricin back in season 4. How his sausage fingers did the job that quickly remains a mystery for the BB ages.) Saul’s arm beckons. Jesse enters and sets out his terms. Saul placates Jesse, and then runs to his drawer full of bat phones, which for some odd reason includes a phone with a glittery Hello Kitty case.
Walt’s on the other end of Saul’s call. In stark contrast to Jesse smoking in a waiting room, Walt is getting treatment for his cancer. It’s back. But Walt has no time to wallow in his illness. He has 5 million dollars to return.
Walt hauls the money in to Jesse’s house, tossing it around it as if it were a bag of clothing for donation to Goodwill. Apparently 5 million dollars of blood money is really heavy. Walt pleads with Jesse to believe him, and Jesse stares blankly into the distance, broken by the trauma he can’t bring himself to suppress any longer. This is most certainly set up for the inevitable Jesse/Walt confrontation, and I expect that future scenes between these two will have a bit more intrigue.
As the days pass, the White family appears to be getting back to normalcy. In the middle of happy family time, Walt scuttles to the bathroom to yak. He notices that Leaves of Grass is missing and a wave of non-chemo induced nausea overtakes him. Later he sneaks out to his car and finds a tracker. He stands at the curb like a weirdo in his robe and undies. If Junior had come home from his late curfew right at that moment, Walt would totally have some explaining to do.
Later that night, in a decidedly non-family friendly part of town, a homeless guy searches for cans and rouses Jesse who is napping in his car for some reason. Jesse rubs the sleep out of his eyes and then quickly offers the guy a fat stack of cash. Homeless dude looks wary, like “Should I trust this guy who still has to manually roll down his car windows?” but ends up taking the stack. Jesse then goes all deranged paperboy, making it rain hundies all up over the ABQ ghetto.
The next morning Walt pays a visit to his brother in law. Oh thank you dear sweet BB writers for this scene so soon into the season. While Hank is not a good actor, Dean Norris certainly is. The range of emotion he expresses during this scene is Emmy worthy. When Walt enters the garage, Hank initially tries to act nonchalant, but just ends up looking agitated. Walt quickly tires of the banter and turns to leave but then slowly pivots back to ask about the tracker.
With a blank stare Hank puts the garage door down and Walt responds with a cheeky “I don’t like the way you’re looking at me right now.” Hank punches Walt square in the eyeglass, and then begins to confront him with the laundry list of infractions that Walt has committed. They sound almost comical all listed together, and I am ashamed to admit that when Hank screamed “You bombed a nursing home!” I uncontrollably laughed out loud. Walt responds by admitting to Hank that his cancer is back, and Hank’s expression is so confused for an instant. In a stroke of brilliance by the show writers, Walt never admits to any of the claims Hank is making, but outlines a pretty compelling case as to why Hank should not continue to pursue his investigation.
Hanks jaw is agape but he visibly relaxes. He still thinks he has the upper hand as he calmly tells Walt to bring the kids and Skyler to the house. Hank says with some sadness, “I don’t even know who I’m talking to.” Walt responds with what is sure to be one of the most quotable lines of the series. “If that’s true…if you don’t know who I am then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly.” Hank has no response and stares blankly, with a scared look in his eyes.
I can’t believe there are only seven episodes left. My questions for now are the following: What on earth is going to be the fall out of Jesse’s Robin Hood drive by? Is the White family going to take that trip to Europe sooner rather than later? Also, WTF was the symbolism of that yellow remote control car on Hank’s street? If someone can tell me I would love you forever because quite frankly it’s driving me mad.