Sep 03 2013
Yes, I did indeed miss last week’s Breaking Bad review as I was on a beach and far away from a TV that got AMC, but I have returned and now have caught up on both the “Jesse loses his shit” episode, and then the most recent one which aired last night.
Unlike Dexter (don’t even get me started), these last few episodes of Breaking Bad really do feel like a final season, and there’s so much tension in every scene I’m literally squirming around in my seat for half the episode. Last night was no different, and now we’re all left to guess exactly what happens next.
First we learn that Jesse did not in fact burn Walt’s house down. This should have been fairly obvious due to the fact that in the flash-forward intro teasers, we see Walt’s house not, actually, burned down. I thought maybe Jesse started a little fire, hence why the house was gutted in the future, but in retrospect it didn’t seem to be actual fire damage, just a stripped and abandoned house.
Rather, we spend the first portion of the evening as confused as Walt, not understanding why Jesse would soak his house in gasoline and simply stop. Walt, in typical Walt fashion, concocts an elaborate lie about the pump exploding over him at the gas station, which is actually a lie with layers meant to convince Junior the truth is that he passed out at the station and got soaked. Skyler sees through both lies and Walt is forced to explain the Jesse situation to her. Both she and Saul separately agree that it’s time for Jesse to go, and can’t understand why Walt is so hesitant about killing him. To quote Skyler in perhaps her most chilling line of the series, “What’s one more?”
DAMN SKYLER YOU COLD.
Meanwhile, what’s actually happened is that Jesse has been apprehended by Hank, who has trailed him to Walt’s house and convinces him to stop his arson attempt in progress. Then, what many suspected may happen begins to take shape, as the new plan is Hank and Jesse , former enemies, team up to take down a man they both hate and fear. Well, try to take him down at least.
The first stage of the plan is bringing Gomez in as a third party to witness Pinkman’s taped confession. I’m not sure how much Hank has told Gomez, like if he’s shown him the tape Walt’s made fake-implicating Hank (I didn’t get to comment on it, but that was genius, by the way). I would assume so, and Gomez knows everything now, but that’s never made explicit.
But in the end, all three realize they have nothing hard on Walt. They need physical evidence to convict him, and then the new plan becomes wiring up Jesse to get a confession of something out of Walt. Hank’s secret back-up plan is that if Jesse dies in the attempt, they’ll at least get it on video.
In the end, a random ominous-looking civilian spooks Jesse, and he then makes a threatening phone call to Walt and promises further destruction. After Hank flips out on him for blowing the op, Jesse reveals he has some new measure of revenge in mind. Walt, meanwhile, apparently finally makes the phone call to Todd to put a hit out on Jesse. Again, heavily implied, but not explicit.
How do you not end a phone call like this with “bitch”?
Walt’s relationship with Jesse is more complicated than anyone realizes. Saul and Skyler see the obvious solution as killing Jesse like he’s a family dog gone rabid, and we, the audience, might assume that’s the rational course as well. But we’re so used to Walt as the villain that we forget that all the events of the show have taken place over the course of only a year or so. He’s not Darth Vader, encased in an evil shell for decades. This transformation is recent, and he still has some humanity in him. Doesn’t he? Well, Darth Vader did, so Walt should. Jesse has been like a son to him, and as much as I believe that Walt manipulates him constantly, some moments, like the hug in the desert last week, do come from a place of truth, I think.
This twinge of humanity might disappear by the end of the episode when he calls in the hit, but it appeared to at least be intact for most of the episode. What I am wondering is what was going through Walt’s mind when he wanted to meet Jesse. Since the hard-looking guy was a nobody, and he didn’t call in the hit until after, I don’t believe that Jesse was ever in any real danger.
But still, Walt is smart enough to realize that if Jesse didn’t burn his house down and disappeared, another form of revenge might be turning on him to Hank. Walt should have known that it was at least a possibility that Jesse could be wired. Perhaps he was just going to talk in vagaries to try to explain himself? “I did what I did for your own good, is what the only way to defeat our mutual foe,” etc. etc. Nothing incriminating.
“I just wanted to get some ice cream with him.”
Now I’m curious as to what this new master plan is that Jesse has up his sleeve. Unless it involves magnets, big picture plans have really never been Jesse’s forte. I thought it might be something he’d do on his own, but he’s obviously going to involve Hank. That rules out anything crazy extreme like hurting Walt Jr. or Skyler, or simply assassinating Walt. And we always have to keep in mind that in the future, we know that Walt’s secret has been exposed, somehow. Does Jesse have a way to make Walt’s Heisenberg identity go public, even without hard proof to back it up? If say, the criminal underworld believes the revelation of Walt’s identity, does that make it true enough to scare Walt or convince the general public?
And of course, who is the ricin for?
We’re halfway through now, only four episodes left. Seems like a long walk to get to a hairy, revealed, on-the-run Walt with a military grade assault rifle in his trunk and a vial of ricin in his pocket, so I expect the next episodes to be even more intense than those that have come before it. This is how you do a final season, and I can’t say many shows have delivered final episodes that have been this gripping leading up to their grand finale.
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