Tread lightly indeed.
Whereas Blood Money sets up the buzz saw-like wheels in motion for the homestretch of BREAKING BAD, Buried deals with the first ripples of that episode's consequences. If last week was a showcase for Walt and especially Hank...tonight was all about the Lambert sisters they married.
Generally speaking, the second episode of any intensely serialized dramatic series tends to be "a breather". Think of Tabula Rasa, Adrift or The Glass Ballerina from LOST...or perhaps 46 Long and Do Not Resuscitate from THE SOPRANOS. Doesn't mean the 2nd episode is typically a FAIL, as the point is sometimes to create that slow burn, to further set the stage for whatever mind-bending and heart racing sensory nirvana was blasted across the screen in the premiere episode.
I suspect some people who appeared to be less than enchanted with this episode simply don't get that.
Maybe they're better off dealing with programs that operate on the USA Network level. Or maybe the latest CBS crime procedural...I understand the CSI and NCIS wells have been tapped dry, but perhaps those TWO BROKE GIRLS will start a new business wiping down corpse goo at crime scenes.
Maybe they couldn't accept that instead of another Heisenberg appearance, it was the Missus taking care of the family business this time around.
Or maybe they're just idiots. More often than not, that tends to be the answer to many questions in life.
Now that I've irritated at least a third of my so-called readership (all three of you), let's move on to my...
- In the cold open, a dude who might've been Dale's stand-in on THE WALKING DEAD follows a bread crumb trail of money to find Jesse slowly spinning on a playground ride.
Yes, we are watching a literal downward spiral, a metaphoric circling of the drain. Sometimes BREAKING BAD is as subtle as a man's severed head mounted atop a crawling tortoise.
- Ricin-berg has another mini-stare down with Hank before trying to reach Skyler...but Hank's beaten him to the call. She meets Hank in a diner, and...
Okay, let me pause for just a moment and say Anna Gunn's face looks so much better this season. Maybe that plumped out puss was purely post-pregnancy poundage and not Botox after all, or maybe they've just been more careful with where they stick the needle. But I'm glad to say her visage is no longer the minor distraction I felt it was during an otherwise pulse pounding fourth season. Let's get back to the re-crap, I mean recap...
- Hank tries to manipulate Skyler into spilling the beans (neither Ricin nor Green) about a certain son-of-a-bitch, but he's not in the same class of persuasive power.
- He also once again doesn't know who he's dealing with, as you can't spell Skyler without the word SLY, and sly she is, calculating what Hank does and doesn't know, and finally causing one of her patented public spectacles to hightail it home.
- Saul has his hilarious lackeys Huell and Kuby pick up the money from the Armenian money train, I mean Walt's mountain of mad meth money (I resolved to say fuck it today and go nuts with the alliteration, and anyone who doesn't like it can go play a nice rousing game of Diarrhetic Human Millipede). Unfortunately, Walt never knew the locations of any of the secret desert hatches that Mike used for Fring months earlier -- so he has to dig one big bitch of a hole to bury several kettle drums crammed with cash.
- Hank sends in his purple posse (not a typo -- I said POSSE) to try to turn Skyler away from the dark side. In addition to what Hank has clearly told her, Marie pieces together so much more without Skyler even saying much of anything. Then for the 2nd time in two weeks, a Schrader bitch-slaps a White.
- They then have a tug-of-war with Holly as the pink-clad prize. Again, please note the baby is in pink (a la charred teddy bear). The two women hit about every visceral button imaginable, and Hank eventually forces Marie to relent. As they drive away, it's as if Marie wants Walt busted more than Hank...and she might not mind seeing her sister behind bars too.
- Walt spends All Day And All Of The Night burying the money. He memorizes the six coordinates to find the buried booty, and I'm happy to report that not one of those digits was a LOST Number. However, he then buys a lottery ticket with those six numbers, which of course did remind me of...sigh.
- He wearily strips down to his undies, but instead of responding to Skyler's insistent questions, Walt takes a face-plant on the bathroom floor due to exhaustion and weakness from the cancer treatments.
- Walt wakes up five hours later, and after admitting that he's the one who screwed up this time, he has one of his most sympathetic and true touching moments since the first season. Sure, he's had brief flashes of nobility before, but they were still typically tied to his own sense of self-preservation. But by insisting that Skyler keep the money for the kids (otherwise what was the point), he may have actually attracted one or two of the more soft-hearted from the We (Claim to) Hate Heisenberg crowd.
- Speaking of haters -- in yet another middle finger to those who scowl at the sight or sound of Skyler (what did I say about alliteration), Skyler decides the "best move is to stay quiet".
Shades of the "best course is to tread lightly".
- A blindfolded Lydia is taken to meet Declan in the middle of nowhere. Really, like she'd be able to find her way back there if she COULD see? Wearing heels that are as appropriate for the terrain as clown shoes, she checks out the underground lab. She's still upset about the crappy quality crystal Declan has been supplying to her, but Declan doesn't care, and he's unwilling to allow Todd to cook again.
- Declan is summoned back to ground level, and several dozen gunshots later, we hear Todd beckoning for Lydia to come upstairs. Lydia could NOW use that blindfold (or maybe her Jackie O sunglasses) to avoid viewing the bloodbath the Neo-Nazis have wrought, including one last bullet for Declan.
- As Marie watches, Hank sifts through the Heisenberg casework, searching for something that'll stick. What Saul said to Walt a few seasons ago is a neon sign in Hank's head:
"Ten seconds after I tell them, my career is over. I'm a civilian".
- So he wants to be damn sure he has proof, not just suspicions. Hank's goal is now to bring down his brother-in-law in his final act as ASAC for the DEA.
- However, Marie brings up something that had NOT occurred to Hank (or me): if someone else eventually catches Walt, and Hank has been "Lone Wolf McQuade" and kept silent all this time -- he's likely to be arrested as well. Marie doesn't say it, but just think about his medical bills alone and who has been paying them. Ruh-roh.
- Hank comes to work looking like a Gloomy Gus (but with an intact face), canceling a meeting with the implication that he's gonna come clean with his suspicions about Walt to Gomez and their boss SAC Ramey. But when Gomez tells Hank about how Jesse Pinkman was busted with millions of dollars in a duffel bag, Hank's mea culpa is put on hold.
- Hank later sees a silent and sullen Jesse being questioned by the same cops who thought they had Jesse Ricin-handed back in Season 4. He convinces them to let him have a few minutes with the "little shit stain" and...FADE TO BLACK.
And that's how you write a recap, bitches!
While Buried was hardly a banana-patch of gags, jokes and one-liners...there was still a few moments of amusement to be found amidst the growing desperation and despair...
The two henchmen taking a brief siesta on the the bed of money:
Huell: "Mexico. Alls I'm saying"
Kuby: "The guy hit ten guys in jail in a two minute window. Alls I'm saying."
Also, the look they exchange when Walt is sealing the drums of dough is a pretty solid acknowledgement that they pocketed a bundle or two themselves.
As always, any time spent with Saul Goodman is good for a laugh or three, but it's Walt who ends up delivering the funniest line of the scene. After Saul suggests that perhaps Walt deal with Hank as he did with Mike, a new catchphrase was born...
"Jesus. Send him to Belize...I'll send YOU to Belize."
That's it for this week's episode. Until next time, be good, even if BREAKING BAD is better!