Monday, August 26, 2013

What I Watch: Breaking Bad 5.11 - "Confessions"

After re-watching "Confessions" earlier this morning, I've decided to dispense with my typical preamble ramble and just devote this week's blog to purely recapping and impurely reacting.

Although such a blog could easily read like this: 

" shit...holy fuck -- wait, it's over already?"

That's alls I'm saying...

- Everyone's favorite sociopath without a code proves he doesn't have much discretion either. While hanging out by a diner just outside of New Mexico, Todd yaps about the "change in management" in a voicemail he leaves on Walt's phone (which I'm sure will please the ever-living fuck out of him). Then he spills the ricin beans about the great train robbery to his psycho uncle and his right hand Neo-Nazi.

- Of course, Todd (who looks like what might have happened if someone had tinkered with one of Matt Damon's chromosomes while he was in utero) chooses NOT to mention the small matter of his cold-blooded execution of a child.  Though I doubt that would knock the bloody boots off his Uncle Adolf.  Speaking of which, it's hard to ignore that dude's vibe whenever Todd speaks of the great and powerful Heisenberg.  A little reminiscent of how Walt would react to his son's adoration of Hank?  Hmm…

- We're on the other side of the door in that interrogation room. and Hank drops an A-Bomb on Jesse: he's on to Walt. That breaks Jesse out of his typical early season (or in this case, mid-season) funk, as he shoots Hank a look of raw contempt. Hank offers to make everything go away in exchange for Jesse flipping on Walt, but Pinkman's hate for Hank is bigger than his depression over the evil that men like Walt do, and he says:

"Why don't you try to beat it out of me? That's your thing, right?"

- After Hank tries to bond with Jesse about being charter members of the "I've Been Screwed By Walter White" club (Skyler would be that club's president, obviously), Saul shows up with his usual brand of humor and guile, not to mention a "complete lack of chill" over Hank's recent discovery. Although Jesse is his client, Saul is actually there on Walt's dime and under orders to bail Jesse out.

- Junior is heading over to Aunt Marie's to fix her computer, but after showing an utter lack of beautician skills when it comes to applying cover-up (which is funny, since all Walt does is "cover up" stuff), Walt stops his clueless son just before he toddles out the door. He tells Junior about the return of the big "C", and just as Walt undoubtedly expected, his son now doesn't want to spend one extra minute away from dear old once again dying Dad.

- Hank comes home to a glass of ever-so smooth Knob Creek and ever-so insistent Marie. One he's thankful for at the end of another lousy day, the other -- eh, not so much. 

_ Walt sits down to have a confession filmed by Skyler. Which takes us back to the very first episode of BREAKING BAD, only that time it was a "selfie".

- The Whites meet the Schraders at Garduno's, which looks like a mexican version of TGIF.  Gracias a Dios Es el Viernes? Walt and Skyler are there to talk about Walter Junior, whereas Hank was hoping for an admission of guilt. Because if you're gonna come clean, best to do it over a burrito.

- Marie wants Holly and Flynn to come live with them (hard not to notice that the Whites are calling their son Walter Junior and the Schraders only refer to him as Flynn). Walt points out how this investigation will devastate the kid, whereas that's not exactly at the top of Hank's list of concerns. 

- Marie believes the kids are in perpetual danger, even noting that Skyler herself sent them away.  But Skyler tries to shut her up (but this time, not by yelling "Shut up" a dozen times) by saying the danger has passed, and whatever they think Walt has done, all of it is IN the past. The already tense discussion escalates to the point of Walt asking: "What do I have to do to make you believe me?" 

- But Marie lands the killer punch of the conversation by countering with: "Why don't you just kill yourself, Walt?"  But that non-solution won't suffice for Hank, and at this point, he even threatens Skyler. At that point, Walt slides a disc over to Hank, and the Whites leave without ever sampling that table-side guacamole. 

- The disc isn't the latest Netflix rental; it's Walt's confession. But no one said anything about it being a TRUE confession. As an increasingly shocked and quietly seething Hank and Marie watch the tale Walt spins, one realizes that the lie of Hank being the actual person behind Heisenberg and the meth empire isn't simply plausible, it may even make more sense than the truth.  From the very first ride-along to the death of Gus Fring, Walt lays it all at Hank's feet.

- And though that "confession", another domino we'e been waiting to crash down on Hank tumbles over: some of that mad meth moolah paid for Hank's medical bills.  $177,000, to be exact. As Hank puts it, that's "the last nail in the coffin." He shouldn't be too worried, as the dead have been known to rise on AMC.

Still, one has to wonder about a confession that starts out with the old chestnut "If you're seeing this, I'm already dead." If Hank took his own advice and stepped up and admitted his own ignorance, but with that disc in's POSSIBLE he could get out from under this. But he's too busy reeling from the news about his medical bills being covered by dirty drug money to see the forest for the trees he used to tag.

- Saul and Jesse meet Walt in the desert. As Saul says, "It's always a desert." After Jesse gives Walt the 411 on Hank, Walt goes into surrogate father mode, being as empathetic as any 80's sitcom dad who was telling their son they need to get outta town under a false identity and start a new life. Tabula Rasa Time.

- However, Jesse's (finally) onto Walt. He knows Walt killed Mike, and he's also aware of how Walt is always working him -- manipulating him for his own needs. Jesse ends up sobbing in Walt's arms.  And thanks to the sly nature of this show and Walt's character, one can debate whether Walt's embrace was sincere or sinister.

- After wishing another car wash customer an A-1 Day, Walt finds Skyler's in one of her increasingly frequent troubled trances. Over the course of this show, who has more screen time with little to no dialogue, Anna Gunn or Aaron Paul? The way the scene is shot is also quite deliberate: Skyler's face is half lit, half dark. Meanwhile, the Monarch of Meth is completely in shadow.

Oh, since I called Walt the Monarch of Meth, I now claim the title of the Monarch of Meh

- Meanwhile, Hank's also "checked out", looking over the most mind-numbingly mundane pieces of paperwork conceivable. Gomez wants to know why his guys are trailing Jesse, but instead of "confessing" his actual reasons, Hank kills the surveillance.  Hank's boxed in, but as opposed to having an anxiety attack, he decides to step out of the office. Perhaps a barstool is in his immediate future?

- Jesse is moving forward with the "disappear and make a new life" plan, which requires Saul to make a call with the vacuum cleaner password. That's entirely appropriate, since Jesse's life really sucks right now. While Saul puts together a care package of cash, Jesse fires up a doobie, which freaks Saul out. Jesse can't be meeting Mister Punctual if he's high. Instead of handing Saul the pot baggie, Jesse pockets it. "Some people are immune to good advice."

- Saul gives Jesse that lovely and ever-so-manly Hello Kitty phone, and they discuss possible landing spots for Jesse's fresh start.  Saul suggests Florida, while Jesse's mindset is more about Alaska. But as Jesse squeeze past the mammoth Huell in the doorway, we see the big man lift the bag of dope out of Jesse's pocket.

- Jesse waits for his pickup to begin his lifelong Alaska dream vacation. It's hard not to notice that the architecture behind him resembles a graveyard of giant tombstones. But when he puts his hands in his pockets, he notices something is missing.  Jesse looks around to see if his doobie stash has fallen out, then starts patting himself down, in search of his errant weed. 

- He takes out his pack of cigarettes during his search, and when Jesse glances at his trusty cancer sticks, that's when he has an epiphany. When something truly horrible clicks inside his head:

- He knows that the pot was lifted from his pocket -- probably by Huell. Click.
- It dawns on him that the same thing may have happened months ago -- with his cigarettes. Click.
- Specifically, the temporarily missing ricin cigarette. Click. The truth has been unlocked.

- As the gravity of that realization hits Jesse like a Schrader left hook, a van pulls up, ready to whisk Jesse away to his new life. But as the music builds like an ominous ticking bomb, Jesse decides he has some unfinished business in Albuquerque after all.

- Jesse shows up at Saul's to give him the business. He cold-cocks the shyster, delivers two Joe Pesci kicks to the gut and punches him again. Saul scrambles for a gun in his desk, but Jesse gets it first. Weapon in hand, he spouts off about how they "took it right out of his pocket".  

- Saul thinks Jesse's talking about the pot, but he's not. He's talking about that ricin cigarette, A.K.A. the BREAKING BAD MacGuffin. Saul admits to taking it at Walt's urging, but he thought it was to help Jesse, to save Jesse.  He pleads that he never would have agreed to it if he had known the real plan. Jesse snatches Saul's car keys and bolts out of the office.

- Former bookkeeper Skyler's losing her basic math skills by giving people incorrect change. Outside, frantic Walt pulls up, but saunters in with as bad an impression of "cool and calm" as he's ever given. All that was missing was a "who, little ol' me" whistle, dum-de-dum-dum-dum. He tells Skyler that the Coke machine has been latching instead of catching. It was the scheme he was hatching, for the gun he'd be snatching...ANYWAYS, he opens up the soda machine and fishes out an ice-coated .38 with Skyler none the wiser.

- Jesse drives up to their casa, busts down the door and angrily splashes gasoline everywhere...

 CUT TO BLACK (again, the bastards)

Even with so much face time for Saul (though some of it was bloody face time), this wasn't one of the more laugh filled episodes.  Still, there were a few noteworthy chuckles...

- Love that Uncle Adolf is a fan of classic Burt Reynolds films from the 70's.  Archer would be proud.

- That poor schmuck of a waiter at Garduno's with the table side guacamole. 

- Saul lands a few good shots early on, especially comparing Hank to Rocky. Little did he know he'd end up being a punching bag later that day.

That's it for this week's episode. Until next time, be good, even if BREAKING BAD is better!

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