Breaking Bad recap: Confessions


August 29, 2013 by Susan Miller

baddThis week on Breaking Bad, everyone found out about almost everything.  Jesse found out (through some powerful deductive reasoning for a stoned person) that Saul and Huell helped Walt poison Brock.  Hank found out about most of Walt’s most dastardly deeds in a taped confession Walt used to frame him.  Hank also found out that Marie had accepted drug money to pay for his treatment.  Walt Jr. found out that his Dad’s cancer is back.  Jesse found out that Hank knows about Walt.  The one remaining secret looming over all?  The return of Landry/Todd and the gang to New Mexico.  Watch out.

Susan: Can we start with the teaser?  I want to talk about the teaser.  Why oh why is Landry/Todd running his mouth like that, to a bunch of scary goons, in the middle of a public place?  Does Lydia know how unsubtle her new business partners are?  Uncle Jack is basically Gus Fring’s polar opposite.  Not only is he covered in tattoos and menacing enough that the poor waitress is too afraid to bring them their check, but he’s driving down the road with a barrel of methylamine and making no attempt to hide it.  These guys are about to blow up everyone’s carefully plotted plans.

Steven: I would have to agree with you that there’s about be a big boom somewhere in New Mexico.  Landry/Todd drove me kind of crazy in that scene.  First, he is telling it so cool and calm, knowing full well what he did at the end of that particular story. Second, he is being so careless.  There’s an old saying: don’t break the law while you’re breaking the law.  This might not fit entirely with the situation, but Landry/Todd is certainly being more than a little careless considering what they’re transporting.

Now, how this will all fit in with the current operation in ABQ, I have no idea.  I’m a little more concerned with the pressing situation: Jesse burning down Walt’s house.  Okay, okay, so we’ve already seen that there’s still a house in the future scenes, but that doesn’t mean that at least one room doesn’t go up in flames, taking with it at least one character.

How do you think Jesse would cope with accidentally killing Skyler or their baby daughter, Holly?  I want so much for Jesse to survive this madness, but it’s looking more and more like he’s going to check himself out early–either by acting recklessly and getting shot or by finally turning the gun on himself.  Have we ever seen Jesse get as dark as he was at the end of this last episode?

Susan: I’m trying to decide whether the White house that we see in the flash forward had any fire damage.  The internet says no, but then what’s going to stop Jesse?  We know he has a lighter in his pocket.  I think that we know that no one is home, because when he raced into the front yard, there were no cars in the driveway, right?  Will Carol come over and stop him?  Jr.’s friend Lewis?  Will Walt arrive in the nick of time?  It’s a great cliffhanger, especially because of what we know about the flash forward.  How are they going to get out of that?  And is their furniture ruined?  Because if I’m Skyler, that might be the straw that finally breaks me.  Oh, that, and the fact that the kids are 100% no longer safe in that house.  Minor detail.

I don’t know if we’re seeing a darker Jesse, or just a more active dark Jesse.  This is an angry Jesse, angrier than we’ve ever seen him before.  The truly scary thing is that he doesn’t even know about Jane yet.  If Mike and Brock send him this far over the edge, he might just spontaneously combust if he finds out about Jane.  Again, I’m not sure how that would happen, since Walt, Jesse and Jane were the only ones in that room, but I really would like to see that pay off.  I’m nervous that it won’t, though, since we had 11 confessions in this episode alone (conveniently titled “Confessions”).  It seems like they wanted to load up this one with the secrets and then get down to the business of the flash forward for the rest of the season.  Just a hunch.

Are you ready to praise me for totally calling the “Hank is framed by Walt” scenario?

Steven: Okay, okay, praise, praise.  As a reward I will make your lunches next week 🙂  Although I don’t know: “Walt’s drug money did pay for Hank’s treatment after all.  And it would explain why he was there to kill Tuco, why the cousins were after him, his suspicions about Gus, etc.  It might be the only way to keep Hank from turning in Walt.”  I don’t see anything about a DVD or refused guacamole in that prediction, so…

I had totally forgotten about the kids’ safety.  I knew this would set off Walt, but I hadn’t considered that this might be the catalyst Skyler needs to turn on Walt.  The way I know that Walt will be turned in and Hank will not be framed for everything is the “Heisenberg” scrawled across the wall of Walt and Skyler’s house.  It’s strange how they are able to give us the future and all its certainty while still creating tension the whole time.  We know there’s a house in the future, yet Jesse’s gasoline rampage is still an impossibly tense cliffhanger.   We know that Walt is found out to be Heisenberg, yet the DVD confession has us mourning for Hank and Marie.  How does Vince do that????  Seriously, tell us Vince.  We want to know.

What I like most about Walt’s confession in “Confessions” is that is it so unlike the Saint Augustine book it (possibly) got its name from.  There is nothing honest or contrite about it.  In fact, it is something about which he will later need to confess.  If he is in fact a wave like his name suggests.  Interesting connection, while I’m on the topic, Saint Augustine was also a wave.  A great sinner before his conversion to Christianity, Augustine became one of the greatest saints of the Catholic church.  (He died yesterday–August 28th–in 430 A.D.)  So, you know, it’s never too late, Walt.

What can we expect for Jesse next week?  Will Walt try to talk his way around the situation again or just go for the gun?  What about Saul?  Is he smart enough to leave this one well enough alone?  And then there’s Hank to worry about it.  Could we be looking at a truly Jesse-centric episode next week?

Susan: Crazy thought: what if Walt fakes his own death, turns over the video, and pins his death and his family’s deaths on Hank?  I still contend that Walt trashes his own house, scrawls the Heisenberg on the wall himself, fakes his death and pins the whole thing on Hank.  That would at least explain how the ricin was safely hidden behind the pristine outlet cover.  If something thwarts Jesse from his fire plan (which looks likely), my guess is that he’ll go straight to the DEA and get as much help as possible to bring Walt down.  That could force Walt to get out of town early and escalate his framing of Hank plan. If they were to do something like that, and totally subvert our expectations of everything that’s happening in the flash forward, then I think the flash forward will turn out to be totally worth it.  They’ve had tremendous success with flash forwards in the past (the pilot, the plane crash in season 2, the teaser where Jesse and Walt had that big fight) so I’m not about to doubt them now.

I have no idea who or what or how Jesse will be stopped from burning that place to the ground. It seems very unlikely that Walt would be able to talk him out of it, so I’ve got to think that Skyler or Walt Jr. or Holly will come home and catch him in the act.  Has Walt Jr. even met Jesse before?  Now that would be a fun scene.  Having Walt Jr. discover him might finally be the catalyst to snap Skyler out of her fugue state.  First Jesse had his, now Skyler’s in hers.  It’s time for everyone to start waking up around here.  Get to work, people!  You’ve got a monster to catch!

Second crazy thought: the last time we see Hank in this episode is when he storms out of work in the middle of the day.  Is it possible that he’s been tailing Jesse?  Could he be the one to step in and intervene at the White house?  Is that what will finally get them to team up to take down Walt?

Steven: I am definitely rooting for a Jesse-Hank team-up.  Of all the people Walt has wronged, I think they are at the top of my list.  Skyler is shortly behind them.  I’m still not officially on board with the “Walt fakes his own death” scenario, but that isn’t to say that I don’t think it’s possible.  It just isn’t my favorite.  He can certainly still do a lot more damage before the flash forward, and that would be one way to do it!  But it’s just not my personal pet theory.

Walt Jr. discovering Jesse, however, would be fantastic!  Walt is finally treating Walt Jr. like a fake son, manipulating him with the news of his cancer shadow, or whatever, so it seems high time for the fake son and the real son to meet and compare notes.  Maybe this will finally be how Walt Jr. learns about his father’s true nature.  That seems only fitting.

Are Badger and Skinny Pete done for the series?  Was the Star Trek metaphor their big send off?  Is there room for humor left as we move more firmly into the end game?  Is it Sunday yet?

Susan: Sadly, I think we’ve seen the last of Badger and Skinny Pete.  I think the humor in the show is reserved for character’s farewells.  Badger and Skinny Pete got the Star Trek monologue, Huell and Kuby got to lay on a pile of money and Trent the waiter got to offer up some delicious table-side guacamole.  I’m afraid for Saul.  He seems like the kind of cockroach that could survive this storm, and Walt really has no reason to get rid of him, but that doesn’t mean that Landry/Todd and his merry band of neo-nazis will spare him.  I’m also very nervous about what Lydia’s up to.  She’s someone you want to keep an eye on.

Do you think Hank will try to go after Skyler first to try to get to Walt?  She’s tipped her hand a little too often.  First, she told Lydia to back off at the car wash, implying that she knew who she was and why she was there.  Then, she told Hank and Marie in the dinner scene that the whole illegal operation was “in the past”, implying some confirmation of wrongdoing.  Jesse has seen Skyler at the car wash, hiding the methylamine.  If he and Hank were to team up and take down Skyler first, that would put Walt in a pretty tight corner.  Skyler has the whole book cooking with Beneke too and that isn’t part of the Heisenberg empire.  Will she end up being the weak link?  After all her talk about the devil being in the details?

Steven: Oh that would be great!  I think a full offensive against Skyler is just what this show needs.  Even if Walt can imply that Hank was behind the meth, Hank can still root around and discover that Skyler was behind the Beneke books.  I wonder if Skyler would still stand beside/kneel beside her husband if the federal government threatened to take away her children.  I could see her finally cutting a deal in that scenario.

It’s such an awful situation.  You have this family that you’ve decided to always put first.  And then part of your family starts doing something truly terrible.  Do you keep putting your whole family first or is it time to start putting some of it ahead of other parts of it?  Where is the line?  For Skyler the line was three seasons ago when she decided he was having an affair.  And then it was two seasons ago when she found out what he did for a living.  And then it was last season when she discovered he was the one who knocks.  Now she has held on for so long and seen so much evil.  Will she ever leave?  Will she ever wise up and actually put her family first–not just one member of it, but the entirety of her family, including herself?

Here’s my out of left field thought for the day: What if Saul is the one to bring down Walt?  Legally, he can’t tell anyone anything, and that doesn’t fit his overall impression as a person.  But look at what trouble Walt has actually caused Saul.  Most recently, Walt has almost gotten him killed.  I think the most practical thing for him to do is ensure that Walt ends up behind bars.  Only then will he ever actually be free of Walt’s bad decisions.  It won’t work–as the flash forward tells us–but it would be logical.

Susan: I don’t know if Saul could do that.  If he’s responsible for turning in the biggest criminal in ABQ, his credibility in the criminal lawyer business is completely dunzo.  I wonder if he knows where Walt hid the money?  I’d almost like a scenario where he and Huell and Kuby run off with the pile of money and call in an anonymous tip to the DEA.  Then again, that seems like the ending to a comedy rather than this deeply dark drama.  However, that could be the beginning of the Saul spin-off show.  After everyone is dead (think Hamlet), Saul walks in to the condemned White home and sees a lottery ticket on the fridge.  Somehow he puts it together and goes out to dig up the money.  The pilot begins in the desert, with Huell, Kuby and Saul rolling in piles of money.  Almost the same as Breaking Bad, with a wildly different tone.  It could work.

Speaking of the pilot, do you remember that Walt attempts to shoot himself in the head after he makes his video confession, but the gun doesn’t fire?  On rewatch, that’s something that really surprised me.  He puts the gun to his head and actually pulls the trigger, but it doesn’t go.  The first of many unlucky accidents that led Walt down this path to “success”.  There have been several times on this show that they have foreshadowed a character’s death, most notably with Jane in season 2.  Jesse is making her breakfast and she comes out early and he says, “Oh no, you weren’t supposed to wake up” and she replies, “Ever?”.  In hindsight, it’s chilling.  Since Marie told Walt he should just kill himself, and we have so many callbacks to the pilot this season, do you think he’ll go back to the very beginning and finally end it?  It would certainly be poetic.

Steven: I do like that spin-off idea, but would that be too similar to the actual sequel to Hamlet–“Horatio Houdini”–where Horatio and Fortinbras run off with Prince Hamlet’s fortune and try to make it as Las Vegas Strip magicians?

As for Walt’s suicide, that’s definitely what I think the ricin is about.  I think that Walt’s end game is to definitely be dead–with no question of being imprisoned or tortured or whatever the people he’s going after are willing to do to him.  I also think that having suicide in his back pocket will allow him to do something much more brave than he may be willing to do right now.  For all of his pomp, Walt is truly still a coward in so many essential ways.  I would like to see him shed that skin–especially if there’s any genuine breaking good to be done in the final act.  Oh, I just realized this is the 5th season!

That bit about Jane is chilling.  I still don’t know if Jesse will ever find out.  Is it better to know or not to know?  That is the question.  Or something like that…

Susan: Whoa.  5th season.  As in, 5th act.  As in, that Hamlet theory is totally legit.  Mind BLOWN.

I like the idea of Walt swallowing the ricin and then taking that machine gun so that he can rage, rage, against the dying of the light.  It’s also, you might say, poetic.  Eh?  They’ve already set us up for the Ozymandias parallel.  Maybe they’ve been giving us the clues all along and we’re too obsessed with Scarface to notice.  Silly American culture.

Steven: Silly us.  Is it Sunday yet?

The less said about the "Heisenhug" the better.  Suuuuper creepy.

The less said about the “Heisenhug” the better. Suuuuper creepy.

Additional thoughts:

So, what do you suppose Walt did with the message from Landry/Todd?  Does he have any idea what he meant about him handling the situation with Declan?  If they’re coming back to New Mexico to cook, does that mean they’re planning on getting Walt back in the business?  Will that terrified waitress tell anyone about what she overheard?

Hank and Marie were both dressed in black this episode, while the Whites are getting very beige and expensive conservative.  In the dinner scene, Walt was wearing a Mr. Rogers cardigan.  What does it all mean?!?

Do you think Saul was sending Jesse off to the vacuum repairman we first learned about in season 4?  The rules appeared to have changed a bit from then.  When Saul first told Walt about the disappearing service, he said that he would have to make the call and then the guy would call him right back.  He also said that he wouldn’t be allowed to choose where he was going.  In this case, Saul talked to the guy right away and said he could pick where he wanted to go.  Is it possible that Walt ordered Saul to have Jesse sent to Belize instead of Alaska?  If so, is Walt about to shoot Jesse in the head with that frosty gun?  Will that thing even work anymore?

Next week: a fire in the White house?  More confessions?  Walt Jr. getting wise?  These previews are getting more and more mysterious.


One thought on “Breaking Bad recap: Confessions

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