8 To Go: GGR Reviews Breaking Bad: “Blood Money”

From Geek Goes Rogue TV Editor Zach Lorton, as told to by the hat rack that is longing for a porkpie…

WHAT IS HANK GOING TO DO??!?

At the end of the previous episode of Breaking Bad, “Gliding Over All”, I didn’t care what kind of life Walt and Skyler would have with their kids or if their marriage would be reconciled.  I didn’t care what youth-fueled shenanigans Jesse would get himself into now that he has cash to flash.  The only question that’s been burning in my mind since September 2012 (has it REALLY been that long?) is what DEA agent Hank Schrader will do now that he’s discovered that his brother-in-law Walt is the infamous Heisenberg he’s been looking for.

Here now is my review of the first of the final episodes of Breaking Bad, written in real time as I am watching the episode.

Oh yeah, spoilers.

=======================

0:01:30 – Recap.  Walt shoots Mike.  Lydia offers Walt a chance to make beaucoup scratch selling meth to the Czech Republic.  Hank is offered the ASAC position with the DEA in Albuquerque.  Walt gives Jesse the money he’s owed, and tells Skyler he’s out of the business.  Hank finds an inscription to “W. W.” in Walt’s copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass written by Gale Boetticher, revealing to Hank the identity of the enigmatic Heisenberg — his own brother-in-law.

0:02:03 – Skateboarders are freestyling it in the drained pool of what we eventually see is the White house.  From the front, the property is fenced in and looking unkempt.  Walt drives up in an old Lincoln, head of hair, full beard, and hipster black-rimmed glasses.  He pops the trunk and grabs a tire iron, then makes his way past the fence into the house, where is is bleak, empty, and graffiti on the wall reads “Heisenberg”.

This isn’t going to end well.

0:05:22 – Walt takes a coin from his pocket and retrieves the vial of ricin from behind the decorative plug cover in the bedroom.  This is obviously in the future, so it’s surprising the vial is still there.  It’s also surprising the plug cover is still there, for that matter.

0:06:02 – Walt’s back at his trunk, and his next-door neighbor is standing stock still, holding a paper bag of groceries, staring at Walt in disbelief.  He feels the eyes and turns to face her.  “Hello, Carol,” he offers, to which she promptly drops the grocery bag, sending oranges scattering.  Because not only does her supermarket still use paper bags, but they don’t believe in bagging produce to make it easier to weigh.

0:10:04 – Present day.  A slow tracking shot pushes in on the bathroom door in Walt & Skyler’s bedroom.  Uncomfortably long.  Hank eventually emerges with a severely disturbed look on his face that looks like he’s trying his best not to be severely disturbed.  He’s got the Whitman book in hand, which he stashes in his bag.  Making his way back to the patio, the first words we hear are spoken by his wife, Marie, to Walt: “You are the devil.”

0:13:06 – “Hello, Carol.”  Carol, watering her flower beds, waves back.

0:13:40 – Hank is gripping the steering wheel and doing his best not to implode/explode.  He fails, has an anxiety attack and crashes into someone’s front lawn.

0:15:09 – You know how you know something?  I mean, really know, know, KNOW it in your gut, like an irrefutable truth?  Well, if you’re a DEA agent, you still need to check handwriting patterns.

0:17:32 – What do you do when the car wash you own can’t launder the massive amount of money you’ve earned manufacturing meth?  Purchase a 2nd car wash.  Actually, with a pile that high, I’d purchase 6 or 7 more, but hey, let’s not make any rash decisions there, Walt.

0:17:55 – Lydia’s getting her car washed in her conspicuously inconspicuous sunglasses.  Skyler writes up her order and tells her to “Have an A-1 day.”

0:18:25 – “I left a viable operation.  The rest was up to you.”  I guess it makes sense that the manufacture of meth wouldn’t stop after Walt leaves the organization that he created?  Or doesn’t it?  Either way, Walt makes a BOLD move by telling Skyler exactly who Lydia is.

0:25:30 – Hank receives a delivery of case files, sets up shop in the garage/homebrewery, and gets to work.  He eventually finds a piece of evidence that gives him pause: a hand drawing of Heisenberg that looks an awful lot like Walt.

0:28:00 – Pinkman’s House of Mirth.  Badger and Skinny Pete must be high, because they’re talking about the scientific details in Star Trek.  Geeks talk this way, not burnouts.  Unless the burnouts are high.  Which is why they’re burnouts.  “Look it up, it’s science” isn’t slamming the door shut on an argument, by the way.

0:29:20 – Jesse does not look mirthed.  He exits the room, barely registering any interest in what is becoming a highly hilarious conversation, and leaves with the Heavy Moneybags in tow.

0:32:25 – Saul’s Asian masseuse tells him his barn door is open.  I swear, this show gets funnier with every passing minute.  Jesse tells Saul that he wants the Heavy Moneybags given to Mike’s granddaughter Kaylee, and the parents of the boy Todd gunned down in the desert.

Scratch that, just got less funny.

0:35:15 – “Do you know who this is?  Don’t hang up on me!”  Saul confers with Walt about Jesse’s ill-advised payout.  Walt agrees to handle the situation, and the camera reveals he’s receiving a round of chemo treatment.

0:40:20 – Jesse’s high.  He’s on the floor and he’s high.  And Walt’s bringing Jesse back the money.  Walt hasn’t learned the right time to be the buddy, to be the business associate, or the be the dictator with those closest to him.  “Stop focusing on the darkness behind you.  The past is the past.”  Walt finally reveals that he’s done with the business, something he should have done as soon as it happened.

0:44:27 – Jess’s put two and two together, figuring out that Mike is dead and that Walt knows something about it.  Walt denies it, adding, “I need you to believe this.”  Of course he does.  But Jesse still doesn’t.  No wonder he almost gave all the money away; he doesn’t believe he’ll live to spend it.

0:47:38 – Walt quickly retires to the bathroom, where he retches into the toilet, reacting to the effects of the chemotherapy.  The same toilet that Hank took the Walt Whitman book from.  He retches again.

0:50:23 – Walt uses his own powers of deduction to realize that maybe Hank has the book.  He checks around the wheel wells of his car and finds a tracking device.  Bust-eeeeeedddd.

0:57:15 – Jesse has found a way to be rid of the blood money:  distributing the wealth to the poor.  He hands a bundle to a homeless man, then drives down a dilapidated neighborhood, tossing stacks into people’s yards.

0:57:28 – Hank’s neighbor kid has a remote contolled car to replace the one that Marie drove over.  In the garage/homebrewery/investigative den, Hank confers with two agents, who tell him that Steve Gomez is worried about Hank.  “More work, less worry,” Hank reminds them, as they take off and Walt drives up in the bugged vehicle.

0:59:31 – Whenever two characters are caught up in situational irony, the conversation becomes the most awkward thing in the world.  Until Walt, about to leave, takes out the tracking device and asks Hank about it.  “You wouldn’t know anything about this, would you, Hank?”  Hank silently closes the garage door.

Holy crap.

Hank cold cocks Walt and reveals to him that he knows who Walt really is.  “You drove into traffic to keep me from that laundry.  That call I got telling me Marie was in the hospital, that wasn’t Pinkman.  You had my cell number.  You killed ten witnesses to save your sorry a**.  You bombed a nursing home.  Heisenberg.  Heisenberg!”

Walt denies it.  Seriously?  Then he tries to get sympathy:  “Hank, my cancer is back.”

Hank, still seething, replies through gritted teeth that would make The Hulk nervous:  “Good.  Rot, you son of a b***h.”

I can’t write about the last 2 minutes of this episode.  I can’t do it, I just can’t.  You need to see it for yourself.

 

Curse you, Vince Gilligan.  How exactly is this going to play out between Walt and Hank over the next 7 episodes?  Couldn’t you have waited until the penultimate episode to bring the revelation to light for all the characters involved?  I swear, this is almost as disheartening as working through a strained relationship within your own family.

What are your thoughts on “Blood Money”?  How do you think Walt and Hank will ride out the rest of the season?  Pontificate away.

Oh yeah, I can’t stand Under The Dome.  Harumph.