Breaking Bad: Season 5
Aired: September 9, 2013
Writer: George Mastras
Director: Michelle MacLaren
“Yes, I am sorry about Brock, but he’s alive, isn’t he? He’s fine, just as I planned it. Don’t you think I knew exactly how much to give him? That I had it all measured out? Come on! Don’t you know me by now?” … Open your eyes, can’t you see that I needed you on my side to kill Gus? I ran over those gangbangers! I killed Emilio and Krazy-8! Why? I did all of those things to try to save your life as much as mine, only you’re too stupid to notice!”
– Walter White
And just like that, in To’hajilee where it all began with Walt and Jesse’s very first cook, Walter White’s luck finally ran out.
Hank and Jesse finally outsmarted him and got the victory they so richly deserved. First, Hank thwarted Walt’s attempt to flush Jesse out by visiting Andrea and Brock (which was a wise move by Walt that, under other circumstances, would have worked). Then, Hank put together two brilliant fake photos – one of Jesse “dead” to get Huell talking and a second to convince Walt that Jesse had his money. And as Walt sped to To’hajilee in a panic, Jesse was able to get him to confess as Walt said anything he could to keep Jesse from burning his money.
Chances are that if Jesse had sat down next to Walt on that bench last week, Walt still would have confessed to everything as he tried to get Jesse to see reason. Even when he realized Jesse wasn’t waiting for him in the desert, he still didn’t figure out that Jesse was working with Hank. He called Uncle Jack and the White Supremacy Players because he thought Jesse lured him out to the desert to try to kill him. Until Hank and Gomez got out of their vehicles, he never suspected that Jesse had turned. So he never would have suspected a wire last week. He would have incriminated himself.
But this way turned out to be much better. Hank now has Huell as a corroborating witness to back up Jesse’s story and to fill in the gaps. And Hank has the money, which is one more piece of evidence (and, since Walt is dying of cancer and unlikely to live long in prison, is really the only thing he can take from him that will really make a devastating impact). They even caught Walt with an illegal firearm, which is one more charge they can add on (or two, if you can use the gun to show Walt intended to kill Jesse).
If this was an episode of a show like CSI or NCIS, that would have been the end. The hero DEA agent got his man. Jesse got his revenge. The bad guy ended up in custody. But this is Breaking Bad. And things are never that simple.
As I was sitting there, thinking about the fact that we know Walt isn’t in jail in those flash forwards and imagining that Saul would find a way to get the recorded phone call thrown out as an illegal wiretap and, with the help of Walt’s “confession” indicting Hank, get the rest of the evidence thrown out as circumstantial at best, the cavalry arrived. And my heart sank. Once again, Breaking Bad found a way to do something completely unexpected that, in hindsight, feels like the absolute most compelling and satisfying move to make.
And they easily could have ended the episode in a Mexican standoff with both sides waiting for the other one to make the first move. But instead, we see the start of the gunfight before it all fades to black.
Now we’ll all spend the next seven days speculating on what happens next. So, in the spirit of getting the ball rolling, here’s my prediction (I highly encourage you all to share your predictions in the comment section):
Walt lives, of course. Jesse, who we last saw crouching down and inching his way toward the passenger door of the car, slinks away into the desert to fight another day. Hank and Gomez are killed. They probably take out one or two white supremacists with them (but not Todd or Uncle Jack). Uncle Jack’s crew deals with the bodies and the cars, but in return, they now own Walt. He’s back to cooking full-time.
I think it has to go this way because it’s the only way I see Walt not ending up in a permanent jail cell following the shootout. Even though Hank brought in Gomez, they still haven’t officially reported anything back to headquarters. So they just mysteriously go missing. Marie will know what happened, but it’ll just be her word without a shred of evidence. (In this scenario, it may very well be Marie who destroys the Whites’ house and paints Heisenberg on the wall.) Huell is still in a safe house, but the guy guarding him doesn’t know why he’s there. I’m guessing when he finds out he was duped, he lawyers up and stops helping in the investigation. And Jesse is likely to remain in the wind, until he decides to take another shot at ol’ Mr. White.
I could be way off-base (and, knowing this show, I probably am), but that’s what makes the most sense to me right now. And if I really want to go for a long shot prediction-wise, I’m guessing the gun in the flash forward is to deal with Uncle Jack’s crew and the ricin is for Lydia (or possibly Marie, but I’m sticking with Lydia).
Whatever ends up happening, they sure gave us a hell of an ending this week. Once again, I can’t wait to see what happens next.
And another thing …
- Hank and Jesse working together to take down Walt is the second time Breaking Bad gave us a moment that could have been the ending of the series. (This is starting to feel like the movie Clue: “But here’s what really happened.”) The first time was the the mid-season finale last year when Walt took out Mike’s crew, gave Jesse the money he owed him and retired. Both “endings” – Walt in handcuffs and Walt sitting by the pool with his family, laughing and celebrating life, were taken away in a heart-pounding fashion.
- Once again, the show plays with time this season by jumping back to before Walt calls Todd to start the episode. It seems like they stumbled onto that gimmick late in the game and are using it as much as possible here at the end. I do enjoy it though.
- Flynn finally got to meet Saul and it was glorious. After Marie met Jesse last week, there aren’t many main characters who haven’t interacted with each other yet. (Though I don’t believe Marie and Saul or Jesse and Flynn have crossed paths yet.)
- Uncle Jack didn’t seem very impressed when he realized that Walt was unwilling to kill Jesse himself. A lot of people have bought into the legend of Heisenberg (Jesse included), but I don’t think Jack is the least bit impressed with his chops as a criminal.
- Walt keeps the coordinated to the money in his wallet, but he clearly drove there by memory while talking to Jesse.
- Of course the white supremacists listen to Journey.
- If Hank dies in the desert, it makes him a pretty great fall guy for Heisenberg. Either his dead body is found and Walt can sell it as a shootout with rival drug dealers over turf or he stays disappeared and Walt can just say he ran off with the money.
- Hank’s final words to Marie: “It may be a while before I get home. I love you.”
Written by Joel Murphy. If you enjoy his recaps, he also writes a weekly pop culture column called Murphy’s Law, which you can find here. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.