Breaking REALLY Bad and Treading Lightly ... Recaps/Commentary on The Final Episodes of Breaking Bad -- **CONTAINS SPOILERS-- DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED 5X09
Even though I put this in the title, in case someone decided not to listen to me, I'm going to reiterate: This article "**CONTAINS SPOILERS-- DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED 5X09**." I would HATE to spoil Breaking Bad for anybody.
Let's discuss what on earth is going on in the episodes of the final season that we've seen so far. That is by no means intended to imply that I know what's going on at all; I'm about as flabbergasted as (CLICK THE FOLLOWING BUTTON TO REVEAL SPOILER CONTENT)
Come to think about it, I am going to put this entire post in spoiler tags just in case somebody STILL isn't listening, AND because I just learned how to use spoiler tags. Do I get extra points for honesty? I said that I refuse to spoil "Breaking Bad," and as Jesse Pinkman once said, back in what I believe was season one, "My word is my bond." (CLICK THE FOLLOWING BUTTON TO REVEAL SPOILER CONTENT)
First of all, what in the world was going on in the teaser of the premiere?! The teaser does not take place in real time; it's another flash-forward like we had at the beginning of the season when Walt AKA "Mr. Lambert" was celebrating his 52nd birthday at Dennys. It appears as though a lot happened after that birthday though. In this teaser, the White family's pool has been converted into a skateboard park, but not the kind that any parent I know would allow their children to play.
The inside of Walt's "house," if we can still call it that, does not look much better. It looks like somebody -- a very angry somebody -- decided to completely destruct Walt's house leaving nothing but the word "Heisenberg" in graffiti on a destroyed wall. That person missed one thing though, because nobody except Walt knew that it was still in the house and nobody except Walt knew where it was hidden. That very item is the reason Walt has come back to town to retrieve, even though, judging by the way it looks, it's very dangerous for Walt to be there. Some viewers may have even forgotten that Walt still had this; he IS a very deceiving man who has been living a double life since the series premiere of Breaking Bad.
Yes, I'm talking about the ricin; the same ricin that Jesse thought Walt or Gus had used to poison a child, the same ricin that Saul's enormous employee, Huel, stole out of Jesse's pocket, and the same ricin that -- due to yet another one of Walt's lies -- Jesse believes is gone forever after its temporary residence in his Roomba vacuum cleaner. This teaser is perfect; I've already surpassed the point of being at the edge of my seat. I'm standing up, staring at the TV in shock, wondering both, who Walt could possibly want to kill this badly to take such a high risk, and how Walt got to this point. When Walt greets his neighbor, Carol, it becomes clear that she shares my feelings of terror; she stares at Walt in shock and drops her groceries on the ground. #HelloCarol
Of course, teasers are short, and I'm left with the feeling of my stomach doing gymnastics moves way beyond somersaults. Episode 5x09 goes straight from the flash-forward teaser to the exact point we left off in episode 5x08, where all was well until Hank had, as the show's creator calls it, his "oh shit" moment in Walt's bathroom. Hank has just discovered the "Leaves of Grass" book that Gale gave to Walt as a gift with the inscription, "To my OTHER favorite WW. It's an honor working with you." Thanks to Walt's hubris that has haunted him throughout the entire series, the evidence that he and Gale were meth lab partners had been sitting right there for Hank to find. Now, Hank has to go back outside to the family barbecue. Two minutes ago this barbecue looked like the happiest moment for the White/Schrader family in a long time.
Now Hank, the DEA agent who has spent nearly the entire series searching for the infamous "Heisenberg," has just learned that the man behind the unbelievably pure crystal meth is his "straight, giant stick in the ass" brother-in-law, Walter White. I also have to mention the writers' brilliance once again; the timing of Hank coming back outside is impeccable. He comes outside just as Marie is making some joke during which she calls Walt "The Devil." She has yet to learn the truth beyond her words; a clever example of the world's truths being said in jest. Hank is NOT staying at this facade of a cheerful family barbecue; his stomach hurts and he needs to leave immediately. Or at least that's his excuse for leaving. Marie believes this excuse for approximately 30 seconds, until Hank displays symptoms similar to a heart attack and crashes his car into a neighbor's front lawn. Yeah, it's safe to say he's mad.
Later in the episode, Walt and Skyler attempt to maintain "normalcy" at their carwash, when Lydia shows up in her water-stained rental car. Lydia is freaking out, as usual, this time because now that Walt has left the business, the meth quality has undergone a drastic downfall, because Declan apparently sucks at cooking meth. The criminal lifestyle isn't for everyone, buddy; stick to those Mazda commercials! Skyler notices that something weird is going on between Walt and Lydia, and when Walt informs Skyler that Lydia is an "old business associate wanting him to come back," Skyler tells her to leave and never come back. In my opinion, Skyler should be fearing for her life after speaking to Lydia this way, but Lydia seems to comply with Skyler's wishes -- for now. Lydia didn't even get a full car wash, because Skyler made sure the employee knew that he was "terminado" with Lydia's rental car.
Meanwhile, our beloved Jesse Pinkman has lost his mind after Walt's speech about all of his money being "undeserved blood money." After Saul expresses disapproval of Jesse's plan to give his money to Mike's granddaughter and the family of the child that Todd killed, Jesse takes a ride around Albuquerque, frantically giving strangers insane amounts of money. I think the homeless guy who Jesse gave a bundle of bills to thought that Jesse was about to shoot him; that's how unbelievable the amount of money that Jesse's throwing around like confetti is.
In terms of the Walt/Jesse relationship, "The One Who Knocks" knocks on Jesse's door during this episode after finding out what Jesse had planned to do with his money. When Jesse lets him in, Walt feeds Jesse more lies, assuring him that Mike is not dead and that he got out of town safely. I am finding it more and more difficult to sympathize with Walt at ALL.
Walt asks Skyler if she has seen the "Leaves of Grass" book, already fearing the worst. Towards the end of the episode, Walt discovers that his car has been bugged, presumably by Hank. At the end of the episode, Walt attempts to approach Hank under the persona of an average guy who is NOT a crazy, crystal meth killing murderer. This takes place in Hank's garage -- the perfect location for this scene. Walt delicately, and with a joking tone, asks Hank if he knows anything about the bug on his car. After all, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the one that the two of them used when they were "investigating Gus!"
Translation: when Walt was deliberately getting into a car crash to avoid Hank discovering the truth about Gus! Then comes Hank's reaction. I know that I couldn't wait to find out whether Hank would be subtle about his newfound knowledge or if he'd come out with it immediately. Hank looks at Walt for a few seconds and then ominously closes the garage door. Walt comments that he does not like the way Hank is looking at him, and Hank suddenly starts punching Walt in the face screaming at him about being Heisenberg this entire time. THIS. IS. AWESOME.
Walt attempts to play the cancer card, but this time Hank does not give a shit if Walt drops dead; in fact, Hank says he doesn't even know who Walt is anymore. Well, to clarify, Walt is "The One Who Knocks," and now he's also The One Who Gets Knocked Out By Hank. That's my clarification. Walt takes a different approach; he warns Hank that if he truly feels that he doesn't know who Walt is, then "perhaps [Hank] should tread lightly." Walt has some kind of nerve telling Hank what to do at all, but since he's Walt, he goes with the good old subtle death threat. Walt and Hank are still in the garage together at the end of the episode.
**Fun fact: #TreadLightly has since been trending on every social network I can think of for weeks, and according to my brother, Sam, at a recent Above and Beyond show, when they played their song, "Walter White," #TreadLightly was on the screen.** Thanks for reading, and let me know what you thought of the episode, and if you'd like me to cover a part that I didn't include, in the comments!