Breaking Bad Episode 513 “To’hajiilee”

breaking-bad-tohajiilee“Hank, why is there what looks like brains in our garbage can?”

ICE IN MY VEINS

WOW. Just…WOW. What an episode. Surprisingly, I had a strange sense of calm after last night’s episode. Much moreso than last week. Slept better too and I’ve been feeling calm all day. Maybe I have more bloodlust than I thought and just need a desert shootout every now and then. Or maybe it’s because this is the first episode in awhile that felt like it included just a smidge of release instead of all buildup, despite the excruciating cliffhanger. Maybe it’s that whole staying cool in a crisis thing, which I’ve definitely experienced before in real life, and the fallout will come later. The situation on this show is definitely a crisis. Threat Level Midnight, yo.

Anyway, on to the actual content of the episode. It’s hard to know where to start. This was one jam-packed hour. Almost stuck in too much awe to write about it. A calm awe, mind you, but still.

ALL-CONSUMING BETRAYALS AND SUBTLE TRAGEDIES

This is a half-season about betrayal. In the first episode, Hank is consumed with betrayal that his brother-in-law is a huge meth cook, a multiple murderer, a man who has arranged for an orchestral dance of witness prison deaths, and has lied to him over and over and over.. Hank’s world is in shambles. In “Confessions,” Jesse is consumed with betrayal that Walt did indeed poison Brock, that he too was played over and over and over by his teacher, his mentor and father figure Mr. White. In this episode, Walt is so consumed by the betrayal of Jesse teaming up with Hank that he can barely speak as he asks Uncle Jack and his crew to call it off. Dean Norris, Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston all play their realizations of betrayal so exquisitely and individually. Walt’s is practically heart-stopping.

But of course Uncle Jack and his boys still come out to the desert. They need Walt to help Todd cook. And that is a betrayal of Walt by Walt, one more thing he agrees to do that he said he never would, cook again. That’s what happens once you start on this path that all these characters are on, going against their inner moral compass in small ways that snowball into more and more so that Walt’s commitment to being out of the business and his disgust for Jack, though palpable, are superseded.

This is also a season of subtle tragedies. I still can’t shake it from the previous episode, how Walt actually was the only one who cared about Jesse’s survival, how he went so far as to say in his message that he would be unarmed, that Jesse could come put a bullet in his head if he wanted, that he was in Jesse’s hands.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Walt and Jesse. Walt has done a lot to save Jesse’s life–even some things that would in Jesse’s mind be unforgivable, like Jane (though Walt has his own reasons for that too)–but Jesse has risked his life more for Walt. When Walt ran over the dealers, let Jane die, got Jesse from the crackhouse and checked him into rehab, and so on, he saved Jesse but was not at a huge risk himself. Jesse has jumped in front of guns a few times for Walt and told Gus straight up that if he killed Walt he’d have to kill him too. Jesse has put his life at risk when he didn’t have to. And now, Walt was doing that for Jesse to some extent. He wanted so much not to have to kill Jesse that he was willing to make himself a target. It was so…touching. And Jesse couldn’t see it.

513cimagesThat sort of tragedy only deepened in “To’hajiilee.” Even as Walt commits to this hit on Jesse he’s ordered, he’s still, in a strange way, trying to protect him in a twisted way. He defends Jesse’s honor to Jack, saying he’s not a rat, when we know he is. He defends Jesse to Saul when Saul suspects Jesse might have something to do with Huell’s disappearance, saying Jesse is not on a spree but out for him alone. He wants Jesse’s murder to be quick and easy, and not just for his own conscience. He wants Jesse not to suffer and not to be afraid. Again, touching. And tragic.

“Jesse is like family to me.” Walt finally confirms what we’ve suspected for seasons now. But he doesn’t say it to Jesse, or even to Skyler (though he had an opportunity to say such a thing at the hotel), or to Saul who has seen them through so much. When he finally says it out loud, it’s to Jesse’s intended murderer. So many fucking layers.

And then of course, there’s Walt, in the car, driving like a madman, screaming about all the things he’s done to save Jesse’s live (confession to five murders and child poisoning in the process) after he’s ordered Jesse’s murder. The layers, the duality of these characters, the tragedies upon tragedies are so exquisitely orchestrated and heartbreaking it could almost kill me. In the most gorgeous, humbling way.

I firmly believe now that the end of this show will be about Walt and Jesse, their ever-changing dynamic that is so primed to combust, so layered with rage and betrayal, and so underscored with a strange, fierce, family-like love. Even the detail that Walt buried the money in the location of his first cook with Jesse seems significant.

Their story isn’t over. I’m convinced Walt comes back to ABQ to rescue Jesse or the ricin is for Jesse.

NAMES, COLORS, CALLBACKS AND BRANDS

There’s some interesting stuff going on with names. We learn that Huell’s last name is Babineaux. They really go all out on the last names on this show, don’t they? Rodarte-Quayle, Ehrmantraut, Alquist (Todd), now Babineaux. And Kuby’s first name is Patrick. We learn a little something more every day with this show. But even more interesting, name-wise: Huell calls Walt “Mr. White,” and Jesse calls Mr. White “Walt” in conversation for the second time ever in the series.

Lydia and Skyler are both worried about their brands. Lydia needs the blue color of Walt’s signature meth to maintain her brand in the Czech Republic. Skyler wants Junior to remember to say, “have an A1 day,” as part of the carwash brand. Consistency in products and services is important here.

In the last episode there was that strange moment when Jesse met Marie. In this one, Jr finally meets Saul. It sure makes Skyler uncomfortable. I’m assuming that Jr’s at the carwash on a Saturday because Walt thought that Jesse’s threat to get him where he really lives meant his family, and they’re hiding out there in a public place away from the house until Jack gets the job done. Skyler’s just waiting for the news that Jesse’s dead.

Might we see more unusual character pairings to come? Jesse and Jr perhaps? One of the Whites and therapist Dave?

Todd’s meth wasn’t blue but Lydia’s jacket was a brilliant cerulean (which I would not call aquamarine, even in the best light). By the way, Walt, who’s been mostly in bland beiges and tans all half-season, was finally wearing a blue shirt after his agreement to cook with Todd.

513aindexAnother color thing I noticed was a lot of red in this episode. Uncle Jack and Andrea both wear red tops, and even Huell’s shirt has some burgundyish purple going on. Not wardrobe but there’s that eerie red glow when Walt goes to discuss the hit on Jesse with Jack and Todd. It reminded me of the red glow around Jesse in “Full Measure” when he gets the call from Walt to go kill Gale. Not red but Saul’s sporting some bright pink and has upgraded his wardrobe to include a bullet-proof vest. Jesse still hasn’t changed his clothes, and there’s some brick red in his shirt and jacket. Hank and Gomie are rocking their usual orange.

Lately, phone calls have been used, over and over, as a way of orienting us in the time of the story. That happened in the last episode, as Walt and Jesse had simultaneous experiences that were shown consecutively. Walt leaves his first voicemail for Jesse and we later see Hank listening to that voicemail so we know that those moments match up in time. It happened twice in this episode. Hearing Todd’s end of the phone call Walt made at the end of the last episode orients the Todd and Lydia and aquamarine pink salmon meth conversation in the timeline of Walt’s story. Later,  Andrea’s voicemail for Jesse helps us keep track of where each story is in time compared to the others.

The writers are really hitting it outta the park with their ringtones and phones, aren’t they? Jesse’s Hello Kitty and now Todd having “She Blinded Me With Science” as his Mr. White ringtone are such nice touches. Todd has that awe of the genius scientist feeling towards Walt that Jesse once had, so long ago. The attention to detail in this seasons is just superb.

Yeah let’s just talk about some of the amazing details and funny (though not as overly as last week) lines and moments in this episode:
-Saul pays for his carwash with a fifty dollar bill
-“Don’t skimp on family,” Uncle Jack says. That was so darkly funny.
-“Fruit loops, that’s good stuff,” Walt to Brock.
-“Aquamarine.”
-“Too many savages out there.” Let’s just be real, Uncle Jack may be a total freakazoid neo-nazi white supremacist and a pretty careless criminal and a horrible shot, but at least he’s funny. I’m not sure he knows it though, which makes some of it even funnier.
-“Angry non-rat, got it.” Another Uncle Jack line.
-Jesse has still been in touch with Andrea and checking on Brock, even though they broke up months ago.
-Walt does double duty when he visits Andrea–he gets her to make the call to help flush Jesse out but he also suggests Jesse might be dead from his drug use, planting that seed so she’s not terribly surprised when he never calls to ask about Brock again. “Instead of him being, well…” Walt says.
-The first word that Walt utters after realizing Jesse played him is “bitch.” (Followed by, “Son of a bitch, son of a bitch.”
)
-Jesse’s shocked face, open mouth and, “What the hell, man?” after he sees the brains.
-One of my very favorite exchanges in the entire episode might be when Hank is leaving Huell and Huell asks, “Well, how long you gon’ be?” and Hank says, “As long as it takes to keep you safe.”

There were also a few callbacks to earlier episodes:
-After Hank hears Andrea’s message, he says, “Nice try, asshole,” which was the first thing Jesse said to Walt on the payphone in the square at the end of “Rabid Dog.”
-Huell talks about washing the rental van, which brought to mind Lydia getting her rental car washed at A1A.
-This may not be a deliberate callback, but when Walt’s in the carwash, before he gets the text from Jesse, and Skyler and Jr are working together, it reminded me of that scene in 203 when Walt sneaks home from the hospital to hide his gun and money and sees Skyler and Jr talking and gets a sense of what it might be like after he’s gone. I got that same sense here, even though this time they know he’s there. Walt’s getting a little peak at how their lives might go on if he can’t beat the cancer.
-The lotto ticket resurfaces.
-The return, again, to the site of the first cook, and Walt having a coughing fit on Cow House Hill.
-“Fire in the hole” was a callback, of course, to Declan’s demise in 510.

FIRE, SUSPENSE AND BEAUTY

Speaking of “fire in the hole,” has anyone else noticed that there have been a lot of references to fire this season? In his third cook, Todd started a fire. Jesse tried to burn Walt’s house down. Jesse said he was lighting Walt’s money on fire. It kinda makes me want to see something go up in flames. Firelust, yo. I wonder if a fire is coming? If Todd survives the shootout (think he will), maybe he has to keep cooking without Walt or Jesse’s help and then blows shit (and himself?) up later on, getting injured and putting the operation in a pickle?

513bimagesWalt’s visit to Andrea’s was chilling. Brock’s pretty cold to him. On Talking Bad, what Don Cheadle said about this scene was exactly how I’d read it, not that Brock remembers Walt as the man who gave him a tasty little juicebox a few months ago and figured out Walt poisoned him, but more as Brock having that sixth sense that kids and animals have about people with bad intentions. Kids are so often more perceptive about this than adults. The worst moment was when Walt looked at Brock while telling Andrea he didn’t want to bore her with the details of his argument with Jesse. Brock seems to perk up at Jesse’s name, I noticed. And holy shit, that kid is adorable. He better not get hurt in the episodes to come.

As always, Breaking Bad does an awe-inspiring job of juxtaposing great brutality and great beauty. The cinematography is stunning. Walt’s frantic drive and his screaming match with Jesse has a riveting backdrop. Once Walt arrives in To’hajiilee, the landscape is breathtaking and dramatic. All that orange, the blue sky, the hills, the rocks. Amazing. And this gorgeous terrain is the site of Walt’s worst devastation–the betrayal by Jesse, his arrest, the shootout he’s powerless to stop with his brother-in-law in the crossfire.

There’s also such great suspense. Things unfold so, so slowly. Walt’s surrender is drawn out, his walk towards Hank so slow it’s almost painstaking. It’s almost hard to believe. It’s hard not to wait for Walt to pull some move to get out of this situation, which only makes it more powerful when Hank slaps the cuffs on him. Walt has no more maneuvers. He’s choosing Hank here, giving himself up, calling Jack off. Walt is such a complicated and compelling character. It’s simultaneously a little heroic and deeply devastating to see him surrender, to see what he does when given a choice. This has always been a story about choices.

Another moment of great suspense is right before the shootout starts. The standoff is drawn out. Then it all goes quiet and still for a moment before the eruption of gunfire.

The ending is one of the most suspenseful cliffhanger we’ve ever seen. On Talking Bad or the podcast (can’t remember now!) they said that the shootout continues into the next episode. Strange choice to end it in the middle, but an interesting one. If they had ended it earlier, with the suspense of will Jack and his guys open fire, it would have left a different impression. If they ended it later, another different impression; we would have been in the aftermath. Lots of suspense, and lots to look forward to after this. So many characters have lives and fates in the balance. We’re left with exquisite, heart-pounding dread.

TODD, LYDIA AND THE TEASER

Todd and Lydia. Just gotta say it: gross! It’s not a big surprise that Todd’s cook is not all that good. He applied himself with Walt but he just never had the natural talent for meth-cooking. He burnt it, like a cake.

Todd always wants to impress–his uncle, Walt, now Lydia–and he’s going all out here, making her tea the exact way she likes it and making sure he got it right, offering to “smooth things over” with her Czech connections, which of course means a la Declan, “things got a little messy” style, and of course, talking up how he can improve the cook. Lydia’s response was one of the creepiest things I’ve seen on this show, right up there with Walt’s icky “I forgive you” hug to Skyler. “Please do make the cook better. It’s very important to me.” Her tone changed when she said that, and it was like some psychological horror movie twisted mother talking to a mentally-challenged son. That’s what her tone of voice conjured for me. Of course, she knows Todd is into her, and is using that to try to motivate him. Lydia’s a smart one, knows when to kill and when to kill with fake flirtation. Still, I was a little grossed out.

And Todd, he’s polite and a diplomat! “Yeah, kinda, if it catches the light just right, I could see how you’d think there’s a touch of blue, blue-green in there.” But still pretty emotionless. He has no reaction to Walt saying the target is Jesse. Not gloating (that son of a bitch who punched me is gonna get it!) or worrying (Mr. White is offing his old cook partners, what if I’m next?) or even curious (WHY?!) just serene and untroubled.

I was a little bothered by the chemistry in this teaser. WTF method is that they’re using for checking the purity? They should be using a gas chromatograph to determine the purity of something easily vaporized like meth. A gas chromatograph was used to measure the purity of Jesse’s cook in Mexico, and was the instrument Gale asked Gus for to check out Walt’s product. But I can forgive it because none of the people involved in the Lydia, Jack and Todd operation are chemists by any leap of the imagination.

For an answer to what they’re using, check out Weak Interactions post on the science behind “To’hajiilee” – thanks John!

The blue is another issue, of sorts. It’s been said a lot of places, real pure meth would not be blue. Discoloration represents impurities. It’s one of those things that’s more artistic license and color symbolism than reality. But now that they’ve committed, “Apparently that blue touch that you put on it is all the rage with those slavic types.” Uncle Jack, what a character. Is it me or does anyone else think that this crew is NOT happy about having a woman in charge, judging the cook, orchestrating it all? Well, Todd might be okay with it.

On a personal note, it was a little trippy to hear the song “Thunder Island” by Jay Ferguson in the background as Lydia’s driving away and Todd’s fondling her lipstick mark on the cup. In my early twenties, I started working at a Kohl’s department store before it opened (which was a lot more fun than working there afterward, I’d so much rather build shelves, organize clothes by size and color and work in ratty old jeans than constantly clean up after customers) and they had this constant background music of ’70s and ’80s pop/rock, and this song played there all the time. Even though that was over ten years ago, I was immediately taken back there, and still in scene with Todd getting his phone call.

WALT’S COMEUPPANCE AND ITS AFTERMATH

The story wouldn’t come full circle if the man who manipulated and lied to those around him wasn’t lied to and manipulated by those same people. The student surpasses the teacher, or at least matches him, for once.

“The kid is not as dumb as you think he is,” Saul says. Jesse’s been getting smarter for awhile now, but unless Walt’s using that to manipulate him to stick around, I don’t think Walt wants to see it. I have this theory that Walt is intimidated by anyone who’s close to being his equal. Remember how quickly he ditched Gale? And he took that Gray Matter buyout for reasons we don’t fully know, and it seems from mentionings throughout the series that he also used to work at Sandia Labs but clearly bailed out of that too.

It happens sometimes with really smart people, they get attached to being the smartest one in the room, it’s their identity, and when they get to a professional work experience where others are on their same level, it’s threatening. And the old Walt was easily intimidated. So here, in the meth game, he could once again be the smartest, both in terms of chemistry and in terms of being a criminal mastermind manipulator, with no one coming close to approaching his level. But he’s taught Jesse well, and Hank was always a worthy opponent. A few steps behind at times, waylaid by recovering from gunshot wounds at others, blinded by his perception of Walt as this milquetoast guy but always just a few steps behind. So when this worthy opponent and this former student who knows Walt at his core team up, they get him where he really lives, the money. For a moment.

Neither cell phone picture that’s used in the scheme is all that convincing. Jesse has great bugged out dead eyes but seriously? Hank didn’t even try to make it look like there were any actual gunshot wounds. The picture of the barrels has the wrong dirt, as Hank delights in pointing out later, and it’s clear if you stop and look at the picture that the dirt’s all brown without any of that To’hajiilee desert orange. But as in some of Walt’s ruses in the past, the pictures just have to be believable enough to get people in their emotions, their fear, their suspicions (Saul’s been afraid of Walt several times, I’m sure some of that transferred to Huell) to get them to do as intended.

Hank and Jesse also use half-truths, just as Walt always does. Hank boosts his story to Huell by listing off Walt’s crimes to show Huell he knows what he’s talking about, mentioning Huell’s involvement in poisoning Brock and knowledge of the moving of the money. He also plays on Huell’s fear, in another classic Walter White move, by using some emotional truth in there too, which is that Saul probably would only try to protect Huell for about fifteen seconds if it was in his own interest not to. He also uses a truth that he’s not a hundred percent sure of but that’s a pretty safe gamble: that Walt wanted Jesse dead. There’s that little line from Gomez to Hank, that it looked like Huell was looking for someone at the Dog House.

With Huell’s info, it was easy for Hank and Jesse to use some half-truths to make Walt think Jesse was at Walt’s money, especially the detail that there were six more additional barrels.

It was satisfying and thrilling and nerve-wracking to watch as Walt drove and listen as Jesse bested him. “Oh, you’re gonna talk about kids? You’re seriously gonna go there?” I’m not rooting against Walt–he’s far too complex and contradictory and interesting for that–but it was a little glorious, for a moment there, to see him getting played. No one, no one, is without weaknesses that can be used against them. And Walt’s is his money, the empire he built, and when that’s on the line he admits to five murders and some light child poisoning.

513aimagesWhen Jesse goes silent, what was that about? Was it because they had those confessions? They wanted to freak Walt out even more by making him think he’d lost the call, which was the one thing Jesse told him not to do if he wanted his money to live? They had Walt’s car in their sights and were able to follow him and didn’t need to track by GPS anymore? They literally lost the call? I just wasn’t quite sure what to make of that.

When Walt arrives, and sees he’s been played and he’s out there, in that beautiful desert, coughing, Walt’s devastation was so palpable. And he doesn’t even know that the real betrayal is still coming in a minute or two. And that what will come after that will be even worse. Can we just take a moment of silence to sit in awe of Bryan Cranston’s acting abilities?

On Talking Bad, someone asked if Walt would take the bullet for Hank if he could. I can’t remember who said what but someone on there put it perfectly, Walt probably thinks he would. He sees himself as the hero, as this man who has principles he won’t compromise. Walt is like most of us in some ways (in others not), he does some bad things, some terrible things, he enjoys feeling like a badass, but at the end of the day he thinks of himself as a good person. But I don’t think that as things stand now, Walt would actually commit that kind of self-sacrifice. From his position in his handcuffs, safe from that choice, he might think he would. I bring this up only because I think Walt’s perception of himself as hero will come into play at some point.

In “To’hajiilee,” Hank and Jesse both get what they want, for a moment. And I think things will change for both of them after this. Hank wanted nothing more, throughout the series, than to be the one to put the cuffs on Heisenberg, and he got that chance. Jesse wanted to punish Walt for poisoning Brock and he got to help catch Walt and then spit in his face. They both got the satisfaction of pulling off a Walt-level manipulation. But it can’t be successful for either of them, not fully and not yet.

For Hank, now that he got what he has wanted for so, so long, to actually read Walter White his Miranda rights, to humiliate him by making him walk backward and get on his knees and then rub it in his face that he fell for a picture that wasn’t even that great because he was consumed by greed. Then he got that call with Marie. I think that’s it for Hank. He got what he wanted, now his character can die. Yes, I think that Hank will not make it. In an odd way, it’s an ending that’s almost happy, that has closure. It’s triumphant and poignant and ultimately tragic. But more on that later. In fact there’s a discussion below for the odds of survival for Hank, Jesse, Gomez and Todd.

Whereas Hank will most likely die after getting what he most wants in regards to Walt, I think things will change for Jesse in an entirely different way. I think Jesse will actually come around to Walt’s side. I may be alone in this and it may sound crazy, but here’s why. Hank has wanted to catch Heisenberg for well over a year now. It was a long-standing quest he was never going to give up. With Jesse, his turn on Walt wasn’t a slow burn over time but recent, more instantaneous, the hot flame of anger and betrayal. Chemically reactive. It can only burn so long. After helping take Walt down, after spitting in his face, I think Jesse may have a fair amount of it out of his system and start to calm down. It’s like when couples have horrible fights, say the worst, most hurtful things, push all the buttons they know to push until they’re spent. Then it’s time for make-up sex. There’s also the fact as awful as Walt’s actions were, Brock survived and wasn’t hurt long-term. The white hot fury that Jesse felt toward Walt for poisoning him just can’t last, especially since he acted on it and got a release.

No, Jesse’s going to have a change of heart. All the groundwork is there. Hank told him how much Walt cares for him. Walt tried to say the same thing on that epic phone call argument, even using one of the same examples. He also told Jesse his cancer’s back. Once Jesse calms down from his anger (and his fear in this shootout may be just the thing to usurp his rage), he’ll start to see the truth in all of this. Also, I firmly believe that Jesse’s about to watch Walt watch helplessly as someone in his family dies. That could sway him too. As angry as Jesse was, he never wished that on Walt. And even when Jesse was at his peak of hating Hank and said horrible things about him, he was the one to tell Walt that Hank was in the hospital, and he made a pitch to Mike about why they shouldn’t kill Hank even as Hank was closing in on Gus’s operation. Jesse understands how important Hank is to Walt, and watching Walt watch Hank die will change him. I would not be surprised, at all, if Jesse tries to either help Hank in some way, or help Walt directly, in the aftermath of the shootout. Plus it would add to the tragic irony that abounds in this season of the show if Jesse somehow helps Walt when the whole reason those guys were there was to help Walt kill Jesse.

And Walt, it will be harder for him to forgive Jesse, but I think, given a lot of time, he could, especially if Jesse helps him somehow in the desert. Walt was ready to forgive Skyler when he thought she went and spilled her guts to Hank. He said to her, “I know you made a deal.” He was wrong, of course, but at the time, he was sure. A big time-jump (or a few?) have to be coming, and a lot can change with time. I still think that the final part of the story has to involve Walt and Jesse, and that either Walt will come back to save Jesse, or to kill him with ricin.

OUTCOMES AND SURVIVAL ODDS

Just so it’s clear, the previews gave away nothing, so this is all just gut instinct. I would bet money that Hank dies and Jesse lives. I’m not so sure about Todd and Gomie. Let’s take each one in turn with name, predicted outcome of the shootout, and percent convinced I am of it. And just to be clear, this is for the shootout only. The two I’m predicting to live could definitely die later on still.

513indexHANK – DIES – 85%
As soon as he called Marie, I thought, Hank’s a dead man. Sorta thought Uncle Jack wouldn’t listen to Walt’s attempt to call it off. When Hank told Marie he loved her, it was more like absolute certainty. It could be a fakeout–we thought Ted was dead after all–but I don’t think it is this time. For one thing, a twist has to serve the story not just fool the audience. And a twist where Hank lives doesn’t really work. Things needs to get all crazy up in here to lead to whatever the finale has in store for us, but if Hank lives and Walt somehow gets away, that’s like hitting the reset button. Yeah, Hank’d be more rabid than ever, especially if Gomie did die, but it would basically be the same story as it was all season, Hank pursuing Walt in any way he can.

The only difference would be that he has some more evidence (they could dig up Walt’s money, plus anything Walt admitted on the phone with Jesse, I think we can assume they recorded that) but it just won’t shake up the story enough. A lot more caca needs to reign down on this whole thing, and that happens more if Hank dies. Marie will go insane. Walt could lose Skyler over this; she was so upset about making the confession DVD and I can’t imagine her “What’s one more?” would apply to her sister’s husband. Walt also could blame himself–he fell for the trickery, he brought those guys out to the desert and wasn’t able to call it off when he tried–if Hank dies. Hank’s death would change things irrevocably and have a huge impact on the story.

A possibility would have Hank injured but not dead, but we’ve already seen that in the shootout with The Cousins in “One Minute” so I don’t see it happening that way again. Plus, as discussed above, Hank got a decent sendoff with that call to Marie, with arresting Walt and one-upping the great Heisenberg for a quick second. His death would be sufficiently tragic too, with Walt trying to stop it even after all that.

To sum up, Hank dying could introduce a lot of new story elements and we know things have to get a lot crazier, and soon. It was time for someone close to Walt to go, just for the progression of the story.

JESSE – SURVIVES – 99.9%
I’d bet A LOT of money Jesse survives the shootout, almost for the same reason I’m so convinced Hank dies, story logic. Of all of these, Jesse’s the one I’m the most sure about. A death at this point in the game has to have huge story impact. If Jesse dies now, who cares? In the world of the show, I mean. I don’t mean to sound cold–you know that if Jesse dies I probably won’t be able to get out of bed for weeks except to weep in the bathtub–just analytical. None of the characters are invested in Jesse’s survival so if he dies it won’t deeply affect any of them. Everyone wants him dead anyway. Nothing changes for anyone if Jesse dies. There’s no fallout to be had. The worst that could happen is Andrea could call the cops if she still doesn’t hear from him, but even that is a little unlikely since Walt already planted the idea that Jesse might be dead when he spoke to her. It won’t change anything, story-wise, if Jesse dies now.

Hmmm I also just also thought that if Hank dies and Jesse lives and Marie knows this, she could blame Jesse. It’s a bit of a remote possibility, Marie is so focused on Walt, but it’s a thought.

Last week, I was convinced the writers were setting us up to accept Jesse’s death but the more I think about that, there’s no way they’re going to take it that easy on us. If Jesse gets killed, they’re going to make us all, even those who hate him now, weep in a bathtub. There’s no way they’d waste the potential dramatic payoff of a heart-wrenching Jesse death by having him go in that shootout when no one cares. The only possibility is that Jesse could die in the desert trying to help Hank or Walt. But I think even that scenario is pretty remote. No, Jesse’s going to survive; things are going to turn around. At least for now.

GOMEZ – DIES – 55%
Could go either way, but if I had to bet, you know if I had a gun to my head or some skinheads pointing their artillery at me and had to pick, I’d guess he dies. He looks the most wounded at the end. I was thinking maybe he has to live to be able to tell the DEA, Marie and others about what happened to Hank, but it might be more dramatic if there’s no one to do that, if they’re all in the dark. Plus, I think the endgame will involve Jack’s crew, so it might be time for that to take even more center stage, and the DEA threat to take a backseat. I don’t think either DEA agent makes it out of that shootout alive. The one thing that makes me so hesitant is that I’m convinced that Walt’s crimes become public and if that’s the case, someone needs to go public with it. Gomez would be the likely choice. I’m really pretty 50/50 with his fate.

TODD – SURVIVES – 75%
Could go either way on him too, but again, if I had to bet, I’d say he lives for now. He’s the connecting point between his uncle’s crew, Lydia, and Walt and Jesse. If Todd died now, Lydia would need someone else to cook and Jack could be pissed and out for vengeance, so it would affect the story, but I just don’t see it playing out that way. For now, those factions need to be connected and Todd serves that purpose. I don’t think Jack and his guys would keep trying to cook without him since they wouldn’t have anyone to cook and they haven’t really gotten entrenched in the business yet. They’re just starting out. I think if Todd dies, it’ll happen later on, when the stakes and the consequences will be even more dire. Maybe in 515. Plus the polite little psycho has to live another day to nurse his creepy crush on sweet blue Lydia.

WALT – SURVIVES – 100%
This is a yeah duh situation. Since the flashforward wasn’t some alternate universe, or Walt coming back as a ghost to try to influence the lives of the people he once knew, or someone’s dream, it’s a given that Walt makes it out of the desert alive.

Still, even if all of these are correct, so many questions remain. How does Walt get out? How does Jesse? Will Jack and his men figure out that they just killed two DEA agents? And one of them Walt’s brother-in-law? What then? How does news of whatever happens out in the desert reach Skyler, Jr, Marie? What will happen with the cook and Lydia? What makes Walt leave town? Do Skyler and Jr leave with him? If not, where do they go and why do they abandon the house? Will Walt fake his own death? Will his crimes become public?

LOOSE ENDS THAT COULD COME INTO PLAY

So, assuming Hank and Gomez don’t make it out alive, what will be left of their investigation?
-The call to Marie. She knows Hank arrested Walt.
-Agent Van Ostner who was watching over Huell. He doesn’t know what was going on but he knows something’s up.
-Huell. Not exactly the quiet type. And clearly freaked.
-Uncle Jack and his boys now know where Andrea and Brock live, and that they’re the way to get to Jesse.
-Jesse’s confession? There must be a copy in the Schrader home.
-Walt’s false confession. Could it still come into play?
-Walt’s real confessions in that phone call, recorded anywhere?

Detailed predictions beyond who lives and dies in this awesome desert shootout are over at Season 5 Part 2 Predictions and Detective Work.

Just there more episodes to go. Holy shit!

SOME CLOSING THOUGHTS ON THE IMPENDING END OF THE SERIES

The other thing I’ve been thinking? I missed out on a lot of things. Discovered Nirvana just after Kurt Cobain died, never got to see them live. Got really into TOOL (basically my musical equivalent of Breaking Bad) in about 2003 and did see them live but not back in the day. Watched Arrested Development long after it went off the air. Same with The Wire. I didn’t have a TV in the late 90s/early 2000s so totally missed The Sopranos and when I finally watch it, I’m sure I’ll have that same missed the boat feeling. I’m always finding things too late. I was even late coming to Breaking Bad.

But lately I just keep thinking about how we are witnessing greatness as it happens. Art. Not late, not in hindsight, now. There have been other great shows, and there will be others to come, but there will never be another BrBa. It’s something really special to be watching it unfold, as sad as it is that the ride will be over so soon. Nineteen days until the final episode. The loss is coming, and it’s going to crush us, but I think it’ll be worth it. I think they’ll end it right, somehow. Go out even greater than they came in, and that was one stunning pilot. Breaking Bad has made me a better writer and has in some ways restored my faith in storytelling and art. Nothing will come close for awhile. I’m getting sentimental here, I know, but with only three episodes left, it’s hard not to. I’m just so glad I didn’t miss this brutal, intense, funny, dark dark dark, tragic thrill of a ride.

“Fire in the hole, bitch. There goes ten Gs. Nice orange flame.”

~Emilia J

Next episode: Ozymandias

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78 thoughts on “Breaking Bad Episode 513 “To’hajiilee”

  1. Perfect review, Emilia. You are just so detailed that I wonder how many times do you watch the episode? What I think, Hank and Todd dies, then, uncle Jack will take Jesse as his cook and prisoner for lifetime. Walt will agree to it as it will buy him some time to disappear and get a new identity. Then later on Walt will come back to save Jesse. Just a thought. What do you think?

    • Hey Sanket! I think it’s a definite possibility.

      To answer your question, I usually watch the episode three times. People usually come over for the first showing of the episode and the encore (different people come to the different ones) so I watch twice on Sunday nights in a group. Then I usually watch once more on Monday mornings, and pause a lot to catch all the exact quotes I want to use. I didn’t use notes but ever since “Confessions” this season I have been because there’s just so much going on that I’ll just jot down little things that have come to mind.

      For “Rabid Dog” no one came over for the first showing, only the encore episode, so that one I only watched twice. It just didn’t seem fair to watch it myself before anyone else so I held out. That took some willpower!

      ~EJ

      • Hmm.. What a wonderful, detailed reply. It seems, you are quite detailed in everything. You’re bang on about the willpower. I am from India and the episode is available for download after 1 hour in the US which is like 8am on Monday. I can watch the episode in the morning but I wait till the evening as I need good ambiance while watching BrBa, after all this show doesn’t deserve anything less than the best.

        • Wow you must have really good willpower, Sanket! For me the difference is only two and a half hours. The first one is shown at 6pm and the second at 8:30pm. I had a hard time waiting! But it looks like I might have to do that this week too; I think everyone’s coming to the later showing. I can’t imagine waiting from morning till evening but it makes sense to watch at night.

          What part of India are you in?

          ~EJ

  2. Brilliantly captured, Emilia! Your thought-provoking reviews always help me to understand the episodes on deeper levels. I would think that if Hank & Gomie die, that they might have to rid their bodies in those nasty barrels…i can’t see Walt ever getting over having to do that with Hank’s body. And they’d have to get rid of the car, a la motorhome crusher? Of course, i hope that Jesse makes it and is given Walt’s okay to ‘get out of Dodge’ ~ preferably Alaska over Belieze. Emilia, you truly write with heart! Thank you, kari, Victoria, BC CAN

    • Awww, thanks Kari!

      I didn’t even think of that, disposing of the bodies and what that would be like if Walt has to help dispose of Hank. I don’t think he could do it but it would be a terrible idea to leave it to Uncle Jack and his boys. They aren’t exactly careful criminals, or professional as Lydia would put it.

      There is going to be SO much fallout from this episode, a total shitstorm. I can’t wait!

      ~EJ

    • Thanks so much for reading, Natasha! Writing the posts keeps me going between episodes! It’s so hard to believe there are just three more to go. I know this show is going to go out at the peak of greatness and will be remembered that way for a long time to come.

      ~EJ

  3. As for Todd, Jack would be pissed and out for vengeance if Todd died, but he was already trying to kill both of the guys who could have killed Todd, so who is he going to be pissed off at? Todd doesn’t have to die though, he just needs to be injured enough that he can’t cook, so that Jack will take Jesse prisoner and force him to cook for them. “Cook or die, bitch!” Or maybe Jesse escapes but now realizes it wasn’t safe to collaborate with the cops after all, which was the point he tried to get across to Hank when he said Walt was the devil. But Jesse is broke now, and Saul isn’t likely to help him either.

    The only way Hank or Gomez can survive is if Jack’s crew is somehow forced to leave before they can finish the job (for instance, if they think reinforcements are coming). Unlike Jack’s crew, they didn’t come prepared for a big shootout, and once they run out of ammo, it’s over for both of them. I guess it’s possible that either Hank or Gomez could be mistakenly left for dead but somehow survive, but you saw how Jack’s crew dealt with Declan’s crew – bullets to the head leave no doubt. They have every reason to make sure they leave no witnesses behind, especially once they figure out that they just shot up a couple cops. “Dead men tell no tales, bitch!”

    If either Hank or Gomez survive, not only is Walt’s goose cooked much more immediately (there will be an APB out for Walt’s arrest as soon as the survivor makes a phone call), but that would also eliminate the suspenseful plot element of how long it takes Marie to figure out something went wrong (…showing her anxiety build as Hank’s absence becomes longer than ‘a while’ …how long until she calls Skyler to gloat/commiserate? …then she finds out that Walt is still free! ). This is how Walt will have enough time to escape. The there’s the issue of his buried money (most likely needed to fund his escape). Marie knows Hank arrested Walt, but she doesn’t know why it happened way out in the boonies where it did, or exactly what Hank meant when he said he had Walt ‘dead to rights.’ When the investigators arrive at the scene of the shootout, will they manage to find Walt’s buried stash? Surely Jesse’s call MUST have been recorded, but will they find out about it and did that recording survive? Did Jack’s crew burn the SUV as a precaution? All these questions build suspensefully to what eventually forces Walt to go on the lam, but nobody has to figure out the answers if either Hank or Gomez survive.

    However this all unravels in the next episode, it will be a race between Marie’s realization, her search for corroboration (e.g.: Jesse’s video) and her desperate attempt and Walt’s desperate attempt to cover up what happened (and not knowing who else Hank may already have told) but probably not quite being able to, being stymied at nearly every turn.

    • Great points all around!

      The funny thing is, I’m now totally convinced they don’t kidnap Jesse until episode 515, because that’s when Andrea is listed again as a character. When they need to get him to cook, she’s where he would go, right?

      But maybe that’s not it at all. Walt could sell Jesse into servitude with the neo-nazis, but why for so long? There’s going to be a huge time-jump. Why not have him teach Todd once Todd recovers and then kill Jesse? Lydia could ask for Jesse to be kept around because we know that as much as Todd applies himself, Jesse will be a better cook. Maybe Todd gets a severe injury, a la Hank once did, and so it takes a really long time for him to recover? Maybe then, after a long time has passed (months), Todd is getting better from injury and better as a cook and they plan to kill Jesse but he somehow gets a message to Andrea or something? She has to come back into play somehow. And does Walt come back to rescue him because he has a change of heart, or because he somehow learns some new development?

      I’m really hoping for the scenario you’re posing about Marie. That’s why I think Hank and Gomie both don’t make it, it just makes the Marie story that much more dramatic. I didn’t even think of her calling Skyler, that’ll be insane. And then the slow realization that Hank’s not coming back.

      ~EJ

      • re: “…they don’t kidnap Jesse until episode 515”

        I don’t think it’s any more likely that Jesse will escape the shootout than it is for Hank & Gomez to survive it. Jack saw Jesse. Jesse is shown reaching for the door handle, so he make a run for it but it’s very unlikely he can get out of there… unless Jack’s crew thinks Hank’s reinforcements are about to arrive, forcing them to haul ass out of there before they can capture Jesse.

        • I know, I was thinking about that too. This stuff come into dreams because I was half-asleep the other morning thinking how the F can Jesse get away? I’m not sure how either, but it would be weird if Jesse was kidnapped for that long (~8 months) and then Walt comes back to save him? And what is Andrea’s involvement? So hard to put the pieces together! I guess it wouldn’t be BrBa if we could figure it all out.

          ~EJ

  4. Great review! You are not alone in your belief that Jesse may forgive Walt. I felt the same way. Often we want revenge and the moment we get it, we feel remorse – especially if we have bee through a lot together. Family and friends fight because they get hurt quickly and deeper by betrayal by those who they thought were very close. Jesse has been angry and mistrustful of Walter since the beginning of the season. Wanting someone hurt and actually seeing them hurt are two different things when you once had a close bond.

    Walter took huge risks to eliminate a very dangerous Gus. He did it for himself, but Jesse was also a benefactor. Of course Jesse killing Gale was a conscience killer, but Gale was as harmless as a fly. It is interesting that you feel Jesse did more for Walt (danger wise). I think that Jesse did more to create problems for Walt and himself than Walt did for the both of them with the exception of the foolish Walt Whitman book. That was a big error.

    Jesse was a train wreck for most of the show, albeit with flashes of brilliance. Personally I found his conscience out of character. He Broke Good as it were. A bit of an about face, but he is not made of the same metal as Walt. His latest brilliance was spectacular and the “student schools the teacher” idea fits well here.

    I agreed with Walt that he was a coward. I also dislike that he ratted. I may have missed something but I think Jesse being afraid was unfounded. Mike was a danger despite being chummy with Jesse. Walter repeatedly brought back Jesse’s money and tried to get him to snap out of it. Remember that Walter is Machiavellian in his thought processes. The end justifies the means. Walter was left broke and penniless and needed to break bad in order to survive. Once he realized that he had a set of Heisenballs, Walter took it to the end. He wanted to be a winner to compensate for the feeling of helplessness from the cancer. His ego was his drug and it gave him confidence and strength – something that was valuable for his remission.

    Hank showed us his true colors as he Broke Bad this season. He never once thought of Walter the human being, the loving brother-in-law. I hate him for this. He used Jesse like a rented mule. No compassion for him either. Hank is clearly acting on shame and anger. Shame that he was not smart enough to figure out that Walter was Heisenberg; anger that he was no longer the “baddest” ass at the family bar-be-que. Pride goeth before the fall. He took full credit for Jesse’s ideas. He never gave him any credit. Hank and Walt are more alike than we may think.

    I do not believe that Hank will die. Vince needs to finish the story, to let Hank go full circle. Hank lives so that he can see Walt for who he is. Once he stops being rabid. I believe that Walt will make a deal with the Skinheads to save everyone he can. Just like Nomad, I thought that they would run out of bullets. Jesse may be killed by Todd because he tries to do what other seems to want. Everyone will wonder how the cops got there in the first place. I hope Jesse survives.

    Walt will agree to cook for Uncle Jack on the promise that nobody gets killed. Gomie may be the only casualty because keeping everyone alive is to unrealistic with all the bullets flying. Hank will see Walter’s white side again once he shows Hank mercy. If he was all bad he would have everyone – especially Jesse killed right there. Walter will distract the bad guys and then return to relocate the money. I like the idea posited above that Jesse gets taken to cook. Walter may like this as a punishment for Jesse’s ultimate transgression. It will be a convenient way for him to save his life.

    I believe that Walter will make them take Hank. He could use some ruse like he needs him for some information about hidden money or some other purpose. Remember that Walter still sees Hank as family – family that Skyler and his children will need once the cancer kills him. Hank dying now stops him from learning the error of his ways.

    The recording of the phone conversation is inadmissible. Wiretaps must be obtained etc. The actor that plays Gomie said as much on Talking Bad. The other confessions are also a loose end for me. How will Hank explain the cash he got? I still do not know how he can dismiss this. That confession will mean even more if Walter “disappears” and becomes part of the underworld folklore as portrayed by the Heisenberg graffiti in the White’s abandoned home.

    • Heinz,

      “Heisenballs” – That’s a GREAT one!

      But I think that after Hank & Gomez run out of ammo, Walt (who will still be handcuffed inside the SUV) won’t have any opportunity to stop Jack’s crew from doing what Jack did to Declan. I think that if Jack finds out H&G are cops, he would be even *more* likely to kill them.

      My biggest question remains: will Walt, traumatized by what just happened, think about telling Jack that Hank just made a phone call to SOMEone, and they need to find out who he called.

      • Hey Heinz and Nomad,

        Yes “Heisenballs” is an awesome term which we should all implement immediately :)

        I wonder if ALL of the characters are going to be dealing with remorse–Walt for bringing in these guys he couldn’t call off and getting his brother-in-law in danger, Jesse for his involvement, and Hank for not following the DEA rules (if Hank survives). I think you make a great point that wanting something bad to happen to someone, like having them arrested, and even working toward that happening, isn’t the same as actually seeing it happen. And as much as they’ve fought, I do think Jesse and Walt still love each other, as corny as that sounds. I don’t think that changed for Walt even when he was asking to have Jesse killed. I really think Jesse will have a change of heart.

        And yeah, I think pride is Hank’s downfall as well as Walt’s. They are similar in that way. It just comes in different forms. Walt’s ego is tied up in his brilliance, his intellect. Hank’s ego is tied up in his identity as this awesome DEA agent, catching bad guys. You said it all really well.

        Oh earlier, I was specifically looking at the times Walt and Jesse have saved each other’s lives and that in that case Jesse has put his life on the line more. You’re right that he was more of a danger to the operation at times.

        I think the Mike thing scared Jesse because he thought of Mike as one of them, he knew Mike would never roll. And then in that extra scene Saul basically tells Jesse to be very afraid of Walt and gives him the gun.

        It’s a good question if Walt will say anything about the phone call. There are just so many ways this could play out!

        ~EJ

  5. Anybody else think this episode would have ended at a better spot if they had faded to black either a moment before, or a moment after, Kenny pulled the trigger?

    I saw this idea on another forum, and I have to agree.

    But I guess it’s also Breaking Bad’s style to break with convention, and end an episode in the middle of a gunfight.

    • I was thinking that too but I’m actually okay with how they ended it. I’m glad they didn’t end it before he pulled the trigger because then we would think that Walt might be able to get through to them and stop things, and that wouldn’t have left the same feeling of doom. Plus we were just overdue for some flying bullets. I’m not a psycho or anything, I swear!

      Do you think they ended that way just to break with convention? Or is there more to it? I guess we will find out in just three more days!

      ~EJ

  6. Pingback: The science of Breaking Bad: To’hajiilee | weak interactions

  7. Thoroughly enjoyable read as always; far more thought and analysis than I would be able to apply. ;)

    I figured out what Todd was using to check the purity of his cook – it’s a traditional handheld refractometer.

  8. Emilia – actually, when Walt defends Jesse’s honor to Jack, saying he’s not a rat, he doesn’t yet know that Jesse actually is a rat. At that point, Walt just knows that Jesse has gone bonkers, poured gasoline all over his living room floor, and then threatened him with something even worse. At that point Walt still probably believes Jesse would never rat him out (partly because that would mean ratting himself out too). It was odd that Walt couldn’t come up with a better reason (or didn’t want to) why he wanted Jack to kill Jesse, though. I would have expected Walt to at mention that Jesse was so mad at him that he might harm his family.

    • I know! That’s what I think makes it so tragic, that Walt is defending Jesse, saying he’s not a rat, when in fact, without Walt’s knowing, he is. It perfectly sets up Walt’s feelings of betrayal later on, his shock.

      I think he couldn’t come up with a reason because he really didn’t want to have Jesse killed, just felt that it had to be done. For some reason I almost kind of (shudder) like Uncle Jack in that scene, when he asks if Jesse is Hulk or Rambo level angry. He’s just funny.

      ~EJ

      • “…when he asks if Jesse is Hulk or Rambo level angry. He’s just funny.” Yes! And there’s Todd in the background shaking his head, holding back a laugh at the comparison, like, “That shrimp? Not even close.”

        • brows – I know!! That whole scene was hilarious. I think my favorite line of it (for this moment) is when Jack says, “Don’t skimp on family,” because the implication is “if you want them killed right.”

          ~EJ

  9. re: ” I have this theory that Walt is intimidated by anyone who’s close to being his equal. ”
    Yep. And with that trait comes arrogance, something he couldn’t get away with to his mental peers. You saw another example of that arrogance when Walt told Mike that their electromagnet succeeded in wiping out the hard drive on Gus Fring’s laptop.

    • Yes, his arrogance was running at an all-time high after he killed Gus. “Because I said so.”

      I think it’s actually a real problem that a lot of really smart people have once they get into a professional setting where they’re among equals and are no longer that special smart one. Their identity is built around that specialness and then they get to a job or situation where they’re one among many and probably not the best. I guess it happens with any sort of extreme specialness, if someone grows up always the most beautiful, the best singer, the most talented artist, the scariest badass, whatever.

      ~EJ

  10. re: “When Jesse goes silent, what was that about?”

    One flaw in the scheme as portrayed was that it required Jesse to be on the cellphone as if he was standing there, burning $10k per minute until Walt got there. That would produce one type of background noise. There is *no way* that Jesse would have been able to disguise the real background noises that revealed he was actually in a moving vehicle. But let’s just suppose Jesse had his head under some sort of cover (maybe his sweatshirt) for the entire ride, to attenuate the background noises. That would only work up until the point at which their SUV went off road, and at the kind of speed like Walt was driving. So one plausible explanation is that once Walt went off-road, his dust plume was all Hank needed to follow him, and Jesse’s call had to be cut short to prevent Walt from hearing the really loud noises of their SUV driving fast on that dirt/gravel road.

    BTW, if Hank had managed to get a tap on Walt’s phone that also provided him with any GPS location data, that would not be dependent on the continuation of Jesse’s phone call. This is also how the authorities will be able to find Hank after he goes missing long enough (if somebody doesn’t stumble upon the scene sooner than that).

    • Oh good points, I didn’t think of any of that. I wonder if we’ll see something like that happen in the aftermath. If Hank and Gomez don’t come back soon, Marie’s going to call his office, and that’ll be interesting. Of course, she’ll think he arrested Walt successfully. I wonder if some authorities will get to Hank that way.

      BTW there are some APD detectives listed for the next episode.

      ~EJ

  11. …following up on my previous post… The entire effort to fool Walt was based on provoking him so well that he stopped being logical and became completely emotionally reactionary. The lapse in Jesse’s call also MIGHT have been intended to increase Walt’s anxiety level even further as he got closer to the money, to not let him have a chance to think about what he was doing, and maybe do something like head for the nearest vantage point instead of the actual money pit.

    re: “When Walt arrives, and sees he’s been played…”
    ,,,as in, he doesn’t see Jesse nor ANY sign of the money pit being uncovered, his actual reaction would be to get back in his car and get the hell out of there, because upset or not, the fact that he immediately took the battery out of his cellphone shows that he is fully aware of what he just did. And he also knows that if Jesse wanted to kill him, he is a sitting duck out there in the open.

    But I guess it’s plausible (barely) that he’d go to high ground to look around first.

    • I think they guessed pretty well what would work up Walt’s emotions. But it’s definitely not the first time he’s reacted emotionally. He thinks he’s all logic but I think his feelings get the best of him. Like shooting Mike out of anger and then realizing he didn’t need to. Or telling Hank that Gale wasn’t the genius because his pride was wounded. Or buying cars and wine that contradict “the story” because he wanted to.

      This may sound strange but I think out of everyone still alive on the show (ie not including Gus), I think the person who is the most methodical and logical as a criminal is Skyler.

      ~EJ

  12. Paragraph about Walt saving Jesse vs. Jesse saving Walt – nice observation!

    “The layers, the duality of these characters, the tragedies upon tragedies are so exquisitely orchestrated and heartbreaking it could almost kill me. In the most gorgeous, humbling way.” – so well said.

    “I’m convinced Walt comes back to ABQ to rescue Jesse…” – from Jack maybe? If he’s being forced to cook for him?

    “…phone calls have been used, over and over, as a way of orienting us in the time of the story.” – I feel like I should have known that. :) haha I find the mechanics of writing interesting. Thanks for including.

    Walt giving himself up to Hank… “heroic and deeply devastating” – yes!

    The shoot-out… I’m impressed that they could end it there and STILL leave us with multiple possibilities. And the anguish in Walt’s voice as he begs Jack’s crew to stop… sigh

    “This crew is NOT happy about having a woman in charge…” – hmmm I hadn’t thought of that. Possibly. (My mind went to the ‘high standards’ vs. ‘good enough’ dynamic.) It definitely calls to mind the restaurant chat and how you never see them with women.

    “Walt is intimidated by anyone who’s close to being his equal.” Good backing for your theory. Such a shame about Gale. He never even aspired to be Walt’s equal. He was no threat. But what you say is true. I’ve been ‘Gale’ a couple of times in the workplace.

    I think you’re right about Jesse and Walt forgiving each other (and surviving) and Hank dying. Especially after he and Marie said, “I love you” to each other and he said, “dead to rights” – which was in reference to Walt, but the use of a word like “dead” in this scene, by Hank… Hank’s death makes more sense plot-wise, too (as you said).

    I wonder if Marie’s poisoning fantasy will come into play after Hank’s fate is known. I read that therapists can turn you in if they think you have or will commit a crime. But I don’t see her being in Walt’s proximity again at any point and don’t know what difference it would make if the doc had her picked up by police. Probably a dead end. But then why did they include and spend so much time on that scene? Just to show how distressed, angry, and worried for the kids she was? Wasn’t that a given? I don’t know! :)

    You said you’re extremely busy, so don’t worry about replying if you don’t have time. Thank you for another well-written, enjoyable analysis! – brows

    • “…why did they include and spend so much time on Marie’s poisoning fantasy…”

      Yes, indeed. It sure seems difficult to believe there won’t be any follow through on that after Marie realizes Hank isn’t coming back. Especially since Marie already suggested (in the restaurant scene) that the best thing for everyone would be if Walt would die, and the sooner the better!
      re: “I wonder if Marie’s poisoning fantasy will come into play after Hank’s fate is known”
      I’d say that if it happens at all, you can count on it being after Marie goes berzerk just after she realizes Hank is dead.

      But even before that (and even moreso after) how in the world would Marie ever have any chance to get to Walt? I guess if we can allow VG enough “creative license” to believe Walt could deliver a poisoned juice box to Brock at school (in a very narrow time window after his altercation with Jesse), then we will have to accept whatever they come up with for ‘how Marie attempts to poison Walt’ (assuming they do). Maybe Marie will ultimately decide to use something besides poison?

      It sure seems to me like they’re setting up a scenario where Marie tries to kill Walt, but botches it and kills another member of the White family. Maybe they’re going in a different direction with this, but after all the time they’ve spent setting it up, it’s going to be pretty lame if they don’t do anything with Marie’s poisoning fantasy.

      • They had so little time this season, and so much had to get left out (we didn’t see Hank telling Marie or Gomez, Walt and Skyler making the call to invite the Schraders to dinner, etc) so I have to think that Marie’s therapy visit will have to come back into play in SOME way.

        brows – I’m sorry to hear you’ve been Gale at times. I think that I’ve actually been Walt at times, which I say with chagrin. Takes one to know one sorta thing. I actually loved Gale, even though “Full Measure” is my favorite episode. Poor Gale.

        ~EJ

          • Hopefully I haven’t *really* been a Walt but I do recognize certain aspects like that one rearing their ugly heads at times. The thing is if you can get past it, it’s so much more enjoyable to have colleagues and friends who are on your level and above, but I remember when I was younger thinking it was sorta threatening sometimes.

            ~EJ

            • Yeah… I had a hard time imagining you’ve ever actively worked against someone else succeeding. ;)

              “The thing is if you can get past it, it’s so much more enjoyable to have colleagues and friends who are on your level and above…” – yes! And I’ve learned a LOT inside and outside the workplace this way. Your blog entries and the comments from others (and your responses) are a perfect example. Oh! And sometimes gems come from ‘unlikely’ sources, as in, “Yo, what about like a magnet?” :))) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39sv7ZGUEoM

  13. “It sure seems to me like they’re setting up a scenario where Marie tries to kill Walt, but botches it and kills another member of the White family.” It wouldn’t surprise me, NOmad. Talk about tragedy upon tragedy!!! :(

    She probably hasn’t had time to get poison (at least not the obscure ones she found online) and considering the state she’ll be in after she finds out about Hank, she won’t have the patience or will for something that slow. She’ll just want to get the job done. Maybe she’ll grab one of Hank’s guns
    (if he has some at the house). Walt won’t leave without seeing his family again, so I guess all she’d have to do is go to the car wash and wait. Plus I have a strong feeling someone in Walt’s immediate family will die, but they are not anyone’s targets, so it would likely be accidental – either through a direct attempt on Walt or inadvertently, i.e. Jr.’s car crashes. Probably won’t go down that way (I’ve made zero correct predictions, haha) but I think you’re right about her having a hand in someone’s death.

    Speaking of state, maybe “Granite State” has also to do with someone’s mental condition? Then again, maybe not… :)

    • re: “considering the state she’ll be in after she finds out about Hank, she won’t have the patience or will for something that slow. She’ll just want to get the job done. Maybe she’ll grab one of Hank’s guns”

      Yep. I agree. And Marie has never been shown to be proficient with firearms.
      “Oops! Sorry about that Jr.”

        • Actually I was kind of hal-joking… but I do think SOMEbody else near and dear to Walt is probably going to die, inadvertently killed by someone trying to get to Walt, or due to some circumstances that Walt’s predicament created.

          • I think so too, about another family member dying. Hank’s death is going to be devastating but I don’t know if it’ll be devastating enough. Definitely Jr or Skyler would have an even bigger impact on Walt, and I’ve never really disliked Skyler but I’m rooting for the death in the family to be her. I guess because it fits into my prediction that she’s gone by the time of the flashforward.

            ~EJ

  14. BTW, anybody else think that the final episode will involve a confrontation between Walt & Jesse about Jane’s death? If Jesse was as pissed as he was about what happened to Brock, how’s he gonna react when he finds out that Walt watched Jane die and did nothing to save her (of course, that was her own fault, too, unlike what happened to Brock). I suspect that the infamous ricin capsule is going to be involved in this confrontation too.

      • If all the loose ends get tied up as VG seems to have promised, then Jane’s death will have to come out?

        When it comes to the tumultuous relationship between Walt & Jesse, no other secret is more significant than that one. To put it into perspective, Walt can credibly claim ‘no harm, no foul’ about poisoning Brock, but look at how many innocent people died as a result of Walt’s fateful decision to not prevent Jane from choking on her own vomit. That said, although it was Walt’s attempt to wake Jesse up that caused Jane to roll over into a position where she choked, who’s to say that if Walt had never been there, Jane would not have died anyway?

          • I don’t know how literally he meant “no loose ends.” I just don’t know if that will come back. I’m mostly saying that based off of Aaron Paul interviews though. He hasn’t said anything directly but he’s been asked a lot what would be the worst thing for Jesse to find out, or what would happen if Jesse found out about Jane, and just trying to read the verbal and nonverbal cues in his responses, I sort of doubt it comes up. But even as I type this I’m totally second-guessing myself and thinking maybe it does. OMG this show drives me crazy, and I love it.

            Speaking of loose ends related to Jane, one that really was left hanging was whether her father lived or not. At some point in Season Three, Walt is listening to a radio report about Donald’s suicide attempt but he turns off the radio and the way it was left, it really could go either way. Wonder if that will ever come back?

            ~EJ

            • I want to say it won’t come back because it could always be argued that her death was actually beneficial to Jesse in that if she’d lived, they would have taken off with the money and OD’d at some point (despite their promises to each other that they’d get clean). I could be remembering wrong, but didn’t Jesse admit something like that in the Fly episode? On the other hand, if Jesse needs a push to do something violent against Walt, it could do the trick nicely.

              • I’m inclined to think the same way, brows. I don’t think tying up loose ends means everyone will find out everything and probably shouldn’t be taken super literally. If literally every single possible loose end and hint and suggestion is tied up, it would probably seem too tidy. I think the main point is that the ending will be unambiguous.

                I really think the only way Jane’s death comes back will be if Walt wants Jesse to kill him, which would be an amazing scene and I would want to watch it just because I’m not sure what Jesse would do. But I think in some ways it is tied up as you described, brows. I thought that “Fly” gave some closure to her story, especially with Walt sincerely apologizing even though Jesse didn’t know what for exactly. It was after that that Jesse moved on and started seeing Andrea.

                Still, though, as much as Jesse came to terms with her death and realized what a horrible path the two of them were going down, if he found out Walt’s involvement I don’t think he could ever forgive Walt. No one would if that happened to someone they loved.

                We shall see.

                ~EJ

  15. If nobody stumbles onto the scene of the shoot-out, the first one to notice that Hank is missing may be “van Oster” (the agent Hanks has guarding Huell), when his shift ends with nobody to replace him and no word from Hank.

    • Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with him and Huell, waiting there, Van Ostner having no idea what’s going on, Huell thinking his life is in danger and Saul sold him out.

      You’re prob right that he’ll be first to notice, since Marie knows Hank’ll be awhile.

      ~EJ

  16. I had a thought about Marie…

    She’s the only one that knows that Walt was arrested, outside of that desert. She was telling her therapist about wanting to poison somebody. If her therapist found out that Hank was missing so soon after she said that stuff about poisoning, he could call that into authorities, how she was talking about poisoning somebody so maybe she poisoned her husband.

    That would lead to Marie being questioned/arrested, and then once she’s in custody I’d just se her totally fly off the handle about everything. She could try to say that it was Walt, but (let’s say) Walt fakes his own death, and his confession video gets out… that would implicate Marie and Hank, and leave Walt to flee.

    Maybe, at some point, Walt comes back to get revenge and to also come clean about Marie to get her released from jail or wherever she could get thrown for her alleged involvement. That’s one of the only scenarios I could see where Walt may take the ricin himself, to protect his family and “never see the inside of a jail cell”.

    Just a thought. It’s almost crazy to speculate how things will play out. There’s just so many possible outcomes.

    • That’s an interesting idea. But I don’t think there’s enough time for that to play out.

      Maybe what happens in the aftermath of Hank’s death, when Walt disappears, Marie ends up being implicated for Walt’s death? That might be the answer to why they spent so much time on the scene with her therapist, and it would certainly be believable that Marie would have a motive to kill Walt if she thought he was responsible for Hank’s death… something for which there may not be any evidence at that point. So if Walt isn’t forced to go on the lam right away (and it doesn’t look like he will), and if Hank’s death is not immediately connected to Walt (doesn’t look like that will happen either), then I could see a scenario where Marie ends up being implicated in Walt’s “death” once he does go on the lam.

      A lot depends on Jesse’s confession video: how many copies there are, and when (or whether) anyone else finds out about it.

      • “That’s an interesting idea. But I don’t think there’s enough time for that to play out.” – agreed.

        “Maybe what happens in the aftermath of Hank’s death, when Walt disappears, Marie ends up being implicated for Walt’s death?” I like this – she wanted to do it, but she didn’t, and still gets blamed. I guess it going that way would depend on whether Hank’s body is found (proving he’s dead) and whether Walt’s staged death involves a substitute body (charred in a fire with teeth removed?) “proving” he’s dead too. Sounds a little complicated and I’m not sure they have time for that. Though, if Walt does stage his death, it won’t be very convincing without a body, so they may have to do that anyway.

        And I’m not sure Marie’s important enough for them to spend that much time on her fate – except in regard to how it affects the fates of Skyler, Jr., Holly, and mainly Walt and Jesse. Marie taking the rap for killing Walt isn’t very compelling (to me). But Marie doing something rash that causes Walt or Jesse to react,…

        Was just wondering about the kids. I’d like to see them go to live with Marie in the end, but if she does do something violent, then how could that happen? And how would Skyler disappear from the picture?

        “It’s almost crazy to speculate how things will play out. There’s just so many possible outcomes.” – Yes!!! Although, as it plays out, it will seem like that’s how it HAD to go – if the past is any indication (imo).

      • Another theory circulating about Marie is that she might go to the media and there’s good backing for it. But I don’t know if she’ll be thinking that clearly… if she was crying tears of joy over Hank arresting Walt, I can just imagine how emotional she’ll be after Hank disappears. Nomad, your word “berzerk” seems apt.

        Speaking of, will Hank’s body be found? If not, will the assumption that he’s dead or kidnapped be enough to make her go after Walt or to the media?

        If she goes to the media, will she be calm enough to explain the story and able to provide any proof? The videotapes might not be admissible in court, but maybe they’d be enough to interest the media… if they don’t dismiss it as a hoax or out of fear of being sued for slander.

        Will the authorities consider Hank missing right away or will they enforce the 24 hr. rule?

        All I have are questions! :)

        • I know, all I have are questions too. I do like the idea of Marie going to the media, which someone posted here. She did bring in the media for Junior’s website so she has some connections and it’d be her style. I also like the idea of her being implicated even though she didn’t do it. BTW if Hank dies, Dave might still think it was Marie because he clearly had some questions about her “close family friend” AND Marie told Dave that Hank had told her not to talk about it because it would be bad for him. Dave could put the wrong clues together.

          A lot of theories abound about someone being wrongly implicated in someone else’s death – Marie being implicated b/c of what she said to Dave, Walt being implicated if Skyler dies (even if it was because Marie was trying to kill Walt but somehow killed Skyler instead) since he’s the spouse, Hank being implicated in Walt’s faked death because of the confession. Seems there will be something to it.

          I wouldn’t count out the Marie poisoning thing entirely as an actual possibility b/c she does work in a medical facility and she may not be able to get her hands on shellfish saxitoxin that way but she can certainly get ahold of other deadlies, and if she’s been doing as much research as she says, I could see it being plausible for her to poison or attempt to poison someone.

          I too would be disappointed if Walt comes back to somehow save Marie because as much as she’s part of the family, they haven’t invested THAT much in her story. I really think the final stuff has to be about Walt and Jesse, possibly Walt and Skyler if she’s still alive.

          Less than 48 hours!

          ~EJ

          • IMO, Walt is not going to come back to save Marie (NO WAY! Especially not after she wished him a speedy death), and he only way that Jesse will be the one he intends to save is if every member of his real family is dead or otherwise gone (as in, no longer willing to have anything to do with Walt).

            But it also seems to me that Jesse is the one with whom Walt could have the most interesting confrontation in the finale episode. So I guess VG will have to make that plausible by getting rid of (though not necessarily killing off) everyone else near & dear to Walt.

            Where can I watch BB S5E14 in less than 24 hours?

            • Ooops I got a little over-excited there. I meant 48 hours, fixed it. Now it’s less than 36. Weekends pass so slowly now that BrBa is back on and the anticipation is worse than ever.

              Yeah, something more has to happen. I bet with our guesses we are getting close–last time you got the idea of Hank somehow showing Walt some fat stacks and making him think they’d gotten his money, and I got that Uncle Jack would ask for cooking help rather than money for the hit on Jesse–but I doubt there’s any way we can truly figure out the whole picture.

              I was dreaming about BrBa again. I have a feeling that might happen a lot between now and the end of this month.

              ~EJ

          • re: “I really think the final stuff has to be about Walt and Jesse, possibly Walt and Skyler if she’s still alive.”
            But if Skyler isn’t still alive, then Marie could easily end up with the baby if the simultaneous circumstances also cause Walt to go on the lam. For instance, an attempt to kill Walt (which as we’ve discussed, could even be perpetrated by Marie) could go awry and result in Skyler’s death, at which point Marie could be the only family member able to take care of Holly (if Walt was absent during the attempt on his life, which might be what allowed him to survive).

            Given the name of the final episode, I still think it’s possible (though seeming less likely now) that Walt returns to retrieve Holly.

            Maybe the M60 is intended for one thing, and the ricin for another?

            It’s going to be mighty formulaic if Walt ends up using that M60 like Stallone (‘Rambo’) or Schwarzenegger (‘Commando’), so I’d like to think that VG is going to be a little more creative about the intended use of that particular weapon than to merely pay homage to ‘Scarface’ (but with a bigger gun). Maybe that’s just wishful thinking?

            • I do think the ricin and the M60 will have different targets. My guess? M60 for Jack and the boys (we’ve now seen what kind of firepower (though terrible aim) they have so I can see Walt going for a big bad gun to take them out). As for the ricin? I could see it being for himself, for Lydia or for Jesse, depending on what unfolds.

              I’m not sure if this means anything but the actress who will play a slightly older Holly is only listed for the next two episodes. That would be TERRIBLE if Holly died.

              ~EJ

  17. I’m with Heinz on Hank living. I start with the money and work backward. Hank & Gomez will be able to find it if they go free (or get rescued) so that’s out. Hank’s too much of the central plot to die. Walt negotiates with Jack to take Hank prisoner (“Do this Jack or I won’t cook for you.”) Hank has 2 phones and will be captured before he can call for backup. Jesse can’t be allowed to leave and will also be prisoner. Gomez would be a third prisoner if he lives, but that’s too cumbersome, so he’s going to get killed in the shootout. Hank will be overwhelmed by firepower at that point and will have to surrender.

    Money will be safe for a while, but new problems are how to keep H & J alive, how to avoid being Jack’s prisoner and getting killed after teaching Todd, telling Skyler it’s time to get the family ready for a “trip,” ordering a vacuum, and (ultimately) taking out Jack’s whole crew to rescue the others. Marie will sound the alarm at some point because Hank doesn’t come home, and she has the case records (and Jesse’s confession). There’s a reason to have him tell her he won’t be home for a while. Ticking time bomb. Then every cop will be looking for Walt and he can’t rent vans, go in hotels, or run around town and do what he needs to do.

    Working backward from the money and the next episode title-Ozymandias-leads me to conclude someone else gets the money. Could be Jack’s crew (maybe Walt offers to pay them to help move it). They’d have to go.

    • If this scenario happens, it will negate much of what I’ve said so far.
      So it’s probably correct, considering my track record for predictions. LOL

      • I like the way you think, Loki! And if Hank survives the shootout, you can tell me “I TOLD YOU SO!” and rub it in! I still think he’s going to die but am not as convinced as I was. I do think it’s late enough in the game that any of the main characters, except for Walt, could be headed to a permanent vacation to Belize. I like what you said about the money too. Will it end up in someone else’s hands?

        ~EJ

  18. About the only thing riskier than killing two federal agents would be to kill one and take the other prisoner, since the only way he will not take them all down for his partner’s murder is if they kill him.

  19. re: “Weekends pass so slowly now that BrBa is back on and the anticipation is worse than ever. ”

    Maybe this link will help a little: directdownload.tv
    (I suggest using the filefactory.com shown on this site)

    The last few weeks, 720p videos of that weeks BB episode have been posted there by Sunday afternoon. I have no idea how anyone is getting access to the videos sooner than airtime, but there they are. You’ll need something capable of playing .mkv file to play them. (On Windows, “Media Player Classic – Home Cinema” is one of the best for this file format).

      • I’m going to stay away from that. I used to do a fair amount of watching things that way (or through other similar ways) and there was always a lot of crap to deal with like endless buffering, skewed proportions (everything would seem stretched vertically and compressed horizontally), jumpy picture and sound, and so forth. The fact that I have a pretty slow internet connection doesn’t help either.

        But people are coming over and I like watching in a group. In fact they’re coming for the later showing this week (usually I have people at both) so I may actually hold out and wait till they get here and not watch the first one as it airs (which also means I’ll have to stay away from the internet too so as not to spoil). Ahhhh I don’t know if I can do it!

        ~EJ

  20. That driving scene was great. THAT ENDING!! THAT IS WHAT ACTION LOOKS AND SOUNDS LIKE! AWESOME!! PERFECT! The suspense was off the charts along with the gun sounds and music.

    And I was late on all those shows too I’m on the last season of the wire, 2nd season of the Sopranos, last season of Carnivale, I discovered Breaking Bad in the 3rd season, walking Dead in the 2nd season.

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