Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 11: Confessions

There seems to a be trend in this run of Breaking Bad for episodes that start out as if they’re going to be quite slow and understated but then everything just goes crazy. Again this week, the third episode of the final eight, it seemed like this was finally going to be the slow and steady episode but then midway through everything just takes off. Things have been utterly electric for every one of these first three episodes now, I think it’s safe to call that a trend?

Things start of this week rather ominously with Todd, his uncle and one of his uncle’s friends (Herc from Friday Night Lights) chatting in a diner after the great meth lab slaughter of episode 10. It’s a strange scene really in that it doesn’t feature elsewhere in the rest of the episode, it’s just a scene about the three of them talking about the train heist, which happened earlier on in season five. It’s interesting the way that Todd talks about Walt, referring to him as Mr White and the way he talks about the heist make it seem like he still has a lot of respect for him and almost idolises him. That said, it seems like something is going to happen with Walt and the neo-Nazis. This scene seems too purposely inconsequential in this episode that it must have some relevance in the grand scheme of things especially when the scene ended with the guys driving into New Mexico complete with the tanker of methylamine. It looks like the meth cooking business is coming back to New Mexico and that can’t be a good thing the Whites.

At the end of the last episode we left Jesse in a police interrogation room with Hank about to finally get a crack at him. When the last episode finished I was slightly concerned that given Jesse’s mental state he might well just tell Hank everything, but of course that would have made things too simple. It did look like Hank might be finally getting through to Jesse when he started to talk about how he felt betrayed, fortunately (or not depending on what you want to happen) Saul turns up to save the day and get Jesse out of there.

The big news this week is that Walt Jnr is back from…wherever it was that he’s been hiding for the past couple of weeks. It seems like he’s not going to get a chance to settle down though because Marie has come up with a cunning ruse to get Walt Jnr away from his parents and over to stay with her and Hank by inventing ‘computer troubles’. At the moment Walt Jnr is still in the dark about what’s going on and what his dad has been up to, and I can imagine that if he goes to see Marie at the moment then he could end up learning everything. Walt is still as manipulative as he ever has been though, he chooses just the right moment to let Walt Jnr know that his cancer has come back. There’s no way Walt Jnr will be going anywhere to fix computer problems when he’s found out his dad’s cancer is back.

I wasn’t sure where things were headed in this episode as Walt sits down in front of a video camera to record a confession, in a move that nicely echoes the first episode where he’s recording a video confession for his family after the first big meth cookout. It seemed unbelievable that Walter would actually do the right thing and confess. Walt, Skyler, Hank and Marie get together for a nice family dinner to discuss things, and the atmosphere is tense but Walt is still doing an excellent job of channelling Gus Fring, as he’s calm, courteous and restrained. Walt appears to be trying to get Hank to see sense, to play on his sense of family by telling him there’s no evidence and all this will do is tear the family and Walt Jnr apart. It’s a fairly restrained scene but it’s incredibly awkward and tense, it does provide one of the highlights of the episode as Marie suggests a solution to Walt, in a very matter of fact way. She suggests that he should just kill himself, in the same way you’d tell someone to pass the salt. Absolutely ice cold and not what I would have expected from her at all, I guess finding out that your sister is married to a drug kingpin really changes someone?

We don’t have to wait long to find out what was on Walt’s DVD, it seems like the dinner with Hank and Marie was kind of a last chance for them to back off because the confession is not a straight up honest confession. Nothing is ever that simple or straightforward where Walter is concerned. It turns out that his confession is actually a stroke of genius, as he ‘confesses’ just how Hank is really the drug lord Heisenberg, how he’s probably been murdered by Hank and how Hank forced him to cook. There’s also the final bombshell about how much money Walt had contributed towards Hank’s medical costs, and I’d actually forgotten that Hank didn’t know about the financial help from Walt and Skyler.

It was a low and manipulative move from Walt but it was also a masterstroke, he’s got Hank completely sewn up. He can’t possibly go to the DEA now because the DVD seems so plausible, especially if they start to dig into how Hank paid his medical bills. It just goes to show that you shouldn’t really try and compete with Walter White because you’ll always come off in second place.

There’s an interesting scene with Walt and Jesse (and Saul to an extent) out in the desert where it seems like Walt genuinely wants to help Jesse get out of town and get a clean start. Jesse has had it quite rough recently and it looks like he’s just about had enough of being played by Walt. Jesse tells Walt that he just wants him to be upfront with him and ask if he needs a favour. Things all turn a little Good Will Hunting as Walt gives Jesse a fatherly hug (I expected him to say ‘it’s not your fault Jesse’ over and over) and it really looks like that’s what Jesse has wanted all along, for Walt to be a father to him. You can’t really blame him for having issues, given what dicks his own parents have been but I’m not convinced that Walter White is the best father figure to choose.

For a moment I thought Jesse might actually be taking Saul and Walter’s help and using Saul’s guy who helps people get a new identity. It seems a little early in the series to be saying goodbye to Jesse and he must have a bigger part to play in things? It turns out the answer to that question is yes, not that it was ever in doubt. Jesse has a sudden epiphany while staring at a packet of cigarettes, he’s managed to piece together that Saul got someone to pick his pocket’s back in season four so Walt could get the ricin back. I’m not sure how Jesse managed to piece things together because I’d pretty much completely forgotten that had even happened in the first place. Still somehow he’s figured out that Walt got hold of the ricin (which is true) and had used it to poison Brock (that’s not strictly true, he did poison Brock with Lily of the Valley).

The episode ends far too quickly, just as things are hotting up (possibly literally) as Jesse kicks the door down of Walt’s house and starts throwing petrol around like there’s no tomorrow. Now I’m assuming that he doesn’t get around to actually lighting the place on fire because when we see the house in the flash forwards there isn’t really a sign that the place had been set on fire. The other thing is that I assume, after his disappearance for a couple of episodes, that Walt Jnr is in the house somewhere and he might end up getting set on fire or even more likely he finally gets to talk to Jesse about what’s really been going on with his dad.

Whatever happens it seems like things are continuing to heat up. Walt seems like he’s successfully managed to negate the threat from Hank and the DEA with his little confession, but it seems like something might be brewing in the near future with the neo-Nazis. In the even more immediate future though, Jesse is definitely going to be an issue. The question is whether he ends up hurting Walt’s family (an eye for an eye) or whether this is going to drive him towards Hank and the DEA.

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