Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 13: To’hajiilee
As always with my review of Breaking Bad, there are spoilers in here for everything up to and including episode 13 of season 5. You have been warned.
Breaking Bad has done it again, it really looked like this would be the slow and ponderous episode that I’ve been expecting for a few weeks now. Things started off at a fairly sedate pace, although as ever things were tense, but by the end everything had really ramped up. I hate to use a chess-based analogy but it does feel like all the pieces have been perfectly lined up for the final three episodes.
At the start of this week’s episode we get to see Todd in action, cooking meth. I did expect him to be a lot worse at cooking, he did a pretty reasonable job but he can still only manage 76% purity (compared to Walt’s consistently high 90s) and he’s having a real problem getting it to have the distinctive blue colour. Apparently the blue has become a real selling point now, a sign of quality and perhaps that is going to be the only real legacy that Walt leaves to the world, a trend for brightly coloured meth. It does seem like Lydia might be in over her head when it comes to Todd and his Uncle Jack, because I really can’t see them being too happy about being ordered around by a woman. Those neo-Nazi guys just don’t seem like they’d be the most enlightened in the world, and I can’t imagine they’re going to be content to be working for her for too much longer when they could just take control of the business themselves. Todd looks almost nice and pleasant compared to his uncle, but Jesse Plemons manages to make him seem utterly creepy. There’s a shot this week of him running his thumb over a lipstick mark Lydia left on a cup, and it was just so weird. That boy certainly is not right.
We get to find out what Walt asked Todd to do, at the end of last weeks episode. He has ordered a hit on Jesse, and wants to arrange a sit down with Uncle Jack to discuss the details. After all of the questionable characters that Walt has had to contend with over the years (Crazy 8, Tuco, Gus) you’d think he’d have learned his lesson.
The other thing that is wrapped up from last week is that we finally get to here what Jesse’s plan is to get at Walter ‘where he lives’. It turns out that it’s actually a pretty good plan, maybe Jesse is the smart one after all? The plan was to go after Walt where it would really hurt him, and that’s his money. It’s a fairly elaborate plan to try and find out where it’s hidden. They start off talking to Saul’s bodyguard Huell (I hope it’s not the last we see of him because he’s great) feeding him stories about his partner going missing, and Jesse being dead complete with a picture of Jesse and some brains on Hank’s kitchen floor. Obviously Huell doesn’t know where the money is so all he can do is tell them about the van he hired and the barrels of money.
Meanwhile, Walt is having a chat with Jack, Todd and the boys about his hit on Jesse. I’m really torn on whether Walt does genuinely care about Jesse or not. I thought he seemed to in the previous two episodes but I also read a lot of reviews suggesting it was all just an act to play Jesse. Here he’s discussing the hit, and it seems like he’s so reluctant to do it like he can’t see another way and the idea of it disgusts him. Maybe he’s just trying to appear civilised to distance himself from Jack but Walt is very protective in the way he talks about Jesse. He won’t let anyway suggest that he’s a rat (although he clearly is) and he wants it all done quickly, painlessly and without fear because Jesse is ‘like family’. It seems odd for Walter to be so protective of Jesse, well as protective as you could possibly be about someone you want killed, when he has nothing to gain from it. Still the price for taking out Jesse is actually fairly reasonable, Walt just has to do one more cook to show Todd how to improve the purity and get the blue colouring back. Walt can’t seriously think that it would end there though, Jack doesn’t seem like the most trustworthy guy in the whole world, and I can’t imagine he’ll just let Walt go if he has a chance to make more money.
Walt needs a plan to flush Jesse out of his hiding place, at the moment I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know that Jesse is hiding out with Hank. Unfortunately Walt’s plan involves going over to hang out with Brock and Andrea, where Walter is in full on Gus Fring mode, incredibly polite, charming and (on the surface) caring. Brock doesn’t seem overly thrilled to see Walter though, I guess he remembers the guy who poisoned him; something like that would stick with you. Jesse never actually gets to find out that Walt has been over to see Brock and Andrea because Hank is keeping hold of his, brilliant, Hello Kitty phone. Nice try Walter.
So it seems like a bit of a stalemate at this point and I thought we were just going to see another 15-20 minutes of positioning the pieces in readiness for the final few episodes, I was wrong. Very wrong. Hank, Jesse and Gomez manage to trick Walt into thinking they’ve found his money by convincing him the van had GPS and them sending a picture of a barrel of money (we later find out taken in Hank’s garden). It’s a pretty decent plan, Jesse must have come up with it, especially as Jesse keeps Walt talking so they can track his mobile phone’s position. He manages to get a pretty good confession during the course of that phone call, I did wonder if anyone had managed to get a recording of it at all. It’s hard to tell by now, because Walt is such a convincing liar, but he did sound like he believed he had done everything for the good of his family (and he seems to include Jesse in that). Maybe he’s just convinced himself that’s true and that’s how he’s justified everything that he has done, to himself.
There was a moment in the episode where I thought Walt had finally given up, that he’d had enough and decided to give himself up. He had called up Jack and the neo-Nazi gang to come and help him out, but he changed his mind at the last minute telling them not to come. I couldn’t decide whether that was because he really didn’t want Jesse and Hank (his family) to be hurt or because he’d just decided there was no way out of this at all. Either way, he gives himself up to Hank and it looks like things are going to be alright. It was hard to tell whether Jesse was happy about the whole thing or not, I was sure it looked like he regretted it right up until Walter called him a coward that is.
My heart sank when instead of calling in the police for backup Hank decides to call Marie and tell her that he’s got Walt, he’s finally done it. I found it all incredibly tense, as always, as Hank wasted time on the phone and I really wasn’t sure if Todd and Uncle Jack were going to show up to protect their investment. The moment Hank told Marie ‘it may be a while before I get home’ I knew things weren’t going to go smoothly, and I was right. Just after he hung up the phone the neo-Nazi brigade shows and nobody looks happy to see them, not even Walt. Perhaps Walt really had come to terms with being caught, because he really, really didn’t want them to be there, he spent the entire time in the back of the car shouting to Jack that ‘it’s off’.
Things don’t end well, as the episode ends up with a massive fire fight. We don’t actually see anyone get hit by any of the shots, but it doesn’t look good for Hank, Gomez or Jesse (or Walt come to think of it, Uncle Jack and the boys were firing pretty indiscriminately). Hank and Gomez are outnumbered by 2:1 and massively outgunned, they only had a shotgun and their pistols, whereas the neo-Nazis had a whole lot of machine guns (they looked a lot like the one Walter bought way back in the flash-forward in the first episode of this season). Although we didn’t see anyone get hit, I can’t imagine that everyone comes out of the firefight unscathed but unfortunately that’s where it all ended.
I can’t really imagine where this will be going next, I am half wondering whether the next episode will pick up a few months down the line and basically moving the timeline on to the flash-forwards we’ve been seeing all season. It might make sense that Hank and Jesse died in the shootout and Walt is going to go for revenge on Jack and the rest of them, hence the need for a big machine gun. I’m not sure that would take three episodes to accomplish though. The other thing I’m thinking is that Walt goes back to cook with them, and they manage to get Jesse to and instead of killing him he’s made to be the cook in residence. If that were the case I could certainly see Walt tooling up to either rescue him (or get revenge) in the flash-forwards.
Only three more episodes to go, and even though a lot is happening every single episode I still have so many questions. Roll on next Monday.