We’ve been waiting a long time for this. The epic conclusion to the epic saga of Walter White and his meth empire. Unfortunately I’m not Stateside, so I had to wait a little longer than my American counterparts, but thankfully it was only a few hours. In a convenient and clever move by Netflix, new episodes of Breaking Bad can be watched online mere hours after AMC’s premiere. If you have not yet watched the episode do not read on. Spoilers ahead.
A common theme throughout all of the Breaking Bad seasons has been the teasing flash forwards that gives us a hint as to where the story will end up. Season 05 Episode 09: Blood Money is no exception. We begin with a vagrant (and fragrant) looking Walter rolling up to his family home, which has long since been abandoned, trashed and the backyard pool has become a skater-boy adventure land.
Walt has returned to the house in order to retrieve a vial of ricin which he had secreted. Once it is reclaimed he returns to his armory/car, where he encounters his neighbour.
In this scene Walt greets Carol. In a delicious contrast to her later (in present time) reaction she drops her shopping in shock, confirming for us that Walter’s Heisenberg cat is definitely alive and out of its box. In the future, Walter is probably a known and wanted criminal.
After the credits we’re brought back to the moments directly following Hank’s toilet epiphany. We recall that while indulging in an afternoon “ablution” Hank had stumbled upon an inscribed Walt Whitman book that the dearly departed Gale had gifted Walt. The penny drops and Detective Schraderbrau joins the convoluted dots. His very physical reaction was very well done, and I have to say Dean Norris did an excellent job in this episode. When he returns from the hospital following what looked like a serious anxiety attack (and the murdering of some innocent bystander’s white picket fence) he sets himself up in the garage and goes to work.
Meanwhile, at the carwash, Walt and Skyler aren’t exactly having an A1 day. Having suggested that they grow their legitimate business empire in order to grow their illegitimate profits and efficiently launder their millions, Walt then has an encounter with Lydia. It seems that the quality of the produce has dropped exponentially since Walter’s retirement, and Lydia needs him back. Walter point-blank refuses. Lydia seems quite desperate, and I think this is an important moment for us to remember as obviously it will mean that further down the line (or possibly sooner than we think) they’re going to need the talents of Heisenberg. Naturally I imagine they would do anything in order to ensure his cooperation, including hurt his family. Maybe that’s where Skyler & Co. are in the flash forward? I’m digressing now, it’s all conjecture. Anyway, a curious Sky asks Walter who Lydia is. Walter, for once (no point in lying now really, is there?), tells her the truth and Sky goes all Alpha Wench and tells Lydia to step the **** off.
Over at Casa Jesse, the Junkie Twins are having an absolutely hilarious Star Trek discussion. It involved a pie eating contest, wherein Chekov gets his guts transported out of him. And we thought the end of Breaking Bad would have none of its dark comedic relief charm? Jesse though, he’s not all that amused. Still in his shame spiral, depressive funk, oppressive inertia (or whatever the hell it is, he’s obviously not coping very well), he pays a visit to the always helpful Saul and attempts to donate his blood money to inadvisable causes. Saul takes the money, but calls Walter instead.
On the other end of the phone Walter is being treated intravenously with an unknown drug in a clinic. It is the first clue we’ve had to the question we’ve all been asking; Is the cancer back? Walt hightails it over to Jesse’s, where he returns the bags of cash and has a heart-to-heart with his former protégé. He insists Mike is alive and well. That he didn’t kill him. Methinks Jesse doesn’t believe him, because later we see him handing over a wad of notes to a homeless man, which in turn gives him the idea to start tossing his drug money randomly all over the place from his car. Oh, Jesse. Will you ever learn?
It’s dinnertime and we’re back at the Whites’ (they’re having salad again, that family sure do love their salad), where they’re discussing normal family type things like college and such. Walt excuses himself and goes to the bathroom to hurl. Here we see (again) unknown medication. He folds up a towel for his knees so he can hug the toilet bowl more comfortably, leading me to believe that there is a subtle credence to the circulating “theory” that Walt adopts certain mannerisms from the people he has killed. It is here that he notices the missing book.
Obviously this gets between him and his sleep. He ventures outside later on that night and, putting a paranoid two and two together, he searches his car for bugs, and finds a tracking device. Ruh-roh.
The last piece of the episode was fantastic. In a surprise for most viewers, we get the showdown in the very first episode back, long before most of us expected. Walter pays a visit to Hank, under the pretense of inquiring after Hank’s well-being. A strained exchange follows, but Walter obviously isn’t satisfied, so he decides (surprisingly) to produce the GPS tracking device and calls Hank out. Hank closes the garage door, and suddenly the atmosphere is ominous, tense.
Hank, disgusted with the man that his brother in law turned out to be, channels his rage by knocking Walter around a little. He lists some of Heisenberg’s known and appalling deeds. At first Walter tries his old reliable manipulative techniques in order to reach Hank. He tells him his cancer is back and he is basically living on borrowed time. When Hank doesn’t play ball, Walter issues a threat. And so, the transformation is unarguably complete.
Great line. Great episode. What did you think? Do you think Walt’s cancer is really back? Who do you think the ricin is for? This will probably be the last Breaking Bad recap I do until the finale, so share your theories if you have them!