Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Breaking Bad - "Confessions"
If Breaking Bad doesn’t quit it with these “holy shit” ending scenes, I’m gonna have a heart attack by episode six. Yes, it’s riveting television, but at what cost, Vince Gilligan? Do you not care that your viewers might have weak hearts, hearts that can’t sustain such quality television-induced elevated blood pressure? But, if this is how I’m to go out, so be it. I mean, what a capper to an episode. The only problem I have with it is it gummed up the works as far as the review I initially planned on writing for “Confessions.” Of course, I should learn by now not to mentally write my reviews while watching the episodes. I gotta wait until the credits roll before I try to formulate my thoughts, because something is bound to happen by episode’s end that’ll throw everything out of whack. It’ll just be a whole lot of energy wasted.
You see, the Walt-Jesse confrontation in the desert had me all excited, was to be the center of my piece (well, either that or Walt’s blackmail framing “confession” video—more on that later). I was going to write on the significance—however seemingly small—of Jesse finally calling Walt out on his caring dad routine, on his manipulation. And though I don’t normally engage in prediction pieces, I was going to comment on the fact that this seemingly small rift was the first crack that would lead to Jesse finally turning on Walt, maybe a few episodes down the road, damn the consequences. And then the ending scene happened. Which, fuck yeah. Which, fuck Walt. Which, fuck why can’t I watch the next episode right now?
But of course, burning down Walt’s house won’t be without consequences (arson isn’t a win-win?). There is the whole matter of, oh yeah, people who aren’t Walt also live in Walt’s house. But beyond that, the ramifications will be much worse. Let’s deal with the Hank side of things first. Walt has boxed his brother-in-law into a corner. After making the blackmail confession video—ok, just gotta interrupt all this shit right now; I’ll get back to the house-burning bit in a bit. As you know, Walt has done some lowdown despicable shit in the past (watching a woman choke on her own vomit and child-poisoning certainly topping the list) but this, this...I don’t know why but this fake confession blackmail shit affected me the most. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown so attached to Hank, but seriously, it made my blood boil. Yes, I get the impetus—Walt, as always, is just looking to save his own skin—but this shit is unforgivable.
Nevertheless, I did marvel at the writing of the scene. Through the callback to the first episode via the recorded confession routine we are witnessing the extent of Walt’s fall. Whereas in the first episode, the remorseful chemistry teacher sought to set the story straight about his crimes, this weasely douche wants to pin it all on his brother-in-law, painting him as a master criminal. And Walt describes Hank’s motivations the way he would describe his own while recounting the varied crimes, ascribing to Hank all the blame-deflecting he traffics in. By trying to make the story sympathetic to Hank, Walt is trying to make the story sympathetic to himself. (Also, damn, I bet Hank is sorry he learned how to walk after his injury.)
And now Hank really is stuck. If Walt even feels like 5-0 is breathing down his neck, all’s he has to do is release the video. And now that Gomey is concerned about Hank putting a tail on this Pinkman kid, red flags are waving at DEA headquarters. And now that Pinkman is burning down the goddamn White house, well...
Fucking bad news for Hank. That shit’ll be investigated. Walter White will feel cornered. And as for Jesse, I don’t think he has an endgame in sight. This is something like a suicide mission. Unlike Walt, he doesn’t think in terms of long cons, he’s not a diabolical master-planner. He sees that Walt poisoned a child; he’s going to do everything he can to get Walt. Simple as that. If he dies or gets incarcerated in the process, so be it.
I guess you could call this the chickens coming home to roost season. Walt left his criminal life behind him last season, and now everything is coming back to bite him in the ass. Of course, that’s the way it works. You set up bad shit, it comes back to get you; it doesn’t matter if you no longer engage in the activity. It’s just like when the teacher puts you in detention even though it was the one time you really actually honest to God weren’t doing something wrong. Except with child corpses decomposing in acid vats in this case.
Before I get to my notes on the episode, I just wanna address what I wrote about Skyler in last week’s piece. I want to reiterate that I am not a Skyler-hater. I actually agree with Anna Gunn that sexism motivates most Skyler hate. My issue was with the inconsistent writing of the character. Watching this episode, however, I realized what the real issue is and it’s not a fault of the writing, performance, or show at all. It’s on me. At this point in the series, I hate Walt so much that I want other characters to hate him as well. And now that Skyler’s standing by her man it irks me. My favorite Skyler moments (“I fucked Ted” comes to mind) have been those in which she defied and stuck it to Walt. I just want that again.
About the diner scene: yeah, Vince Gilligan sure has a thing for Tarantino.
Uncle Jack may be a murderous white-power douche but he is a Burt Reynolds fan. So he’s not all bad.
Huh, Todd still calls Walt “Mr. White.” That’s one meth cook more than eager to take up the pupil station.
The Declan-blood soaked paper towel didn’t flush completely. Significant?
Also, as I said before, I’m not one to make predictions in these pieces, but something tells me Walt’s gonna have a showdown with Uncle Jack’s crew.
Not to go on and on on Cranston’s acting—because it goes without saying what a performer the guy is—but I noticed something in this episode I never noticed before. When Walter is not in Heisenberg mode, he forgets how to lie, or at least he can no longer do it convincingly. When Walt Jr. told him he was going Hank and Marie’s, Walt started stammering, stuttering, incapable of coming up with a lie to keep his son home. Walt has been in Heisenberg mode for such a long time, I just got used to it.
Walt telling his son the cancer has returned is just more emotional manipulation. Douche.
Marie is referring to Walt Jr. as Flynn. She can’t even say his name.
Alright, I think we have a winner for most awkward dinner scene of the series, easily beating last year’s dinner with Jesse.
Obviously, as stated already Walt acting concerned for Jesse, telling him to start a new life, is just more manipulative bullshit; but I wonder if Walt thinks he feels for the kid, if he thinks he’s being compassionate? Obviously, he’s not. But I wonder if he’s lied to himself to believe he is.
I wonder how feasible that whole disappearing thing is in this day and age. I mean, with the proliferation of social media and cameras everywhere nowadays, it just doesn’t seem possible to disappear someone completely.
There goes the rest of Walt’s extra money. That’ll probably come in to play later.
And there’s the Hello Kitty phone again. I knew it’d come back.
I know it’s all part of a tense scene, but I actually laughed when Walt came back nervous to the car wash, making up an excuse to get his gun from the soda machine.
As for other collateral damage in the arson, what about Saul? Jesse drove his car to Mr. White’s. Will he leave it there and split? If so, things aren’t looking good for our favorite sleazy lawyer.
“Like, Hooper. You see Hooper?”
“Burt Reynolds movie, but he jumped out of a helicopter, not a train.”
“Whatever, man. It’s a good movie.”
“Why don’t you try and beat it out of me. That’s your thing, isn’t it?”
“My own brother-in-law, lying to me for over a year. Using me. Maybe you understand that feeling.”
“Do you wanna talk?”
“Not to you.”
“So long, Rocky. Keep your left up.”
“This is my confession.”
“He’s gonna hear it when I kick in your front door and arrest you.”
“So, how about that guacamole?”
“Why don’t you just kill yourself, Walt. Just kill yourself. This whole thing dies with you, right?”
“That is not a solution.”
“No, it’s not a solution. He’s not getting off that easy. And the same goes for you if you stick with him”
“There’s only one solution: step up, be a man and admit what you’ve done. There is no other option.”
“Hank took me on a ride-along and showed me just how much even a small meth operation could make.”
“They told me it was gambling money.”
“Oh, Jesus, it’s always the desert.”
“You wanna hazard a guess what his little charity drive cost us?”
“Jesse, will you let me help you? I don’t like to see you hurting like this.”
“A whole lifetime ahead of you, with a chance to hit a reset button.”
“Will you, just for once, stop working me? Will you stop working me just for like ten seconds straights, you know stop jerking me around?”
“Alright, just drop the whole concerned dad thing and tell me the truth.”
“I mean you need me gone because your dickhead brother-in-law is never gonna let up. Just say so. Just ask me for a favor.”
“Come on, just tell me you need this.”
“That’s a start, now give with the dope.”
“Goodbye, Jesse Pinkman. Hello, credit to society.”
“You had him steal it off of me. And all for that asshole, Mr. White. He poisoned Brock. And you, you helped him.”