I guess you could call that a slow episode of Breaking Bad.
We're grading on a curve, of course, because nothing may ever be able to top the back-to-back events of the previous two installments: Hank discovering Walt's identity as Heisenberg and the garage-based confrontation from last week that still has my stomach in knots.
But "Buried" didn't drop any bombshells. Instead, it zoomed in on the family ties between the Whites and the Schraders, ties that have broken so quickly not even the best backyard barbecue and the most perfectly-aged barrel of Schraderbrau could fix these relationships.
Skyler chose Walt over Hank. Or, really, she chose herself and her children over what Hank deemed her "best interests," considering he has no idea just how deep his sister-in-law is in this thing.
Skyler has known about Walt for ages. She's laundered his money. She's benefited from his evil doings, considerably so in the financial department. Could Skyler be able to strike a deal? To get witness protection in exchange for turning on her husband? I'm sure.
But that's exactly why you turn to a lawyer. Skyler has been called many things over the years by a divided fan base, but she isn't an idiot. Even rejecting Walt's offer of turning himself in as long as she kept the money was the proper, well-reasoned move; there's no way she'd be able to use that cash with authorities watching her every move.
It remains unclear from just what perspective Skyler is operating (is she simply taking the steps she considers safest? For her and for her kids? Is there some part of her that still feels something for Walt, as that intimate scene on the bathroom floor would lead us to believe?), both to viewers and, likely to herself. Her life at the moment is more confusing than that of a Yankees fan watching Alex Rodriguez play during a pennant race.
It's worth nothing just how few words Skyler actually said tonight. She simply told Marie she's sorry, she asked Hank whether she's under arrest, she listened as Walt bared his cancer-ridden soul. Combine Skyler's quietness with Jesse literally not saying a word during the hour and it's incredible the sort of tension Breaking Bad can elicit from pure silence.
Of course, Hank will have plenty to say to Jesse in that interrogation room. From what we know of the latter at the moment, is there any reason to believe he won't turn on Walt? Accept some kind of deal? Take WitSec himself and try to start over?
For an episode that was all about family and bonds that are now destroyed, the true test will come when Jesse is giving a chance to bury his one true father figure. Again, why would he not take it? Only because he feels a sense of loyalty and - dare I say it? - love for Walt, despite... well, everything.
But that question is for next week. As is hopefully more on Lydia (how awesome is Lydia, by the way?!? Acting all tough for about 90 seconds before turning into the jittery, anxious, fearful member of the drug trade we've gotten to know a bit over the past few episodes? She's great.), Todd and the operation that is now growing in lieu of Heisenberg. Is it related to Walt's hairy, ricin based return to Albuquerque that we know is on tap?
Which raises my own question: How do you feel about those flash forwards? They're fascinating and thought-provoking and I think I'm glad we've had them.
But do they also take away slightly from the ongoing drama? Considering we know Walt does beat his cancer? We know he doesn't simply die from it or leave town permanently. And we know everyone is on to him and his house has been ransacked and he has some reason to require a machine gun arsenal and a secret poison pill.
Especially in this concluding run, nearly every scene of Breaking Bad is so mesmerizing that I don't find myself thinking about the future as I watch. I'm simply taken in by everything we're witnessing, from the performances to the tension to the cinematography (point tonight to the Money Barrel Cam!). But when I stop to pen a review and/or do take a moment to ponder what's to come, I can't help but wonder if I'd prefer to not already have a few questions answered by events from the future we've already seen.
Where do you stand on the flash forward? And do you think Jesse will talk to Hank? And would you be able to resist Scrooge McDucking all over a pile of money? Weigh in now!