Breaking Bad

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Breaking Bad Review: Family Feud

by at . Comments

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.

Hank at Work

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!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (67 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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"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?" Of course there is. If there's one person on the entire planet that Jesse hates, really HATES, it is Hank. Jesse won't be telling Hank anything. Also, he's not the ratting type.

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Neonazis take over the business but still can't produce a pure enough product. Try to coerce Walt back into the business but can't do so with Walt's family dying as a result after which Walt flees under a false identity before he himself is whacked. Jesse is taken hostage by the Neonazis and forced to make blue meth. Walt returns to the area to make arrangements for his money (which are to buy the pharmaceutical company he was excluded from, fire his ex-partners, and have the company dedicated to fighting the cancer that is killing him). Knowing he is dying of cancer anyway, he secures the machine gun, goes to rescue Jesse from the neo-Nazis in a paternal fashion. Frees Jesse but can bring himself to take the ricin and kill himself so he asks Jesse to do so. Jesse is a board member in the drug company and Hank fails to get his man.

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One dangling thread that doesnt sit well with me is Walt having to answer for Gus. The cartel was wiped out, but the reasons the cartel could not touch Gus -- his connections/background going back to Chile -- despite his defiance, were not. Also a good reason to pack ricin and an M-60. I think it's safe to say Walt will kill anyone who has threatened the safety of his family, or worse, taken them from him. And he has a good track record for winning these confrontations. The ricin? well, that's for him when it's all over.

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The flash forwards are a plot mechanism for the viewer -- they draw us in further in our obsession to see the story to its end. It's an echo of season 2 using the airline disaster clips at the beginning and throughout. The ruthlessness of Lydia combined with Todd and his crew and Jesse's paranoia/dementia look like they may both collide for Walt at the same time. I like the idea that Lydia/Todd may decide to force Walt back into the lab. That's plausible. Im surprised they let him walk in the first place. Jesse's potential confession may send Walt on the run anyway. I think the next plot twist is likely to be the unexpected death or sharp turn in the storyline -- if Walt's wife and kids are threatened or killed, that would certainly explain the heavy artillery in the trunk of Walt's car in the flash forwards. As for the sharp turns in the story, I think we could see who Lydia's contact is on the ground in Czechoslovakia who have Lydia spooked enough to take out an entire crew in exchange for Todd's cook. Or, one dangling thread that doesnt sit well with me is Walt having to answer for Gus. The cartel was wiped out, but the reasons the cartel could not touch Gus -- his connections/background going back to Chile -- despite his defiance, were not. Also a good reason to pack ricin and an M-60. I think it's safe to say Walt will kill anyone who has threatened the safety of his family, or worse, taken them from him. And he has a good track record for winning these confrontations. The ricin? well, that's for him when it's all over.

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After reading this great review and remembering Carol’s reaction last week, I can’t help thinking that Walter is dead to the world in those flash forwards. And after seeing that great hiding place that is the underground bus, now I’m thinking Walt will spend some time down there making Blue under Lydia’s gun, while everyone thinks he’s gone. They’ll fake his death, he’ll make blue meth, until he escapes to take back what’s his.
Walt knows full well that those barrels of money are a life insurance for him and his family; they are also pretty much the only proof of his “guilt�, no matter what a known junkie like Jesse Pinkman will reveal to Hank. The only person who can bring Walt down without a bullet is probably Skyler, and she has obviously chosen her side now. Maybe she realized that Walt actually saved Hank and everyone he ever loved multiple times, from the scumbags he’s had to work with to collect all that money for his family.
I found that scene with Holly absolutely heart breaking. For some reason I think the little one will be the final innocent victim on this show and it will send everyone left into a very tragic and brutal downward spiral. I hope not though.

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All to often, great shows like this end; prematurely in my opinion while trash like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which is worthless at best, have lasted well into 8 seasons. It is a testament to the caliber of much of the American viewing audience.

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I think Skyler was genuine in her affection toward her husband. I think it finally hit her as to what he really is all about: his family. I say: SKYLER to the rescue!!!

Amygirl

*show not shower!

Amygirl

Love the symbolism in this shower. Walt tried to take a shower (could be construed as trying to wash off his sins) but fell before he ever made it in. Also, in the scene with Walt and the coordinates... there is a blurry picture of Walter Jr. I've learned from this show that everything is done on purpose, so maybe his picture being in the scene means something? Great episode, even though it was a "slower" one.

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