The Wild Card: A Breaking Bad Recap for the Episode “Buried”. Spoilers abound.
Hank makes his first of what I assume will be many moves in the most recent episode and it’s an interesting opening play: get Skyler on the phone and get her talking about the operation, about Walt, and about anything that might incriminate Heisenberg.
It’s a good first move, with one glaring flaw: Skyler’s too smart. She knows she needs a lawyer and she knows she needs to keep quiet. As bad as Walt has been for her and as detrimental to her life as his actions have been and continue to be (“I can’t remember the last time I was happy,” she admits in the confessional of the White’s bathroom), she has to protect him. Hank’s rebuttal is just as swift and as focused - get Marie involved. For all of Marie’s faults, she is great at rooting out the truth. And as flighty as she can be, she’s no dummy, either.
I thought for a moment that Marie might be wearing a wire when she goes in to talk to Skyler about Walt and the whole operation. Skyler never says anything but a brief apology that’s met with a slap. Is that enough to start a criminal trial? I don’t think so. Either way, it’s all just a pale, passing moment compared to the moments that follow when Marie tries to take Holly away and Skyler comes out swinging. In all of this, Skyler has only had her kids’ best interest in mind. The thought that Marie might take the baby was just too much to bear. Hank intercedes and, for reasons that I guess are more legal than ethical, orders Marie to give the baby back to its mother. Now, it’s White vs. Schrader in a match that’s sure to leave some blood on the wall. It’s Hank vs. Walt in a contest of wills that will kill Hank’s career or Walt’s…well, Walt. It’s Marie vs. Skyler in a test of compassion. Who’s really doing right by the White’s children - the mother that won’t let them go, despite the sinking ship, or the aunt who wants them to be safe so badly that she’d deprive them their own mother, despite their shared history? These two aren’t sisters anymore. They’re now tag-team partners to their husbands, men who are bound together on a path of mutually-assured destruction.
Walt’s busy burying his money out in the desert as the frantic search for Jesse continues. Where is he? Why’d he throw out all the money? And what are his loyalties? It occurs to me now, as of this episode, that everyone’s ganged up with a particular faction except Jesse at this point. Saul’s on Walt’s side and can’t figure out how to find Jesse except to call and call and call. But Jesse’s not listening. And he’s not answering…to anyone.
Walt is the King. Skyler is the Queen. Jesse is the wild card. Is their suit strong enough to withstand the cards that Hank is holding?
Jesse’s recent breakdown seems to be a shock to those around him. For us, however, it’s just par for the course. Jesse does something impressive and gets happy for a while. He does something bad and gets remorseful. I’m betting these aren’t the kind of feelings he had back when he was just “Captain Cook”, a good-timer who didn’t care about the after-effects of his product. Now, he sees the destruction that he and Walt have brought into the world via their “Crystal Blue Persuasion” and it’s wrecking him.
Has it wrecked him enough to give Walt up to Hank? Has it wrecked him enough to forgive Hank the brutal beating he endured in the Season 3-era? Has it wrecked him enough that he’ll take all of the blame, or none, or some? Does self-preservation mean nothing to Jesse? How broken can you be before you don’t care about $5 million dollars? How broken can you be before you don’t care that you’ll spend the rest of your natural life in prison for a string of murders, drug deals and evidence destruction?
How broken can you be after you “break bad”?
I guess we’ll find out next week.
Not for nothing:
- Anna Gunn is a sharp actor. The “AM I UNDER ARREST?!” scene is a great example of that in a season that runneth over with great examples.
- Where, oh where, is Walt, Jr.? “With Louis,” says my wife in a half-joke. He and Louis spend an awful lot of time together.
- I love the scene with Huell and Kuby laying on the pile of money. I also love the back-and-forth about whether or not they’d get killed for taking any of it. Walt certainly did leave an indelible impression on everyone with his “Under two minutes” stunt.
- The lottery ticket? Genius.
- I like that Walt has no interest in killing Hank because Hank is “family”. Maybe that is still important to Walt, to some degree.
- Lydia in the desert in her Louboutins? Terrific. And with Mike’s former contacts out of the way and Todd back on the cook, I’m starting to get a sense of what “future-Walt” is death-marching towards. Obviously, Todd’s Prison Uncle (or “Prunkle”, as I call him) is a bad dude and now has access to the means and methods of production. Is he the one Walt’s gearing up to kill? Is it Lydia? Is it Todd? Is it…Jesse?
(Art via Slate. Would’ve done my own, but got short on time. Might still.)