Breaking Bad: Buried


by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Spoilers ahead.

“Tread lightly.”

It’s hard to be a chemistry teacher, cancer survivor, father, husband, friend and–oh yeah–one of the largest crystal meth dealers in the southwest, but Walter White pulls it off with a flair. A scruffy beard, foreclosed house and trunk full of guns later, things are a little less flair inducing. When you make enough people say your name, though, one of them is going to come a-calling at some point. That all comes later, because with the start of the final episodes, Walt has to deal with Hank learning whom W.W. is.

You’ve got to hand it to Hank, as he finally showcases some actual detective instinct in relying on his memory in recognizing the handwriting in the book. He’s spent the better part of series chasing ghosts when it came to the meth trade. He even proved to himself and those around him that he couldn’t handle the magnitude of working with the government. That’s what makes his recognition of the possible truth that much more rewarding. He’s struggled with confidence as a cop, but now may be on the verge of one the greatest drug busts in history.

Taking Leaves of Grass for his investigation was a very bold move, primarily because Walt’s going to notice it missing sooner than later. It does lead to a great scene between Walt and Hank that juxtaposes both of Walt’s dual lives. On the one hand, his conversation in the garage proves that he’s a criminal and while Hank doesn’t know that completely, yet, he has a sense. On the other, the kid with the remote controlled car in the background is evidence of Walt’s attempts at being a family man. By the end of the scene, all the cards are on the table, even the return of Walt’s cancer. Both men make their threats and they’re solid. Walt’s offering is cold and dangerous, both reflective of the man offering the words. Ironic that such great words are uttered in search of a book by the great Walt Whitman.

Walt and Skylar are playing a happy couple. They’re entertaining, cooperating and running a car wash. Skylar’s complicity in all of it is almost as fascinating as Walt’s commitment to the laundering cause. She’s intrigued by the idea of opening another car wash, yet is also smart enough to realize that Heisenberg is still in demand by others in the business. Her feelings towards Walt have run the entire gamut. In fact, she’s probably gone through more emotions with one person than most go through in a lifetime. She’s still oblivious to some aspects of the operation; primarily, those that rely on Walt being the cold and calculating criminal that he can be at times.

Jesse’s crew wins at life in some ways. While he’s silently waxing poetic on his life as it stands, he’s privy to Badger and Skinny Pete arguing the merits of Star Trek. Still though, Jesse manages to tear himself away amidst a chorus of self-doubt and attempt to make some amends for his life choices. His pain is a lot more evident than Walt’s, as Jesse has lost a lot more in terms of personal attachments than Walt has throughout the entire endeavor. Jesse always felt that Walt’s callous approach to the events they witnessed was inhuman and even the hard-sell from Walt trying to bring him back from the edge fell on deaf ears.

Despite all they’ve been through, Walt still manages to tap into a different level of evil when talking to Jesse about Mike. Walt is one of those characters like Vic Mackey from The Shield who will burn every bridge imaginable if it helps them get what they want. He’s a master manipulator and Jesse was the only one who could call him on it, but even he falls under the spell from time to time. Characters like Vic suffer from one fatal flaw: often, the walls around them close in to such an extent that any chance of an ideal escape is impossible. Still, Jesse decides to go on a modified paper route as a means of cleansing his soul.

The premise of the show features a reluctant chemistry teacher making meth to pay his bills. In the final episodes, the show is shaping up to continue down that path and see things through to the end of it all. The first episode gets everyone up to speed and back into the flow of living with a drug dealer who’s gained a superiority complex. What it also does is let the world know that Heisenberg is playing with house money at this point, thanks to the cancer giving him nothing to lose. Walt will scorch the Earth if he needs to, but in a way that leaves it alive enough for him to walk in it with no one the wiser. Stay tuned for the final episodes, because they’re going to be memorable.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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