Breaking Bad: To’hajiilee
by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)
“Okay genius, what’s the idea?”
As entry-level drug kingpins are wont to find out, Lydia is having some troubles with her new cooks. Todd is doing his best to recreate the blue, but it’s clear he’s not nearly the cook that Walt is. He’s still tied to Walt regardless, especially after Walt reaches out to him on another matter. Yes, Jesse has become that much of a loose cannon that he gets the Weird Science ringtone going on Todd’s phone. It was clear from the start that between the lack of quality in product and Walt’s desire (need?) to take care of Jesse that Walt would again go back and cook. That’s something that would be really convenient for Hank, who’s having his own problems with Jesse; as in, trying to find out what to do with him.
It’s courtesy of Jesse that Hank actually comes across as something of an investigative genius. Jesse’s plan to go after Huell was actually quite brilliant, giving them something more to go on in their quest to take out Walt before he continues his rampage. It takes a lot to scare Huell into compliance, but doing so offers Hank and Jesse a means of cutting off some of Walt’s options of escape. Saul obviously knows something is up considering his paid bodyguard has dropped off the radar and isn’t responding to his calls. A lot of realizations were made in the episode.
The intelligence hits keep on coming for Hank too, considering his latest plan hinges on convincing Walt that the van he used to transport the money was tracked via GPS. It’s not completely out of question for Hank to have such great ideas. It is out of the question for him to have them all of a sudden and with so many in quick successions. The entire series he’s been a bumbling DEA agent that’s always been multiple steps behind Heisenberg, yet now all of a sudden he’s a modern day Batman and Sherlock Holmes who can think eight moves ahead. It’s not entirely implausible; rather, it just feels a little unnatural in light of his previous inabilities as a detective.
Walt’s character choices have been making their way towards the inevitability of his attack on Jesse, but it was quite interesting whom he turned to for the job. The problem with the deal he made is that if Todd is capable of pulling off the task of increasing the purity, it removes Walt’s leverage as the meth cook. Granted, it’s not likely to come to that, but it does offer the specter of someone eventually going after and possibly taking out Walt. Walt is a bad, bad man who will do everything in his power to protect himself and his family. He’s proven that he’s willing to sacrifice in order to save them, whether he offers his own stakes or other stakes.
That includes paying Brock and his mother a return visit. His actions in the past are what some would call despicable, so it’s really not surprising that he would again use Brock to further his own cause. Hitting Jesse at his emotions has proven to be the way to go when looking to knock him off the edge. He’s grown wildly emotional as the seasons have progressed and tapping into that definitely makes things easier for Walt to capitalize on in order to get him to come out from hiding. He’s still able to tap into that rage for some seriously dark places.
Probably the scene of the season so far (and maybe one of the best in the entire series) was Walt’s harrowing race to protect his money from a presumed bonfire at the hands of Jesse. The scene took up a good chunk of the episode and was exceptionally fast-paced and tense, with Walt racing at his own peril when “threatened” by Jesse burning all of Walt’s secretly buried money. Granted, that wasn’t really the case, but it did reveal to Walt the fact that Jesse might have committed the ultimate transgression in terms of loyalty by siding with Hank. The look on Walt’s face of sheer realization was extremely powerful and took his chess match with Hank to a new level.
The scene also highlights one of the things the show has done exceptionally well in showcasing settings. Since the show takes place in New Mexico, there are countless expanses of desert, plateaus and solitude. There were some great shots of the lonely environment prior to Walt essentially turning himself into Hank, symbolizing the solitude that Walt was on the verge of succumbing to. What doesn’t add up though is why Hank felt he could all of a sudden arrest Walt. If he could do so in such an easy fashion, why wait to get him all alone in the middle of the desert? He knew where he would be prior to that, yet still concocted an elaborate means of having the two of them meet up.
It’s presumed that he’s counting on Jesse’s testimony as the linchpin of an expected case against him. Still though, it’s not something that required him being out there and drawing Walt out like that. Of course, it was inevitable that Walt’s hit squad would still show up, considering how much they want Walt to cook for them. He may have called off the hit, but there’s no honor amongst thieves and these guys want to make the money. To do so, they need Walt and will go through whatever they need to in order to do so. Man, what an ending; leaving off in the middle of a firefight.
With three episodes to go, Walt wasn’t going to be arrested and booked this early on and the foreshadowing of his calling in the hit squad should’ve pointed out he wouldn’t go quietly. Previews for next week were smart to ensure that nothing tips off who escapes and how, but it’s expected that Walt gets out. Jesse was making a move for an escape as well, sharing a similar realization with Walt that he put out a hit on Jesse. Their relationship is beyond fractured at this point and it’s now every man for himself. Based on the first episode, Walt makes it out somehow (considering he’s back at his house a year later), Hank and Jesse’s fate are a little murky and Todd may still have to cook. It’s anyone’s guess at this point as to where the series goes from here and Walt definitely has his work cut out for him in preserving his family.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars