They All Fall Down
Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 14 recap
Last week’s episode ended with a desert shootout between the Aryans and Hank and Gomez. Jesse was cowering in a car, Walt was handcuffed and freaking out. It was the spot of Walt and Jesse’s first cook, and the place Walt chose to bury the remains of his empire – his money. It left on a major cliffhanger – there is no way everyone is making it out alive – and the Aryans showing up was a tad predictable (for this show) but still exciting.
All season we’ve watched Walt’s new old life – mild mannered dad – butt against his temporary turn as Heisenberg. But it wasn’t the shootout that stood out for me in that episode; it was Walt, handcuffed and finally beat by his brother-in-law Hank (well, for a moment). Walt doesn’t try to run or protest; he says just one word: Coward. It’s Jesse who he directs his contempt towards and at this point, not even Walt could have an ulterior motive. Walt has a hit out on Jesse, so it’s not like he’s on the up-and-up in this relationship. But by ratting Walt out the first opportunity he had, is Jesse a coward? His lack of self-preservation when it comes to Walt is astonishing. He could have run or arranged a hit from his new life. Anonymously tipped the police about Drew. But his need to see Walt not get away with it, combined with grief and lack of support from anyone in his life, made him a great target for Hank, and a huge liability for Walt.
Walt treating Jesse like a junkie imbecile, and Jesse treating Walt like a smart but unsavvy dad, sealed both of their fates. They have bled together, killed together, gotten rich beyond their wildest dreams and lost things together. But are they past the point of no return? Or will Jesse and Walt ride again?
A flashback! Walt and Jesse on a cook in the Winnebago, Walt in his white underwear and Jesse trying to light up in the Winnebago. Walt, early in his deception, practicing a lie as Skyler packs up trinkets to sell on eBay (remember that side business?). As Walt waits for the meth to cook, Skyler suggests Holly for the baby name.
Back at the desert shootout, Walt pleads with the Aryans for Hank’s life using his last chip: $80 million buried in the desert. The Aryans ask Hank if he would take the deal and he says f-ck you. And to Walt, Hank imparts his final bit of wisdom: these guys made up their minds 10 minutes ago.
Boom. Hank is gone. Walt collapses, and I can’t help but think this is Walt’s moment to feel a bit of the pain Jesse has felt for Jane, for Brock and for Drew Sharp. This death is literally at Walt’s feet.
And now the Aryans have the money and Walt is on his knees. But where is Jesse? Hank and Gomez are buried in the money pit.
Todd removes Walt’s cuffs and says, “Sorry for your loss.” Aryan uncle lets Walt leave with the car and one barrel, shaking hands as they say goodbye. But Walt isn’t done.
“Pinkman. Pinkman. You still owe me. “ Oh my god Walt why?!!!! Does he blame Jesse for this turn of events? It’s not like Jesse can help or hurt him now. Todd convinces them to let them take Jesse, hiding under the car, to find out what he knows (through torture, I assume) and then kill him.
Walt wants Jesse’s blood, and his heart. His final words to him: “I watched Jane die. I was there and I watched her die. I watched her overdose and choke to death. I could have saved her, but I didn’t.” Walt clearly blames Jesse – he’s lost his brother-in-law and all his money – and sees Jesse’s betrayal as the catalyst for all of this. But to see Walt harden against someone he called son is brutal. Ordering the hit had a modicum of mercy as he asked for it to be quick and painless but that sentiment is gone. Now Walt wants Jesse’s pain – he goes out of his way to share something that he knows will crush every cell in Jesse’s body. Then he sends him off to be tortured and killed by the Aryans. For me, this was Walt’s cruelest and most inhumane act. The sick pleasure Walt took out of telling Jesse about Jane is the truest depth of evil we’ve seen out of Walt and Jesse’s pleading eyes and his disbelief was the last bit of heartbreak he could give. Is this Jesse and Mr. White’s last scene together, ever?
Walt has his single barrel and rolls it to a house in the desert, and buys a truck from an old man.
Back at the car wash, Marie shows up and Skyler is nervous while Marie is totally in control. Marie informs Skyler of the development and says that there can still be hope for Skyler, that Walt’s damage can be undone. Marie is being a very big person – she pledges support for Skyler if she gets the “confession” tape and pushes Skyler to tell Finn before the police show up.
Jesse is being held prisoner in a cage, badly beaten (is his face burned?) and then he’s taken back to the lab by Todd and put on a leash. As motivation, they’ve taped up a picture of Andrea and Brock, with one simple instruction from Todd: “Let’s cook.” Jesse has never had it easy, but I can’t take much Pinkman torture. And, given the audience’s attachment to Jesse, this can’t be his end. But seeing how Hank and Gomez met their end (Gomez! Let’s not forget about Gomez!), there’s not a lot of justice in Heisenberg’s world. I wish Mike were there to save him. It makes me sad that no one else will be looking for Jesse.
Marie and Skyler tell Flynn, and he is of course shocked his dad is a meth manufacturer. He is completely focused on Skyler’s lies, not on what is going on. Yes, there are family implications, of course. But there’s another implication: the circle is now wider. The people who know what Walt has done keeps getting bigger and bigger. His double life can’t be contained.
The baby is in the back seat, looking like she knows sh-t is about to go down.
Flynn continues to hammer on Skyler and I get the feeling Skyler kind of likes being bad, but doesn’t like being told she’s bad. Most of all, she looks defeated and tired.
At home, Walt implores them to pack and Skyler figures out that Hank is dead. Skyler picks up a knife and it seems that she’s reached a breaking point – something in her has snapped. Skyler and Walt have a vicious fight over a knife, as Skyler wildly stabs at a stunned Walt. Junior protects his mother and calls 911, saying that Walt pulled a knife on her. Walt runs from his family, taking the baby with him as Skyler frantically chases him out of the house and down the street.
He’s next seen changing Holly’s diaper in a public bathroom, as the baby cries for mama. Walt makes a call to Skyler; unlike Hank’s final call to Marie, which was filled with satisfaction and love, Walt is disgusted with Skyler. It is years of marital disappointment concentrated in one vicious diatribe: he calls her a whiner and complainer and accuses her of dragging him down and not appreciating all he’s done for the family (have the writers been reading the fan message boards?). Walt then changes the narrative, insisting that Hank got what he deserved for crossing Walt. But he’s cracking, secretly crying while threatening her. Walt knew the police were called and were listening. And he’s never come close to speaking to Skyler in this way, so it’s for the benefit of the tapes and the police. Yes there is truth as he says that she never believed in him (and this probably extends way beyond the meth business), but he’s taking the entire blame for his life of crime, for keeping Skyler quiet and for Hank’s death. “I built this. Me alone! Nobody else.” In his twisted logic, Walt has done all this for his family. And this is his final act: to sacrifice and confess so Skyler is clear of any legal trouble and free to raise their kids.
And it’s not Holly he really wants – taking her was rash vengeance, a reaction to watching his family break apart right in front of him and a way to make the police sympathize with Skyler. He leaves her at a fire station and the next day is picked up by Saul’s “guy.” A few suitcases and a new identity. Unlike Jesse, he gets in.
We know Walt comes back. But for whom (or what?): his family? Jesse? (Doubtful, but I don’t know if that is their last scene together.) His empire money? I now think the destroyed family home was a red herring and has basically become one of those mythical crime spots kids hang out at to get high and trash. So what brings Walt out of hiding – and is it a kamikaze mission?
Two. Episodes. Left.