Breaking Bad: To’hajiilee
Editor’s Note: This post contains spoilers for the episode of Breaking Bad that aired Sunday, September 8, 2013. If you haven’t viewed this episodes yet and do not wish to know what happened, stop now or forever hold your peace. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
So as you know, I’m supposed to be avoiding stress right now. I don’t think I’m technically medically cleared to keep watching Breaking Bad in that case. Has there ever been a more nerve wrecking hour of television than that? (It seems like every week BB inspires me to ask a “has there ever been a…” question, doesn’t it?) I don’t know where to even begin so let’s start at the beginning.
We knew Todd was a scary, creepy bloke, but who now thinks he has a shrine to Lydia in the corner of his apartment full of grainy, black and white photos of her taken by long range telephoto lens? (“It puts the lotion in the basket, Lydia!”) This will not end well for her. And Todd is officially the scariest dude on this show. During the standoff in the final scene and the resulting gun battle, everyone’s face was full of tension and some kind of emotion, but not Todd. The utterly blank, unfeeling look on his face as he emptied his revolver into Hank and Gomie’s direction was just chilling. On the plus side for Todd, his ringtone is Thomas Dolby. (Science!)
Speaking of facial expressions, this was a banner episode for them, in a series that has excelled in “face acting.” The first, and maybe my favorite, was Walter, Jr’s expression of complete giddiness at recognizing Saul Goodman at the carwash. He looked like an 8 year old boy who just saw Santa Claus and the Easter bunny sharing a cup of coffee in his kitchen. And add another great Better Call Saul line to this honor role: “Don’t drink and drive, kid, but if you do, call me.” The second was Jesse’s ecstatic look when it seemed like he had beaten Walt once and for all as the he was being handcuffed by Hank in the moments before Walt’s neo-Nazi cavalry showed their mastery of GPS devices and arrived on the scene. Sorry, Jesse. And lastly, every look Walt had on his face from the time that he realized that Jesse had played him about knowing where the money was (Hey, I got a prediction right for once! When Jesse has an idea, you should really listen, instead of calling him “Timmy Dipshit” – though I have to hand it to Gomie, that was hilarious), reality dawned on him that there was no way out once he saw Jesse with Hank, and finally, the look of utter disdain he held for Jesse while Hank read him his Miranda rights. It’s testament to Walter’s completely distorted and messed up world view that he only lost respect and sympathy for Jesse (who he was trying to have killed moments before – the only thing that was missing was heavy-handed Scorsese rodent imagery) when he realized that he was indeed a rat and working with the DEA.
So back to that gun battle. I’m trying to remember a cliff hanger quite like that one, where the episode cuts right in the middle of the action, but nothing comes to mind. Hank and Gomie have to be dead when the shooing resumes next week, right? Is there any other outcome here? I can’t see another logical one. If there is an out, it would have to be Walt negotiating a deal for Hank to make it out in exchange for Walt agreeing to cook for Uncle Jack’s Good Time Nazi Fun Bunch during a break in the gunfire. Regardless, Gomie has redshirt written all over him. Since we know Walt survives this encounter, that leaves only Jesse’s fate in question. I honestly don’t know what to think, since Jesse’s death would send all of Breaking Bad fandom into cardiac arrest on the spot, but keep this in mind: Walt told Todd to have Jesse killed. Todd is a remorseless killing machine and is likely a T-101 from Cyberdine Systems, so he will stop at nothing to finish the job. I fear for Jesse.
One other stray observation. Remember the opening scene where they made a point of showing Uncle Jack not wearing his gas mask in the lab despite Todd’s warnings? That’s not the kind of thing that BB drops in just as filler, so who thinks that Walter notices this in the next episode when he’s being forced to cook again and uses it to manufacture another chemistry added escape and trigger the showdown that leads to Mr. Lambert riding around with that BFG in his trunk?
Whatever happens, there’s only 3 hours of this left now. I only hope my heart can take the stress.