The first episode of the second half of the fifth season of Breaking Bad aired tonight. While I question the necessity of such complex math to describe a season of a show, maybe it comes with the high end chemist territory.
I have to admit I considered not watching this second half of the fifth season. See, when the first half ended, Hank had just found the copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, inscribed from Gabe to Walter White. But, right before that, everything had kind of worked out. Walt had made enough money to last his family several comfortable secure lifetimes. The car wash was going well and laundering the dough through it was working out just fine. Skyler seemed to have fallen back in love with her husband, but with a newfound respect. And Junior got a bitchin’ new car. Happy ending. Fade to black.
And, right before the whole everything seeming to work out part, Walt and his son were watching Scarface together and I cringed at the augury and thought, this may not end well. But the show is so genius that I can’t stop watching, even when I’m not sure how I will feel about how it wraps up its final season. The characters are so nuanced and fully realized that I feel like they are real people. There have certainly been times in the past, when I thought Walt and his nascent empire were done for, and yet he rallied. I’ve really loved watching him solve problems that seemed insoluble. One of my favorite solutions in the show was when Walt and Jesse used the industrial magnet on the laptop in evidence.
So, now that Hank is stockpiling every box of evidence from the Heisenberg case in his suburban garage . . . well, I think that might not be the most secure place for it. I love that Walt didn’t try to fake it with Hank. He just told him what would be comfortable to believe, what would be good for their family for him to believe, but he didn’t try to snow him. If the empirical evidence suggested he couldn’t snow Jesse, it was good science to take a more straight-up approach with Hank.
I recall the way Hank tried to emasculate Walt in the first season. I recall the way Hank acted like a loving family member, when he was also undermining Walt, and treating him with a total lack of respect. I recall Hank flaunting his greater (but still modest) wealth and his alleged manliness and just generally being the kind of person who is unhealthy to have in close. So it was so so very sweet seeing Walt telling Hank that, if he really didn’t know Walt, he might want to “tread lightly”.
So, what is the best solution to Walt’s immediate problem here? Does he rob Hank’s garage? Does he have someone else rob Hank’s garage? Does he burn Hank’s house down? Does he have Hank committed for being a crazy person? Does he kill a member of his own family? Whatever he does, you know it is not going to be just take his lumps lying down.
Jesse smoking pot in Saul’s office to get service earlier than 420 was awesome. I did think Jesse needed to understand that sometimes your friends are just going to tell you awful ideas for a Star Trek episode script; it’s just the way the world works. Jesse tossing money out his car window at near random was one of those moments where I am totally there with Walt and I just want to tell him he’ll regret it when he’s older. I did think that a better solution to the Jesse Pinkman money problem would have been to hold Jesse’s dough for him, have Saul Goodman let Jesse think the funds were disbursed as requested. Then just stick Jesse’s bags in the storage space with the rest of the cash to be laundered and be ready to take care of Jesse later, whenever he needed financial assistance. Walt can take care of his kid forever, but he still wants Flynn to go to college, not just sit around doing nothing. Jesse may need some help, as doesn’t seem to exactly be enrolling in community college and trying to better himself for a new career any time soon.
Admittedly, the opening flash-forward scene of this episode, where Walter’s house is trashed and skateboarders are using his abandoned pool . . . well, the implication is that he might not have as ready as answer for a problem so close to home.