And the question people didn’t even know they had was also answered. Yes, Saul’s office has a back door.
Seriously though. Lines in the sand.
This episode was all about laying out the loyalties. Everyone has chosen a side now. The only exception, the wild card, is Jesse. Jesse didn’t say a single word in the entire episode. We will have to wait and see if he starts talking once Hank enters the room. I have some theories about that, but predictions come at the end of the post. For now, Jesse’s just a money-tossing, depressed, guilty, scared Wild Card, the loyalest character whose loyalties are undetermined as yet.
Skyler chooses Walt. Walt actually assumes she wouldn’t. He knows on some level, more than he seemed to in the first half of Season Five, what a mess he’s made of his marriage. During last summer’s episodes, I was not on Team Walt at all, and I wouldn’t say that I’m on his side now, but a few things made me come around to his way of seeing things in this episode, made me feel for him, and in one instance, made me actually proud of him.
That moment was when Walt gave a unilateral “NO” to Saul’s idea of killing Hank. As Saul said, it’s a strategy that has worked very well for Walt in the recent past. And it’s always Saul’s go-to suggestion (except when it came to Walt wanting to use a hitman to “ameliorate” his situation with Gus). He suggested killing Badger in his very first episode on Breaking Bad. He suggested killing Jesse after Hank beat Jesse up and Jesse was making all those threats.
But Walt said no. He still considers Hank family, even though he’s not blood related. As bad as Walt has become this season, it would have been a stretch in believability for him to go along with it. Even when he thought it was the end game, when he was going to wait around in his house for one of Gus’s men to kill him, before he’d thought of the whole lily of the valley plan, he protected Hank. He said, “My brother-in-law doesn’t deserve to die because of this.” And he’s been there for Hank before. Family is a very strong bond on this show. It comes back again and again, for different characters, including the Salamanca clan, and Walt’s not going to cross that line. And he is adamant about that. I just liked that even though he thinks Skyler made a deal with Hank and he’s done for, he says no to killing him.
At least for now. I wonder if that may change, over the next few episodes, if circumstances heat up and it’s looking bad for Walt’s chances of running out the clock. But it felt so right for who Walt is now that he said no.
But back to Skyler. I think people underestimate her. Some still think that when she went into the pool in 504, she was suicidal. She wasn’t. It was a ruse, a plan to get her kids out of the house. She’s preoccupied with that idea throughout the episode, talking about sending Jr to boarding school, and she does what Walt does, plays off of a bit of truth–in this case the fact that Marie saw her freak out in the previous episode–and uses that to get what she wants. Like Walt crying in Hank’s office. These two are so well matched. Skysenberg, yo.
And in the diner scene with Hank, I see it again, a bit of Walt and his ways wearing off on her. I think she goes in not knowing what Hank knows. She doesn’t know how he found out, or how much. But just like Walt has done so many times, she waits for Hank to lay his cards out before she does anything. She waits for him to play his hand. Walt has done the same thing to her several times. And so she finds out that Hank really doesn’t have solid proof. And she finds out Walt’s cancer’s back. If she was on the fence, I think that sways her. And when it’s clear that asking to talk to a lawyer first won’t back Hank down, she comes up with the whole “Am I under arrest?” scene to get away from Hank. Like Walt last week, she doesn’t say anything that will give her away.
Same thing in the scene with Marie. If any of these conversations were being recorded (which for the record, I don’t think they were), there’d be nothing, other than her, “I’m so, so sorry” to give anything away. There’s a certain amount of cunning to the way Walt and Skyler are both dealing.
I don’t know if I would’ve seen this in the first half of this season, but it was nice to see Skyler and Walt on the same side. The scene after Walt collapses and Skyler’s taking care of him on the bathroom floor is so poignant. He asks her if the return of his cancer makes her happy and that is the most vulnerable we’ve seen Walt in a long time. And then he has those incredible, heartfelt lines, saying he’ll give himself up as long as she keeps the money and passes it along to their kids. And then he says, “Please don’t let me have done all this for nothing.” Heartbreaking. Really brings it back, despite all that’s happened since, to Walt’s original motivation.
Makes me wonder if that’s the satisfying ending we’re moving towards. Walt will die but all his work won’t be for nothing. Maybe?
It’s Skyler who talks Walt out of turning himself in. She assures him she didn’t tell Hank anything and says maybe they should just stay quiet. You know, it’s the final stretch at this point. If he really is dying as quickly as he tells Hank he is, they’ve made it this far and they’re so close, and maybe if they can just stay quiet and hold out a little more, Walt will get away with it and Sky and the kids can ride off into the sunset rolling on barrels of cash. Right.
In a way, it’s not so surprising that Skyler sticks by Walt. Like Walt, she’s had plenty of opportunities to get out. Her divorce lawyer told her, very plainly, to go to the cops and get herself and the kids away from Walt. She could have. She could have told the cops what was going on when they came to her house in 303. She could’ve told Hank at any point. She could’ve (and almost did once) told Marie. She could have divorced Walt. But she didn’t. Walt and Skyler both keep choosing to stay on this path, over and over. There’s the money sure. But I also think that they still love each other, in their own twisted and warped ways. I always thought Walt loved Skyler, even as he pushed her away. All he wanted was for her to come around. And she must still love Walt too because otherwise, she would have made different decisions at different points. Even when she hated him, a part of her must have still loved him. There’s that and the fact that she doesn’t want her children finding out what Walt has been up to.
I also thought that when Hank was talking all that stuff about Skyler as a victim, at the diner, that she didn’t like that. It reminded me of when Jr was telling Walt that his “gambling addiction” was a disease, that he couldn’t help it. It really pissed Walt off and he said no, this wasn’t about a disease, it was about choices. Can’t remember what episode this happened in. I think maybe 406 when Skyler goes to Four Corners? And remember she pulls the coin back to the New Mexico section with her foot. She decided to cast her fate back in with Walt’s. Anyway the point is, people, male and female, generally don’t want pity. Empathy, sure, but pity just feels so…demeaning. And I felt that from Skyler, the way Hank was talking. Even if that could’ve been her ticket out–I’m innocent Hank, I’m Walt’s victim, he threatened me–it’s that pride thing that we all have. I just felt Skyler didn’t like being seen that way as a victim, any more than Walt ever has.
And Marie has chosen her side, clearly. It’s Hank. With her, I don’t think there was really a question. Yes, she and Skyler are sisters and family has always been important, but as mean as Hank was after he got shot, their marriage was never in question or peril like Walt and Skyler’s. And when she realizes that Skyler knew about Walt’s meth cooking from before Hank got shot, that’s it. That slap looked so, so real (it wasn’t). Line drawn. “You have to get him.”
It’s been said that a lot of loose ends will be tied up in these final episodes, and that things that seemed forgotten about will come back. We have seen that when Marie’s really stressed, she steals, and that came back in spades in this episode–she tries to take Holly. In her own mind, I’m sure it makes sense. Walt is a meth cook (who knows if Hank told her about all the violence and havoc he’s caused as well), Skyler’s keeping his secrets, they sent the kids away before, it doesn’t seem like a safe household. And as for Skyler, well, that’s her baby. Man, that scene was so intense. When it finally went to commercial, everyone at my place watching the episode felt sorta relieved just to release that tension.
It makes sense to me that Marie, in a way, is more onto things than Hank. Hank assumed, without question really, that Skyler found out what Walt was up to right before she went into the pool and sent the kids to Hank and Marie’s house. Marie must have her suspicions to even ask. Skyler doesn’t say anything, just cries, and Marie figures it all out from her face.
The couples are sticking together.
Hank though. He’s always the guy who wants to do the right thing, right? We’ve seen that before, most memorably in that scene sitting on the bed with Marie in “One Minute” when he decides to tell the DEA exactly how he beat up Jesse, even though it’ll get him in trouble and even though everyone around him is telling him to lie. It would be easy to get away with but Hank wants the clean soul and all that.
But I think, now, there’s more going on. Hank wants the glory. “I can be the man who caught him, at least,” Hank tells Marie. Yes, he knows, again, that his career may be over as a DEA agent, but I don’t get the same “do the right thing” vibe right yet. I think he wants to go down in the history books as the man who caught Heisenberg, with all the notoriety that entails. He wants the credit. And there’s something a little vengeful about it, not that Hank doesn’t have that right, he does. I think it’s partly that he’s mad that Walt was right in front of him and he never figured it out. He was always the alpha of the two of them, the man’s man hogging all the badassery in the family. But now this brother-in-law of his, who Hank always saw as the sorta milquetoast Walt we met in the pilot, has totally played Hank in so many, many ways. So I think pride is at work for Hank too.
Which is kinda nice to see because we’re all human, and motivation is often complex.
I’m surprised that the source of Hank’s treatment money is still unknown to Hank. Marie brings up that if he investigates Walt for much longer and the DEA finds Walt without him, and figures that Hank withheld information, Hank could go to jail. But the issue that Hank has (unknowingly) accepted drug money implicates him more than anything else. Wonder when that bomb will drop, and how Hank will react to that, and if he’ll be angry with Marie for not telling him where the money came from.
The other alliance established in this episode is Lydia and Todd. RIP Declan. I was sad to see him go. There was something so, so likable about Declan. I’ll miss him and his awesome wild hair and his kinda shady drug dealer edgy hotness. (All the men I love on this show end up dead, which does not bode well for my Jesse.) But Walt put Lydia in a box, and when she’s in a box, well, she just may set up a meet, get to safety in your buried bus meth lab and set you and your guys up to be killed. She’ll cover her ears, and later her eyes, and the creepiest dude on the planet will guide her around the carnage and call her ma’am. Oh and she’ll wear some killer heels and a blue blazer all the while.
And the question that no one had (because the answer was obvious) was answered anyway. Yes, when left to cook on his own, Todd started a fire. This is Lydia’s best bet for her buyer in the Czech Republic – a guy who cooks a 74% pure product at best, and sets the lab on fire. Somehow I think they will still try to get Walt or Jesse back in. But Uncle Jack and his men are scary dudes. What do you think’s going to happen there?
Fun fact: Where Walt buries the money is where he and Jesse had their first cook. I actually thought I was imagining that. It was when he goes around the curve in the road that I thought, this is familiar, and the podcast confirmed it. And that location? It’s on the To’hajiilee reservation. The name of episode 513 is “To’hajiilee.” Someone coming back for the barrels o’ cash?
Huell: Mexico. All’s I’m sayin’.
Kuby: Guy hit ten guys in prison in a two-minute window. All’s I’m sayin’.
Oh yeah and Gomez missed Hank like his balls miss jock itch.
And Mike was sent on a trip to Belize.
So Hank has no proof that Walt is Heisenberg, and his career’s going to be over as soon as he says it. Not to mention, I think some of his co-workers will have a harder time believing him than when he started talking about Gus Fring. His only real shot for something solid, some corroboration, is Jesse.
WWJS. What will Jesse say?
One other little thing I noticed. In the last episode, when Saul’s talking to Jesse, he says, “When they start whacking the lawyers…” referring to Walt killing the guys in prison. And in this episode, Walt says to Saul (in a funny but sorta ominous line), “I’ll send you to Belize.” These little tidbits seem to hint at Walt potentially killing Saul, but I don’t see that actually happening. It seems pretty well established that even if no one else makes it out alive, Saul the cockroach will survive.
This section contains episode descriptions and thoughts on the teaser videos and pictures for the upcoming episode:
So this episode was all about the families and where their loyalties lie. I think there will be a lot of Jesse in the next one. The title is “Confessions” and the description says that Jesse decides to make a change and Walt and Skyler deal with an unexpected demand. All signs seem to point to Jesse rolling on Walt. My problem with that is that it’s too obvious from the title and description, and I just don’t think the show writers have ever, in the history of the show, been that obvious about where the story’s going. So I’m starting to think I’m wrong. And it is hard to imagine Jesse rolling on Walt.
Then again his current state of despair, a state different than we’ve ever seen him in before (and we’ve seen him in bad shape), has to be a catalyst for something. So, I don’t know?
I also think, from the previews, that it’s possible Saul tells Jesse about Brock. He’s with the same cops that grilled him about the ricin in 413 after all. And at that point, if he did find out about Brock, I think Jesse could roll, or something, so, if it’s not abundantly obvious, I’m going back and forth on my own predictions about whether or not Jesse talks. I’ll say this though, I don’t think he’ll talk at first. And the change he makes could be something else–getting back together with Andrea, going back to cooking, who knows? What do YOU think Jesse’s change will be?
And Walt, Sky, Hank and Marie somehow, and right now I can’t imagine how in all the universe this could happen, have dinner together at a restaurant. Could that be related to the unexpected demand?
“Fire in the hole!”
More About “Buried”
- Tucker’s Hole
- Sidekick Reviews
- Insider Podcast
- AMC Talk Forums Topic for “Buried”
- Weak Interactions – The Science of Breaking Bad
- Tim Goodman – Bastard Machine Deconstruction
- If “Buried” Happened Entirely on Facebook
More Breaking Bad Topics
- Season 5 Part 2 Predictions and Detective Work – updated frequently
- Hank’s Dilemma in All its Dimensions
- Chekhov’s Ricin
- Walter White’s Moral Demise and the People Jesse Pinkman Loves
- How Walter White Poisoned Brock and What Happened to the Ricin Cigarette
- 509 “Blood Money”
- 508 “Gliding Over All”
- 507 “Say My Name”
- 506 “Buyout”
- 505 “Dead Freight”
- 504 “Fifty-One”
- 503 “Hazard Pay”
- 502 “Madrigal”
- 501 “Live Free or Die”