Breaking Bad Recap: What Skyler Knew, and When She Knew It

Breaking Bad Season 5 RecapHank needs proof. Skyler disappoints, in several senses of the word. Todd is back in a big, bloody way. We’ve got six episodes of Breaking Bad to go and lots of ground to cover, so let’s dive into this week’s episode, “Buried.”

RELATEDBreaking Bad Scores Most-Watched Episode to Date

SKYLER IN THE LURCH | We rejoin Hank and Walt moments after the “tread lightly” scene; as soon as Hank closes the garage door, his brother-in-law peels out of the driveway and then abruptly stops as he tries to call Skyler at the car wash. But she won’t talk to him because she’s already on the line with someone else – and when Hank exits the garage with his cell clamped to his ear, Walt knows exactly who’s chatting with his wife.

Though Walt exuded a menacing, if sad, calm while threatening Hank, he’s in a panic as he realizes that Skyler has gone to meet Hank. She joins him at a restaurant, where his weak half-wave and the amount of time he hugs her makes me sad. He’s very sympathetic, telling her “so much makes sense to me now” and assuming that Walt has been forcing her to keep his secrets. “You’re done being his victim,” Hank assures his sister-in-law, pulling out a digital recorder to take her statement. That action, as well as Hank inadvertently informing her that Walt’s cancer is back, shakes Skyler from her shell-shocked state. She says she needs a lawyer. Hank’s face falls and he makes an impassioned plea for her to work with him, citing his love for Marie (aww). “Believe me when I tell you that your best interests and mine are the same,” he says quietly. But she’s already slipping away, which becomes super clear as she hysterically cries, “Am I under arrest?!” and sobs as she flees the restaurant.

YA DIG? | At Saul’s, Walt and the lawyer are in crisis mode. The only evidence Skyler has seen with her own eyes is the cash in the storage unit, which at that very moment is serving as the most expensive futon on which Huell and Kuby have ever reclined. Before Saul’s guys return with the money stuffed into barrels and strapped into the back of a cargo van, he obliquely suggests that Walt send Hank “to Belize…” y’know, where Mike went. I love Walt’s fury at the mere idea of offing his brother-in-law; it speaks to the twisted, though rigid, code he’s developed in a very short time. Heisenberg throws a bag of retainer payments at Saul – “insurance in case I need you” — and tells him to find the MIA Jesse, then drives to the desert.

Walt sets up in a spot very similar to where he and Jesse parked the Winnebago in the pilot (or maybe not – the subtleties of the New Mexico landscape are lost on me; there’s dirt and rocks and scrub, and it’s very pretty in a severe sort of way). He breaks ground and, after a long, hot day of digging in the sun, dumps the barrels in a hole, covers them and then memorizes the coordinates of their location. For good measure, he buys a lotto ticket using the numbers he’s committed to memory.

Skyler hears him in the kitchen as he posts the ticket on the fridge; he says nothing as she questions him about what he’s been doing. Instead, he strips to his undies and prepares to clean up… but then passes out with his cheek pressed to the bathroom floor.

A SISTER SCORNED | While he snoozes, let’s review what happens to Skyler after running away from Hank. Both of the Schraders show up at the White house, but Sky will let only her sister enter. It doesn’t take long for Marie, who’s grasping for a reason behind what happened, to figure out that Skyler knew about Walt’s side gig even before Hank got shot. She goes from confused but supportive to angry and slappy in a very short time, and she tries to take Holly with her as she stomps out of the house. That doesn’t go very well; Hank has to step in and tell his wife she can’t abscond with the baby, and there’s a lot of crying.

At home later, Marie worries that if Hank doesn’t go to the DEA with what he knows – even if he can’t offer hard proof – he’ll wind up in jail as an accessory to Walt’s crimes. If we hadn’t already given Dean Norris Performer of the Week for the previous episode, he would’ve sewn it up here as he confesses his humiliation to his wife. “The day I go in with this is the last day of my career,” he whispers as tears well in his eyes, fatalistically adding, “I can be the man who caught him, at least.”

But things may be looking up for ol’ Hank: Jesse’s cash-tossing stunt drew the attention of local law enforcement, who bring him in for questioning. (In what is getting to be a weekly occurrence, I fear for Jesse, who’s nearly catatonic in this episode.) Hank hears about it and asks for a few minutes with Pinkman: Though we don’t see their interaction, might he provide the break Schrader needs?

RUDE AWAKENING | Oh look, Walt’s coming around, just in time for some heart-wrenching dialogue!

SKYLER: Is it true, the cancer’s back? Is this it?
WALT: Does that make you happy?
SKYLER: I can’t remember the last time I was happy.

Looking very old and frail, Papa White offers to give himself up as long as she promises to keep the money and pass it on to the kids. “Give them everything,” he says. “Please don’t let me have done all this for nothing.” Skyler doesn’t answer, but instead proves she’s all in when she notes that Hank’s questions made her think he doesn’t have the evidence he needs to move forward with the investigation. “So maybe our best move here is to stay quiet,” she says. Nooooo! I want to believe that Mrs. White is playing some angle here, that she remembers all of the threats and intimidation she’s endured in months past. Perhaps she’s got a clever plan that will somehow rescue herself and the kids from the trouble bearing down on all of them like a train full of methylamine?

If not, it would behoove Skyler to know what happens when Lydia visits the meth lab currently making her subpar product. The facility is only accessible via a hatch – hey, maybe that’s why the meth is so bad lately: Desmond’s cooking it, but he’s clearly preoccupied with pining for Penny and punching those numbers into the computer. Once down there, Lydia complains about the filth and demands that the operation make major changes, but her suggestions don’t get much traction.

Soon, though, there’s a commotion aboveground – one that doesn’t seem to surprise the normally jumpy Lydia. So while she hides and plugs her ears, a loud gunfight plays out directly above her. When the shooting stops, a man opens the hatch and helps her out: It’s Todd, and he and his uncle’s gang have made short work of every man involved with the lab. Lady Banjo Eyes says she doesn’t want to see the aftermath, so she delicately covers her peepers and allows Todd to lead her through the carnage.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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42 Comments
  1. Pat D. says:

    Hoo boy—this week’s BB performance goes to Skylar and Marie…that was one intense scene.

    Also, I LOL’d at Jesse not saying a word in this entire episode.

  2. Aaron Paul’s Jesse and Anna Gunn’s Skyler were both outstanding in the episode.

  3. jenilee says:

    Great episode and really.hoping we get to see hank talk to jesse. But regardless i need more aaron paul scenes! His role in all of season 5 has seemed way smaller than 1-4.

  4. Candice says:

    Correction. It’s Todd. Not It’s Jesse.

    I love that Jesse didn’t have any dialogue this episode. His silence speaks volumes. Breaking Bad was wonderful this week. One of the best episodes of the series IMO.

  5. Tabitha says:

    Aaron Paul deserves an Emmy based solely on the fact that he had zero dialogue in this episode, yet had the most powerful performance.

  6. Lexie says:

    Great episode! It was so nerve wracking the entire time I didn’t know what anyone was going to do.
    But at Saul’s office it’s Walt and the lawyer not Hank

  7. Hank says:

    That’s a lot of Hanks.

    “Though Hank exuded a menacing, if sad, calm while threatening Hank, he’s in a panic as he realizes that Skyler has gone to meet Hank.”

  8. stiller says:

    This was so amazing. The tension, wow. I think Anna Gunn had the most AMAZING performance ever in this episode, and Betsy Brandt had her best performance yet.
    Oh, and let’s not forget Jesse. Shows up only in the first and last scenes, speaks no lines at all, yet gave the most emotional connection with just his facial features.
    Emmys for everyone in this episode! (Yes, Holly, too.)

  9. TV Gord says:

    Clearly, every one of these eight episodes is going to feel like a season finale…well, until the series finale!

    Brilliance. We’re watching absolute brilliance unfold.

    • The Beach says:

      So true. Everyone justifiably talks about how top notch the acting and writing is on this show but one thing though that no one seems to mention and what cements its absolute brilliance is the cinematography. It’s so perfect that I feel like I am watching a film, not a TV show.

  10. gregk says:

    Loved the recapper’s references to LOST. I caught the numbers but how could I have missed the nod to the hatch (Desmond and Penny were two of my fav characters here). I’m sure there were other “Easter eggs” as Doc Jensen would refer to these as (oops, sorry to mention an EW recapper!)

  11. chloe says:

    I finally like Hank and Marie, and now they have to die.

  12. S says:

    Nice Lost reference there. Almost missed it.

  13. Britta Unfiltered says:

    One question. How the heck did Lydia pull off the murders with Todd? I’m pretty sure these guys would have noticed if Todd had been following them through this deserted area while they had Lydia blindfolded in the car. So how did he find this place and how was he so perfectly coordinated with Lydia?

    • Debra says:

      I’m thinking she probably already knew where they were and Todd & his gang were already out there waiting in case it came to that.

    • JBC says:

      Remember when Lydia said to the guy that at least when Todd was cooking with them the meth was 74% and the guy told him the last time Todd cooked with them he almost burned the place down. So Todd already knew where the cook site was.

      • Admiral Crunch says:

        We see that Lydia has her cell phone and is snapping pictures down in the lab, so presumably it was on the whole time and could have been recording GPS coordinates to send to Todd.

        However, given how fast they got there and took action, it makes more sense that they were also in place as you suggest.

  14. Karen says:

    Gosh I hope we see Jesse & Hank 2.0 next week. I could barely catch my breath at not seeing what happened after that last scene

  15. Andrew says:

    Hm. I guess I’m alone in thinking that these last two episodes have been the weakest of the series.

  16. Admiral Crunch says:

    I’m probably just paranoid, but anyone think for a second that Huel and pal might have filled the bottom of the barrels with newspaper (i.e. shorted Walt) or put a tracking device in the van? I don’t think Saul would’ve done that, but his henchman … you never know with that much money, right?

    • The Beach says:

      I think Walt knew they skimmed a little off the top when he was counting the money and said “close enough”. But even their tiny minds would have to realize that scamming Walt out of most of his money would mean certain death.

      • KenM says:

        …a point underlined when they specifically mentioned the multiple simultaneous prison executions that Walt orchestrated. Heisenberg’s legend looms large.

  17. Harry says:

    I think that everyone is overthinking the money part of the last episode. Soesn’t really matter as there is plenty to take care of Walts family forever.. My fear is that the season may end and the money will stay buried forever. Or maybe Hank will lose his job and Mrie will talk Hank into parterning up with Walt. Whatever the conclusion it should be a good one. But I have one question. In previous episodes they flash forward and show Walt and his hair has grown back. I believe that was someplace in NEw England. not sure. What is that about??????

    • Pat D. says:

      Teaming up with Walt? No way…I could never, ever see that happening. Hank has an almost irrational hatred against Walt right now, that extends far beyond his job of catching criminals…even if he gets canned, I could see him hunting Walt to the ends of the earth and even killing him before he’d ever consider joining him in crime.

    • KenM says:

      Unless Walt kept enough walking around money to purchase a black market M60 machine gun and ammunition, he likely will have to retrieve some of what he buried in a future episode.

    • LynnH says:

      I’m pretty sure that Walt’s New Hampshire ID and license plates are just part of his fake identity, needed to hide from… Madrigal? I say this because I’m not sure why he would need an M60 otherwise. Guess we’ll be finding out! But that scene at the Denney’s diner is in New Mexico.

  18. Mike says:

    Why the hell didn’t Walt take the time to split up the money? He is usually so smart, but in this instance he missed a major opportunity. Split it up in case you need to turn in the money (the DEA has no clue how much he has) or in case you need to send someone to retrieve some. Putting it all in one place is just asking for trouble.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      It was probably a time thing. Digging hole that deep by himself took hours. He can always move the money if he can get away.

  19. Reblogged this on thehiltonburnellfiles and commented:
    Last night’s episode was awesome

  20. R.O.B. says:

    Dare I say Performer of the Week goes to Holly? Not old enough to understand she’s on a TV show, two grown ups screaming and yanking on her, and she seemed to be truly hysterical. Wonder how many takes it took to lock that scene.

    • Debra says:

      It was a rubber baby for everything but the closeups of her face. And they weren’t screaming when she was there, they were talking softly with the screaming added later. It’s on either the AMC insider videos, Talking Dead or the podcast. Can’t remember which.

  21. janetoscano says:

    I think that Todd is going to get rid of all of our players except Walt. Norris and Cranston were so great in the garage scene I guess it helped that Norris had asked to leave the series but Gilligan convinced him to stay as it was coming to an end. Norris had a lot of personal feelings show through in that scene.

  22. Admiral Crunch says:

    Some observations:
    – What was the reason Don Eladio was afraid to kill Fring? Will that come back to hurt Walt? (I just realized that the risk has gone done now that the other dealer and his men are dead – I couldn’t believe Walt bragged to them about killing Fring.)
    – As others have pointed out, the house is still in one piece in the future, so something gets there in time to stop Jesse (and aside from Saul and Walt, who probably know his destination, it would have to be someone who followed Saul’s stolen, probably speeding car, or someone sitting on Walt’s hosue). Hank? Lydia?
    – If I were a thirsty Hank, I might take a drink from Skyler’s glass (rather than my own) after the Whites left. Because Hank is just paranoid enough to stay alive, and Skyler took a drink from that glass. (On the other Hand, I doubt anyway was watching Hank’s car, so if Walt really wanted them dead that night, it would happen.)
    – A lot of “half measures” in this show. Trying to give Jesse a “new life” was one that backfired, and Saul reaching for a weapon after he was too wounded to stand up, another.
    – Todd (aka “Ricky Hitler” :-) is an interesting contrast to Jesse. No absolute sense or right or wrong, but strong loyalty to individual people. It also seems he can’t keep a secret (though he shot the kid presumably to shut hiim up). Do his buddies know about the murder as well?

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