Hank 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.”
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!