Breaking Bad Recap: Student Becomes Teacher

Breaking Bad Season 5 RecapJesse both literally and figuratively uses some brains in this week’s Breaking Bad, ultimately leading to a heart-stopping, infuriatingly incomplete final scene. We’re way beyond “Magnets!” here, kids; let’s review the major developments that take place in “To’hajiilee.”

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BURNING FOR YOU | The episode opens with Lydia visiting Todd, Uncle Jack and Kenny at the end of a cook. The meth that Todd has produced is 76 percent pure. That’s “a lot more than it was” when Declan was in charge, Todd points out, but Lydia counters that it’s not blue — and “Blue is our brand.” The color problems happened because the heat was too high, Todd tells her over a cup of tea later. “You burned it. Like a cake,” she paraphrases (heh), then doesn’t seem to know what to do as he draws closer and puts a hand on her back, reassuring her that if her overseas distributors are upset about the color change, “I could ask my uncle to smooth things over with them.” It’s hilarious and disturbing at the same time; kudos to Jesse Plemons for simultaneously being awkward and chilling and inadvertently funny as Todd tries to put the moves on Ms. Madrigal — woh politely informs him that she’d just like him to make the cook better, thanks.

As she drives away, Todd’s cell goes off (ringtone: Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science,” heh), and it’s Walt’s call from the end of the previous episode. He asks for a hit: “Just one target, not currently in jail: Jesse Pinkman.” And away we go!

THE OFFAL TRUTH | Under a bridge somewhere in Albuquerque, said target is brainstorming with Gomez and Hank. Jesse is very aware they need evidence to put Mr. White in jail, and even though he doesn’t have anything concrete on Walt, “I know someone who might.” Next thing we know, Hank is dumping a butcher packet of brains and blood on his kitchen floor and telling Pinkman, “You’re up.” In the what what?

It’s all part of a ruse to make Huell, who’s been secreted away to a DEA safe house, think that Walt is killing off anyone who knows anything about his misdeeds – and that Saul’s butterball of a bodyguard is next on Heisenberg’s list. Huell immediately declares “That don’t make no sense!” but changes his tune when he sees Hank’s cell-phone picture of a dead-eyed Jesse laying next to the previously mentioned bloody sweetbreads, looking for all the world like he took a bullet to the noggin. Nice work, Hank! Cow brain hasn’t been this artfully used in a TV drama since Donna Martin spit it onto her plate at that French restaurant.

A very scared Huell coughs up what he knows about the money, the barrels, the rental van and the shovel Walt stored in the back of it. The lead seems to run cold, though, when Hank & Co. realize that the rental vans don’t have built-in GPS units anymore. “Yeah, but Walt doesn’t know that,” his brother-in-law remarks.

DEVIL OF MERCY | Here’s what Walt does know: He wants Jesse dead quickly, without suffering or fear. “Jesse is like family to me,” Walt growls to Uncle Jack’s gang, and God help him, I think he actually means it in his twisted way.

Funny how he shows that connection, though: by threatening Brock and Andrea in order to flush Jesse out of hiding – and into somewhere that Uncle Jack and his unwashed posse can do their thing. So White visits the single mom’s home under the guise of being worried that a missing Jesse is on a drug bender. As Andrea calls Jesse and leaves a voicemail (Walt explains that Jesse’s so angry, he won’t take Walt’s calls), Brock eyes Walter with unease. Go with your gut, kid!

At the car wash, one of Jr.’s first customers is Saul. The teen recognizes him from the commercials and is a little goofily star-struck. “Don’t drink and drive, but if you do, call me,” Goodman calls out (heh) as he strolls away to tell Walter Sr. that Huell is missing – and he thinks Jesse is behind it. “The kid is not as dumb as you think,” Saul says, but Walt’s too busy scoffing at the barrister’s bulletproof vest to take him seriously. (Don’t knock it, Walt; that vest is the only part of Saul’s outfit that doesn’t leave afterglow images on my retinas.)

WALT TAKES THE BAIT | But then Walt gets a picture text followed immediately by a call, and everything changes.

The image: A barrel of money, still buried in the ground but missing its lid. The call: Jesse taunting, “Got my photo, bitch? That barrel look familiar?” Walt jumps into his car, cell plastered to his ear, and flips out. He blows red lights. He swerves around traffic. And he blindly believes everything Jesse tells him: how Jesse pistol-whipped Huell into spilling about the van, how the van’s GPS led Jesse to Walt’s stash and how he’s going to burn the entire bounty if Walt doesn’t get there now.

Walt spends the entire trip out to the desert alternately pleading with and insulting Jesse… and admitting to everything under the sun except inventing New Coke and cancelling Bunheads. I love how all of his smarts fly right outta that bald head when his precious bundles of cash hang in the balance. Because you just know that Hank is tracking Walt’s phone (and — I hope — recording the conversation), meaning Heisenberg is leading them directly to his dig site. It’s a conclusion the meth master reaches, too, when he arrives at To’hajiilee Indian reservation and finds himself alone.

SHOWDOWN! As Hank’s SUV nears Walt’s spot, Walt calls Uncle Jack and gives him the coordinates so he can come finish Jesse’s job. But then Walt tearfully aborts the mission. “Do. Not. Come,” he enunciates right before he hangs up.

And then, in a tense sequence, Walt submits to Hank’s commands to give himself over to the DEA. There’s a lot going on in the scene: Jesse’s face as he realizes that Hank returned to the spot of their first cook, the gloating in Hank’s voice as he reveals that he faked the barrel picture “in the backyard by the barbecue grill” and reads Walt his Miranda rights, the palpable tension as a handcuffed Walt calls Jesse a “coward,” which earns him a face full of Pinkman spit and leads to a brawl that Hank and Gomez have to break apart.

Hank puts his brother-in-law in the backseat and asks Gomez to stay at the site with Jesse until backup arrives. Then, Schrader takes a moment to call his missus and tell her the good news, which is incredibly sweet but get in the car and go, Hank. They’re both teary as she says she’s “much better now” that she knows Walt’s in custody. Aw, Dean Norris and Betsy Brandt are breaking my heart here but please Hank I’m begging you for the love of Schraderbrau and all things purple get in the car and gooooooooo. As they hang up, two more cars rumble down the road and pull into the clearing.

IN WHICH EVERYTHING FALLS APART Walt recognizes the group of newcomers as Todd, his Uncle Jack and the rest, so he starts screaming for everyone to stop. But the car’s windows muffle his yelling, and the situation outside quickly devolves into a guns-blazing standoff. Meanwhile, Jesse’s in the front seat of the other car, chest heaving in fear as he scrabbles at the handle. And with a subtle look between Uncle Jack and Kenny, the shooting begins.

Walt dives down in the backseat of Hank’s car. There are a lot of bullets going a lot of places, but for some reason, Todd’s face stands out: The little psycho could be shooting monsters in his local arcade’s House of the Dead game, such is the lack of emotion on his face. I’m just waiting for the bullet that’s going to take out Hank and  hoping against hope he’ll somehow make it through and hyperventilating into my hand when the episode ends on a cliffhanging cut to black. Don’t franch with me, Breaking Bad!

Now it’s your turn. Is there any way Hank, Gomez and Jesse can make it out of that gunfight alive? Did you fear for Andrea and Brock when Walter showed up at their house? Don’t you kinda wish Mike was around to be the gruff voice of reason? And, we ask again, do you think Walt will be alive or dead by the end of the series’ final episode?

Based on last week’s poll results, you think Walt’s a goner. Consider this week’s installment, then vote again and we’ll revisit the results next recap. And don’t forget to 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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170 Comments
  1. tamihagglund says:

    Sorry if this gas been said, but notice is the opening that Walt had hair? This would suggest that either the cancer’s gone again or he’s given up on treatment, which up to “now” (shoot out now) he’s been getting. I wonder if he, despite the brief interlude to NH (Saul’s vacuum guy? SOMEONE’s gotta actually use that service after all of the references), knows his time is limited and he’s going to die anyway so he’s coming back to conquer his enemies (the Nazis &/or Lydia; I think and because Mike foreshadowed that Walt would regret not killing her and why would we still see he if that’s not going to come up?). The fact that he gets away but has that much thirst for revenge tells me the nazis kill at least someone he cares about, likely Hank and possibly his family.

    If Walt Jr and Holly don’t get a happy ending–at least just thinking their dad died of cancer, but they get some sort of semi-normal life…thoughwSho would raise them? Bitter Marie, especially if Hank dies? Skylar (SHUDDER)…anyway, if they don’t get some semblance of a decent life I’ll be devastated.

    Oh, and while I used to want Jesse to live, I wonder if death after all he’s seen & done isn’t almost just better. Don’t see him happy and grey someday, just drugged out and haunted and ruining any good thing that does come his way.

  2. tamihagglund says:

    Sorry. iPhone :/ Shoulda proofread! And meant episode 5.9 opening, if that wasn’t obvious.

  3. methlomania says:

    if Jesse survives the shootout, he isn’t going to get much sympathy from Todd’s crew, by explaining to them that he only turned rat because “Mr White” poisoned a kid. Jesse might get their attention by pointing out that there are barrels of cash under their feet, though. At this point, Walt would want Jesse dead, before he can talk to Todd’s crew. Walt is ducking for cover. Hank and Gomey are standing their ground, and will probably soon be lying and bleeding on it. Jesse is probably running for his life, attempting to escape in the confusion, since he knows why Todd’s crew is there, and it isn’t good for Jesse “The Snitch” Pinkman.

    • Good point about the cash – they cash is key. Please see my other comment.

    • volalontano says:

      I thinki Todd’s crew doesn’t want Jesse to die. They want Jesse to cook for them. The nazi uncle had jesse as a target and he decide not to shoot. He wants to use him. And I think he will.
      Or, if he doesn’t know Jesse knows how to cook, Walter will tell me. I think in the end Walt to save Jesse.

  4. methlomania says:

    SPOILER:

    Hank and Jesse are both killed by Todd’s crew, though not necessarily at/during the most recent shootout scene. Gomey dies in the shootout. Walt’s M-60 purchase is for Todd’s crew. The ricin is for Lydia and/or Saul. The poison has to be used on someone he can get close to, and who still trusts him enough to take it (in whatever form administered). Walt’s family is gone, some combination of death, prison (money laundering), and or Wit-Sec, along with Marie. There isn’t enough evidence, and aren’t enough living witnesses to convict Walt of anything, which is why he can drive up to and enter his house, in broad daylight, to obtain a poison he could’ve obtained elsewhere….unless he’s simply removing evidence. So, Walt is free and rich, but he doesn’t have his family, and his family doesn’t have the money, and he can’t get it to them. Walt is no longer a respectable citizen, so he has to go total Scarface: ‘Goodbye, Mr Chips’

    Walt’s cancer is in full remission. Walt is stuck with everything he wanted for all the right reasons, but the reasons are all gone. Now he’s just a ruthless drug kingpin, has-been, with no one. He has become Jesse James (Gus Fring), without the veneer of respectability.

  5. So … no one is talking about the buried cash! Hank, Gomey and Jesse knows it is there. Jack’s gang does not. If Walt lets Hank, Gomey and Jesse get away, he has to dig it up – but when? Who will help? Jack? I don’t think Walt will trust ANYONE with the location. So, that means that Hank, Gomey and Jesse have to die … comments?

  6. Baking Bread says:

    there is precedent for an attorney testifying against a client. Besides, don’t forget the forshadowing of Mike’s attorney turning snitch. Also, don’t forget that Walt has threatened Saul’s life, more than once.

    • Admiral Crunch says:

      I’m sketchy on what/who exactly the attorney that was killed in prison was going to testify about. (His own actions? Actions that were inexorably tied to Mike?) If it violated attorney-client privilege I don’t see how Mike could be convicted on that evidence.

      Saul represents all sorts of scumbags, and yes Walt may have threatened him, but I’m guessing that happens a lot. I just don’t see Walt going after Saul. Aside from attorney-client privilege, Saul also knows Walt ortdered 10 (11?) hits, and that very fact plus the fact that Walt knows he a smart guy would seem to guarantee silence – Saul is not unpredictable like Jesse.

  7. Baking Bread says:

    i didn’t recall Walt couhging in the flash forwards, but if he is, it could just be a cold, or chronic cough. i think the cancer is gone, and that he has to live with what he’s done, including losing his family. That’s Walt’s punishment. He justified becoming what he became, for the sake of leaving a legacy for his family. Now he has lost his family, and all he has left is the bitter fruit of what he’s done. Remember the flashbacks of the younger Walt, breaking a man down to his elements, and coming up short? Then, there was the question, “what about the soul?” Given the fact that there’ve been so many call backs to earlier episodes and seasons, I’m led to believe the question/answer we’ll be left with, when it’s all over, is “what doea it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul?”

  8. Baking Bread says:

    I think Hank takes out Todd, in the shootout.

  9. allxsecrets says:

    It’s hard to get a read on what Vince Gilligan will do with Gomez. Gomez (besides Walt’s kids) are the only characters to have never crossed a line. If you notice, when they make arrestes, Hank will abuse anyone he takes into custordy while Gomez is professional.

    Hank will also verbally abuse and berate street walkers (like Wendy) even when they aren’t committing any criemes.

    So, will Gomez be rewarded for being good or will he die because of it?

  10. Dama A. says:

    Jesse is now the b****! Jesse was my favorite character and now I want him dead. I’m on Walt’s side. I can’t stand Hank & least of all that envious hypocrite Marie. Marie wants to see Skylar eat dirt and to have to beg for Marie’s help. Another thing, Marie needs to have her own damn kids. Hank is an accidental semi hero. I think he knows he’s not a badass as everyone thinks he is. Taking out Walt is his way of proving something to himself. I don’t know what the something is but its not about DOJ g the right thing. Walt can still implicate Hank somehow if Hank survives. I think it will great if the drug dealer (the bad guy) survives. The drug dealer being killed or finally sent to prison is what we all used to seeing in movies and TV shows. Let the genius bad guy win this time!

  11. methlomania says:

    Yeah, Hank is a nightmare, cartoon cop. He is to cops what Saul is to lawyers….except that Saul is actually GOOD at his job. Marie is a vengeful nutbag, no doubt, but of those two screwed up sisters, I’d take the klepto over the punishing, control-freak, shrew, any day. Although, truthfully, if I were stuck with either of them, I’d probably shoot myself…or her. Face it, Hank is as amoral as they come. He just happens to be playing for the White Hats. If Hank were playing for the Black Hats, he’d be three times as ruthless as Walt. Difference is that Hank doesn’t have the balls to go rouge. He needs the backup, to feel like a tough guy. He has a Charlie Bronson complex. His parents probably made him wear a dress to school.

    • Captain Crunch says:

      I’m not sure the slam on Charles Bronson is apt. In the Death Wish movies, he was an architect, not a cop, who got fed up with the government/police not being able to protect his family and decided to take actions into his own hands. He would have argued that all of his actions were necessary and limited to those who initiated violence against him.

      • methlomania says:

        not really a slam on Bronson, per se. I actually liked Bronson. However, Bronson’s draw to hyper-masculine roles may have had something to do with his childhood. when he was a young child, his parents were very poor, and Charles had to where an older sister’s dress to school. Hank seems to exhibit a machismo inspired by insecurity. it’s, perhaps, more popular to say that Hank has a Napoleon Complex, but it seems to go much deeper than the small dog having the loudest bark. Hank is a swaggering, roid raging, d!ckhe@d cop stereotype. That anyone actually likes Hank baffles me. Gomez doesn’t even really like Hank. I don’t like Walt, either, but I do want his kids to get the money he sold his soul for.

        • methlomania says:

          I seem to recall an oblivious admission Hank made to Walt, early in the series, that Hank had had relations with a tranny (at his bachelor party, I believe). Want to know why Hank is a swaggering bozo? He’s incredibly insecure about his masculinity. Probably, why he became a cop, in the first place.

  12. methlomania says:

    I felt the same way about Jesse, until he turned snitch….actually, before he started tossing money out of his car. I figured he was a better man than Walt, but the truth is probably just that he has a weakness for kids — one of his MANY weaknesses.

    Walt is a scumbag, don’t get me wrong, but his relative softspots have been for the two people capable of doing him the most harm. Also, I wonder whether he would’ve put the hit on Jesse, if Skylar hadn’t insisted, even though he initially resisted. Still, it was only after Jesse went total mad dog on Walt.

    Again, I find nothing likeable about Walt; he’s completely devoid of charm and remorse, and possesses only the most superficial niceness. He’s as cold and demanding as his wife. If ever there was a coupling without chemistry, it’s Walt and Skylar — ironically.

    All in all, though, I want Walt’s kids to get his blood money.

  13. Vince says:

    Nice ironic homage to Treasure of Sierra Madre, where — this time — the bad guys ask the good guys to show their badges.

    If Hank dies in the shootout, does Marie — who tells her analyst she’s been online searching for poisons that don’t leave a trace — channel Medea and kill Holly or Walt Junior or both?

    Or does Walt Junior get drunk, do his father’s meth, and end up in a fatal car accident? Don’t drink and drive, but if you do, call me.

    Great show!

  14. Jules says:

    “(…) Jesse’s face as he realizes that Hank returned to the spot ” – correction: WALT returned, not Hank!!

  15. volalontano says:

    My guess is hank and gomez die, the nazi uncle is gonna take jesse to make him cook (since Walter will not d that) and Walt is gonna escape. Marie get crazy when shMy guess is hank and gomez die, the nazi uncle is gonna take jesse to make him cook (since Walter will not d that) and Walt is gonna escape. Marie get crazy when she knows that Hanks is missing or worst dead. Marie and Skyler will denunce Walt and make public that he is Heisember. When we see walt in the future with the weapon I think it can be to go in the lab, kill the nazi and free Jesse. Still don’t know about the ricine…i have the feeling he’s gonna use it to kill himself….e knows that Hanks is missing or worst dead. Marie and Skyler will denunce Walt and make public that he is Heisember. When we see walt in the future with the weapon I think it can be to go in the lab, kill the nazi and free Jesse. Still don’t know about the ricine…i have the feeling he’s gonna use it to kill himself….

    • Admiral Crunch says:

      If Hank and Gomey both die and Jesse is “made to cook” that would leave Marie as the only one left who would want to turn in Walt. However killing her is out as Walt knows Skyler would leave him if that happened, and he’d rather be dead than lose his family. So, that would most likely mean he’d move the money and then “disappear” – whether through Mr. Vacuum man or some other means.

      The only other possibility, a slim one, is to hold Hank, Gomey, and Jesse, against their will while the evidence is destroyed (the phone recording) or moved (the money). And obviously moving the money with the prison gang their means they’d want a share of it.

      • volalontano says:

        I don’t think that he wants to kill Marie. I’m thinking now that Marie will get crazy, and since Walter is disappeared she will go to Skyler, they will start fighting and Marie will eventually kill her and write Heisenber on the wall of their house. When Walter will know about it he decide to come back and “fix” the things he have done. He’s gonna go to Lydia’s lab and shoot everybody (scarface) and after give jesse the money to give in a future to junior and holly and to tell them the really story about Heisemberg, and then he will take the ricin, so then no one will know he killed himself.

  16. Captain Crunch says:

    “…give Jesse the money…”!? You can’t be serious. At this point, Walt wouldn’t trust Jesse to water his plants.

    • methlomania says:

      [quote]“…give Jesse the money…”!? You can’t be serious. At this point, Walt wouldn’t trust
      Jesse to water his plants.
      Comment by Captain Crunch — September 11, 2013 2:08 PM REPLY[/quote]

      Walt, is that you?

      • volalontano says:

        Well, I think that before he dies, Walt wants to make things right. He will recognize what he did to Jesse, and he will try to ask for his forgiveness. There was too much between the two of them. Even if I don’t like Walt at all, I have to say that he always tried to save Jesse’s life. And what he says at the phone was true. And also Jesse knows it. I’m not saying that they are gonna have the same relationship as before, that would have been impossible, but Walt will ask jesse a favour, showing that he actually has trust on him, and jesse will help him. Of course they are never gonna see each other again, and as I said, I think Walt will kill himself after that.

  17. thestratman57 says:

    That many shots fired and no one hit? I’d call that “Projectile Dysfunction”.

  18. Nibiru says:

    My theory on how it will End:

    Hank and Gomez die, as well as Todd. Walt, Jesse, and the rest of Todd’s crew are alive.
    They go and threaten Jesses life at gun point and Walt tells them No, he’s more useful to you alive. He can be your cook.
    So then Walt pays sauls guy that make ppl “disappear” in order to get his new identity used at the denny’s to get the free meal on his birthday…
    Marie gets paranoid when she cant get in touch with Hank so she calls skyler and then ends up calling the DEA to tell them everything she knows. She goes to show them Jesse’s confession on tape, but forgets to switch out Walt’s confession that they had just watched. (farfetched, but would be funny)
    Skyler agrees to a new identity for her son and her daughter as long as walt will never know what their names are or where they are located.
    Walts plan for him and his families new identity involves the death of him and his whole family,which involved blowing his house up in an explosion, maybe even a bad cook which is why they have it quarantined off? Marie spray paints “Heisenberg” on his wall.
    The DEA are on a wild goose chase for Hank as they believe he is the one responsible for the methamphetamine operation and ultimately Walter White’s “death”.
    Walter, after much regret and remorse realizes the last thing he has to do is free jesse from the enslavement hes in. He gets the ryson from his house, travels to new Hampshire to purchase the m60 which is the same place they are forcing Jesse to cook. He has a final shootout with the gang killing everyone except jesse and just says…
    “run.”
    Jesse runs.
    Walt sits down…
    silence…
    silence…
    contemplation…
    eats the ryson.
    fade to black.
    credits.

    • Not SO Fast... says:

      Ricin

    • volalontano says:

      I more or less have your some theory. For a while I thought Marie could actually get crazy and kill Skyler. I also think jesse is gonna run with the money (like mr pink in reservoir dogs) but he will give them to junior and holly. I’m so happy nibiru who got my same ideas. I tried to exlain my theory to my friends and they don’t see howthat could happen, expecially about walt eating the ricin. I’m pretty sure is for himself. I’m so excited for tonight episode (that I actually have to watch tomorrow :( )

  19. chris says:

    Hank and Gomie are goners for sure. Jesse escapes. Walt kills Todd’s gang during the cook because the refuse to wear mask remember. This is how Walt gets their guns. Marie calls DEA after Hank comes up missing. DEA raids Walts house. Walts on the run and comes back to get the risen for one last meeting with Jesse. Walt and Jesse in the last episode. How else could it end? Walt either takes the risen himself or slips it to Jesse. Story over.