Breaking Bad: Confessions

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by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)



Spoilers ahead.

“I know you’re probably busy with retirement.”

Todd’s got an interview. Considering the company he keeps, the recounting of the train heist is probably the best experience he can draw upon in order to convince some others he’s the man for the job. And by “others,” it’s implied that they’re not very nice individuals with a penchant for swastikas. They’re evaluating Todd nonetheless, looking for a capable cook to pick up the crystal meth trade in a presumed vacant New Mexico. Heisenberg’s departure is kind of a big deal and the void needs filling, proven only by how successful Walt was in his previous life as a drug kingpin.

Speaking of interviews, the flashbang effect during Jesse’s interview was especially profound. He’s given the latest on Hank’s detective instincts, culminating in the reveal that Walt is Heisenberg, acknowledged only by a brief look from Jesse. All of this occurs off interrogation camera though, bringing a candid demeanor to the conversation. Hank and Jesse both know the truth; only Hank doesn’t know for sure yet. Saul’s sufficiently freaked out as well, considering one of his top clients who can implicate him in a mess of criminal activities is drawing unnecessary attention to himself.

Walt is a master manipulator. Yes, he admits some of the truth to his son regarding the cancer, but he leverages it in a way that generates sympathy on Flynn’s part. He’s so desperate to prevent the house of cards he’s built from crumbling, doing everything necessary to preserve the legacy of his family. Well, most of his family. It’s apparent he cares very little for Hank and Marie, both of whom have shown equally little regard and intense fervor for both jailing Walt and taking his kids. It’s also apparent how calculating he is, considering the “confession” video he made implicating Hank in just about all of Walt’s misdeeds. The irony is that Hank asked for a confession as a means of Walt atoning for his sins, not knowing what Walt had up his sleeve.

The confession is an interesting look at perception. Marie’s advice to Hank is to “get ahead of it” in terms of admitting to the possible fraudulence of the video. It’s a lose-lose scenario for Hank though, primarily because Walt has a lot more believability on his side of the table. What’s interesting is how much Marie is joining Hank’s crusade against Walt, conveniently forgetting that it was Walt who paid for Hank’s recovery. Yes, that came up in their conversation following the video, but you would think she would be a little less committed to “saving” Walt’s kids had that been fresh in her mind.

Again with the manipulating thing, Walt had a sit-down with Jesse. And by sit-down, the writers meant a lonely meeting in the middle of the desert with Saul serving as counsel to both. Walt offered a seemingly impassioned speech to Jesse, asking that he think about this future and start a new life. It only took three episodes, but that was a conversation that finally elicited emotion from Jesse that he actually verbalized. He’s been bruised emotionally for a while now and his breakdown with Walt was very candid and powerful. It also featured one of the most awkward hugs since Will Ferrell and Adam Scott in Step Brothers, but this hug was rife with unspoken admiration.

Unfortunately for them, the love stopped there. Jesse made the extremely difficult decision to make his way to different environs and was on the verge of being picked up when he came to a startling realization regarding his cigarettes and Ricin. It’s a realization that goes back a bit in the history of the show, but one that struck a particularly raw nerve in Jesse. He’s always been someone of an even-keeled individual, drawing on an improved upon common sense to make rational decisions. Sometimes emotions get the best of him and he flies off the handle. Just another wall of Walt’s closing in and seriously cramping his ideas of a happy retirement.

The title of episode is “Confessions,” so it’s only fitting that so many of the characters take an opportunity to air some grievances so to speak. Cameras rolling (Walt’s confession) or not rolling (Jesse’s lack of confession) symbolized a theme throughout the episode, in that everyone’s got their secrets. And those secrets typically manage to get revealed either with or without an audience. Like Saul’s secret about the Ricin cigarette. The reveal of a whole host of secrets (true and false) are enough to set many more things into motion. How those things work out remain to be seen in the final few episodes.

One thing is abundantly clear: Walt has made a LOT of enemies in his rise to the top of the crystal meth game and those enemies are looking to get payback. Pitting Jesse against Walt was an inevitability considering their relationship to this point and even Jesse realized that Walt would kill him if it meant saving his own skin. Jesse is the one person who knows Walt well enough (even better than Skylar) to take the battle to him first and possibly win. He’s such a vile person at his core that holds nothing sacred other than his self-preservation, regardless of whose expense it comes at. It’s going to be an insane sprint to the end that shows no signs of slowing down and Walt might be losing some of that manipulative magic that’s gotten him this far.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


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