Walt is a guy who has every base covered. Every loose thread is seemingly accounted for in his head and he has plans just in case something does go wrong. With Jessie he might have been completely caught off guard but his faith was correctly placed. When pressed by a desperate Hank, Jessie stood tall. With his family Walt has everything covered again, keeping Walt Jr. in line by revealing his returned cancer which will surely keep family together. And with Hank he is more than ready. After meeting with Hank and Maria at a restaurant in hopes of staving off Hank's insistent push to capture Heisenberg he lays down his trump card on his DEA Agent brother in law. A fake confession. An emotional plea and confession explaining that yes Walter White is a meth cook. But going further to finger Hank as the mastermind behind the whole plan. Reaching back to the ride along from Season 1 where Hank supposedly roped Walt into cooking meth.
It's all coming together and Walt even has Jessie contained. Even after Jessie reveals he isn't placated by Walt's silver tongue he still goes along with Walt's advice to skip town. Jessie still seems on the verge of mental collapse but ready to move on and away from Walt. He takes the nuclear option and opts to disappear completely starting as someone new somewhere else, anywhere else. He stands on the precipice of peace when it rushes back to him. That one cigarette Walt gave him so long ago in hopes of killing Gus. That poison and untraceable cigarette which nearly killed Jessie's girlfriend's son. Walt may have been dirtied in Jessie's mind but killing Mike and contemplating killing Jessie wasn't close to killing a child. Until he realizes it's gone. Lifted from his pocket by Saul's bodyguard for Walt.
Jessie breaks. Already pushed to the limit Jessie does what a kid who has grown up around slinging meth would do, get even. You don't go to the cops you go to the man's house. And finally the partnership which began in a parking lot with a chemistry teacher with cancer and his flunky former student is now a feud. So many questions remain and the season doesn't seem ready to lay down and let the final episode do the work. Is Walt really dying or does he have another string to pull? Is Hank really ready to give up on Walt to avoid being implicated himself? Is Jessie really prepared to do what needs to be done, kill his friend, father figure, and partner in crime?
Hank’s ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is just masterful. After overplaying his hands with both of the Whites and getting nowhere for it. Hank does it again when he interrogates the catatonic Jesse Pinkman. Completely misreading his perspective allies situation and overplaying his hand in a hope it will be reached out and shook in kind. Hank continues to act like Walt is the ultimate monster who just manipulated everyone with lies and deceit. That no one but Walt is responsible for their actions. It’s an outdated moralistic view of the world that doesn't fit in the very moral world of Breaking Bad. It is all the exact opposite of what Jesse wants to here. He doesn't want absolution for his crimes. He wants punishment to scrub the blood off his hands. So when Hank comes in and offers him a get out of jail free card as if he were some two-bit crook for Walter White, of course he rejects it and throws it all in Hanks face.
Overplaying his hand could lead to consequences, some of which Walter shows Hank with his “confession” video. Setting up Hank as Heisenberg and playing the persona of Walter White middle class high school teacher. With how all the information is being distributed, which it hasn’t, how could it all not look like Hank is Heisenberg. What could Hank do to counter this confessional of a deadman. In another show this would have been the show. The dissemination of information is becoming key to how Breaking Bad eventually ends. The flash forwards make it appear that Walter is outed at some point as Heisenberg but that could also just be the work of graffiti artist referencing an urban legends.
The gatekeeper of all this is the previously catatonic Jesse Pinkman. Hanks confession lit a fire under Jesse’s already lit up soul. It might seem like a bit much to see Aaron Paul act with such gravel in his voice but it makes sense. Emotionally Jesse is just so tired of being used and lied to by everyone. Finally ordering Walt to either put a bullet in him or drop the concerned father act. It had become truly an act long ago. That scene in the desert as the would be father and son hug it out, both dropping the father and son bullshit while embracing it on an emotionally raw level was fantastic.
So Jesse is opts to go on a trip to Belize...or well somewhere in the continental United States. Until he decides to smoke some weed and all the little things make sense all of a sudden. Breaking Bad at one time appears to have some many potential loose threads that could make up another plot for the show to run through it is doubtful all of them will be tied up by the end. Jesse figuring out about the ricin cigarette couldn’t have been one of those. Especially because it gave us Aaron Paul just so raw and emotionally tormented but completely cognizant and sane for the first time in a long time inside Saul’s office.
Breaking Bad is normally a very understated show technically speaking. It has those moments of insanity, the train robbery and death of Gus to name a few, but technically speaking it stays understated and level. With Jesse catatonic for the first part and then so rage filled in the second it only made sense that cinematography and editing would have to change with it. At first everything is a slow blurry haze and then Hank talks to him and it all becomes a bit clearer. The cuts pick up and the picture becomes crisp. His discovery of the cigarette turns everything crystal clear. Followed by the onset of rage. Everything begins moving so fast cutting back and forth. Disrupting the momentum within the frame never degrading the image. Just wonderful stuff.
The Bits At The End
Man don’t you love awkward dinners? Wasn’t it nice for the costume department to dress Hank and Marie in black making them look villainous while Walter and Skyler are in white-ish colors, our heroes. From the perspective of an audience trained to root for the protagonist no matter how bad he is that costuming makes a lot of sense. Skyler is fully on team Walt now only Hank, Marie, and Jesse stand in the way of total victory for our Hero.
Man for a couple of minutes there I thought all the talk of a “Better Call Saul!” spinoff was just smoke to get us to think he’d survive. I still don’t think that shows real but it did heighten that scene a fair bit.