TV Recap: Breaking Bad “To’hajiilee”

It was at To’hajiilee where Walt and Jesse started cooking, lo those many months/years ago. They were just a couple of young upstarts, with nothing more than an RV and a dream. I was there man, on the original airdate. Before it was even in HD. Were you? Nah, you were probably a johnny-come-lately, jumping on the bandwagon after it got cool. You didn’t have to tell anyone that the story was about a chemistry teacher who gets lung cancer and starts selling meth—yeah kind of like Weeds, but it’s good I swear—it’s called “Breaking Bad” because the main character breaks bad by selling meth. I dunno. I guess it’s an expression from somewhere. Maybe they made it up. Who’s in it, you say? Oh, Bryan Cranston. Yeah, from Malcolm in the Middle. But he’s a really great dramatic actor, as it turns out. No, really. Oh, just watch it.

Where was I? Oh, yes. The beginning of the episode opens with Todd’s first cook, post Declan. Todd, Uncle Jack, Kenny, and Lydia all are present for the results, which are fairly impressive: 76% pure. But there’s one problem. The meth ain’t blue. Lydia points this out worriedly. Jack and Kenny are unfazed, but Todd seems conflicted between siding with his uncle and siding with the pretty lady.
Later, Todd and Lydia have a conversation where Todd gets super creepy and makes it clear he would like to hold her and kiss her all night long and promises not to muss her hair. Because she is such a pretty, pretty lady. The act-out is Walt calling Todd with the order to take out Jesse. Todd says sure, no problem, as heputs his lips on the lipstick mark Lydia made on her cup of tea. Shudder.

It’s really a shame we got to know Todd and Lydia so late in the game. I think if they had been introduced earlier, they’d be as popular as Gus and Mike.

Uncle Jack and friends meet up with Walt, and they agree to take out Jesse—but not for money. Walt must cook again and teach Todd how to do it right. Though clearly sick at the prospect of donning the yellow suit again, Walt agrees.

Things are moving pretty quickly now. Jesse’s plan to hit Walt where he “really lives” involve finding Walt’s money. Hank, Gomey and Jesse devise a plan whereupon Hank puts Huell Babineau (yep, that’s his last name) into protective custody, claiming that they recorded a call between Saul and Walt where Walt ordered a hit on Jesse, Patrick Kuby, and Huell. Huell doesn’t believe it until he sees the pic with Jesse lying in front of some splattered cow brains. Then he spills all he knows about the rental van and the barrels of money.

So then Saul shows up at the car wash to tell Walt that Huell’s missing and we get a fantastic scene with a star-struck Walter Junior who just can’t believe he’s standing in front of local celebrity Saul Goodman. RJ Mitte’s unabashed glee is hysterical, and the only bit of comedy we’re getting this week. Have an A-1 Day, indeed.

After Saul leaves, Walt gets a text message of a barrel of his money. Jesse calls him, and threatens to burn all his money unless Walt meets him in the desert where it’s buried. Walt rushes past Skyler and Junior, no longer even bothering to do the “everything’s fine” bullshit walk he normally does when in a panic. The camera lingers on a concerned Junior and a terrified Skyler and suddenly I’m wondering if he ever sees them again.

Walt drives out to the desert in a panic, while Jesse expertly goads him into admitting to many, many sins. Brock, Gus, even Emilio and Krazy-8.  Thing is, Walt makes some valid points. They wouldn’t be in this mess were it not for Jesse’s impulsiveness. They could’ve continued on being Gus’ mid-level employees indefinitely. I like that Walt here voices what many in the viewing audience feels, those who still side with Walt. Even poisoning Brock can be justified, if looked at from the right angle.
But of course, it’s all a bluff. Jesse doesn’t have Walt’s money, but now Walt has led him to it. Walt figures this out too late, much too late, but he hurriedly calls Uncle Jack anyway, giving him the coordinates. As he’s still on the phone, Jesse pulls up. But he’s not alone. Hank and Steve are with him. Walt’s furious and anguished and completely beaten. He calls off the hit. He won’t kill his brother-in-law. Walter White has discovered his own personal “red line”.

He hangs up. There’s an incredibly long and suspenseful scene. Walt walks across the desert, hands up. Down on his knees. The cuffs are in place. Hank gloats, spikes the football, does a flagrant dance in the end zone. Walt calls Jesse a “coward” Reminiscent of Gus calling Hector a little rata. I can barely concentrate on any of this. I keep waiting for the sniper shot to ring out, taking Hank down. Through laced fingers, I see Hank has made the decision to fucking call Marie and tell her he loves her and tell her it’s all over now and tell her he’s so happy that nothing bad will ever happen to him no never never never. He even does the damn Popeye Doyle wave at Walt. He tells Marie it might be awhile before he gets home. Just like with Walt and Skyler, I’m afraid Hank will never see his family again, either.

Because yes, the Nazis are coming, the Nazis are coming. They quite sensibly ignored Walt’s last order and are now here. Everyone lifts their guns. Hank and Gomes identify themselves as DEA agents and Uncle Jack wants to see their stinking badges. Then the shooting begins. And we fade to black. Damn you, Gilligan!