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"Breaking Bad" — "Confessions": And Ye Shall Know the Truth

By Daniel Carlson | TV Reviews | August 25, 2013 | Comments ()


breaking-bad-5-11.jpg

I took a philosophy course in college that dealt with epistemology, or the study of knowledge. Basically — and I will stay as broad and vague as possible, in part because the class was years ago and I don’t want to embarrass myself — we talked a lot about true justified beliefs, and what conditions would be necessary to classify something as known/true instead of just a held opinion. (We were about as fun at parties as you would imagine.) I found myself thinking back on those ideas during this week’s “Breaking Bad.” The series has always been about many things, but a big part of its main story has been about Walter White’s determination not just to tell a few lies but to gradually construct a reality for himself and his family. More than that, it’s been about how easy it’s been for him to do this. Think about it: We generally assume that most people we deal with everyday are telling us the truth, or at least that they’re not trying to put one over on us. If you ask someone where they were last night, you will probably believe their answer simply because it’s the easiest course of action. Walt’s success has been to rely on that instinct and to know that, after a certain point, even when you’re talking to someone who has express reasons not to trust you, you can still get away with your version of reality. Without evidence, facts, or firsthand experience, it’s just somebody’s word against yours.

Interestingly, a lot of viewers have done the same thing. Anna Gunn wrote an op-ed in the New York Times the other day about the stunning level of vitriol that’s been aimed at her character in comment sections and online forums pretty much since the show started. She (very rightly) addresses the sexism and perversity that’s led some of the Internet’s more juvenile users to rant endlessly about Skyler and wonder aloud what it’d be like if somebody just killed Gunn already. Not the character, either; her. I have to think a major part of what’s driven some people to hate her character so much is that they’re too busy constructing their own version of the show’s reality. More accurately, they’re buying everything Walt’s selling, and they walk right along with his baby-stepping rationalizations of his actions. Skyler — who begins the show a loving spouse — becomes an obstacle for Walt and therefore an obstacle for them precisely because they want to believe in Walt’s version of things. I don’t know what those people think about the way the show’s gone. Walter White’s anything but a hero, and I can’t imagine anyone rooting for him after he chokes out Krazy-8, but that’s the Internet for you.

“Confessions,” then, was about the conflict between your version of the truth and everyone else’s, and what happens when the world you’ve built starts to crack. It wasn’t Jesse’s discovery of the truth about Walt and Brock that hit hard (though that was, of course, a tense and brutal sequence of events). No, it was the stunning ease with which Walt acted out and filmed a fake confession that turned Hank into Heisenberg. He knew just what to say, just what pieces of the story to talk about, to make things make sense. He willed a new world into being, and it worked for a day or two. The fake confession was haunting, and a beautifully timed echo of the very real confession with which Walt opened the series:

Addressing his family then, he said, “There are going to be some things that you’ll come to learn about me in the next few days. I just want you to know that, no matter how it may look, I only had you in my heart.” Now it’s doubtful he could even remember what such emotions look like. His falsified confession was stunning, and a reminder that even a guy this bad can always get worse. When Jesse confronts him about being manipulative, all he can do is hug the kid and keep lying.

Yet it can’t hold up forever. His house will eventually be boarded up, with “HEISENBERG” scrawled across the living room wall. His myth-making abilities aren’t enough to stop the course of events he set in motion a little more than a year ago when, in a move of twisted desperation, he decided to cook crystal. He can’t get away with it. Nobody gets away with it, not for long, not for life. Not even Gus Fring made it out. To borrow a line: No one wins; one side just loses more slowly. Walt’s playing out the clock, he just doesn’t know it yet.

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a member of the Houston Film Critics Society and the Online Film Critics Society. You can also find him on Twitter.




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • F'mal DeHyde

    I don't remember Skyler starting the series off as a loving spouse. If anything, she's become more of a sympathetic and likeable character, to me at least.

  • Maddy

    Absolutely - I was sympathetic to Walt at the start, and especially disliked Skyler during that cringe-inducing 'intervention' scene, but his ego and refusal to admit to himself the real reason he was cooking meth was what got me eventually, and I think Skyler has a lot more common sense and intelligence than people give her credit for. I found Hank very unlikeable at the start because of his condescending attitude to Walt, but now I am all about him and Marie somehow getting out of this mess. Right now I am absolutely team Jesse - I defy anyone who didn't get their heartstrings pulled when he told Walt to stop pretending he cared about him. Mike was the only character who seemed to genuinely care about Jesse as a person and make him feel worth something, and Walt killed him and LIED TO HIS FACE about it. When Walt starts actually being honest to himself and everyone else about things then MAYBE I could start having some sympathy, but the way he manipulated Walt Jr was absolutely despicable in my opinion. Anyway sorry for massive rant!

  • F'mal DeHyde

    No, I agree with everything you said and I'd like to add that Walt had a hand in actively destroying every relationship Jesse ever had, cutting him off so he'd be more dependent on Walt. One of the many reasons Jesse is such an emotional wreck.

  • Maddy

    So true - basically Walt sucks guys. Don't do drugs

  • Maddy

    Or deal drugs I should say

  • googergieger

    Did a person that watches Breaking Bad just because everyone else watches Breaking Bad decide to downvote all my comments in this thread? Ugh.

  • John W

    This show is amazing. The finale is going to be one humdinger.

  • Chester Percival Bone

    But he obviously does know it...

  • Guest

    I am a lurker on this site for years and this discussion forced me to write my first comment, thank you for that.
    I think it is incredibly ignorant to assume that everyone is against Walt and sees Skylar as Heisenbergs pityful wife.
    Skylar was always a very arrogant piece of work, always trying to control Walt. That was the premise of her and now everyone wonders why she got all the hate? Or why people should start to root for her after she sees the riches her husband brought? She is written as a leech and people react to that.
    And back to WW, i am actually rooting for him, not because i am a sociopath and i feel a kindship but because he is simply a human being with a lot of flaws but with the neverending drive to get more.
    We can all assume that the world is a perfect place and humans are flawless individuals, but that is far from reality.
    So i hope Walt gets it right for one and lives on to build his empire.
    And i know i am not the only one who is thinking that way.

  • mswas

    Kudos for delurking!

  • stella

    But...Anna Gunn is awesome. Regardless of your opinion of Skylar (personally I've never understood the hate), she's a great actress.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Yeah, she really is. I had said this earlier on in the series, but between Breaking Bad and Deadwood, she really excels at playing these "obstructionist" type of characters.

  • InternetMagpie

    I can't wait for the internet to make a GIFset of Jesse pulling the cigarettes out of his pocket and realizing what Huell/Saul/Walt did mashed up with a GIFset of Samwise Gamgee stumbling on the lamas bread and realizing what Gollum/Smeagol did.

  • Walt Jr

    Can you make this happen please? I don't have the patience to wait.

  • Bert_McGurt

    "Skyler — who begins the show a loving spouse..."

    I'm not sure I agree. From the very start of the series I've found there to be an undercurrent of bitterness and resentment that Skylar's shown towards Walt (and towards others too, like Marie). It's like both she and Walt EXPECTED more from their lives but were frustrated and angry at where they'd wound up as the result of each other's (and their own) failures. They had the family but resented their lack of success. Now they have that "success" - but at the cost of their family.

    And the more we see, the more I find Skylar to be like her husband - but it doesn't make me HATE her. It makes her an interesting parallel to the path Walt's taken.

    I mean it's not like she's Lori Grimes or some pack of Cajun werewolves - save the hate for those that really deserve it!

  • chanohack

    Interesting, because I feel like the bitterness and resentment was mostly Walt's, not Skyler's. I feel like Skyler was happy as a teacher's wife (though maybe she had to "nag" him about which credit card to use from time to time, and I've said it before, WHAT is the nice, non-naggy way to bring this up if it isn't the way she did it? And if the roles were reversed and it was the husband reminding the wife not to use a certain card, would anyone blink?), and it was Walt who felt like he should have been more and had more. Maybe Skyler felt resentment because she knew Walt wasn't really happy-- I could see that. But I don't think she was bitter about the way things turned out.

    Skyler's had her moments with Marie early on, but I don't think they were fueled by bitterness. Marie's a little hard to love sometimes. And if you were borderline struggling financially, and your sister got you baby tiara, wouldn't you think, "Well, that's a little ridiculous." I think she returned it because it's absurd... and maybe also because she resented that Marie (supposedly) bought something over-the-top fancy. But I don't think that makes her a bad person.

  • Bert_McGurt

    I think Skylar's resentment and bitterness was because she felt like Walt's second choice. I think he very obviously was still hung up on Gretchen but by the time she figured it out they had a kid. But she always felt like she wasn't who Walt truly wanted.

    There's actually a scene very early in the series when Walt is mysteriously missing - she pulls out a picture of Ted (before she goes back to work and before we meet him) and stares longingly at it, almost as if she's wondering if she might have had a happier life with him (or another guy, even) instead of Walt.

  • chanohack

    Hmm. Is this The time that Walt is mysteriously missing? And turns up naked?

    I could understand some resentment toward Gretchen-- but isn't that sort of normal? To have one friend or ex of your spouse that you've always felt a little weird or uneasy about? Skyler knows there's stuff between Walt and Gretchen, but Walt knows the same about Skyler and Ted, before she went back to work for him. That alone doesn't exclude either of them from being a loving spouse.

    Also, HOW GREAT IS THIS SHOW? Joanna brought up in "The Ones Who Knock" that even Vince Gilligan approaches the characters' actions from his own, and not an absolute, point of view. A la, "In my opinion, Skyler does this because," when he wrote the freaking character and could totally tell one or both of us that we are wrong. But he doesn't. It's up to each individual viewer. I love this shit.

  • Daniel Rex

    I agree about the tensions from the beginning, but to me that is just a small part of what makes the show so real. The same in Hank and Marie's relationship. There are times when spouses do not get along, when they disagree, when they just flat out wreck the other person or gasp even wish ill will on each other so they will learn a lesson.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Oh, tension is definitely part of any normal relationship. I just felt that Walt and Skylar had lost whatever love they may have had for one another before we even met them. Of course, it's quite possible Walt never really loved her anyway.

    I think the only one Walt has ever loved was Gretchen. But approximately 20 years ago he let his arrogance, ego, and pride get the better of him at some point and was left without her, and shut out of his company. Dejected and on the rebound, he met a smokin' hot young blonde Amazon of a waitress and thought that marrying her would be some sort of revenge - but then Grey Matter got huge and left him feeling small again. But of course he couldn't admit his mistake (and they had Walt Jr. by then), so he stuck with Skylar - but he was miserable. And so was she. For a decade and a half.

    I REALLY hope we find out exactly why Walt sold his share of the company, and what he did to Gretchen. I think we'd find that Walt has been driven by his unsavoury traits for a lot longer than the past couple years.

  • apsutter

    The whole ep I kept thinking that Hank was going to do something stupid out of desperation. And I hated the way he snarled at Skyler at the Mexican Restaurant that she'd go down with Walt. That whole scene made me think of our discussion last week about how Hank should have shown genuine concern for Sky and the kids instead of only focusing on bringing down Walt.

  • Maddy

    Also - just read Anna Gunn's op ed and it was awesome! I admit that at the start I wasn't a fan of Skyler, and I think the character has gotten short shrift a bit in terms of character development - and even though I hate that she's sticking with Walt, I understand it. All those people who are all - why can't Skyler just let Walt be a meth dealer and endanger their family and be a good supportive wife - are you actually serious?

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I used to love Skylar because she was the only one that seemed to question Walt's long line of bullshit. I mean, she smoked when pregnant and is mean to a drug dealer - that's really not that big of a deal in my mind, but the internet is a funny place - I hear some people still watch Dexter.

    This is the first time I've really disliked Skylar, because she's put aside what she used to believe and totally joined Team Walt. What she's doing to her sister is just horrible, I'm surprised that she's gone this far this fast.

  • JJ

    Or for that matter, there are probably people out there saying "Why won't Hank just let him go? He's going to die anyway, and he's not cooking anymore!" which is exactly what Dan was saying about baby-stepping into the logic. Walt is a vortex of bullshit for people in the show and outside of it.

  • apsutter

    Yes and then they bemoan what an evil bitch Sky is for smoking 3 cigs while pregnant and cheating on her lying husband who refused to leave their home when she wanted to be rid of his lies.

  • Maddy

    also - this whole thing that just stop watching the show if you don't like Walt? Um what? I'm pretty sure the whole point of this show is Walt's gradual descent into complete psychopath. I think Walt is despicable but he's an engaging and interesting character - the great thing about this show is it can make you rethink your feelings towards the typical 'protagonist' of a story and make you engaged even when you no longer like the character. Also - OMG HANK TELL SOMEONE ABOUT WALT?!?!?!? What the hell are you even doing dude, like what's your plan? Just hope Walt takes it lying down?

  • Maddy

    When Walt and Jesse hugged I got flashbacks to the Draco/ Voldemort hug in Deathly Hallows - not sure which wins as the most awkward hug ever! I freaking loved Jesse calling out Walt on his bullshit!

  • GDI

    I could see why some of the Skylar hate is construed as misogynist (and some of it certainly is), but my issue with her has been the underlying seed of evil that she has always carried; the exact same selfishness that Walter has harbored, just in a smaller dose. It was always there.

    Here's the thing, I do believe the vitriol from all camps is far too strong and unjustified. I don't really hate Skylar, nor Walt even. They are certainly terrible by most moral standards. But we've seen their downward spiral into madness. And they've had chances to redeem themselves.

    Well, not really.

    The price of redemption for either of them is far too high and would require altruistic self-sacrifice, which the pair know nothing about. This certain ignorance of communal goodwill and trust in others speaks volumes of the world they inhibit*. There were consolation prices thrown at them (Gretchen offering to pay Walt's treatment costs, the job offer, going legit a lot earlier; Skylar not taking Hank's offer).
    We all know how that turned out. These people are just too damn proud and self-righteous to not only admit weakness and accept help, but they would rather see the world burn before they have any part of such "pity assistance".

    Now, I want to know why the standard around here is this vitriol at Walt's character. Yes, he's bad. Kinda in the title of the show. But I find him fascinating, in a cold, detached way. Same as Gus. They are beacons of evil, but they certainly are alluring for how they exude this evil. It's not glamorous. It's revolting. I get that. But hatred? I don't see it.

    *Albuquerque is mostly a shithole, so I can't gig the power duo for this.

  • googergieger

    Yeah same as I've been saying all along. Walt and Skyler are both horrible people for the same reasons. One is just honest with himself about what he is.

  • apsutter

    I never hated Walt or Gus because they're just too damned interesting! I will say that ever since Skyler became afraid of Walt around the time that Gus died I almost feel the same way when he's around. It's weird, like when he grabs his gun or drives in a hurry or the way he'll slowly walk up to Saul or Jesse...it just makes me anxious because he's this enigma and you never know what he'll do.

    I will say that I can understand the fact that they refused any kind of help because many lower to middle class people are like that. They're both hard workers and, honestly, their little family was living on the financial edge before Walt's cancer and they've probably always struggled with money from the time that they were married. When you struggle day-to-day for years it's so easy to think of your life being you and your spouse against the world. It's just the two of you struggling in your own little mentally constructed lifeboat floating against the tide and trying to survive. I'm rambling here but I'll just say I understand because my own parents had their kids and got married way too young and were broke for years and relied on each other and both are prideful and don't like asking for any kind of help.

  • chanohack

    Holy crap, when Walt slowly walked up to Jesse in the desert and was hugging him for soooo long, I said out loud, "Don't kill him!" I don't trust that motherfucker at all. And Jesse breaks my heart.

  • abell

    So, I've been a bit annoyed about the entire Skyler White argument, specifically, when Gilligan or Gunn have gotten involved. First, I need to clarify that there is a crap ton of misogyny directed at Skyler, and Gunn, and the internet's a terrible place. I support none of that and defend none of that.

    The creators can't have it both ways with Skyler. I know that we're saying that no one likes Walt, and he's clearly evil, and obviously, even if we empathized with him a little in the beginning, we certainly don't now. But, even so, Walt is the protagonist, and an amazing one. We've been rooting for him all along, and the show relies on it. We want him to be punished eventually, but, we don't want him caught now, he's too interesting. No one was rooting for Tuco, or the Twins, the Cartel, or even really Gus, to beat Walt. We watched to see how Walt defeated them, each more dangerous and powerful. We've wanted him to succeed, up until this final season when we're finally rooting for him to be caught, or killed, or trapped, or something. And the show has worked because of our support for Walt. Gilligan made it that way deliberately. It's the show that we're being sold. And to be upset that people dislike Skyler's character is outrageous. (again, not the stuff up there). Sure, she's behaving reasonably, sure, her life's been ruined, but, up until this season, which I have been loving, she's been standing in the way of Walt's mission to cook meth, and fuck up his enemies (the reason we watch the show). It gets in the way, it stops the energy, whatever. So, it seems to me that when the creators get up there and tell us that we shouldn't hate Skyler, I just don't get it, because the show itself made her an unlikable buzzkill for so long.

    Anywho, I'm enjoying the hell out of the last season and have absolutely no truck with the monstrous denizens of the Internet.

  • Lovely Bones

    A lot of people, including myself, were rooting for Gus to beat Walt, actually. I haven't rooted for Walt since he betrayed his ideals near the end of season 2. I don't need to root for him to find him immeasurably compelling. I've been rooting for Skyler and Jesse and Hank. I don't understand why someone would keep their lot in with someone like Walt if they despise him so much. I really don't feel that the show needs or ever tells you to root for him once he reaches his 'crossing the line' moment. (Pick a moment in the end of season 2, basically, anything would fit into being signified as the line-crosser by the plane crash metaphor, although Jane's death obviously most easily fits)

  • abell

    Let me try this a different way. Walt's had a gun pointed at him several times in the past few seasons, after he's "crossed the line," by any reasonable standard. In those moments were you feeling, "Pull the trigger, he's a monster," or was it, "Holy crap, how's Walt going to survive now?" I find it hard to believe that anyone honestly feels the former and keeps watching. It's possible, but, I don't understand how.

  • AngelenoEwok

    I feel the former, not just while watching this show, but several of my favorite shows.

  • Lovely Bones

    I can want him to die and still be asking "Holy shit, how is he going to survive this?" I watched this show in catch-up before season 5A, I didn't get to the point where I actually, truly thought he might bite it until season 4, and when it got to that point, I was very happy. That doesn't make season 4's ending less incredible, obviously. Walt is endlessly fascinating and compelling, even more so with the slightly remorseful character turn brought about in Gliding Over All post cancer and self-awareness brought upon by Mike's death. I don't think I'll be satisfied with his death once we get to that point, now, though I was understanding*
    and still a bit disappointed when Skyler didn't turn on Walt.

    *Of course, she's not going to tear apart her family and largely cost her children their livelihoods

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Agreed. I was totally team Gus, though I knew it would never happen. I think you can enjoy a well written show without rooting for the protagonist constantly. Hell, Tony Soprano lost me around Season 3, but I loved watching The Sopranos every Sunday.

  • GDI

    Gus was the greater of two evils at the time, given that he was willing to sac Jesse and then later tried to indoctrinate him. He had to go. It just had to happen. The manner in which it was done however (using Brock), not so much.

  • GDI

    From an entertainment perspective, certainly. This aspect is very telling of the people who state that they "hate" Walt. If he is so nasty and vile, why torture yourself in viewing his terrible deeds?

    The answer is that vicarious thrill (and sadism-masochism, sure). You are safe from his wrath and midas touch. It's an engaging story.

    One that I don't find entertaining. I simply cannot rewatch old episodes. There is an all pervasive "grime" about the series that makes me feel uncomfortable. It's the thematic elements, the cinematography (season 1s incredibly slow/long cuts to another scene), the anti-hero protagonist that isn't really either of those, and the lack of fun. It is certainly not an entertaining show in the traditional sense.
    I often question why I torture myself with this madness.

  • L.O.V.E.

    So, the use of a Mexican Restaurant for the meeting has to be a reference to a Mexican Standoff, right?

    That and the cafeteria scene with Todd had me thinking Tarantino.

    Todd telling that story reminded me of Reservoir Dogs and Tim Roth's character telling a story to get in good with the heist crew.

    In both Pulp and Basterds, Tarantino had the characters squaring off around tables in public establishments.

  • googergieger

    Well New Mexico and the need of a public place as well...

  • chanohack

    Interesting idea about the restaurant. The whole time I was thinking, "Why would you go to a place like Garduno's if you live in Albuquerque and have real non-gimmicky Mexican restaurants everywhere?"

  • junierizzle

    Yes! I loved the intro, it felt like a movie.

  • junierizzle

    I love this show. I know people have been scrambling to predict the outcome but this show is impossible to predict. Who predicted Walt would make a fake confession implicating Hank? Man, the places this show goes.

  • chanohack

    I watched the whole thing like this: O.O
    While inside my mind was making really odd and unattractive squealing noises.
    It MIGHT be at a point where it is unhealthy for me.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Aaron Paul was awsome this episode, but what struck me more was how adept Cranston is at portraying Walt as a good liar versus times when he is a bad liar. The way he had Walt give the "confession" was as if he was actually telling the truth -- so believable. But the last two times he has lied to Jesse, its either Walt just assumed Jesse would believe anything he said, or he has trouble now lying to him and has to resort to physical contact or begging to manipulate Jesse. Its subtle how he portrayed the "confession" lie versus the dessert meeting lie, but it was impeccable.

  • emmalita

    I think Jesse just listened to too many lies followed by too many actions that were inconsistent with the lies. No one else has been in a position to watch Walt's actions as closely as Jesse.

  • googergieger

    Well one is a lie that has enough truths around it and not to mention the desperation behind is a genuine emotion. The other is him still not taking Jesse seriously. In that Jesse is an emotional kid first and foremost, but Walt's logic and smarts(Mike's too) have been rubbing off on Jesse as well. Hence him realizing Walt could never let Mike live.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I disagree. I think it's entirely possible to sell the lie to Jesse. It's not a question of taking him seriously or not-- a good lie is the same in 99% of situations, with exceptions being dealing with people who are also superior liars who will realize what you're pulling. Jesse, though? Dude wants to believe. And Walt can spin the tale that actually works that gets him gone. It's a lot like the one he told, only it would acknowledge that Walt has an interest in the outcome but pretend that isn't the primary concern. It's almost identical, in fact, except that it anticipates the ways Jesse will try to disbelieve it and addresses them before he does. Walt thought through how he could successfully frame Hank, but for whatever reason he didn't with Jesse (and at this point, he should know he needs to-- it's not new that Jesse is skeptical). I don't think it's particularly noble or anything, I mostly just think Walt wants to believe Jesse is as bad as he is at the end of the day and only needs the superficial to go along with things. Of course, he's just completely wrong about that in every way.

  • googergieger

    Oh and the confession video, made me say holy fucking shit. Like out loud.

  • chanohack

    Seems like we have a malicious downvoter in our midst. How refreshing!

  • apsutter

    The dumbfounded way that Hank and Marie were just standing and staring at the tv was the same thing I was doing on the couch

  • Sean

    Yes! I emailed a friend "holy shit" repeated a few hundred times

  • googergieger

    Yeah, no. These past episodes have proven my points on Skyler and effectively shut down all of your(not you specifically but everyone) superficial takes on the show and her. She is EXACTLY like Walt. That is where my hate comes from. The hypocricy of the so called fans of the show. What happens now when she has an out? She sides with Walt. Because Walt quit like she wanted him to, and now he is about to die and leave a shitload of money to her. Maybe there is some sort of love there. Not love but something close to it, but at the end of the day when given an out she didn't take it. Both need to have things done on their terms. Walt was just upfront about who he is(at least to himself). Skyler wasn't. That is where my hate came from. Not even the Skyler character hate. More the stupid fans who say she is a great character that is scared and Walt is a monster. I hate superficial appreciation for shit, where people chastize one person and cheer another person, who are essentially the same fucking type of asshole.

    Walter White isn't a hero. He is an honest fucking despicable human being. Honest with himself at least. And that is why some people hate him. The smart people anyways. Everyone else just hates him because they think they should hate him.

    Walt can easily win as well. Same way he won when he walked into a super market naked and fake passed out and everyone believed that lie. Not saying he will win. In fact I'd bet on him losing. Just that people, individuals, have their own moralities, their own logic, and their own way of being. Walt's cancer was the catalyst of him discovering who and what he really was. No more fear of being totally honest. Every episode he got closer and closer to the man we see now. I don't like him. I don't agree with him. I don't root for him. I don't even respect or admire him. However beyond good, beyond evil, there is only honesty. And on that, Walt stands alone. Which is, something....

  • apsutter

    I've been really thinking about why Sky is still staying with Walt and I think a large part of it is she doesn't want to deal with the all the change that would come if she turned on him. Think about it, she'd be left alone with absolutely nothing but a disabled son and a baby. Not only would she be alone but she have to end up relying on Hank and Marie for a lot of help. The house would probably be taken from her, she wouldn't be able to pay for college for Flynn, her family would be totally destroyed and who knows how it would affect the kids, and she'd end up being a charity case to her sister. What woman would willingly choose that so late in life?

  • googergieger

    Yeah, so was scared for her kids episodes ago, now not only not scared for her kids or herself, but willing to go down with Walt until he dies of the cancer she wished back? I mean really, so what if she is relying on Hank and Marie? I mean Hank was begging her for her help and as someone else said in this comments, he didn't care about the kids, he cared about getting Walt himself. I mean really it's her getting immunity from everything and what? Witness protection? Book deal? Plenty of options for being well off or at least able to pick up the pieces. The only thing you got is the kids finding out and even then just Walt Jr and he is already in danger of finding out daily with Hank and Marie knowing. At least her turning on Walt would leave her looking clean in his eyes. To quote Walt himself, "What else you got?".

  • chanohack

    Come on... you don't really think the cancer is back because Skyler wished it so. (That doesn't work; I have tried to kill by wishing and it's rubbish.)

  • googergieger

    No of course it isn't back because she wished it so.

  • emmalita

    I got a different perspective while talking to a friend of mine, who hates Skyler. But she hates Skyler because when my friend was in the position of having two small kids and a husband who had an affair and took up drug dealing, she held his feet to the fire until he stopped and got clean. She sees a lot of things Skyler could have done earlier to stop Walt. Of course then it would have been a different show. I don't hate Skyler, but I have much less respect for her now than I did 3 episodes ago.

  • googergieger

    Well I use to have this argument too back before she found out but knew something with Walt was up. All she had to do back then was say, "Tell me what is going on or we're done and I'm taking the kids". Not even taking the kids, just done. She just had to come out with that ultimatum and Walt would have told her everything before it escalated. But she had the passive aggression thing going on instead. Again both of their thing has been control. Early on she had it. Then he got it. Now she has it again all said and done. I mean that might be another reason she is sticking with Walt. He got out how she wanted him to. And even with the asking her if she'd be interested in getting another car wash. As far as their house/relationship goes, she seems to be running things again.

  • chanohack

    Please expand on the second carwash point. I'm intrigued and want to understand.

  • googergieger

    Wasn't too long ago Walt invited Jesse to dinner and Skyler made dinner for the both of them. Basically showcasing his dominance in the relationship. Now he just brings up the idea of a second carwash to Skyler, but leaves the decision in her hands with no pressure at all behind it.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    But she's willing to destroy Marie's life? Because that's what she's doing now. I understand a lot of Skylar's decisions, and I've defended her a great deal, but what she's doing to her sister is just unforgivable in my mind. She's basically becoming Walt, hurting people to save "her family" (which is really her comfortable lifestyle).

  • apsutter

    I agree with this. I actually thought she would turn against Walt once Marie became involved because she loves her dearly and was clearly her best friend. As soon as they played the confession video all I could think was that their relationship was done. I guess in Skyler's mind it's either Marie/Hank or Flynn/Holly.

  • chanohack

    Skyler certainly has sacrificed her relationship with Marie forever with that video, and has hurt her in doing so. However, her relationship with Marie was already wounded and probably past saving after last week's episode. And I'll argue that the video is exactly what Hank said it is-- a threat. Skyler hasn't actually made a move with it, she hasn't actually ruined Hank and Marie's lives, yet.

    Okay, I'm getting into prediction mode now, so bear with me...

    I think Walt maybe convinced Skyler that this "move" had to be made to bring things to a stalemate. Skyler doesn't think they're actually going to act on that threat. She's bluffing.

    But Walt isn't.

    Like I said, totally unfounded speculation. And if she isn't bluffing, holy shit the arc of Skyler is amazing.

  • GDI

    In complete agreement with the 1st paragraph.
    It kinda meanders from there, like an internal dialogue gone awry. Yes, Walt is terrible, has been, it's all been said before.

  • googergieger

    Any time someone "stands" up for Walt and goes after Skyler, apparently that means you like Walt the person and hate Skyler the person. It means you condone everything Walt has done and are appalled by everything Skyler has done. Really it was mostly a hate educed rant with some zen bullshit thrown in.

  • Wigamer

    I don't think Walt is honest with himself at all. He's told himself all along that everything he's done, he's done for his family, and that is just bullshit rationalization. So much of what he's done is (including murdering Mike) has been ego-driven and hasn't had shit to do with his family.

  • googergieger

    Nope. He told himself early on what he was doing was for his family and it was clearly b.s. but as the show progressed so did his motivations and rationalizations. His speeches of grandeur and such. Heck just maybe a handful of episodes ago didn't he tell Jesse straight up he was in the legacy business? This wasn't about his family a long time ago, and he knows it. No idea why fans of the show don't know it either.

  • semirose

    Exactly. After the 5 mil thing in 5a there's not even any pretending that its just for his family but he still believes it somehow.

  • Wigamer

    Even though I hate Walt--and I do, I hate him--I can't help but want there to be some shred of humanity left in him. During his scene with Jesse I just kept thinking please, for Jesse's sake, let there be some indication of affection or SOMEthing. That hug just about slaughtered me.

    Then I thought about the videotape. At this point I'm not sure even the baby is safe from Walt.

  • maydays

    The key there being "for Jesse's sake". And when that shred wasn't there, when even the hug felt manipulative, I just lost it. I was so surprised to sob, but I wanted so badly for there to be something for Jesse to grab onto. The destruction of Jesse is just the worst, worst part for me.

  • Bert_McGurt

    I was seriously concerned he was going to just up and shoot Jesse as he was hugging him.

  • chanohack

    I too was FREAKING about that hug. It lasted so long, and it so felt like something was about to happen... ug.

  • Bert_McGurt

    And Walt with his hands in his pockets...

  • Sean

    The hug was heart breaking for just the reason you said. That there was nothing there. No Walt left. Just Heisenberg.

  • googergieger

    Ugh. Walt does care for Jesse and does care for his family. He has had plenty of opportunities and reasons to off Jesse and hasn't. On Walt's journey to become the man he always was but never had the chance to be, Jesse was there for every step of the way. And that forms a connection. Even if they hated each other every step of the way, there is a bond there. That isn't easily cut. I need to go back to not reading these recaps. I come off the prick and am reminded of the fact that I have almost no one to talk to when it comes to shit that isn't small talk.

  • Wigamer

    But, aren't Hank and Marie his family? I'm not saying he doesn't have feelings for Jesse and his family, I just think he often sets those feelings aside in a pretty cold-blooded way.

  • googergieger

    Yeah, and he has tried to reason with both of them. He hasn't killed Hank or done something truly terrible to him. He just protects his immediate family before anything else. And he'd protect himself before them as well. It's a chain of sorts. Him, kids, wife, outside family, and Jesse. He is backed into a corner and has no choice but to tell Hank, "Back the fuck off, or I'll stop being nice."

  • chanohack

    I agree, he hasn't actually made a move on Hank. He's just shown his hand. I don't think Walt is a sociopath-- even though he cares about himself more than anyone else, he also cares (unselfishly, I believe) for both Jesse and Hank. He doesn't WANT to make a move on Hank. He will (probably), but he really doesn't want Hank to come to any harm, and you could tell in episode nine that even under his Heisenberg threats, he was mourning for the relationship he'd obviously lost with a friend and family member.

  • googergieger

    Yup, but some people need characters to explain almost everything to them.

  • No one wins; one side just loses more slowly.

    That's a great line. Where is it from?

  • WD

    The Wire

  • Fredo

    Last week, I said that it's odd we never see any of the users of Walt's product. That's not limited to "Breaking Bad." Most crime dramas rarely focus on the damage wrought by the criminal protagonist -- not The Godfather, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Scarface. (Only one I can think off the top of my head is The Wire). But that's important to create the effect you're speaking of, Dustin.

    By keeping the drug users and overdoses away, you can create show where the only people involved are the cooks, the drug lords, their killers and the cops trying to chase them. It's a closed environment upon which there's winners and losers -- a game, so to speak. Normal, everyday life doesn't intrude upon this world, or it shouldn't (Hence all the hatred at Anna Gunn). It becomes fantasy; make-believe. And it allows the audience to inject themselves into it just as they do for "Game of Thrones" or "The Walking Dead."

    At some point though, the real world does inject itself into these games. And then shit goes crazy.

    (BTW, why do I think it's Walt Jr. that will end up writing the "HEISENBERG" on the wall?)

  • I've thought about that, too. When Jesse was telling Walt that he keeps promising no one else will get hurt, I couldn't help but think, "Except, by definition, every single one of your customers."

    Have you ever read Stiff, by Mary Roach? That attitude reminds me of a passage from a grave robber's diary. He made a living off of stealing bodies out of graves, and spoke about it, but never once really identified the bodies as people: no gender mentioned, no admission that they were human. Always 'it.' How else do you cope with making your living that way?

    So how do you cope with cooking meth for a living? You never, ever think about Wendy or the little boy in that horrible house or any of your other de facto victims.

  • chanohack

    Daniel wrote this, not Dustin.

  • Sean

    But we have. The plane crash. Jessie's house of meth addicts. The meth addict whore. Jane. The heartbreaking moment of Stinky Pete playing that piano beautifully. We see the costs. Perhaps not enough. But we have seen that.

  • Fredo

    Fair enough. Ultimately, my point was that this is a game to Walt and to Hank and their goal is to beat the other guy -- to win.

  • Ted Zancha

    Yeah, really amazing episode. My jaw dropped when Marie told Walt to kill himself.

    It amazes me how Gilligan and company have so effectively made Walter into someone I actively hate. And I hated him this episode. So much.

  • MissAmynae

    Yes. Betsy brandy and dean Morris are KILLING it this season. Just pure hate was radiating from her. Can't even begin to describe or fathom hanks level of anger and loathing.

  • Enrique del Castillo

    Didn't he choke Krazy-8 because he saw he kept a shard of plate as a weapon, making it a "justified" killing? Anyway, loved this episode and loved this review. I truly believe that BB will be one of the few series in which the last season is flawless and one of the better seasons of the series.

  • GDI

    I consider the Krazy-8 situation to be part of a "survivor's dilemma"; letting him go was not an option, and killing him would be inhumane (especially after learning his life story). It's funny how far removed the theme of moral ambiguity is from the series now. We've come a long way.

  • knockloud

    Agreed. I'd say Krazy-8 was the start of a slippery slope, but it wasn't until he let Jane die that he really chose to make a turn for the worse.

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