Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Breaking Bad: To Hajiilee

34, 59, 20, 106, 36, 52. Those are the fictional GPS coordinates of Walter White's buried stash of money, but in real life they are the coordinates of the Albuquerque studio where the show is filmed. What happened there in Sunday's episode To Hajiilee pretty much blew my mind.


It is sad to see Walt down. A lot of people are speculating that Heisenberg is stronger than Walt, that Walt really is Heisenberg, and that Heisenberg will triumph in the end.  What I find interesting are the last bits of Walt's soul that he arbitrarily (or does it actually matter?) holds on to like insisting that Jesse isn't a rat and that Brock shouldn't see him get shot.  Maybe there will be nothing left of Walt in the end, but I hope he struggles it out until the end. And I don't really want to see Heisenberg on top. I think Walt will die in the end.

Whatever the case may be, right now Walt is fighting Heisenberg and he's losing. He's powerless to stop the actions he set into motion. Walt is faltering. He's more desperate and less canny. Hank and Jesse outsmarted him. That was really wonderful to see. It felt satisfying to watch Walt speed to the desert and confess on the phone to Jesse. When Walt saw Hank and Jesse together (something he hadn't even considered–is he losing it? Before his cancer made him razor sharp, now it seems like he's slipping) and realized the jig was was up, he was done, ready to surrender. He called off the Nazis.

Let this be a lesson to you: You can't just call off Nazis. Walt always underestimates how deep he is into it, how dirty his hands are.

The moralist in me was so pleased to see Hank arrest Walt and to see Walt totally devastated, having lost essentially everything he was initially fighting for because I like that message. Crime doesn't pay.

Why not run a totally legit fried chicken business and be a shrewd but soft-spoken manager/billionaire like Gus Fring? Because he stabs people and he's really horrible. It's just like the Godfather. It's so cool and seductive. But, really—and we are quick to forget this when a body is dissolving in the tub upstairs—murder is bad. And drugs, also, are bad.

But, obviously, it's not over yet. The show gave us those juicy, wonderfully satisfying parts like Jesse spitting in Walt's face and Hank putting the cuffs on Walt. Thanks. But what now! There are 3 episodes left? What else are we going to get and what will we see? It's no use trying to predict it. I know, now, that we are in good hands. The show has exceeded my expectations and given me pay offs I didn't even know I wanted. For example, I knew I wanted to see Jesse best Walt in some way. But I never thought he would team up with Hank and get him the way he did in the last episode. It was especially genius how it played out because there is something about the unusual cadence of Aaron Paul's voice that we love and find compelling. So it was perfect that the scene centers around Walt's desperate confession with Jesse's voice-over on the other end of the phone. I watched it 3 times.

Vince Gilligan knows this. He explains that Jesse was meant to be killed off early on, but they changed their minds based on how Aaron Paul plays him,  "A lot of Aaron’s personality—and it’s not to say Aaron is Jesse—but the cadence of his voice and his decency and vulnerability, leached into the writing of the character. You want to protect him.” Hank also became more layered and complicated when the saw that Dean Norris was capable of infusing the crass comic figure he was initially brought on to play with sympathy, interest, and integrity. Will he die soon? Will Gomey?

I noticed that Charlie Rose accidentally spilled the beans that he will be appearing on a later episode of Breaking Bad. Vince Gilligan said that Charlie Rose is a spoiler.  Presumably either Walt's fake confession hits the news or Walt's phone confession to Jesse hits the news and goes national. That could explain why his house is vandalized and his neighbor is afraid of him. So he has either been in hiding up to the point in the flash forward, or he has somehow become free of charges (maybe because Hank operated outside the law?) but everyone knows that he is guilty. Still, who is the ricin for? What is the gun for?

Let's spend a lot of time speculating only to have our minds blown next week when nothing even close to what we predicted happens. That's my week for you.


  1. I really love this show. I want to talk about it in depth and watch it all over again. I feel a bit devastated that it's almost over and yet I can't wait for each. new. episode. So good. What I love so much is how the writers, the actors, the directors make me feel one way about a character and then another way about the same character the next episode. I'm totally being manipulated here and I like it. Like I know Walt is evil, but is he? I mean when he tried to call off the Nazis, and when we find out that the money is left where he and Jesse did the first cook, and when he looked so resigned as he leaned against the rock before he surrendered, I see and feel the humanity left in Walt and for those moments I feel sympathy towards him. And I don't really like Hank although he's supposed to be the good guy, right? But he's not. He's in it for himself and willing to sacrifice Jesse at any moment to get his revenge. And Jesse. I just want to give him a hug. Out of all the characters, he's the one I want to see succeed. He feels innocent and vulnerable to me, even though he's obviously done some horrible things.

    I could go on. Even how Marie hasn't been wearing purple but black in the last several episodes is great. So detailed. I like your posts about this show. It's so phenomenal. I've been a long time reader but never commented but Breaking Bad has made me break my silence.

    1. Yes, Quinne! I totally agree with your comments. I'm glad you broke your silence and commented.

  2. Agreed about Hank and Jesse's 'relationship' and *I* believe that Jesse being there, in the desert, at the location of the first cook, seeing Walt getting taken down... well, Jesse may have had a change of heart towards Mr. White. After all, Walt did get that chance during the call to explain how he did what he did in the past with Jesse's best interest (and his life) in mind. I am not so sure that the scuffle following the face-spitting wasn't a calculated attempt for Jesse to slip something into Walt's jacket pocket that might help Walt out of the handcuffs. To be sure, the scuffle *did* happen after Gomie cleaned out Walt's pockets, leading Hank and Gomez to assume that Walt was 'all clear'. And really, was that VERY short scuffle necessary if not to lead to something. My theory is that Jesse simply could not see his father figure go down like that. Rewatching it a few times, there are a number of knowing glances between Walt and Jesse, and certainly a look of some internal struggle going on in Jesse's face during the arrest.


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