Videogum

Breaking Bad S05E09: Tread Lightly And Have An A1 Day!

When we left Breaking Bad last summer, Jesse and Walt had decided to leave the meth business for good and Hank had decided to go number two at Skyler and Walt’s house. Sounds perfect, right? Well, not so fast! Before Hank could go number two, he picked up Walt’s Gale Boetticher-inscribed copy of Leaves of Grass (in which Gale had written, “To my dearest Walter White [meth cook]. It was a pleasure cooking meth with you. I hope a cop doesn’t get his hands on this! Hahah. JK. Love, Gale”) and finally began putting the pieces together. Oh, brother. Here we go!

This season opens with curly-haired Future Walt visiting his old, condemned house, which youths are using as a skatepark. Very cool!

Once he enters the house, we see “HEISENBERG” tagged on one of the interior walls. Uh-oh. Unless Walt comes back here a lot just to chill, remember the old days, and perfect his tag, that’s not-ah such a good sign! After a slow tour of the decrepit rooms of his former home, he finds his old murder cubby, pries open the wall socket, and removes his ricin cigarette. That old chestnut. Is he going to use the ricin to kill himself after not being able to cope with the ruin that lay in his wake, including the murder of his own wife, Skyler?! I DON’T KNOW, I CAN’T SEE FUTURE OR THE IN-BETWEEN FUTURE! Carol, at least, knows that something isn’t right.

Hey, Carol!

Then, we’re right back where we were left — waiting for Hank to finish using the restroom. The pacing is in line with that of the rest of the episode, meaning, it 4SURE takes its time. I did not time it, but if I had to guess I’d say we focus on the bathroom door for about 40 seconds before Hank finally emerges, giving us our first teethface of the new second half of the season.

Breaking Bad always has a way of using pacing to play with viewers’ expectations, and by that I mean, Breaking Bad always has a way of using pacing to kind of annoy and confuse viewers and then blow their minds in a way that allows them to better appreciate the time when they were annoyed. Like, I could not believe how few things had happened when I looked at the time and realized that 30 minutes had elapsed, once they had. But! We’re getting ahead of ourselves. STOP RUSHING ME. So. Hank, finally out of the bathroom and having stashed Walt’s Leaves of Grass in one of Marie’s many purple bags, announces that he has to leave the party because his tummy has gone no-no-yucky. “Uh, yeah, you were in the bathroom for a LONG time,” responded everyone in unison. “Gross. Please leave.”

Hank and Marie leave, the baby waves, and then Hank has a panic attack and almost crashes into some dude’s house.

HANK! Hank and Marie go to the emergency room, where they rule out the possibility that it was a heart attack. Back at home, Marie tries to convince Hank to see a doctor, saying she’ll even make the appointment for him. “For what?” he responds. “Three hours in the emergency room for nothing?” Uh. Has Hank ever been to the doctor before? You shouldn’t go to the emergency room every time, Hank! But Hank, old stubborn Hank, refuses the doctor’s appointment and leaves to find his Gale Boetticher file. In what made everyone in my living room room laugh aloud, he traces the similarities between Gale’s journal and Walt’s book. WHU-WHU-WHUUUUUUUT?!

WHAT DOES IT MEAN, THOUGH?!

Then we’re back at the carwash! Yay, the carwash! Walt says hello to his various employees and gives a special shout-out to Enrique: “Feliz cumpleaños, Enrique!” “Chupa mi verga, Walt!” responds Enrique. “That means thank you,” Walt explains to Skyler. JK. Then Walt talks to Skyler for about 45 minutes about air freshener placement. “Ugh, JUST GO BACK TO MAKING METH.” It is another long, director’s-cut-y scene that ends with Walt pitching Skyler on a second carwash location. “Well, there’s Gentle Hands over by Kirtland — I do love that location,” she replies, as we get a rare peek into the sad inner-life of Skyler. She says she’ll think about it. THEN, WHAT’S HER NAME IS BACK!

AHHHHH, LYDIA!

She tries to convince Walt to come back and get the meth empire back on course, as it, since his departure, has drifted away to 68%. He refuses and tells her to have an A1 day. “Like the steak sauce?” she asks, “Yes,” says Walt, “like the steak sauce,” and sends her on her way. Skyler, though, is not so quick to let her go. After finding out that she’s an old business associate trying to pull Walt back in, she followers her out and tells her TO GOD DAMN BACK OFF AND NEVER COME BACK. She’s very intimidating!

Then, we’re back at Hank’s! He’s still staying home from work with his tum-tum ache, but has some of his guys bring him the Heisenberg files so he can get to work building his case against Walt. Set to Jim White’s “Wordmule,” Hank shuffles through papers, holds up the Heisenberg sketch, and watches two figures in grainy surveillance tape that are now revealed to him as Walt and Jesse. HE’S DOING IT! HE’S REALLY DOING IT!

Then we’re at Jesse’s. FINALLY, KIND OF!

Jesse sits, glossy-eyed and slack-jawed, in front of a trippy iTunes visualization that makes you wonder who decided to put that on, while Skinny Pete goes on and on about teleportation (shouting, in a cringe-y “make this an Internet-meme” way, “LOOK IT UP, IT’S SCIENCE!”), and Badger explains his Star Trek episode idea that he just has to write down. WHO EVEN INVITED THESE GUYS OVER? (Vulture spoke with the Star Trek brand’s fact-checker to see how this idea would hold up in the Star Trek universe, and the Internet beast was fed well enough to continue chugging along for another day.) Then Jesse leaves with his two money duffle bags. Where is he going?! To move somewhere and set up a nice life for himself, away from all of this garbage, maybe somewhere like Brooklyn, where he can live with a blogger?!

No. He’s going to Saul’s office.

Stuck in the waiting room, he shouts “YO!” and smokes pot until he is allowed back to see Saul. Our baby boy, he just needs attention! Once allowed back, he explains that he wants one of the duffle bags to go to Mike Ehrmantraut’s granddaughter, Kaley, and one of them to go to parents of the boy Todd murdered in the desert about halfway through last season, Drew Sharp. Saul attempts to explain to him why this idea wouldn’t work, but fails, sends him on his way, and calls Walt in order to have him handle it.

In what is the most upsetting scene in the episode, Walt returns the bags to Jesse explaining that the boy’s parents still believe him to be missing, so a bag of money on their doorstep wouldn’t be the best surprise, and that Mike is perfectly capable of taking care of his own granddaughter. !!!!! WALT! YOU PICE OF SHIT! Jesse, his cry face slowly taking over his stunned face, tells Walt — without ever actually saying it — that he knows he must have killed Mike. Walt tells him over and over again that he is sure Mike is alive, that he watched him drive away, and begs Jesse to just believe him and go on with his life. It seems more beat-down and tired than anything else, and Jesse finally tells him he believes him in an equally beat-down and tired way. Ugh. Walt, you piece of shit.

Things quickly cheer up in the next scene, though, when Skyler announcing that family bowling is canceled! YAY! FREE NIGHT! FREE NIGHT! FREE NIGHT! FREE NIGHT! The happiness doesn’t last long, though, as Walt soon becomes ill due to his chemotherapy treatments (that he is hiding from his family, I guess!) and has to go to the bathroom and vomit. He puts a towel down, just like Gus used to do. R.I.P. Gus, at least you live on in this vomit-y character trait.

Then Walt notices that his book is missing. GULP! Then, that night, after figuring out that the book wasn’t even under his bed, Walt goes outside in his underpants and checks to see if there is a tracking device on his car, AND THERE IS! GULP!

GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP!

GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP! GULP!

In the next scene we see Jesse, wracked with guilt, cry all over his face, sitting in a car outside of a place called Dog House. What? Why? JESSE. A homeless man is there and Jesse gives him a bundle of money.

The homeless man hesitates for a moment, but then takes the bundle. Then we fast-forward ten years. The homeless man, already a few years out of law school, stands before a grand jury. “And that, members of the Jury, is why Jesse Pinkman is innocent.” “WE AGREE THAT HE IS INNOCENT” shouts a member of the jury, and all of the other jurors nod. The judge bangs his gavel and Jesse is free to go, jk! WE STAY IN THE PRESENT, PLEASE BE SERIOUS.

After Jesse gives the homeless man the money, he drives around, crying and throwing more bundles of money out the window. Oh, Jesse. You’re too sweet for this world. Get it together.

Then: THE FINAL SCENE.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Walt shows up at Hank’s to talk about potato salad + the tracking device on his car, at which point Hank closes the garage and PUNCHES HIM IN THE FACE, AND TELLS HIM THAT HE KNOWS ALL ABOUT ALL THE STUFF! WHAT?!!?!? The episode certainly took its time getting there, but then it got there SO QUICKLY! They exchange words, Walt tells him that his cancer is back and lays on a classic Walt threat, telling Hank to “tread lightly” because he does not know who Walt is, AND THEN WE HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THE NEXT EPISODE TO SEE WHAT ELSE!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The End