We are now five episodes deep into season 5B of Breaking Bad and things are starting to heat up for everyone involved. If for some reason you have not caught up with the series, do yourself a favor and watch it in a marathon fashion on Netflix and find the episodes from this season on your on-demand, because you will not regret it. If you haven’t caught up yet and do read this recap, though, you will regret it. Keep that in mind.
For those who might happen to not know Albuquerque and the surrounding areas all that well, the title of To’hajiilee might sound a bit odd or foreign. That’s probably because it should, unless you are Navajo. It is an isolated part of the Navajo Nation to the west of Albuquerque, right outside of the city limits. So no, it isn’t some obscure literary reference or anything, it is literally a name of a place where most of the action went down. This week’s episode was rather action-packed, as it really did a lot of leg work to further the story on multiple fronts. It was what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object.
The episode begins with creepy Todd back on the cook, this time producing a 76% pure meth that was a bit overcooked, so it lost its blue color and came out to be, well, kind of burned. Lydia was there overseeing the whole operation and, of course, was not pleased with the cook being slightly burnt. If we’ve learned anything about Lydia over the past few seasons is that she is a very particular woman and expects everything to live up to her standards. Todd is just kind of a wildcard, which makes all of their interactions really, really strange. As she is parting Todd is kind of a creep and finds himself tracing his finger over the lipstick stain on her mug of tea, only to be sidelined by the fact that Walter finally calls him back, asking for his uncle’s services yet again, this time to find and kill Jesse.
The show jumps to Jesse laying out his new plan to get Walt, this time focusing on his money, which of course they don’t know where it is hidden. They do know where Huell is, though, which brings us to Hank creating a bloody scene on Marie’s kitchen floor to make it look like Jesse was murdered and that Huell was next on the hit list. Huell seemed to not be buying the whole thing until the photo came into play, with him explaining how he moved Walt’s money in seven big barrels that he bought at a store in a rental van that they had to clean because it was covered in dirt.
Things shift back to Walter as he is once again with Todd’s uncle, ordering his hit on Jesse. What’s funny is how hesitant Walt seems about it. We’ve seen in the past that he has this strange relationship with Jesse, but felt like it might have deteriorated a bit over the course of recent events. Walter might be a monster now, but he’s become an emotional one at that. He went from cold and methodical to operating almost on pure emotion and a part of him still feels fondness for Jesse. He explains to them that they are to kill Jesse but it is to be quick and painless, as Jesse is like family to him. It’s important to note that he implies that Jesse would never be a rat and turn on him when prompted for a reason. In a way, Walter is still holding Jesse to high standards like the abusive father who is afraid to say that he is proud that he is. The only thing is that Todd’s uncle won’t do it for any sum of money, oh no, he wants the great Heisenberg to do another cook with Todd, to help get his product up to snuff.
Their strange relationship and Walt’s strange “feelings” are conflicted as he heads to Andrea’s house where he talks to her about Jesse, getting her to call his sweet new Hello Kitty burner to see if he is okay. She, of course, mentions that his friend Walter was there with her. This was all a clever ploy to lure Jesse into being irrational and rushing over there, thus setting up the hit. The only thing is that Hank intercepted it and never let Jesse hear it. Gomez finds out that the GPS units were removed from all of the rental vans where Walter’s money-laundering van came from, but Hank hedges his bets on Walter not knowing that and having Jesse call Walt to tell him that they know where his money is, along with sending Walter a photo of a barrel with money hanging out of it to him.
This causes Walt to rush out of the car wash, where Walt Jr. was getting an important lesson in responsibility from Skyler right before Saul Goodman wearing a bulletproof vest walks in to get his car washed, in a race to get to his money. It’s a race against time to get to his burial site for the money while Jesse keeps him on the phone, taunting him, telling him that he is burning up the money as they speak. We’ve seen Walter driving in a panic before and we see it again here, trying to keep Jesse on the line so he won’t just burn all of the money before Walter gets out to the spot, only to find it completely empty. This leads to some solid Heisenberg rage, including tearing the battery out of his phone so they can’t trace his GPS and kicking sand at it.
Walt is then scaling up the side of a rock outcropping as a coughing shamble of a man where he sees dust being kicked up down by the road. It is all clear to him now, that he’s completely lost control of the situation and not only given himself away, but given away the location of the money as well. He quickly climbs back down, fumbling to get the battery back into the phone while he hides behind a rock. Todd’s uncle is glad to hear that he and his paramilitary unit who are living out in the middle of nowhere can gear up and mobilize now, wiping out Jesse and retaining Walter’s services for one cook, as promised. He reads off the numbers off of his lottery ticket from his pocket only to see over the rock that it is Hank’s vehicle that is there, that Hank is with Gomez and most importantly, Jesse. He mumbles to them to call it off and to not come, only to disconnect the phone and keep his weapon drawn.
Is it the fact that he knows that he’s caught that he wanted the hit called off, or was it that he still refuses to have Hank get hurt again thanks to his own actions? Walter is living by a strange code right now where the line is blurred in any direction that he finds noble to his cause, where children aren’t sacred, but family is. But then again, Jesse is like family, right? The shocker comes when Walt steps out from behind the rock, drops his gun as instructed, puts his hands behind his head and walks over to Hank, where he gets down on his knees and is cuffed. This is one of those moments where if you don’t find yourself getting goosebumps I am curious as to what show you’ve been watching.
A sly smile comes across Jesse’s face, one that seems to be multifaceted. It’s not just that Mr. White is being brought to justice, that his whole criminal empire is undone at his whim, but because he recognizes where they are; this was their very first cook site in their old RV. The same place where Jesse climbed up to the top of the same rock outcropping and declared that it was safe to cook there. Walter acknowledges that it was their first cook site and for just a brief second, you can see how complicated this whole thing is. There is some sentimentality in Walter when it comes to Jesse, confusing things even more.
Hank calls home, where Marie asks about the brains in the garbage can, only for him to explain to her that he finally did it, that he had Walter in custody. Walter is sitting handcuffed in the backseat watching Hank on the phone, Jesse in the front seat of Walt’s car looking conflicted and depressed, while Walter looks into the mirror and sees two trucks barreling down the road. He realizes now just what he’s done and what is about to go down, as he shouts to Hank, only for Hank to ignore him. It doesn’t take long for Todd’s whole crew to be there, perched with their weapons raised at Hank and Gomez.
It doesn’t take long before one of them fires, with Hank and Gomez firing back and doing their best to get to cover behind the SUV while Jesse and Hank are in the SUV that is being riddled with bullets, both trying to get to cover on their own. The episode ends with Walter laying down in the wheel well and taking one exasperated breath as bullets fly.
Where last week’s episode didn’t deliver this episode delivered big time. It looked like Walter was finally done for, that he would finally be brought in and made to answer for his crimes. Things had been falling into place for a while now, but the x-factor was still out there, still operating on its own until Walter brought them back into play. It seems almost inevitable that someone is going to get hurt from this encounter, that between Hank, Gomez and Jesse that someone might go down with only three episodes left.
A part of me feels like Todd and his uncle might play a much bigger role in how the show concludes than anyone ever assumed, with that big M60 that we saw Walter with being for him to defend himself against that gang more than anything. There is still the question of how anyone gets away from this shootout, as Hank never got to call the police like he said that he would, only having called his wife to tell her that he got Walter. There is also the question of Walter’s money and what will become of it, as things are not only falling apart, but they are just imploding on him now, with there not being much in the way of options right now. All that we know is that he ends up with hair, a car with a New Hampshire license plate, a NH license and purchases a M60 before he goes back to his burned up home to collect his hidden poison.
What we do know is that next week’s episode is titled Ozymandias and that Walter wasn’t in the meth business, but the empire business. Ozymandias was about an empire that crumbled to the ground, which doesn’t seem like a positive thing for Walter, especially taking into account the teaser for this season of Breaking Bad that was released a month ago, featuring Bryan Cranston reciting said poem.
I usually leave you with a song, so, all I have to say this time is; “Well I stand up next to a mountain, and I chop it down with the edge of my hand.”