“Breaking Bad”: Season 5, Episode 10

Professor Thoms viewing party poster

WARNING: Tossin’ out spoilers like Pinkman tossin’ fat stacks, caring not whether I get caught.

As we walked west toward Union Square Sunday night my friend Shaheim suggested he might take a break from TV after “Breaking Bad” wrapped. No need for an explanation. I understood his rationale and agreed. Nothing will measure up.

We watched Sunday’s episode “Buried” with 100 or so devotees crammed into the second floor of Professor Thoms on Second Avenue in Manhattan. The crowd’s roars of approval following key moments – Marie slapping Skyler, Hank entering the interrogation room, etc. – reminded me of watching a sporting event – say the Yankees-Red Sox game on ESPN – more than a scripted drama on AMC. You might recall I had quite the opposite experience watching the midseason premiere at Canal Bar in Brooklyn.

This week’s episode, packed with explosive scene after explosive scene, tempted me to dive into a pool of hyperbole. I might have even told a few friends the final season of “Breaking Bad” has the potential to rate as the best television season I’ve ever watched. With six episodes left until Walter White meets his fate that’s not hyperbole.

Here is my recap from the exhilarating Season 5, Episode 10 titled “Buried”.

A) I would gladly give up a week of my life if I could fast forward to next Sunday night’s episode “Confessions” to learn what happens in the interrogation room between Jesse and Hank. Jesse hates Hank, and rightfully so for the way Hank pounded him into submission in Season 3. Yet, Jesse’s guilt has swallowed him to the point where I could see him providing Hank info about his misdeeds if only to clear his conscience. Side note: Jesse (Aaron Paul) had no dialogue in “Buried”. That’s going to change next week.

B) Props to my friend Shaheim for calling the scenario in which Jesse’s generosity/guilt with his money leads to a date with the police. The way Jesse lingered at the scene of his charity with his parked car’s lights on, him spinning listlessly on the wheel, indicated he wanted someone to rescue him from his nightmare, even if that someone came to lock him up.

C) This episode could have been renamed “Power Moves by Skyler”. First, she rejects Hank’s overtures to give up her husband (i.e., “Am I under arrest?”), then she rejects Marie’s attempts to take baby Holly, and finally she encourages Walt not to give Hank any information about his crimes because Hank’s hunch is not backed with evidence. I saw one web site describe her as “Skysenberg”. Name fits after this episode. She broke bad, y’all.

D) Skyler and Marie’s showdown in the White’s bedroom gets my vote for best scene this week. I don’t generally care for either character but the scene in which Marie backs Skyler down on how long she’s known about Heisenberg glued me to the screen. It reminded me of when Marie broke down after getting Skyler detained for trying to return stolen merchandise. Such was the information communicated through quiet sobs, lost glances, and the words “I’m sorry.” When Marie slapped Skyler the bar erupted and rightfully so. That segued into Marie attempting to take baby Holly, a bit of desperate behavior that gripped me tighter until Hank released the pressure. Kudos to Anna Gunn (Skyler) and Betsey Brandt (Marie) for wonderful performances.

E) Desperation is not limited to Walt or Skyler. Hank’s disingenuous behavior towards Skyler in the diner reveals he is desperate, even obsessed. He must bring down Heisenberg. Though, as he tells Marie later in the episode, the day he solves the case will be the last day of his career. I’m looking forward to seeing what information he discloses during the conference call with his superior. Does he share his theory? More importantly, what would be the benefit of sharing it at this juncture?

F) Off the wall prediction: I’m betting Walt’s pride gets the best of him with regard to Todd cooking inferior product. Somehow Lydia will be able to leverage this into the great Heisenberg cooking one more time. I know, I know. There is no reason for him to cook again. One more off the wall prediction: Could the assault weapon in Walt’s trunk be meant to fight the redneck ninja assassins known as Todd’s uncles?

G) The lead-in scene offered a glimpse into human nature and greed. The old man should have drove away with one stack of Jesse’s money in hand. Instead he picked up five stacks and walked toward Jesse’s car. This could be viewed as a metaphor for both Walt and Jesse. They should have walked away sooner. Now they’re in the shit.

H) I can now tell my grandchildren I witnessed the most important pop culture moment in Belize history. “Send him to Belize? I’ll send you to Belize.” What great chemistry between Bryan Cranston (Walt) and Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman)!

I) There’s no way Walt would turn himself in to the DEA in order to allow Skyler to keep the money. He is a self-preservationist, and thanks to his recent run of murders does not believe he can be taken down. So why stop now? Plus Skyler brings up the relevant and correct fact that once Walt turns himself in the money will no longer be theirs. This leads me to ponder, when will Walt provide Skyler the coordinates for the money? Did he give them to Saul?

BREAKING BITS

J) Loved Huell’s decision to recline on the bed of millions.

K) Underestimate Lydia at your own risk. She doesn’t seem cunning but she is.

L) Todd creeps me out. He’s the anti-Jesse, in that he seems to have no feelings.

M) Another episode, another shot of Walt in his tighty whiteys. Cranston don’t care.

N) Shout-out to Professor Thoms for hosting the viewing party and providing free Jell-O shots during the screening.