Now that we've seen last night's "Breaking Bad," which kicks off the
final 8 episodes of this addictively good series, there are so many points to
ponder. Obviously, there are SPOILERS ahead, so if you haven't yet watched the
episode, you might want to go do that now because, seriously, how could you not
have watched it yet?
Here's what stands out for me:
--The flash-forward opening: I never thought I'd say this, but I now find the words, "Hello, Carol," downright chilling. As Episode 509, "Blood Money," began last night, we see kids skateboarding in an empty pool. We realize this trashed, empty house is what used to be the home of Walter White and his family. It's abandoned, and Walt (Bryan Cranston) himself shows up, with the same full head of hair -- and machine gun in the trunk of his car -- that we saw in the Season 5 opener flash-forward.
Walt walks through the gutted house. On the wall, his criminal nom de plume, "Heisenberg," has been spray-painted. Walt removes the electrical outlet cover, and retrieves the ricin capsule he's been holding onto -- and was prepared to use on Lydia, who has taken over his meth manufacture/distribution business.
As he leaves, Walt catches the eye of his neighbor, who freezes in terror at the sight of him, dropping her bag of groceries. "Hello, Carol," Walt says.
How did we get to this? It seems obvious that Walt's secret identity as the meth kingpin has been revealed. But where's his family? Witness protection? Dead? And what does Walt plan to do with the ricin and the machine gun?
--Hank's next move: We picked up from the sensational cliffhanger climax from last year, and Hank (Dean Norris) now realizes his brother-in-law is "Heisenberg," the criminal he's been chasing. But where another show would drag out the cat-and-mouse suspense -- Hank wouldn't let on that he knew, or Walt would construct an elaborate lie denying it, or etc., etc., blah blah -- in typical fast-moving "Breaking Bad" style, this episode ends with Hank confronting Walt. As in, punching him in a rage.
In a brilliant stroke, Walt doesn't confess, but he doesn't exactly deny it, either. Instead, he lets Hank know that if Walt is indeed the deadly Heisenberg, well, the consequences of Hank blowing the whistle could be very messy indeed. But can Hank stand by and not try and bring Walt to justice? What will be his next move?
--Walt's cancer: The first 8 episode of this final season already hinted that Walt's cancer had returned, and he comes right out and says it in "Blood Money." Does he give up on chemo -- which would explain his full head of hair in the flash-forward sequences? Will cancer be what ultimately gets Walt in the end, as opposed to the law or his numerous criminal enemies?
--Jesse's despair: His friends are stoner knuckleheads. He has no one close to him. His miserable excuse for a father figure, Walt, has shown he can't be trusted. We find Jesse (Aaron Paul) in despair, trying to do something good -- i.e., give away his "blood money" -- for the relatives of his and Walt's victims. But Walt warns him it's not a good idea. Jesse takes to driving around, aimlessly tossing bundles of greenbacks out of his car. How long can he survive in this numbed-out, living dead state?
What did you think? Were you satisfied by how "Breaking Bad" began its series of final episodes? What do you think will happen, and what do you hope will happen? Please share comments, if you like.
-- Kristi Turnquist
(c)2013 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)
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