Hot damn. As someone who's been complaining for a while that Jesse and Walt's relationship has taken a backseat this season, Breaking Bad Season 5, Episode 11: "Confessions" is exactly what I'd been waiting for. Finally, the truth about Brock came out (this season sure is moving quickly), and it was perfect.
The episode was titled "Confessions." What truths came to light, what lies were told, and what does the episode suggest about where the show is headed in the end? After a short recap of the episode, I'll be taking a close look at where the key characters are right now, and speculate about where they might be going.
Sound good? Then read on for Wetpaint Entertainment's recap of Breaking Bad Episode 11: "Confessions."
The episode opens with Todd giving Walter a call about the "change in management" in Lydia's operation, followed by a delightfully subtle diner scene constructed entirely to remind us exactly how nonchalantly violent Todd, his uncle Jack, and their gang are. These guys are going to be a problem.
Next, Jesse, bearded and dazed, is confronted by Hank, who wastes no time in dropping the bomb: He knows Walt is Heisenberg. He offers Jesse a deal, but Jesse isn't having it; remember, Hank once beat him nearly senseless, which tends to leave a bad taste in one's mouth. When Hank says he knows Jesse wants to talk, Jesse's only response is, "Not to you." It becomes a moot point when Saul bursts onto the scene and does his thing.
Walter, meanwhile, is attempting to remain calm, collected, and in control, using the truth about his chemo as a way to manipulate Walter Jr. into staying put when Marie tries to trick him into coming over to her house. That was a bad move on her part. You do not come between the Whites and their children.
Marie and Hank learn that the hard way when Walter and Skyler meet them in the world's most obnoxious restaurant. They demand the Schraders leave their kids alone, and Skyler insists that Walter's crimes are not an "ongoing" situation, but Hank won't be negotiated with. As far as he's concerned, there's only one way for Walter to get him to stop investigating, and that's to confess. The Whites leave, seemingly defeated.
But come on, when does Walter not have another trick up his sleeve? He turns Hank's wish on its head, filming a video "confession" that paints Hank as Heisenberg, and Walter as nothing but his frightened pawn. He sends it to Hank and Marie; a clear threat that leaves Hank immobilized.
Next, Jesse, Saul, and Walter meet in the desert, like they do. Walter goes into father-figure mode, claiming that he doesn't like to see Jesse hurting, and suggesting that his former mentee start over with a new life far away from New Mexico. In one of the best moments of the episode, Jesse calls Walter out on his obvious attempt to use emotions to manipulate, and demands Walter just tell it straight: He needs Jesse to get the hell out of dodge, and he'll kill him if he doesn't. Walt pulls a sobbing Jesse into his arms for a hug that perfectly sums up how twisted their relationship has become.
Emotions aside, Jesse decides to go through with the life overhaul, not that he seems happy about it. He numbly follows Saul's advice, showing only one burst of real emotion, when he decides that he wants to start over in Alaska. Well, it's hard to get more different from New Mexico than that. Of course, things are never this simple, and there's no way Jesse is leaving town at this point in the season. Just as his ride pulls up, Jesse realizes the dope he'd had on him is gone and rushes off, missing his chance to save himself.
He beelines back to Saul's and, in the scene of the night, freaks the eff out. In a rage, he brutally beats Saul and even pulls a gun. Why? He's realized that Saul must have lifted the ricin cigarette in the same way he lifted the pot, and everything has clicked into place: He's put together that Walt poisoned Brock, and when Saul confirms this horrible truth he rushes over to Walter's house and begins to douse it in gasoline.
Saul immediately calls Walt to tell him he now has a very different kind of problem on his hands, so Walt grabs a gun. But will he be able to save his house? Do we even want him to? This show has perfected the art of the cliffhanger.
Where Our Characters Are
Walter White: "Finally See This Man For What He Really Is"
Present: Walter the Clearly Evil is back. The last couple of weeks may have played up his declining health and apparent dedication to his family, but now we're reminded exactly how far he's fallen. He emotionally manipulates both his real son and his metaphorical one for his own gain; he blackmails his brother-in-law, a truly Heisenberg-ian crime. There's no pretense that he might look for a compromise — he's back to being the man who will do whatever it takes to stay on top.
Future: The pieces of Walter's potential demise are starting to fall into place. Now, not only is Hank after him, but he has an out-of-control Jesse to contend with. Plus, Todd, Lydia, and their violent operation are always lurking in the background; it's unclear exactly how they're going to come into play, but it seems inevitable that they'll pop up at exactly the wrong time.
Jesse Pinkman: "Would You Just For Once Stop Working Me"
Present: I can't be the only one jumping for joy that Jesse has finally, finally figured out what Walter did to Brock. He's already aware of Mike; now he just has to learn the truth about Jane and he'll know the whole sick triumvirate of crimes Walter has committed against the people he cared most about. I've been waiting for Jesse to really call Walter out on his emotionally manipulative ways, and it was cathartic to finally see some anger from him again. There's no way he'll ever forgive or trust Walter again; their relationship had to get here at some point, and I'm glad it happened this early in the finale season.
Future: I have a bad feeling that Jesse missed his chance to get out of this unscathed when he let that car drive away. He's on a mission of revenge, and right now he's so out of control that it's hard to imagine him surviving. Hopefully I'm wrong.
Hank Schrader: "Enough With the Bullshit"
Present: Oh, Hank. He's a mess this week. He can't get anything out of Jesse, he's outplayed by Walter and he knows it. He has the obsessive drive to bring Walter down, but does he have the skill to outwit Heisenberg? Right now it's not looking good. Hank telling Walter he knew the truth in the premiere was a brilliant stroke from the writers, but in-universe it's starting to look like a very bad move on Hank's part.
Future: Hank's single-minded obsession might very well be what destroys him. He's playing a dangerous game, and he's not doing it well. Though, now that Jesse is entirely anti-Walter, it's possible he'll chose to team up with Hank, which would be enough to turn things around, since his testimony could render Walt's "confession" meaningless.
Skyler White: "It's Over"
Present: What is going on with Skyler these days? She's always been willing to do whatever she had to to protect her family, but going along with Walter's blackmailing scheme seems a step too far. Of course, given the amount of soulful staring she did this week, it seems like she's having doubts, too.
Future: It's hard to tell what's going to happen with Skyler. At this point, it seems like she can't try to play both sides anymore: Either she commits to sticking by Walter and probably goes down with him, or she has to totally turn against him.
Other Thoughts and Notable Scenes
- Saul line of the week: "Goodbye Jesse Pinkman, hello Mr. Benefit to Society"
- Speaking of Saul, this is a great episode for everyone's favorite lawyer. Bob Odenkirk is obviously a fantastic comedic actor, but it's nice to see him dig into some good dramatic material, too.
- Walter attempting to cover up his bruises with concealer is a nice bit of visual humor in a very heavy episode.
- "Why don't you kill yourself, Walt?" Wow, does Marie get dark this week. That said, this line is more than just macabre. She has a point: If Walter really just cared about protecting his family, bowing out now might be the right move, in a twisted way. But of course, we know he'd never do anything even mildly self sacrificing when he could just blackmail family instead.
- Walter's none-too-subtle excuse for fetching his gun from the soda machine felt like a call back to the early seasons, when his lies were heavy handed and obvious. Clearly, he was rattled.
What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below!