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Breaking Bad Recap: To’hajiilee

breakingbad0513aYou’re not a Breaking Bad fan if you don’t know the significance of To’hajiilee, but in the interest of all inclusiveness we’ll remind you: It’s the sacred ground where Jesse and Walt first cooked together. It’s also where Walt hid his money (in seven black barrels), and it is where Todd’s Uncle Jack and the Neo-Nazis get into a gun battle with Hank and Gomez in the final moments of Sunday’s powerful episode.

Episode four of eight (leaving us with three. THREE!) opens with Todd attempting his best Heisenberg impression but coming up with a batch of yellow meth that’s only 76% pure. Neither of these facts pleases Lydia (clad in a vibrant blue business suit, perhaps subconsciously dressing in a color she had hoped to be reflected in this recent batch), who is feeling pressure from her international buyers to bring back the blue meth, a brand identifier her clients have come to expect. The problem is, Todd (who might just be the friendliest child-murderer) can’t cut the mustard, leaving them all up the proverbial creek of crap. A smitten Todd watches a furious Lydia stalk back to her car when his phone rings. Meth Damon speaks to a solemn Walter White, providing us with the flip side of the conversation that ended the previous episode, confirming what we all knew to be true: Walt’s calling in a hit on Jesse.

Keeping things moving, we’re taken to a highway underpass as Jesse fills Gomez in on his new plan to screw Walt. It seems in order to hit Walt where he “really lives,” Jesse plans on making a move for the money, or at least that’s what he wants Walt to believe. Hank explains that their first move is to get a lead on the money and Jesse fingers Huell as the weakest link in the Heisenberg chain. In the first of two fake-outs tonight Team Hankee convinces Huell that Walt’s on a killing spree, having already “killed” Jesse (they take a fake photo of Jesse with his brains blown across the ground). Huell spills everything, including two crucial pieces of info: 1) that all the money was put into seven black barrels, and 2) that Walt returned in the rental van covered in dirt and carrying a shovel. It’s with these two clues that Team Hankee can move forward with phase two of their plan, but before we get to that we’re taken across town to a dingy room, where a somber Walt discusses the gritty details of the Pinkman hit with Uncle Jack.

“What are we talking, Rat Patrol?” Jack asks Walt. Walt, even in planning to murder him, continues to defend Jesse, “No, he’s not a rat. He’s just, he just won’t listen to reason. He’s just angry. He’s not a rat.” “Not something you’d do yourself, huh?” Jack fires back at Walt. “Jesse’s like family to me. Look I want what you do to be quick and painless. No suffering, no fear,” Walt says. “Bullet to the back of the head, something like that? I respect that. Too many savages out there,” confirms Jack.

No matter how far Walt falls, no matter how clouded his relationship with Jesse has gotten, Walt still sees Jesse as a son. The true tragedy is that Jesse can’t see these fatherly gestures anymore; his view of Walt has becomes too skewed, and so he’s turned to Hank, only Hank doesn’t care about Jesse the way Walt does. To further drive that concept home, we’re shown Hank intercept a call from Andrea on Jesse’s cell phone. In a desperate ploy to flush Jesse out, Walt pays a visit to Andrea and her son Brock (the boy Walt poisoned… try and keep up), manipulating the kind woman into calling Jesse by lying to her about Jesse being back on drugs.

Hank’s smart enough to sense the obvious trap and (wisely) never mentions the call to Jesse, even as he explains to Jesse and Gomez that he found the van Walt rented but it was not equipped with a GPS system.  He realizes, however, that Walt doesn’t know that vital piece of information and uses this kernel of knowledge to form a plan.

Breaking-Bad-513_320x240Skyler, in an effort to keep Junior out of the house, is teaching him how to work the register at the car wash when Saul enters. Junior’s excited to see a local celebrity, but Skyler struggles to mask her unease as she hurries Saul out into the parking lot, where he covertly informs Walt that Huell is missing. Saul asks if Jesse is dead yet, and Walt admits he hasn’t shown up to Andrea’s. “He’s probably as high as a kite and hasn’t gotten her message yet,” Walt says. “Or he got it loud and clear and figured out it’s a setup. The kid is not as dumb as you think,” Saul says.

As if proving Saul’s point, Jesse sends Walt a text picture of a barrel of cash in the middle of a pit of dirt. Seconds later Jesse’s on the phone with Walt, taunting him. As Walt races out to the desert, convinced that Jesse has found the hidden money and is planning to burn it he freaks out. Like… he FREAKS! He’s screaming at Jesse, who sounds almost delirious as he teases Walt about setting fire to the seven barrels of cash. Walt tells him his cancer is back and that the money is for his family. He pleads with Jesse, naming everything he’s done for Jesse over the years – running over the drug dealers to save his life, paying for his rehab. He even explains his motives behind the Brock poisoning, claiming to have carefully dosed the boy so as not to kill him.

Walt arrives at the burial spots in the desert, To’hajiilee, and realizes no one is there. The line is dead and Walt realizes he’s been played. Which is no surprise, considering the fact that in the previous scene he had to be reminded how smart Jesse actually is. In his panic over the loss of his money, Walt’s walked right into a trap.

A car pulls up in the distance. Assuming it’s Jesse, Walt hides and calls Uncle Jack; he tells Jack he’s found Jesse and that he wants him to come there and kill him before telling Jack the coordinates — 34 59 20 106 36 52. As the final number leaves his lips Walt notices something all too familiar about the car that’s pulled up… it’s Hank’s. Shit. Quickly Walt calls off the hit, but the line has already gone dead… Uncle Jack and the Neo Nazis are on the way. Hank screams out to Walt, and Walt eventually surrenders. Hank gloats that he knew Walt was too greedy to notice the dirt in the faked photo didn’t even match the ground in the desert. Walt says nothing to his brother-in-law, looking past him to meet eyes with his former partner, uttering only one word, “Coward,” causing Jesse to spit in his face.

Gomez and Hank step between the former friends as Walt lunges at Jesse.  Hank puts Walt in the backseat of his car, as Gomez forces Jesse to get into Walt’s car. The calm before the storm rolls in begins with Hank intructing Gomez to stay with Jesse while Hank calls the tribal police and then the DEA. But before either of those calls, Hank makes a more important call — to his wife. Suddenly what should be a celebratory moment sounds a lot like last rites.

“Hey baby, I got him. Dead to rights,” Hank says.

“You got Walt?” she asks.

“Yeah, I got him in handcuffs as we speak. Want me to wave to him for you?”

Marie tears up, “Oh my God, you did it.”

“It’s going to be a little rough for the next couple of weeks, but it will get better. Baby, you okay?” Hank says.

“I’m much better now,” Marie answers.

“I got to go. It may be a while before I get home. I love you,” Hank finishes.

“I love you, too,” Marie replies.

That’s when Uncle Jack and crew arrives. Guns are pulled. There is a lot of screaming. Hank and Gomez identify themselves as cops. The Nazis demand they drop their weapons and show some ID. Walt, in the back of Hank’s car, tries in vain to call it off, yelling at Uncle Jack to walk away.

Jesse watches in horror as a gun battle erupts, easing himself out of Walt’s car, presumably to hide.

Walt dives for cover as a hail of bullets rips through Hank’s truck.

Gomez and Hank hide behind the truck, firing back at Uncle Jack and company.

The gunfire crescendos to a violent cacophony, and bullets whiz past Walt as he buries his head to avoid getting shot, leaving Hank and Gomez to their unknown fate (until next week), and causing a legion of Breaking Bad viewers to screaming at the title card for creator Vince Gilligan.

Next week’s episode is called “Ozymandias,” taken from the poem of the same name:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear —
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.’

The poem was also used in a teaser trailer for the final eight episodes.

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10 comments

  • I watched much of the other seasons of BB in the past couple of weeks. Walt may have manipulated Jesse with Brock, but Jesse’s actions (i.e. skimming meth from Gus, opening a side business with that meth, charging out to kill the drug dealers, threatening Walt’s brother-in-law after leading him to the RV, shutting Walt out after Gus/Mike starts sweetening Jesse to try and turn him against Walt.

    If Walt had split from Jesse permanently after getting the job with Fring, they would still be working happily and Fring would still esteem Walt highly.

    Jesse caused Walt more grief than Walt caused him. Walt’s greatest failure towards Jesse is his attitude and ego, but Walt saved Jesse’s life more than once, even from Jane. I love these episodes of BB, but it bothers me that Jesse doesn’t remember that Walt really did right by Jesse, and the writers don’t seem to remember it either, apart from a little remark that Hank made about Walt actually caring for Jesse.

  • Hey Shawn, probably want to change the four to a five at the beginning of the 2nd paragraph.

    I was watching the phone call with Marie expecting Hank to get shot with her on the phone… made it more intense… just to be followed by the neo-nazi shootout with classic A-Team accuracy :)

    If Hank doesn’t make it out… is the flash forward to the White home the aftermath of an enraged Marie? Whatever it is… it’ll be awesome!

  • Question: Does AMC or someone send out a synopsis for bloggers to use to write up these episodes? This reads a LOT like the recap at Entertainment Weekly (http://tvrecaps.ew.com/recap/breaking-bad-season-5-episode-13-tohajiilee/3/).

    Both recaps choose to quote the same segments of dialog, and while I totally understand you both are describing the same episode, through both recaps certain phrases are *identical*. It doesn’t strike me as plagiarism, but more like the production must send out a bare bones template for people to start with or something.

  • I want Walter to win. I want him to win spectacularly, see his family set for life, and then the cancer takes him.

    Just die with the satisfaction that all he did meant something.

  • I really, REALLY want Walter White to die or go to prison. My point of view is that he is sapped of humanity and my interest in this show, at this point in time, is just to see him burn in the most horrible way possible.