'Breaking Bad' Premiere Recap: Walt's Command to 'Tread Lightly' Chills Us to the Bone

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Breaking BadIT'S BREAKING BAD PREMIERE RECAP TIME, YOU GUYS! Man, I feel like I've been waiting for the return of this show forever, although according to things called "facts," it's been a little less than 12 months. In the last episode of the split fifth season, the biggest news was that Hank had made a rather enormous discovery while sitting on a toilet, which led us to nearly a year of wondering how that in particular was going to play out once the story picked back up again.

Let's get straight to discussing tonight's much-anticipated episode, shall we? Spoilers ahead, so proceed with caution.

We start with the flash-forward that was teased during Comic-Con, which seems to be taking place soon after Walt's 52nd birthday (when, as we saw last season, he bought the M60 machine gun that's in the trunk of his busted-ass sedan). Walt drives up to his house, which is now an abandoned, chain-linked skate park with HEISENBERG spray-painted on an inside wall. He breaks in, removes the hidden ricin vial from the wall socket, and stares briefly into his distorted, monstrous reflection. As he leaves, he encounters his neighbor Carol, who drops her groceries in shock when he greets her.

Flashback to the present, which is a lingering shot of the bathroom door -- behind which is Hank, totally gobsmacked over the realization that Gale's W.W. is Walter White. Hank comes zombie-shuffling out to the patio just as Marie teases Walt, "You're the devil!" Haaaaaa! It's funny because it's true!

While Hank feigns a stomach illness and holes up in his garage doing cop things with his many Heisenberg case notes (if this was any show other than Breaking Bad, we'd totally get a scene of Hank thumbtacking papers to walls and drawing lines between various players before emphatically circling Walt's face like 20 times with a Sharpie), we check in with Skyler and Walt's car wash business. They're both dressed in tasteful ecru clothing and Walt's promoting the idea of 1) moving the pine-scented air fresheners next to the energy drinks, and 2) purchasing another business to more efficiently launder their enormous amount of drug money.

Lydia shows up to whine fearfully about how her meth quality control sucks now that Walt's not cooking, and he coldly informs her that's not his problem. "Have an A-1 day!" he chirps afterward. Ooh, his duplicitous nature is on point in this scene.

Our first glance of Jesse Pinkman shows him sitting in his house staring into the void while Skinny Pete and Badger have a righteous discussion about Star Trek. Jesse eventually grabs his duffel bags crammed with cash and departs to Saul's office where he tells the lawyer to give half of the $5 million to Mike’s granddaughter Kaylee, and the other half to the parents of the boy who was shot last season for witnessing Walt's train heist.

Saul's his usual funny, blustering, strangely earnest self, but decides to call Walt (who, surprise, answers the phone while receiving a chemo treatment) about Jesse's decision. This sends Walt to Jesse's house for another Mr. White pep talk, but this time Jesse's not buying it. He knows Mike is dead. He knows the money -- which he later tosses from the windows of his car -- may as well be coated in blood. He's spiraling down the drain and it's absolutely heartbreaking to watch because who among us isn't rooting like hell for Jesse at this point?

Back at the White household, Walt escapes from yet another awkward-looking, poorly-lit, no-baby-in-sight, salad-bowl-front-and-center family dinner in order to secretly chemo-hork his brains out in the toilet. While he's carefully arranging a towel under his knees for premium vomit comfort, he notices Leaves of Grass is missing. Huh. Later, in bed with Skyler, he casually asks how Hank's doing. "He's been home from work all week," she yawns. Huh. At some point after she falls asleep, Walt sneaks out to his car, where he discovers a GPS tracking device. HUH.

The next day, Walt arrives at Hank's house. Some supremely tense small talk ensues, then Walt finally confronts Hank about the tracking device. Staring him in the eye, Hank carefully pushes the button on the garage door opener and it loudly and ominously ratchets its way closed. "I don't like the way you're looking at me," Walt says, and Hank punches him directly in the face, hissing, "It was YOU. All along, it was YOU."

Walt tells Hank his cancer is back. "Good," Hank breathes, licking his lips while his entire face seems filled with barely-there twitches. Walt says Hank knows he'll never end up in jail, in six months he'll be dead anyway, so what's the point?

"I'm a dying man who runs a car wash, and that's all that I am," Walt says. "Right hand to God."

God-hands aside, Walt shows his spooky true colors just a moment later in response to Hank's whisper that he doesn't even know who Walt is.

"If that's true. If you don’t know who I am ... " Walt says, and it seems like he's going to beg Hank to let him keep what's left of his life, or try to explain himself, or something? NOPE. "... then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly."

Hot. DAMN. What a close. What a show. What a VERY LONG TIME it seems until next Sunday rolls around and we can see what happens next.

What did you think of tonight's Breaking Bad premiere?


Image via AMC

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