I'm just going to be honest with you: the least fun thing about writing a Breaking Bad recap -- or any recap, for that matter -- is coming up with the obligatory spoiler-free intro. I mean, you don't care what I'm writing in this paragraph, I don't care what I'm writing in this paragraph, the whole point is simply to have the paragraph here so that I don't delve immediately into the content of the recap without the SPOILER WARNING. You know?
Anyway, now that I've almost got this part out of the way, let's get to the actual RECAPPING and discuss tonight's episode, titled "Buried." (Once more with feeling: spoilers ahead.)
Our cold open involves a man who looks like he could dearly use a bundled wad of cash or two discovering Jesse's thrown blood money, and eventually, Jesse himself, spinning aimlessly on a merry-go-round. (Which, by the way, is green. WHAT DOES IT MEEAAAN?) Next we check back in with the Walt/Hank showdown, moments after the 'tread lightly' comment as Hank cranks the world's most ominous-sounding garage door shut and Walt tries to beat Hank to the punch when it comes to getting Skyler on the phone.
Unfortunately for Walt, Hank gets to her first and, shell-shocked, she agrees to meet him at a restaurant. Hank tries to assure her that everything's going to be just fine with regards to her meth-lord husband as long as she, you know, speaks clearly and directly into his tape recorder, but Skyler breaks out of her fugue and says she thinks she needs a lawyer. Hank says oh ho ho ho noooo, lawyers just gum up the works, come on Skyler, let's just go get your kids and bring them to my house, okay?
"Am I under arrest?" Skyler asks. Hank tries to assure her that he's on her side, but she becomes more and more unhinged before fleeing the restaurant. "Am I under arrest, Hank? AM I UNDER ARREST?"
Meanwhile, Saul and Walt are freaking out over Hank's knowledge, and Saul makes the grim-yet-hysterical suggestion that Walt could just, like, send Hank to Belize. "Y'know, Belize," Saul says uncomfortably. "Where Mike went to." When Walt flips out on him, blustering that Hank is family for god's sake -- in keeping with his twisted yet unchanging code of ethics -- Saul gets sheepish and says, "It's a technique that's worked very well for you lately, is all I'm saying."
Back at the White household, Marie shows up to confront Skyler. The sisters have a come-to-Jesus discussion, which is mostly one-sided as Marie puts all the pieces together and Skyler says virtually nothing except a choked "I'm so sorry." Marie slaps her, hard, before screaming, "You won't talk to Hank because you think Walt is going to get away with this."
Marie storms out of the bedroom and makes a beeline for little Holly, who she picks up and tries to take from the house. A nearly unwatchable scene ensues -- a box cutter execution has NOTHING on a screaming child as two women physically fight over her -- before Hank finally bursts in and tells Marie to let the baby go. In the car, Marie stares woodenly ahead before telling Hank, "You have to get him."
Walt drives out to a no-man's-land section of the desert and undergoes a truly Herculean effort digging a huge-ass pit in the ground and burying his stash of drug money. (Random side note: have you ever noticed that everyone's always wearing coats in this show? Isn't New Mexico HOT sometimes?) He memorizes the coordinates for the money: 34 59 20 106 36 52. Maybe these numbers have some deeper Lost-style meaning within the Breaking Bad story? Or maybe it's just an Easter egg for fans: some report these are the coordinates of Albuquerque Studios where they film the show.
Walt returns home to a wigged-out Skyler, at which point he promptly collapses face-first into the bathroom floor. When he comes to the next morning (I can't believe Walt Jr. isn't banging on the door asking for breakfast), Walt tells Skyler he'll turn himself in to Hank, as long as Skyler promises to keep the money. "Please don't let me have done all this for nothing," he says, and holy shit, do I feel SORRY for Walt? Yes. Yes I do. Although I feel worse for Skyler. In response to his question of whether it makes her happy to learn his cancer is back, she says only this: "I can’t remember the last time I was happy."
Skyler then shows how she too has broken bad, in her own way: she tells Walt that Hank only has his suspicions, he doesn't have anything concrete. "Maybe our best move here is to stay quiet," she murmurs. Daaaaaaamn.
Elsewhere at the Schrader household, Marie tells Hank he needs to go in to work and tell the DEA what he knows. Hank says that the moment he shares this information -- that the guy he's been chasing all this time is his own brother-in-law -- his career is over. He says that when he goes in, he's bringing definitive proof. "I can be the man who caught him, at least."
Lydia goes to visit her new meth crew, picking her way daintily across the desert ground in her Louboutins. She complains about the quality of the product and suggests they use Todd again. Her guy says hell no, he wants to stick with people he can trust. "I wish you'd given him a chance," Lydia says, before gunfire breaks out and she cowers in the bunker as shells rain down around her head. Finally, Todd pokes his head into the bunker to give her the all clear, then gallantly escorts her past all the dead bodies. Oh, LANDRY -- err, I mean Todd. You're so chivalrous I almost forgot how you gunned down an innocent little boy last season.
Finally, we see Hank back at the office, where he learns Jesse's been brought in for questioning on account of him throwing millions of dollars all over people's lawns. Jesse is basically catatonic, a tragic shell of his bitch-talking self. Hank asks the cops interrogating Jesse to let him have a couple minutes, and that's where the episode ends, with Hank walking into the room and closing the door behind him.
Fantastic as always, with extra points to Anna Gunn for absolutely nailing her performances. Now that all the pieces are in play, I cannot wait to see how the story unravels in the final six episodes.
What did you think of tonight's Breaking Bad?
Image via AMC