One of the major strengths of Breaking Bad is it’s willingness to take the time to set the entirety of the show up as a series of decisions that were made under the pretense of providing for family. This very conundrum has forced us all to question the very meaning of what makes a moral man. As time has worn on throughout the series, the majority of us have come to the conclusion that Walt has gone off the deep end and dipped into the realm of moral ambiguity.
While Walter’s true motivations for entering and remaining in the drug world can be questioned, it has always been clear that the fallout witnessed in last night’s episode was inevitable. Hank has always been the one most likely to foil Walt’s mastery of criminal life. Stage one of the fallout is the loss of family.
Brother-in-law versus brother-in-law has quickly become sister versus sister and thus family versus family. Buried begins by filling us in on Jesse’s paperboy escapades, but we’ll discuss that later on in the article as that story mostly filled out the margins of the episode.
When we first see Walter, it is from right where things left off the previous week. Walter walks out from Hank’s garage, turns and faces his new nemesis and the two stare one another down once more. Hank shuts the garage door and the chess match begins.
Walt races to his car screeches out of the driveway and then quickly attempts to call Skyler. To his chagrin, she is already on the phone and with Hank no less. Hank has contacted Skyler to meet up and collect a statement from her. The two meet in a diner, where Skyler makes one of her patented outbursts, but no one is sure if this one is true or some kind of ploy. Her complicity in Walt’s illegal activity does serve as reason enough for her fear, but there was still an inkling of doubt at the same time.
With Walter unable to get a hold of his wife or be sure of what her intentions are during her meeting with Hank, he quickly heads to Saul to discuss his options. Skyler finally calls, but Saul advises him not to answer in case the call is tapped. Saul then suggests “sending Hank to Beliz,”—aka kill him—but Walt quickly and unequivocally makes it clear that is not an option.
Saul’s henchman arrive at the office with a van loaded up with barrels stuffed with Walter’s cash. After paying off Saul and his men, Walter hops into the van and drives off to an undisclosed location in order to hide the majority of his money. He ends up working through to the night burying the barrels out in the desert. He then uses a device to give him the GPS coordinates of the location before heading home.
Walt’s ability to not only think of his options, but also come up with his adversaries’ best moves and countering them before they’re even made has been one of the more fascinating parts of this series.
In the meantime, Marie and Hank swing by the house to visit Skyler, who agrees to talk but only to her sister. Marie begins by questioning her on how much she knows about Walt’s actions and how long she has known. Without ever receiving an answer, Marie is able to piece together that Skyler has known almost since the beginning. She begins to apologize, but is promptly slapped. Marie then walks out of the room and tries to take Holly. A confrontation ensue, but Hank breaks it up.
When the two get into the car, they both sit there with a blank stare of shock until Marie says, “You have to get him.”
… Battle on.
By the time Walter makes it home it is morning. he walks into the bathroom to shower and collapses on the floor. Four hours later, he wakes up and is asked if his cancer is back and if this is it. Walt sorrowfully replies, “does that make you happy?” Walt says he’ll give himself up if she promises to keep the money and pass it on to their children. It is the first inclination in quite some time that Walt is still thinking of his family—err at least when the cancer isn’t in remission.
“Please. Please don’t let me have done all of this for nothing.”
Following the quote that returns us to the very premise of how this brilliant show began in the first place is this hefty nugget from Skyler that should have, at the very least, raised some eyebrows:
“You can’t give yourself up without giving up the money. That’s the way this works, Walt. So maybe our best move here is to stay quiet.”
Given a clean out with permission from her dying husband, Skyler has chosen the route of continuing to launder the money and alienate herself from her family.
One one fell swoop, we now know where everyone stands and can sit back and watch as this issue tears the family apart at the seams.
Continuing on the Lydia story line that seemed oddly short last week, we witness her meeting up with Declan and the rest of the meth operation that she has been left with since Walter’s departure. She is infuriated by the weak product she is being provided with and has come to view their underground lab to study its conditions. The assumption was that Todd had been left in charge of the cook, but apparently Declan has moved on from him due to a lack of trust.
Suddenly, Declan is told there is a problem and tells Lydia to stay put. He and his new unnamed cook go up to the surface and Lydia sends a message on her phone. Gunfire rings out and abruptly stops, the door opens and Todd tells Lydia it’s safe to come out. She tells him she doesn’t want to see anything so Todd walk her through the bodies of Declan and his crew while keeping her eyes shut.
Todd may not be the brightest guy, but he melds Walt’s meth cooking tactics and the ruthlessness of the worst gangbanger into one. His new found connection with Lydia could prove to be problematic down the line, but how? We’ll have to wait to see.
Don’t worry folks, I didn’t forget to bring up the forlorn Jesse, whose money-tossing night got him brought in for questioning by the same agents who questioned him during the ricin incident. We see Hank in his office sitting at his desk and looks around. Gomez pops in Hank tells him he wants to setup a conference call with Ramey. Gomez then tells Hank about Jesse and the money.
Hank is intrigued by this new bit of information and immediately heads over to see Jesse. After being given permission to speak to Jesse by the other agents, Hank enters the room and the episode draws to a close. Jesse is a wildcard at this point and could easily flip on Walter because he of his guilt issues.