[Review] - Breaking Bad, Season 5 Episode 11, "Confessions"

Courtesy of AMC
Right off the top, in a short scene like something out of an Elmore Leonard novel, we get acquainted with the Nazi skin heads that took over the former Heisenberg empire at the close of last week's episode. These guys are clearly going to be of growing importance down the line, because front and centre is actor Kevin Rankin, also known as Justified's Devil, and I have to wonder what sort of typecasting is "articulate neo-Nazi," that he keeps getting these roles? Anyway...

Part of the joy of knowing that everything Walter has worked for will come crumbling down around him, is trying to see how it happened before it happens. Will Jesse do this? Will Hank do that? Will Walter's hubris finally get the better of him? As the tension mounts, all the characters start reaching their breaking points, and it's only when Walter reaches his will everything be over with. He's not there yet. But Hank is, and Jesse finally reached his in the subversively named Confessions.Perhaps a better name would have been Mutually Assured Destruction.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that keep their secret firearms inside an old pinball machine.


The last two episodes have been all about Hurricane Hank, tearing through Walter's life and uprooting every secret he could get his hands on. It was domestic terrorism in a very literal sense. But if he was gearing up to be some sort of unstoppable force, then this episode he came to a screeching halt before the looming immovable object that is Walter White. The world of the White family is a bleak one now. Hank is finally starting to realise exactly how involved Skylar is in Walter's operation, or at least understands now that she is complicit. Marie, after her baby napping attempt last week, has moved on to luring youths away from their homes, and advocating suicide. Somehow, I doubt they'll be invited over for another BBQ.

Aaron Paul actually got something to do this week, and while I doubted that Jesse would be removed from the equation so early, all credit to the show for really selling the good bye vibe we were getting from the characters. And hanging above the entire thing was the memory of Mike's equally believable exit from the show, and which made me wonder all the while Jesse was himming and hawing, and waiting by the curb, if he might not be headed for Belize (although, as spinoffs go, Jesse Pinkman: Crabboat Greenhorn isn't the worst idea in the world).

As I've thought three or four times during the series run of the show, Jesse's story was all but wrapped up. But silly me, I forgot vengeance. And that Jesse is smarter then everyone on the show gives him credit for, even himself. In the past, I might have believed that Walter will get to the house in time, convince Jesse not to strike the match. Not now. Next week, I think we're going to see red. I just hope Walter has those GPS coordinates memorised.

Walter, ever the master manipulator, got his fullest evil on twice this episode. I won't count his desert talk with Jesse because 1) Jesse called him on it, and b) as self serving as it was of him, I think he genuinely meant what he said. Walter cares for Jesse like a son, and wants to protect him. As much as he has been protecting himself over the series, he has equally protected Jesse. Walter understands that Jesse is a problem, and he isn't beyond solving problems. But he wants Jesse to thrive, and doesn't want him to end up in a sealed barrel. He gives him an out. He gives him the opportunity to live, which is more then he's given most of the people who have threatened Walter's safety.

He pulls no punches though, using emotional blackmail on his son, and using good old fashioned blackmail on his in-laws. And I don't know which was more satisfying. His cancer talk with Walt Jr. is classic Walt, nothing special or strenuous. His video confession, implementing Hank for all of Heisenberg's crimes, was the move of a Batman villain. And one that would do exactly as Walter knows it would: if his life is going to be destroyed, then Hank gets it just as bad. We already know that Hank is doomed in all of this, there is no recovery position. And Walter uses that to his advantage.

What makes Walter so dangerous is, in both instances, he only lies enough to shift the focus off of himself. That's the way he's always operated. Any good liar will tell you, you don't lie, you rearrange the truth. False facts can be discovered. True facts, presented in a different way, tell whatever story you are able to convince them of. So, Walter uses his cancer, and his entire catalogue of crimes and associations, and forces a perspective that may not be accurate, but cannot be disproved. There will, I have no doubt, come a time (and it's coming soon) where Walter won't be able to talk his way out of a situation, that's probably why he buys that gun. Where Walter won't be the smartest guy in the room anymore.

Or, someone will just set his world on fire.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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