So am I, Aaron. So am I. There was a little bit of shouting at the television, a couple of incoherent texts to my brother, and way too much nail-biting. This episode lived up to and exceeded Paul’s assessment.
This week’s cold open picked up a few minutes before where last week’s episode left off – just from the other end of Walt’s phone call. Lydia is observing Todd in his lab along with his uncle and one of his men. Though the finished product is purer than it had been with Declan at the helm, it’s still only at 76%, or about 20 percentage points fewer than what Lydia and her European customers grew used to. Lydia, clad in a blue coat, expects the blue stuff, and so do her buyers. Jack suggests that they add food coloring to the mix, something Walt’s competitors used to do way back when. Todd and Lydia chat and after his weird attempt at seduction (?) and she heads out. Todd watches her go while running his finger over the lipstick stain on her mug. Again, weird. His phone rings and, as expected, it’s Walt requesting his uncle’s service.
With every new episode of Breaking Bad comes seriously heightened anxiety levels. We’ve all endured some pretty panicky moments over the course of the show, but no episode has ever come close to the tension “Confessions” created. Let’s start from the beginning.
The opening scene brought us to a diner with Todd, his uncle, and a cohort, all of whom were just returning from laying a smackdown on Declan and his subpar meth lab. Todd let Walt know what went down via a voicemail and then, after sitting down at the table, gloats about his involvement with the train heist in what felt like an attempt to convince the older, hardened criminals that he was ready to head up his own lab. We don’t hear about Todd again or the rest of the episode, so it’s unclear whether or not Walt actually heard the message.
In the next scene, Walt seems to be focusing on more important things than his cell phone. He’s trying to cover up his black eyes with concealer while also talking to Walt Jr. He’s not totally engrossed in the conversation until Jr. mentions that Marie invited him over for dinner. Walt perks up mid-makeup application and, just as his son is walking out the door, he pulls him back in. He has to think fast, so he does the one thing he knows will keep Walt Jr. in the house: he drops the “C” bomb. He was clearly not ready for the news and decides to stay home, just like Walt, the expert manipulator who chose to go after his own son, knew he would. When Hank gets home sans his nephew, Marie panics. She becomes more on-edge once she realizes Hank hasn’t revealed his secret to anyone at work. The scene cuts to the White residence, and Walt recites and records the beginning of what sounds a confession, which starts out almost identically to the one in the pilot.
After what had to be the longest bathroom trip in history, Breaking Bad finally returned on Sunday following an 11-month break. Like many viewers expected, Vince Gilligan and company delivered. The season five second-half premiere was tense from start to finish – it was hard to remember to breathe. But who would have expected anything else?
“Blood Money” began with a handful of twenty-somethings skateboarding in an empty pool. It became clear that they were in the backyard of the White residence once one caught air and went just beyond the lip of the pool. Sure enough, we got a view of the front of the house, now fenced in and dilapidated. Future Walt pulls up in his now-familiar Volvo and enters the abandoned home, now featuring the word “Heisenberg” spray-painted in large letters across a wall. Walt retrieves his hidden stash of ricin and leaves the house, only to be seen by his visibly shaken neighbor Carol, who promptly drops her bag of groceries once she realizes who she’s looking at. She’s terrified. Leave it to Walt to think he’d be able to slip into his condemned home unseen. His invincibility complex never ceases to amaze. The amount of time that’s passed from where “Gliding Over All” ended to where this episode began is unclear, but one thing is certain: shit went down, and it was bad.