TV Review: Breaking Bad S05E10, Buried

A massacre, a burial and a family intervention - all the trouble Walter White got himself into this week

Sharin Bhatti August 20, 2022
  • Direction
  • Acting
  • Cinematography
  • Screenplay

If show creator Vince Gilligan’s writer’s training during “The X-Files,” taught him anything, it’s the attention to detail of non-POV characters. Like floating installments that extend some sort of fortitude to the silence that is inherently as much a POV character to the show as is Walter White (Bryan Cranston). Gilligan has mastered the art of extending humour and emotion to that inane object or in this episode, that cheap jack who idles his ancient red truck, while following a trail of scattered tens of thousands of green bundles leading to Jessie Pinkman’s (Aaron Paul) wasted form milling around a children’s park swing. An open bag of millions lies in the passenger seat of his abandoned car nearby. Much like the pink teddy bear, our senses are piqued through the show to expect the unexpected. Even when we find the remote-controlled, yellow toy Lamborghini aimlessly driving in Brownian Motion outside Hank’s (Dean Norris) shuttered-down garage. Anything, anything can happen now.

The garage opens and Walter walks out with the nervous rage of realization that he’s been caught as he scrambles to his car and scurries down the road, desperately trying to get in touch with Skyler (Anna Gunn). But Hank’s already gotten to her and so begins the familial intervention. Hank and Marie (Betsy Brandt) play good cop, bad cop to Skyler. “We will protect you,” Hank reassures her, even though he is mad and shaken with the rabid intensity of a mad dog on a prowl. He has to get Heisenberg at all costs. Tempers rage, threats are made, tears are shed, hysterical screams are yelled out - but Skyler doesn’t give in. She stands her ground at the diner where Hank makes first contact and she yells at him, “Are you arresting me?” to her bed at home where her sister and Hank’s purple-living wife Marie confronts her, slaps her, takes her baby hostage. They don’t crack Skyler. In this moment in the entire series, Skyler emerges as the Iron Lady, the protector.

Walt meanwhile must bury his millions. With his legal consult and clean-up joe Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) and some goons recover his moolah (including a “planking on a million” scene), Walt drives to the middle of the New Mexico desert and digs holes in the ground to bury barrels, literally, of his blue meth money. He’s secured his future, comes home at the crack of dawn and collapses on the bathroom floor. If we are to rewind to Season One to come face-to-face with a scared White who is unsure of what the future brings, we might relate our now retired-meth cook don Heisenberg to that man of the past when his ailing body pleads with Skyler, “Promise me you will keep the money. All of this would have been for nothing then.” The cancer is back and for the first time, the mighty White is scared. He is uncertain, he feels caught and he is sick. Skyler stands up and makes him their best offer for survival - to stay silent. If the show is headed towards a reversal of gender in the finale, then by all means we might see Skyler assuming a queen-bee position.

Even as meth’s international hustler Lydia (Laura Fraser) assumes her control over the “production business’ by way of flexing muscle power as she gets Heisenberg’s stand-in meth cook Declan (Louis Ferreira) and his posse killed. The gravitas of the sequence itself will send chills down your spine, as you see Lydia’s transformation from a nubile weekling to a mafia mama of sorts, sporting Louboutins. That, in essence, evokes all previous kill scenes for the blue pill of the entire series.

Back at Hank’s, even while he struggles to confide in his aides at work, at the risk of being guffawed at by his peers of how his brother-in-law, poor Walt conned him all these years, he finds himself in the company of an opportune occurrence. Pinkman is in the interrogation room, found with a bag full of a million. Hank is going to break him, or we assume in the following episode. Screw you Heisenberg.