TV Review: Breaking Bad, S05E11, Confessions

Jesse Pinkman comes undone and Walter White sets up his dear brother-in-law Hank Schrader

Sharin Bhatti August 27, 2022
  • Direction
  • Acting
  • Cinematography
  • Screenplay

The Devil is in the bloody details. Watching “Breaking Bad” is like reading a gripping thriller, where you keep flipping back and forth the pages to stay on top of those deviously mysterious moments that became plot-breakers. Show creator Vince Gilligan would like you to watch his show’s final few episodes, bearing the whole meat of the previous four and a half seasons. How else would you explain Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) rummaging through his jacket pocket looking for his stash of weed, whilst he awaits the car that would drive him to his new life with a new identity (more on that later). He discovers a ciggie pack instead and drives his rage-fueled form to Saul Goodman’s (Bob Odenkirk) office where he pries out of him the confession that could change the course of the show, and maybe even cause Walter White (Byran Cranston) his undoing that makes for the flash forward devastation we saw in Episode 9. Pinkman’s dumb slumber is now a thing of the past, so is his emotional breakdown. He knows about the ricin cigarette pack that Goodman swapped from his jacket in Season Four, leading to his girlfriend’s son Brock’s poisoning. Goodman, bloody nosed and shrill, confesses it was White’s plan all along. A gasoline canister in hand, Pinkman douses the White residence in the flammable fluid. But will he attempt the arson?

How, you might ask, how has the manipulative genius in Heisenberg, who’s ingenious plots, untraceable killings, burtal two-minute prison hits have made him him slip-up in this most careless fashion. Pinkman’s latest discovery aside, there’s the DEA Hank Shrader (Dean Norris) to take care of. White is coming undone and it’s not his cancer. More than his flesh decaying, it’s his subverted emotional capacity that’s making him lose his control over the events unfolding in his life. The lying, however, is getting only worse and he’s in constant danger of getting caught, which is exactly what happened with Hank.

Now that he knows he’s in the red, the only way to take on a charging bull is at the horns. When appeasing to Hank’s family and humane side fails, White slips him a copy of a DVD  containing his confession. It calls Hank, Heisenberg and White is portrayed as the helpless cook who’s chemistry skills were elicited by Hank to cook pure form of crystal meth. White, in his signature, vulnerable and unassuming character comes to life on screen and you want to believe that he’s as vulnerable as he portrays himself to be. There’s fact laced with fiction in the tape to become potentially irrefutable proof of Hank’s guilt. Like the case of $ 177,000 US in medical expenses paid for Hank’s rehab after his shootout accident paid by White, which his wife Marie (Betsy Brandt) later confesses to. Hank knows Walter will never use this tape, but is a threat.

Meanwhile, Hank is attempting to coerce Pinkman into giving up White. Pinkman’s consistent, guilt-ridden conscience has made him a pawn in Walter White’s theater-of-the-absurd drama. The baggy, red-eyed Pinkman is grappling with the truth about White and in a final huff to plead with the latter’s humanity, he begs, “Would you just, for once, stop working me?” Pinkman knows White killed Mike and in a tear-jerking moment reaches White to pull him into his surrogate-fatherly embrace. Pinkman will start life afresh. He would have, had the epiphany of the ricin cigarette not hit  him like, pumping lead into his gut. Pinkman’s character in the season so far, has been on the outlines, weak, dumb and pathetic. He’s seen through the deception and he’s going to exact his revenge. Only, he doesn’t know it’s not the ricin that killed Brock, but the extract of a Lily Of The Valley that White grew in his backyard.

If there’s been any doubt so far, “Confessions” puts that to it’s ultimate rest. Walter White has broken bad.