Breaking Bad “To’hajiilee” Review (5×13)

9 Sep


Walter White has given up. We’ve seen the cracks in his facade, most noticeably last week, with his flustered demeanor around Skyler and Walt Jr. However, this episode marks the true downfall of the cold, calculating Heisenberg. Or is it?

In a way, it is. Even though he once again finds luck on his side, it’s all due to a rag-tag group of Nazi lovers that are nothing like the foes he deems worthy to oppose. If he ends up having to face off with them for his life, it’d be a final middle finger from everyone to Heisenberg. It would be strangely fitting that he’d fall to the hands of real criminals.

Nevertheless, the episode is a perfect encapsulation of the road Walt’s been heading down. Cranston does tremendous work with Walt’s facial expressions, conveying both a sense of finality and of relief. His rage is transformed into something quieter as he realizes that he’s trapped. He’s betrayed by the sight of Jesse stepping out of that vehicle. He’s underestimated Hank, Jesse, and Gomez, and he just can’t take it anymore.

Now, this is much like Jesse, who has used up every ounce of effort to take down his former boss. He allows himself a small smile as Walt is arrested, yet he’s also astonished at how everything has turned out. How can a nobody like Jesse Pinkman outsmart a criminal mastermind like Walter White? How can Jesse be Walt’s greatest weakness? Those are understandable questions, but the answers have been telegraphed since the start of the season. The first eight episodes were all about Walt’s victory lap, but recently, he’s started to outsmart himself. As he races through the desert (in an expertly directed scene by MacLaren), he’s so overcome with rage that he starts screaming at Jesse. Everything is crashing down around him as he speaks, and he reverts back to his “family” excuse; he tries to hold family and his cancer over Jesse’s head, but he’s too angry to see that it won’t work. Much like his excursion to Brock’s house, Walt still believes in the fact that others care for him. The thing is, everyone else has already figured out his tricks.


That doesn’t mean they’ll be successful, though. The final shoot out is telegraphed throughout the episode, and when Hank picks up that phone to call Marie, we know something’s going to happen. His smugness level is off the charts. He’s waving to Walt, professing his love for Marie, and is smiling gleefully. It’s the mark of a man that can just taste that sweet, sweet success. He is so in the moment that he doesn’t stop to think about his career. This revelation will ruin his life, but he’s won, so he pushes that off to the side.

Then, everything explodes. The smash cut to black prevents us from seeing what has transpired, but we know that nothing will ever be the same.

Grade: A

Other thoughts:

-Walt Jr’s delight at seeing Saul is absolutely priceless.

-“Don’t drink and drive, but if you do, call me!”

-It’s ironic how Walt reverting back to his old ways is actually what helps him get away. He agrees to one more cook, and that earns him the services of the Nazis.

-The cold open is hilarious. We can clearly see that it’s not blue, but Todd trying to say it is is a thing of beauty. Speaking of, the way Todd shoots all nonchalant during the shootout scene is a funny shot amidst an intense atmosphere. He may seem like a light-hearted character, but in reality, he’s terrifying. He has absolutely no morals, and he’s essentially a machine.

-I forgot to breathe during that last segment.

-Brock knows! If I was him, I’d make sure those Fruit Loops weren’t laced with ricin.

-It’s been wonderful to watch the work of Michelle MacLaren. She will continue doing amazing things with the camera.

-“Remember, where we used to have cookouts as a family?” Hank has turned the tables.

-Oh, Huell. You’re awesome.

Credit to AMC and Breaking Bad for all pictures. I own nothing.


6 Responses to “Breaking Bad “To’hajiilee” Review (5×13)”

  1. davecrewe September 9, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Nice review! For all the foreshadowing of Hank’s death, I wouldn’t actually be surprised to see him live out a couple more episodes at least – Walt’s remarkably comprehensive confession over the phone was one of the few clunky moments in the episode, and makes me believe we’ll see a payoff shortly; Hank seems like the guy to use it (since what would Jesse do with it/are we really going to see Gomey take Walt down?).

    • polarbears16 September 9, 2013 at 11:58 am #

      Thanks! Yeah, I think he’ll survive, but I have a feeling Gomey won’t make it out of there.

  2. crowdoffullpockets September 11, 2013 at 7:44 am #

    To get the most important thing out of the way, it’s Froot Loops. 🙂

    Nice review!

    Todd is a true psychopath, in the clinical, Robert Hare sense. It’s interesting to me that even in this world of thieves, drug dealers, murderers, and car wash merchants, a true psychopath not only still stands out but seems to slightly put off everyone else. People seem to treat him differently from everyone else so often, and I can only assume it’s because of his psychopathy.

    I rather expect Jesse to die. I’m not sure about everyone else, but I think he’s going. Drawing attention to Jack noticing Jesse in the car seemed to suggest something, and I’m guessing it’s foreshadowing that Jesse is going to try to run and then be cut down.

    At first, I was angry that Michelle MacLaren didn’t get the penultimate episode, but then I saw it was Rian Johnson. Clearly (from my blog’s name), I love Rian Johnson, so now I’m just thinking this is going to be an absolutely gorgeous set of episodes to finish the series, even by its standards.

    • polarbears16 September 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

      Thanks for reading! Great take on Todd. Jesse dying here would be interesting. I’m not sure if he will, and I kind of want to see him come out on top in the end.

      Gilligan said that the next episode is his favorite of the entire series, so I’m really excited.

      Froot Loops. 🙂

      • crowdoffullpockets September 11, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

        I think Vince Gilligan has the same love of Rian Johnson that I do.

      • polarbears16 September 11, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

        I don’t know how anyone couldn’t love Rian Johnson.

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