The closing of that garage door in last week’s episode signalled the beginning of the end for Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and this instalment saw everyone involved scrambling to form alliances amid the fallout. Though it was a much slower affair, it was still an incredibly tense episode and one which really focused on the female characters of the series – Skyler (Anna Gunn) and Marie (Betsy Brandt), as they each reacted in visceral and surprising ways.
Following Hank (Dean Norris) and Walt’s intense showdown, both men rushed to get to Skyler to secure her loyalty but it was Hank who got there first. But despite his best efforts, including a surprisingly heartfelt hug, she chose to stick by her husband; a perhaps not so surprising decision, given hers and Walt’s recent matching beige outfits. Her new pink shirt should perhaps be a warning of where this decision will lead her though, as the colour pink has often been used previously to foreshadow death.
It was Marie and Skyler’s later confrontation which really stole the episode, giving Brandt in particular a rare opportunity to shine. It was a gut-wrenching scene to watch as Marie slowly realised just how long her sister had known about Walt’s activities and its culminating slap was a shocking way of showing just how far Skyler has fallen – she has long been an incredibly sympathetic character, but in that moment her complicity in Walt’s actions became clear and by further refusing to help bring him down, it is highly likely that she has sealed her own fate.
Jesse meanwhile, continues to self-implode, and it’s a testament to Aaron Paul’s abilities that even with practically no dialogue, he still manages to dominate whatever scene he’s in. The episode smashed to black before we could see Hank begin to question him, leaving us desperate for the next episode, but one thing is clear: though he may have only had a small part in these opening two episodes, he will have a much larger part in however the series ends. Will he keep his silence or will his guilt drive him to turn informant? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Despite the show’s incredibly dark tone, it still manages to retain some moments of genuine humour, and Huell (Lavell Crawford) and Kuby’s (Bill Burr) sneaky moment of lying back onto Walt’s vast pile of money was an absolute gem. Similarly, any scene involving their utter sleazeball of a lawyer, Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), is an absolute treat to watch and it is easy to see why the marvellous character has garnered talks of his own spin-off series (should he make it out alive, that is).
Now that all of the allegiances have been formed, the story can really get going and build towards the finale we’ve long been waiting for. Though each episode leaves you gasping for the next, and with only six reminaing, you cannot escape the ever-present knowledge that Breaking Bad is not long for this world. It will be sorely missed.