Deep breaths everyone – though this week’s episode of Breaking Bad was an absolute game-changer, there’s still five episodes left to go and with a track record of never being predictable, it’s still hard to see just how things will play out. But with Jesse (Aaron Paul) now on the war path after figuring out that Walt (Bryan Cranston) poisoned Brock (Ian Posada), the story is now truly picking up momentum for what is sure to be the mother of all showdowns.
It was an episode full of surprises – Walt’s faked confession where he shifted the blame onto his DEA brother-in-law was an absolute masterstroke; like Hank (Dean Norris) and Marie (Betsy Brandt), we were left to watch in shock as he recalled the events of the past year, twisting the truth so that it was Hank who appeared to be the real mastermind. But the biggest surprise for me came at the end of a heated discussion where Walt had suggested to Jesse that he disappear and start a new life, for his own good. Jesse saw right through his kind words though, and called him out, but instead of threatening or even shooting his former partner, Walt walked up to him and pulled him into a hug. The relationship between these two has been one of the real delights of the show but this sudden display of affection was extremely unsettling; at some point soon, one of them will turn on the other.
Of course that moment came sooner, rather than later, and just as Jesse was about to leave town to start a new life, he realised that Walt had poisoned Brock after all. Jesse has been quietly simmering away these past few episodes, but here, he exploded and made a beeline straight for the White family home, petrol container in hand, whilst Walt armed himself for the retribution he knows is coming. With so much now between Walt and Jesse, it’s hard to see them both surviving such a confrontation.
These final episodes have certainly taken on a darker tone as the characters begin to turn on each other and this has come across its entire aesthetic as well; for a show which relies so heavily on visuals to tell the story, it was no surprise that the cinematography would follow suit. This was particularly noticeable in this week’s episode during Hank’s attempted interrogation of Jesse – the dim room was used to help create a sense of claustrophobia and it felt like the darkness was literally pressing in on them. There was further play between light and dark during a scene in which Skyler was sitting in her office, worrying, as Walt quietly entered behind her; he stood silhouetted in the doorway and appeared as a shadow looming over her. Much is said of the actors in Breaking Bad, but the cinematography is used just as powerfully to help tell the story.
After this week, and with Walt and Jesse now on a collision course, it seems that everything is finally in place for the showdown we’ve all been waiting for. Although it may be hard to imagine after Hank and Walt’s absolute nail-biter of a confrontation, things are about to get a lot more intense. Best brace yourselves.