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Breaking Bad: "Buried" recap

By Oscar Garza
On August 20, 2013

 

Picking up immediately after the explosive ending of "Blood Money," the second episode of the was another intense hour of television that further advances towards those final episodes of the series.  

In the chilling opening scene, we got one of the few glimpses of Jesse during this episode. It couldn't have been moodier as Jesse's (Aaron Paul) car is seen abandoned; the gym bag with his money completely unguarded; and an elderly man discovers it. The visual of Jesse lying down on the merry go round, contemplating his life decisions and how they're about to impact his life was not only haunting, but just really subtle work by Paul as he doesn't utter a word throughout this episode, yet he still leaves a huge impression.

The conversation between Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Hank (Dean Norris) instantly creates a whole different dynamic and one that is brimming with fiery suspense. It is spectacular to witness Walt walking towards his car and getting thrown by Hank from his garage-it resembled a preparation for a showdown in an old-time western. However, everything escalates for Walt when Hank decides to contact Skyler (Anna Gunn) and he fears for what it might bring.

Written by Thomas Shnauz and perfectly directed by Michelle MacLaren (she has directed some of the show's best episodes), this episode encompasses the energy of the duo visibly seen throughout the hour . One of the best scenes, perhaps of the entire season, was undoubtedly the masterful "coffee shop scene" between Skyler and Hank. Tension ran rampant throughout the entirety of this scene as Skyler learned about the return of Walt's cancer and tried to remain cautious about revealing anything she knew about her husband. This scene was not only terrifically written (it seemed like a chess battle between each other), and MacLaren's long, drawn-out suspense was perfectly used, but it was also a showcase for some of the finest work that Gunn and Norris have done in this show, delivering intense and fully committed performances.

After failing to talk to his wife before Hank did, Walt heads to Saul's (Bob Odenkirk) office. Some of the dark humor returns as Saul suggests that maybe Walt could send Hank to "Belize" like Mike, but it also allowed Walt to get the money (brought by Saul's henchmen) from the storage and bury it in the desert, where only he knows where it is. As an effect, this leads to Walt digging in the desert the entire day-in another stylish montage-and returning to his house (completely exhausted), giving the audience a great Cranston performance, once again.

Before Walt returns to his house, Marie (Betsy Brandt) stops by to see if Sklar is feeling all right after her disastrous meeting with Hank. Watching Skylar admit to Marie that she knew about everything was not only devastating to watch, but also really tough,  since we are essentially seeing how the family is collapsing as a consequence of Walt's actions. It's one of the most emotional scenes that the final season has given us thus far, and one that just shows how closer to the end we really are.  

The other major sub plot of the episode involved Lydia (Laura Fraser) and the deals that she's been setting up. This time, it ends badly for the other customers as they are dispatched by Todd (Jesse Plemons) and his men. MacLaren's direction choice in this was fantastic, because rather than letting us see the shootout she just lets us stay where Lydia is hidden (in an underground lab), which makes for a great showcase of suspense based purely on sound design.

After the shootout, Fraser had a subtly effective moment after Todd's team arrives when she asks if she can cover her eyes. That moment really speaks to the attention that the writers take in making the characters feel as human as possible, it shows how brutal the world in which they live in truly is. While it is a small moment, it's also really powerful.

Much less explosive than the first episode, but filled with quietly intense moments, "Buried" just beautifully continues the final season's path towards the anticipated conclusion. Walt and Skyler's conversation in the bathroom (after he collapses from his exhaustion) was poignant, but also led to what Walt's actions will be now that Hank knows everything about him. Hank's future choices are definitely something that the episode contemplates with its cliffhanger of an ending, which I won't even tell you about until next week.

Oscar Garza may be reached at prospector@utep.edu.


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