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Breaking Bad: "Blood Money" recap

By Oscar Garza
On August 13, 2013

With that title, the stage is set for the final eight episodes of one of television's best dramas, as the second half of the final season starts with yet another excellent and wonderfully sinister flash-forward.

 This scene once again provides us with new glimpses at what will be the end point. New developments during this scene start to arise- facts such as the revelation of Walt's (Bryan Cranston) criminal identity, the complete abandonment of his house, and the fact that he stops there to get ricin (a highly toxic poison), along with a clever and terrific homage to "The Godfather".

Written by Peter Gould and directed by Bryan Cranston himself, this episode sets up the grand conflict between Walt and Hank (Dean Norris) that has been so anticipated. After finding out that his copy of "Leaves of Grass" is missing, and that his cancer has returned and that Hank is tracking him, Walt sets out to confront him.

Walt and Hank's scene at the end of the episode is exactly the kind of masterful tension that this show is so great at, giving the audience a first glimpse into Hank and Walter's new dynamic. Both Norris and Cranston were tremendous during this scene, not only did the suspense increase, but the level of quiet intensity that each one showed was simply incredible. The final image of the episode is quite perfect and teases what will come to pass as the series concludes.

However, that wasn't all that was excellent during "Breaking Bad's" return, since the scenes that showed the aftermath of the prison riot sequence of the mid-season finale last year were also addressed.

The beginning of the episode was just rife with tension, since Hank was coping with the realization that Walter was in fact the criminal he had been hunting down for the entirety of the series: Heisenberg. From a minor car accident to taking time off work, Hank was completely taken aback, emotionally speaking, by his discovery, which Norris played beautifully with a wonderful sense of quiet rage when Hank realized how close his true enemy was.

Lydia once again returned to resolve some previous business arrangements from Walter at the car wash, only to be escorted out by a furious Skyler (Anna Gunn, once again doing great work), who just seems to want to move on from their previous life.

Another major highlight of the episode, which all around was just amazing, was Jesse's story arc and his continuing seeking of redemption and atonement for what he has done in the past. Paying each victim with bags full of "blood money," Jesse gives away his money to Mike's granddaughter and the little boy who was killed during one of the most gut-wrenching moments from the first half of the season, hoping that with these payments he will make things better.

 Of course, the scenes with Badger and Skinny Pete were hilarious and brought some of that dark humor that the show does perfectly, which you will absolutely love if you are a 'Star Trek' fan, however it is Aaron Paul's silent performance during all of these moments that leaves you absolutely haunted.

Witnessing his development and his ability as an actor over the course of five magnificent seasons, Paul has been fascinating to watch. Once again the writers understand that one of the most interesting aspects of the show has always been the Walter/Jesse relationship and there is a great scene between them toward the latter end of the episode.

Walt and Jesse basically discuss Mike's disappearance and why they haven't heard from him in a long time. It is horrifying to see the dynamic between the two, as we know that Walt is being completely dishonest about Mike's status to Jesse. Cranston and Paul are just astounding in this scene, as we see how Jesse simply just doesn't know what to think about Walter and basically doesn't believe him anymore.

It's not only great to have Bob Odenkirk doing his sleazy turn as Saul during this episode with Jesse and talking about the blood money, but also having Walter oversee everything, and he becomes Saul's manipulator.

This episode once again proves why this show is critically and artistically beloved by the audience. "Breaking Bad" is just on a quality roll and is not afraid to continue on it until the very end. 

                                                                                                           

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


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