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‘Breaking Bad’ Premiere Review: “Blood Money”

Breaking Bad Premiere Review Blood Money
AMC

Breaking Bad’ season 5 cooks up its first of the final eight episodes, as Hank struggles to make sense of his newfound realization about Walt, while Walt keeps yet another secret from the family, and Jesse fervently attempts to assuage his guilty conscience.

Last year’s ‘Breaking Bad’ finale “Gliding Over All” saw Walter put into action his plan to eliminate the nine conspirators remaining from Mike’s list, while Hank finally came to the all-important realization about his brother-in-law, so how does “Blood Money” kick off the final run? Now that Hank knows, how will the final eight episodes of ‘Breaking Bad’ ultimately end the series?

Read on for your in-depth recap and review of everything you need to know about ‘Breaking Bad’ season 5 episode 9, “Blood Money!”

Returning to our future flash-forward, we see a number of children skateboarding around the abandoned pool of the now-derelict and boarded off White residence. Outside, a grizzled Walt pulls up and breaks in with a crowbar, noting the giant spray-painted “HEISENBERG,” and the general decay of the house. Retrieving the ricin from behind the electrical socket, Walt returns to his car and finds his former neighbor Carol scared stiff at the sight of him.

Back in present day, a visibly shaken Hank steps out of Walt’s bathroom, and takes the incriminating “Leaves of Grass” to Marie’s purse. Composing himself, Hank fakes sick so as to leave the party with Marie, before Walt bids him goodbye and warmly waves to his neighbor carol. On the drive back, Hank tunes Marie out and goes into a panic attack, crashing the car onto a man’s lawn and stumbling out taking panicked breaths.

Hank brushes off the incident later, asking Marie not to tell Skyler about it, before going through Gale Bottecher’s old notes to compare handwriting with the inscription in the book. Elsewhere, Walt and Skyler open up the carwash for the day, shortly after which Lydia arrives and discreetly begs Walt to return to the business and teach someone his formula. Walt flatly refuses, and when Skyler realizes the woman’s significance, she too threatens Lydia to leave and never return.

Hank opts to stay home for the day, but has the office deliver boxes of files to the house to work discreetly. Hank pores over all the old case files, from the boosted barrel years earlier, to Gus and Tio, finally settling on the old sketch of Heisenberg, now easily identified as Walt. Meanwhile at Jesse’s house, Badger and Skinny Pete debate ‘Star Trek,’ before Jesse finally stirs and leaves the house with two duffel bags.

Jesse lights up a joint in Saul’s waiting room to get some attention, before finally being ushered in to asking Saul to deliver each $2.5 million duffel bag to Kaylie Ehrmantraut, and the family of Drew Sharp. Saul reluctantly agrees, despite the questions it might raise, before calling Walt to help get a handle on Jesse. What Saul doesn’t realize however, is that Walter took the call during a chemotherapy session, his cancer having definitely returned.

Jesse reluctantly lets Walt into his house, with the duffel bags in tow, as Walt insists he should look past the “blood money” idea and enjoy his newfound freedom. Walt makes a point to ask why Kaylie would need the money if Mike were still out there, to which Jesse admits he believes Walt killed him. Walt flatly denies, even begging Jesse to believe him, which Jesse ultimately accepts. Later that night at the White family dinner, Walt does his best to hide his difficulty eating, retreating to the bathroom and noticing “Leaves of Grass” to be missing.

Even later that night, a search for the book, Hank’s supposed illness, and Walt’s paranoia lead him to step outside and search the underside of his car, recoiling to find a tracking bug. Meanwhile, Jesse awakens in his car to a tap from a homeless man searching for change, to which Jesse tearfully gives over one of the stacks of bills. Inspired, Jesse drives through a derelict neighborhood, tossing the piles of money out the window like a paperboy.

Hank dismisses his support staff bringing over more files, before Walter drives up to check on Hank. Hank hides the files and does his best to keep friendly conversation with his brother-in-law, though something clearly simmers beneath the surface. Just as Walt goes to leave however, he turns around and asks about the tracker, leading Hank to wordlessly shut the garage door, and knock Walt to the ground. Hank finally accuses Walt of all his past crimes, though the man continually denies any involvement. Walt brings up that his cancer has returned, so as to point out he’d die before going to jail even if Hank managed to prove any of his accusations. Hank offers to invite the family over so that they might discuss the matter, though Walt flatly refuses. Hank stares in disbelief, realizing he doesn’t know the man before him at all, before Walter suggests he tread lightly then.

Yeah, bitch! ‘Breaking Bad’ is back, even if we now have only seven glorious hours remaining in the superb series. The show hasn’t lost a beat either, as Hank’s new found knowledge and ultimate showdown against his brother in law have resupplied a sense of tension and dread that were less prevalent during the first eight episodes of the season, train heists and all.

On the outset, we have a much larger insight into the future sequence that opened up the season, without really knowing much at all. The White residence has become an abandoned wreck, one which keeps his neighbor in a consistent state of dread, though we can’t quite discern the state of Walt’s family. Returning for the ricin certainly raises questions as well, more as to why he couldn’t simply make more, than risk returning for that specific vial. Not to mention, who might it be for?

Not only that, but we have definitive confirmation that Walt’s cancer has indeed returned, and presented a viable obstacle to Hank’s prosecution of the fabled Heisenberg, though our future knowledge clouds the matter’s significance. As Skyler said last year, it would only have been a matter of time before the disease returned, so it remains to be seen how much of our investment should go to the ailment of a man whose life has so completely fallen apart regardless.

The same could be said of the confrontation between Hank and Walt, which fans have waited for from the beginning of the series, though the catharsis proves somewhat mute against the notion that we knew this to be coming. Not only that, but even the moment’s ultimate landing, with riveting performances from either side, still feels a bit hollow without further insight into a future so clearly off the rails

Meanwhile, Jesse’s actions will no doubt come back to haunt him, as will Walt’s refusal to deal with Lydia, but we’re not certain where either threat might move in the immediate future. Muted colors perhaps, but nothing that can detract from the sheer joy of having ‘Breaking Bad’ back to begin with. Only seven more hours, and we quake with fear through every one.

What say you? Did you get your fix of ‘Breaking Bad’ bad-assery?  What did you think about the premiere? Stay tuned for more from the cast and creators and join us next week for another all-new ‘Breaking Bad’ episode recap of “Buried” on AMC!

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