‘Breaking Bad’ Review: “Confessions”
‘Breaking Bad’ season 5 cooks up its third of the final eight episodes, as Jesse discovers a terrible secret on his way to a new life, while Walt and Skyler make a power play against Hank and Marie.
Last week’s ‘Breaking Bad’ episode, “Buried,” saw Hank attempting to enlist Skyler in bringing Walt to justice, while Walt covered his bases and Jesse was found in a position to be compromised, so how does “Confessions” keep the final eight episodes running? Now that Hank knows, how will it all end for ‘Breaking Bad?’
Read on for your in-depth recap and review of everything you need to know about ‘Breaking Bad’ season 5 episode 11, “Confessions!”
Outside a highway diner, Todd leaves a message for Walter to bring him up to speed on the “change in management,” offering him the chance to call back. Afterward, Todd tells his Uncle Jack and associate the story of the train heist, leaving out Drew Sharp’s murder at the end, before Jack asks if Todd feels prepared to run his own lab. After cleaning blood off their shoes in the bathroom, the three set out on the road into New Mexico.
Back at the station, Jesse snaps out of his daze when Hank shares that he knows Walt’s secret as Heisenberg. Jesse stirs, but still refuses to share any information despite Hank’s effort to level with him. Saul interrupts before things go any further, and chases the detectives out to chastise Jesse. Across town, Walt commands Saul to get Jesse out, just as Walter Jr. arrives home. Walt attempts to hide his sun damage and bruising before hearing Walt Jr. mention dinner at Marie’s, leading Walt to sit his son down, and confess to his cancer’s return. Walt assures his son he’s fighting, and they’ll all keep positive, before Walter Jr. predictably opts to stay home.
Hank returns home to find an inquisitive Marie asking how things went, but Hank assures her it isn’t time to bring in the DEA. Back at the White residence, Skyler reluctantly sets up a camera for Walt to begin recording a confession.
The next day, Walt and Skyler meet Hank and Marie for lunch at a crowded restaurant, the tense meeting continually interrupted by the overzealous waiter. Without admitting to anything, Walter and Skyler ask Hank to leave their children out of whatever happens, especially considering Hank has no evidence of Walt’s guilt. Skyler too insists to her sister that the children are safe, to which Marie surprisingly suggests Walt kill himself to end the entire problem. Hank butts in to impress that neither Walt nor Skyler will get away that easily, and his only solution lies in manning up to confess. Skyler and Walt get up to leave, placing a DVD on the table behind them.
Hank and Marie watch Walt’s DVD at home, beginning with the confession Walt filmed earlier, which quickly spirals into Walt pinning Hank as the mastermind, with himself the hapless victim forced into coercion with Hank’s meth empire. Everything from the initial ride-along, to Hank’s medical bills and Gus’ death receive a mention, leading Hank to question what he means by the $177,000 for his medical expenses. Marie admits that she took the Whites’ money to pay his hospital fees, to which Hank realizes she’s put the final nail in his case by tying him to Walt's crimes.
Out in the desert, Walt drives to meet Jesse and a panicking Saul. Jesse acknowledges that Hank attempted to get him to flip, though with very little evidence behind the case, and no involvement from the rest of the DEA. Walt lays on his fatherly charm to suggest to Jesse that the best thing for him would be to utilize Saul’s disappearing guy, and start a new life elsewhere, but Jesse finally calls Walter out for manipulating him. Jesse begs Walt to admit that he needs Jesse to disappear for his own sake, lest Walt kill Jesse like Mike. Walt says nothing, but hugs Jesse until he breaks down in tears.
Back in town, Walt snaps Skyler out of a daze to assure her things will be fine, while elsewhere Hank looks through his medical bills, and reluctantly accepts Gomie’s demand to pull surveillance off Jesse Pinkman. Over in Saul’s office, a visibly nervous Jesse gets instructions from Saul on the quick and succinct disappearing act, before Saul admonishes him for lighting up a joint. Jesse reasons that he might like to start his new life in Alaska, brushing by Huell on the way out the door.
Waiting for the car to arrive with his new identity, Jesse reaches for his pocketed joints, only to find them missing from his coat. Pulling cigarettes from his other pocket, Jesse finally realizes that Huell must have taken his marijuana, and cigarettes previously as well, before the car finally pulls up. Jesse stares, but grabs his bag and runs, as the car drives off.
Jesse barges into Saul’s office and beats him down, taking Saul’s gun to hold the lawyer, Huell and secretary hostage. Accusing Huell of lifting the ricin cigarette to help Walt poison Brock, Jesse forces Saul to admit his role in the plot, though only under the guise he had no idea what Walter planned to do. Jesse grabs Saul’s keys and bolts, before Saul calls Walt about the incident. Walt frantically arrives to the car wash, masking his panic in front of Skyler, before retrieving a hidden gun from underneath the vending machine, and driving off. Back at the White household, Jesse speeds into the driveway, and kicks his way into the home to begin pouring gasoline over the floor.
When 'Breaking Bad' cooked up its final premiere two weeks ago, and even some weeks prior to that when our initial viewings took place, we couldn't help but feel a sense of unleavened dread in that carrying the series' ultimate end across two eight-episode runs forced more to happen than felt organic to the narrative. Hank had to clue into his brother-in-law's activities, and so too did Jesse have to realize his former partner's true depth of evil in poisoning Brock.
The execution of these scenes, and their magnificent fallouts brought to life by both Aaron Paul and Dean Norris never fail to resonate, though their impact feels somewhat muted by our foreknowledge. It couldn't have been as simple as Jesse's blissful relocation, and our future vision of the White residence clues us in to the fact that Jesse ultimately won't light the final match to his gasoline-soaked rage. It isn't to diminish the masterful crafting of each precious hour, but only to lament that 'Breaking Bad' lacks the extreme unpredictability that made it so powerful to begin with.
However, we will give credit to the reveal of yet another amazing depth to Walter's moral schism, his threat to implicate Hank as the true mastermind of the meth empire. Last week's episode wisely saw Hank acknowledge that his simple proximity to the real Heisenberg would end his career no matter what, and here we see that idea taken to an unexpected extreme that effectively lets the air out of Hank's pursuit, especially with Marie's own "confession" of accepting the money for Hank's medical bills. 'Breaking Bad' might feel a bit on rails at this point, but we appreciate the ingenuity and effective zags constructed within.
A strong week, perhaps the strongest yet for Aaron Paul, but ultimately one that has us nervous for the character making it very far next week. And say, how about that new management riding into town, with the ever-polite Todd looking to involve his former mentor? That'll probably turn out fine, right?
What say you? Did you get your fix of ‘Breaking Bad’ bad-assery? What did you think about tonight’s episode “Confessions”? Stay tuned for more from the cast and creators and join us next week for another all-new ‘Breaking Bad’ episode recap of “Rabid Dog” on AMC!