‘Breaking Bad’ Season 5, Episode 11 Review – An Ongoing Situation

Published 11 months ago by , Updated September 13th, 2013 at 8:08 am,

Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad Confessions Breaking Bad Season 5, Episode 11 Review – An Ongoing Situation

If there’s one thing Breaking Bad and the White family has mastered, it’s the subtle art of the painfully awkward, excruciatingly tense family dinner. Whether it is Walt and Skyler sitting angrily across the table from one another while Jesse tries in vein to cut the tension by commenting on just how delicious the store-bought green beans are, or a nerve-racking birthday morning where Junior insists his mother mark the occasion by forming a 51 on his father’s plate with bacon – which results in Walt commenting on the merits of “sacrifice” and “Family teamwork.” 

Unsurprisingly, things aren’t much different when Walt and Skyler ask Hank and Marie to meet them at a local Mexican restaurant to, you know, discuss the whole Heisenberg thing and maybe clarify any recent suggestions that certain DEA agents should tread lightly over a bowl of freshly prepared guacamole and a pitcher of ice-cold margaritas. Naturally, given the Whites’ penchant for making a little time around the table wind up being as solemn as a funeral, things don’t go too well, as Marie continually insists that Junior come live at Schraderhaus and Hank tells his brother-in-law that being a man means coming clean about his wrongdoings, cancer or no cancer.

And like the cancer that has recently resurfaced in Walter’s lungs, ‘Confessions’ takes a look at the tendency these characters have to relapse into previous conditions and behaviors, and how that recidivism defines them in moments of turmoil or confrontation. Hank comes at Walter straight, giving him no option but to confess to his crimes and to face the music like a man. That’s precisely how Hank sees the world, how he approaches his job and the criminals he pursues and, with a little bit of due diligence, sees them thrown in prison.

Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad Confessions Breaking Bad Season 5, Episode 11 Review – An Ongoing Situation

Walt, meanwhile, comes at everything and everyone completely cockeyed; his whole plan to provide for his family after being given a terminal diagnosis was to cook meth with a former student and then he wound up the kingpin of an empire he’d never dreamed of building. So, naturally, his move is to offer up a confession wherein he implicates his primary accuser of being the mastermind behind the whole thing because, at the end of the day, the evidence that Hank has on Walt is no more damning than any Walt has on him. And if Walt’s confession were to ever surface and be scrutinized by the DEA – and it would be – the one hundred and seventy-seven thousand dollars in medical bills that were paid out to a critically injured Hank Schrader by one Walter White is far more convincing than a copy of Leaves of Grass signed by the man formerly believed to have been Heisenberg.

It’s a strategic blow that hits Hank well below the belt, but lets him know that the ball is in his court, because, after all, he is family and we know how important family is to Walt. And the episode brilliantly illustrates that importance by having Walt offer up his son as the reason Hank should just back off. Walt’s all but promising that he’ll soon be dead and the world may just be a better place without him, but no one should tarnish the memory Junior has of his father, as that might just ruin the young man. It’s a merciless play that capitalizes on Walt’s knowledge of just how much his children mean to Hank and Marie, and how bringing down Heisenberg would also bring about the end of this ultra-dysfunctional family unit. In the end, it’s left to Marie to inadvertently plant the seed of ending it all (or making it look that way, perhaps?) as a way to save those that he loves. And that, of course, ties into the near-future timeline and the larger theme of how everything seems to move in a circular fashion and all misdeeds seem to be revisited upon those who commit them.

Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad Confessions Breaking Bad Season 5, Episode 11 Review – An Ongoing Situation

But the most interesting aspect of this low-key, yet somehow frantic episode is in how Gennifer Huchtison (who’s credited with writing ‘Confessions’) overtly plays with the concept of Walt as a misguided parent by making sure his two surrogate sons – Jesse and Todd – have a brief moment with their shadowy father figure. Todd is all smiles recounting his misadventures in hijacking a methylamine shipment (and glossing over the killing an innocent child), and even calls Walt to let him know how he’s moving up in the world. But it’s Jesse, who has been so quite over the past two episodes, who erupts, ready with violent-retribution-by-way-of-gas-can, after nearly being talked into a new life somewhere by Walt and Saul.

It’s only at the last moment that Jesse pieces together the missing ricin cigarette and how, for all his fatherly concern, for all the warmth that was in that dad-like embrace in the desert, at this moment, family is just another tool for Walter to use, to ensure that when the end comes, it’s the ending that Walter White envisioned and no one else.

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Breaking Bad continues next Sunday with ‘Rabid Dog’ @9pm on AMC. Check out a preview below:

Photos: Ursula Coyote/AMC

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48 Comments

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  1. Great ending. Only 5 more to go :(.

    B

  2. Bryan Cranston is Lex Luthor.

    • No. He is Gordon. Don’t dream about it.

  3. The tape was amazing. Everything fits perfectly. It’s like breaking bad company planned everything from the beginning.

  4. The comparative scenes between Walt and each of his “sons” was the usual symmetrical brilliance this show so regularly displays. From the repugnant manipulation of Walt Jnr, a son so lost in the myth and star-love making of his father to the brutal, broken desperation of Jesse and Walt’s unbelievably cold response of the hug. Seems like I say it every week, but the amount of times like this that leave me gawping at the screen is, to my memory, peerless.

    The reveal was also perfect I thought. There were a million ways the writers could’ve had Jesse piece that all together, yet in the same way we all do on a day to day basis with the smallest of moments, they way they presented it seemed very real and very honest.

    Also loved the metaphor of the spider crawling towards Jesse. He was, at that moment, too numb, to educated by Walt’s behaviour to offer any kind of reaction whatsoever. Now, as they say, it is game on.

    • I don’t know if the hug was cold or meant to be heartless. Walt is, at the moment, overtly thinking only of himself and how he can get out of the situation that he put himself in. Jesse called him on it and Walt had no reason to hide it anymore, the hug was an admission and an apology at the same time. It was Walt’s confession to Jesse. I don’t think Jesse thought it was cold at the moment, he did not reject the hug, he actually embraced it after he figured out what it meant. The only problem was that Jesse did not know all that Walt was confessing too. Brock or not, Walt was offering Jesse the best move remaining. While Jesse may get some kind of “revenge” on Walter, his best option was “Alaska.” Him discovering the truth about things that are only going to hurt him more is the worst thing that could happen. I was hoping that Jesse was going to take the hug and get the hell out of town. It would have been the best possible outcome for the best character on the show.

      • Walt is a sociopath and doesn’t have genuine feelings. He manipulates for self gain without regard of the feelings or lives he destroys around him. The hug was meaningless, just another attempt to convince Jesse otherwise and manipulate him, which is why Jesse went crazy after putting the pieces together and finding out Walt was planning to kill him.

        • We fundamentally disagree that Walt was going to kill him and that he doesn’t care on some level for Jesse. Walt saved jese’s life on numerous occasions when jesses death would have been a net gain for him. And there is nothing in walt’s life from before one year ago that would indicate he is a sociopath. A seriously codependent narcist I would buy, but not sociopathic in the way you are describing. Walt is a person of necessity. Killing Jesse was not going to be necessary. It is now and that sucks for Jesse.

          • I enjoy these discussions and completely disagree in the most friendly way possible. It up for debate as everyone seems to form their own opinion on the character but I would definitely classify Walt as a sociopath. He’ll say or do whatever it takes with no remorse for personal gain. He destroy’s everyone’s life around him. He doesn’t care one bit. He keeps Jesse around because he’s his puppet. He manipulates him constantly. Why save his life, but ruin it by using him as a tool and constantly manipulating him?

            What will really make people go crazy is when he kills Skyler.

            • I feel he must care about Jesse to some degree, or he would have killed him by now. That’s how he handles problems. He has no difficulty killing people anymore. He refused to discuss the idea of killing Hank because family is off limits. And on some level, Jesse is like family to him. Otherwise it makes no sense to keep him around. He won’t kill family, but he’s happy to manipulate all of them. But clearly, if he killed Jesse and Hank, all problems would be over.

            • Always friendly. I just love talking about good shows and movies and Breaking Bad is about the best their is. I don’t think Walt is sociopathic. I think his personality is the culmination of certain events that have shaped his life entirely. I believe that Walt cheated on Skyler with Gretchen and has spent his entire life apologizing for it by becoming over-domesticated and subservient to Skyler. I think his cancer diagnosis resulted in almost acute post traumatic stress and that the combination of both of them resulted in almost an alternate identity. Walt feels. Remember Crazy 8. Walt feels remorse. Heisenberg might not, but Walt does. You are watching Walt this season, not Heisenberg.

              • That’s a good point. The scene with the broken dish in Jesse’s basement was powerful. I was having a discussion the other day that involved a theory of Walt retaining a certain pieces or traits of each character he murders.

                In the episode where Walt kills Krazy 8, Krazy 8 requested a sandwich with the crusts cut off. The very next episode there’s a scene where Walt makes a sandwich with the crust cut off.

                After Jane’s death he grows the goatee out during the 3 week time span separating season 2 from season 3 which he could have inherited from Don Margolis, Jane’s father.

                Walter always preferred to drink his whiskey neat, after he killed Mike Ehrmantraut he started having it on the rocks.

                The scene where Lydia shows up at the car wash Walt had the same mannerisms acted just as Gustavo Fring.

                In the foreshadow of the beginning of this season Walt is in the Denny’s. He’s shown in a green loose fitted army jacket similar to the style of something Jesse would wear.

                Also the driver’s license he shows the waitress for the free birthday meal had the name Walter Lambert, which is Skyler’s maiden name. He also did the bacon numbers like she used to do for him.

                It’s an interesting theory, has some holes for sure, but the writer’s are definitely doing it on purpose. They’ve relied on foreshadow to tell the story of past events pretty regularly throughout the series. The teddy bear and plane crash is the most memorable one though it wasn’t heavily pertaining to anything.

                • Mind = Blown

                • Wow. That is actually really interesting. The only one I really caught was the virtual Gus Fring impression with Lydia at the car wash. I will have to keep an eye on that the rest of the season.

                  What is really crazy about this season is that with every passing episode it becomes harder and harder to figure out how the circumstances in the flash forward come about. I am of the opinion that we will find out what happens to everybody involved but might not actually witness it first hand. I think they will be moving the story to present day(the time of the flash forward) sooner than we think and that the show will live in the flash forward for longer than we are expecting (two episodes or so).

                • I really appreciate the fine nitty-gritties which 1tch has observed. Like many, a truely ardent fan of Breaking Bad & W.W.. In my view, the character of W.W. has been portrayed having multiple personalities. To a very large extent I agree with ijohnb’s analysis that various circumstances like by becoming over-domesticated and subservient to Skyler, not having Gretchen as his wife, his personal illness, the financial distress which he had been all these years… all these factors caused him to take extreme steps to jump into the crime world. At all situations, he was scared like ordinary person but with his calm mind & applying his intellect he was able to save himself from further inconveniences. I definitely agree that, for personal gain, he does whatever it takes to fix things temporarily that too with no remorse. He is also shown making mistakes in fit of rage, like an oridnary human would do.

                  But thats what writers have managed it well.
                  My best wishes to the creators & fans of B.B.!!!

        • Walt truly cares for Jesse. He has protected him on numerous occasions. He thinks of him as a son. The hug is genuine.

          • Even if it was Walt is still going to kill him. It will probably be because he has no choice though.

      • I don’t agree with your point about Jesse getting the hell out of town with 5 episodes to go would be a satisfactory ending for a character as integral to the show as Jesse Pinkman. Further it would completely throw out of whack this show’s essential premise, which is the relationship between Walt and Jesse and how it finally ends and Jesse living happily ever after does not fit in with this show’s writing at all.

    • re: ‘the smallest of moments’

      Like you I’m amazed at how the triggers for Walt’s spectacular downfall are the most insignificant items, like a cigarette or book of poetry. Incredible stuff.

  5. jesse is pissed

  6. I hope Walt also tells Jesse that he let Jane die, too and how he saved Jesse from Jesse himself, becasue he was an unreliable junkie at the time who would have just overdosed himself anyway. Or just how many times Walt saved his ass, period.

    Oh, I don’t want to kill the guy(the first chance I get), who wants to kill you because you did something bad to him in order to save me, so I have to be lied to and manipulated and then I found out what you did I go all mad do stuff and not try to think rationally in the least.

    Yes, I want Jesse dead. He’s a complete moron.

    • Oh and let me add that Gus was an innocent little creature, who was completely unaware of the fact that his men were using children and that he was no way responsible for killing his friend, Combo in a way, but no he only goes apeshít when his girlfriend’s brother is killed. Hipocrisy at its best.

  7. Walt gave Jesse an out, now he wont let him just go on living. Vince always said “Walt will do something we cant forgive him for.”

  8. Do you think Walt agreed to give Marie the money for Hank’s rehabilitation as leverage to possibly use later on?

    • No, Walt didn’t agree to give the money to Marie- Skylar did. And it was done more out of spite then it was leverage(at the time)

      • Oh that’s right. I can’t recall if Walt had a problem with Skyler leveraging his meth money though..

  9. Also, I’m pretty sure Walt didn’t give Jesse an out. He had planned to kill him, which is why when he connected the dots with his cigarettes he went mad. He was probably going to be whacked if he got into the van.

    • No way. Jesse has been a wild card from day 1 and Walt not only accepted/trusted him but went out of his way to save his ass on numerous occasions. Jesse was gone, to where ever he wanted to go. Saul would not have had the joint lifted in the first place if he was sending him to “Belize.”

      • Walt is a sociopath. Any time he’s saved Jesse it’s been for personal gain. Why do you think he let Jane die? He doesn’t care about anyone else which is why he’d be able to kill Jesse. Walt gave him the way out and although we don’t know what would happen if he’d gotten into the van Pinkman knows he’s responsible for poisoning Broc. He accused Huell of pick pocketing him back in Season 3 in the episode “End Times”, and Huell lifting his weed made him connect the dots. That both Saul and Huell were in on Walt’s plot against Fring with the risin.

  10. I don`t get it…if Brock was poisoned with berries and his Ricin cigarette appeared somewhere in his house, how is Jesse coming to the conclusion Walt must have done it?
    please share the light!

    • never mind, found a great explanation here: http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/review-breaking-bad-confessions-master-thespian/2

      • good link.

    • I agree. If someone could please explain how exactly Jesse put everything together, I’d appreciate it. That “powerful” moment was lost on me.

      • Thanks for the link!

    • Saul stole the ricin. Walt had told Jesse that Fring stole it to poison Brock. Jesse realized that once again Walt was lying.

      • actually blaming the theft of the Ricin on Gustavo was one of the weakest moments of the great story. I mean common, Fring can buy tons of poison and trained killers from Mexico. so no need for that charade

        • Totally shows how gullible Jesse is/was.

          • good point I guess

    • In the episode ‘end times’ in season 3 Pinkman didn’t believe that Walt wasn’t responsible for Broc, which is why he drove there and put a gun to his head. Walt was able to manipulate him into thinking Fring was trying to pair the two against each other by poisoning Brock with the ricin and Pinkman believed it. Pinkman’s original assumption was that he had been pick pocketed by Huell in Saul’s office, stealing pack of cigarettes with the ricin and replacing it with another, prior to Broc becoming ill. So Saul having Huell lift the weed from his coat pocket in the most recent episode connected the dots for Jesse and Saul confirmed he had helped Walt when he went back to his office and beat the s*** out of him.

  11. Man that was some great TV. Brilliant episode.

  12. loved how invasive the waiter was. this show sure knows how to do uncomfortable.

    only on this show can things continue to get worse after you think they’ve hit rock bottom.

  13. I don’t get why Jessie thinks Walt poisoned Brock with Ricin, didn’t the doctors tell him it was Lilly of the Valley? Or does he think Walt took the Ricin, decided not to use it and instead use something else the the Lilly?

    • In the episode ‘end times’ in season 3 Pinkman didn’t believe that Walt wasn’t responsible for Broc, which is why he drove there and put a gun to his head. Walt was able to manipulate him into thinking Fring was trying to pair the two against each other by poisoning Brock with the ricin and Pinkman believed it. Pinkman’s original assumption was that he had been pick pocketed by Huell in Saul’s office, stealing pack of cigarettes with the ricin and replacing it with another, prior to Broc becoming ill. So Saul having Huell lift the weed from his coat pocket in the most recent episode connected the dots for Jesse and Saul confirmed he had helped Walt when he went back to his office and beat the s*** out of him.

  14. I F**ked Ted.

  15. I think the nuances of the writing of Skylar’s character are not being given adequate credit. A lot of people are questioning how she is becoming a silent accomplice and allowing WW to do what he is threatening to do to Hank and her sister.

    But people forget the simple fact that Hank threatened her as well directly in front of her sister at the awkward dinner, and said “you too if you continue like this” in context of breaking down the door and arresting them.

    Hanks words vindicate her action of sticking by WW’s plan, and her behavior suggests that she has gone back into her happy-delusional-yet pensive state of waiting for WW to die so that she and her children can reap the rewards of his activities (which was the entire point to begin with), without facing any of the legal consequences.

  16. saul bugged walts money

  17. anyone else wondering if Gus’ “past” will come into play?

    If you remember, the DEA said they couldn’t find anything on him before ’86. Then, when they are discussing Hank’s witch hunt, Gus asks Mike ‘what about Chile”.. Mike says “If I can’t find any trace of you before ’89 then I seriously doubt Schrader can”

    Then, in the flashback scene when Hector kills Gus’ chemist/partner, Don Eladio is standing over Gus and says “The only reason I killed him is becasue I know who you are. You aren’t in Chile anymore”

    This is not over…the writers deliberately told us this info and made inaccuracies with the dates of Gus’ past. They did this for a reason…

    WHY???

  18. I f***ed Ted.

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