Martin Deer reviews the latest episode of Breaking Bad (spoilers within)….
When an episode of Breaking Bad is titled ‘Confessions’, you expect some revelations, but I would have imagined not many were ready for this. First let’s talk about Brian Cranston’s performance as Walter White: incredible. His video confession, in which he plays the fearing for his life, used and abused chemist was simply fantastic. If anyone were to see that confession they would absolutely buy that Walt was used by Hank; I almost bought it. Cranston delved deep as an actor and came up with something truly brilliant. The implications of this are staggering, and knowing that Walt is eventually revealed as Heisenberg, as we’ve seen with the flash forward to his 52nd birthday, the question as to what is Hank’s status looms large. Walter was at his most despicable in this episode. Yes he’s poisoned a child and he’s been responsible for the deaths of dozens, but here he manipulates his own son and devastates the boy’s world by revealing to him that his dad once again has cancer, simply to save himself. The man is unscrupulous.
Betsy Brandt was also great in this episode. As Hank remains cautions about how to proceed, Marie is unleashing on Walt and Skyler – why is she still on Walt’s side by the way? What is happening with her? Save yourself Skyler. With Marie so fiercely involved in the hunt to bring Walt down, sparks must surely be about to fly between her and Skyler.
The true star of this episode though is, without a doubt, Aaron Paul. Fans have been waiting for something to happen with Jesse; he’s been far too quiet. The emotional turmoil within him though has been left to brew. He’s been to his lowest point and the guilt has burned him deep. The episode sets up the climax so perfectly, as when we first pick up where things left off with Jesse under police questioning, he protects Walt. No intention of going against his former mentor. The scene that follows in the desert with the meeting between he and Walt is one of greatest pieces of writing and acting you’ll ever see. It is about time that Jesse clocked on to Walt’s games. It is about time that he finally saw Walt for what he is. And Paul’s acting was absolute perfection. Jesse broke your heart in that scene as he realised he was just another pawn all along and he finally let Walt know what he thought.
Aaron Paul’s acting has been a joy to behold over the last five years, watching him grow in to the character, and likewise Jesse has grown on us. From the punk kid wasting his life to our disdain, Jesse’s pure heart and remorse at the actions the two have taken – that he has been forced, rather than choosing to make – have made us latch on to him. The biggest fear, for me personally, is that Jesse will kill Walt. That possibility just took a massive leap as Jesse finally knows the truth about Brock’s poisoning back in season 4. The final scenes of the episode from Jesse’s realisation at the side of the road through his explosion in Saul’s office and then at Walt’s home were executed perfectly, in both writing and direction. You could feel the rage that Jesse was experiencing. A truly brilliant episode capturing the best of the show.
Thing are truly stacked against Walt now; Hank and Marie, Jesse, and now of course, Todd are back in to the equation, along with the methylamine stolen from the train in Arizona. Vince Gilligan is stacking the odds against the Devil himself; question is: who’s going to be responsible for killing him? Walt isn’t going out with the cancer, someone surely is going to put him down…