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Warning: The following review will have spoilers for the past five seasons of Breaking Bad and a degree of plot discussion of the latest episode.
Well, we’re here. The final lap in a race that’s had our hearts in our mouths with alarming frequency. It starts as we’d all hope: in the future. We see future-Walt (Bryan Cranston), with hair, a great big bushy beard and a big-ass gun in the boot of his car. We see that his house has been closed off with the swimming pool now drained and being used by local kids as a skate park. Then we see the interior, destroyed, tarred/feathered, a giant “HEISENBERG” spray-painted on the wall. Walt explores every inch to find Chekhov’s Cigarette, that darn Ricin that he has had in his hand for so long. Clearly, when he turns 52, his birthday present to Albuquerque is going to be something very horrifying indeed.
Back in bathroom land, Hank is suddenly not feeling too well – being on the toilet for almost 12 months will do that to a person – but his limp excuse to leave the family gathering sets suspicions high with Walt.
Poor Jesse (Aaron Paul), meanwhile, is even more distraught than in Season Four. It turns out killing Gale is easier to bust out of than watching Todd murder a kid, even with Skinny Pete and Badger discussing Star Trek fan fiction. Walt gives the guilty Jesse a stern talking to, one that doesn’t exactly placate Jesse, who is dead sure that Mr. White’s done another bad thing.
And he has. He has done so many bad things – and Hank is on to him. Which leaves us with a killer final scene in Episode 9 that will have long-term fans slapping their knees. Unbelievable. Outstanding. And Walter’s disgusting ability to manipulate people is as full on as it’s been with Skyler (Anna Gunn) over the last few seasons.
It’s been a long time coming, but the first of the final episodes of Breaking Bad doesn’t disappoint. While it’s a quieter episode than the culminating entries in Season 5 Part 1, it’s great to really see how things are going with Walter after that brilliant montage in Episode 8. Walter’s manipulations appear so often that it’s surprising none of them focus on Skyler. In fact, their relationship is so on the level that she takes charge in giving Lydia (Laura Fraser) what-for during one car wash confrontation.
But the real story is in the changing dynamic between Hank and Walter. After ShankNado, a mumbling Hank is feeling nostalgic for the old job he once had before chasing monsters full time, while Walt offers no sign of giving a rat’s, but things are much more clearly defined now. Think back to the pilot and Hank’s showboating as the family watch him on TV talking about a drug bust, while Walter lets his party get side-tracked. Now, Hank has no power. He may be on to Walter but his spirit is low and Walter is gliding all over the town, an unstoppable beast pouncing on anything that threatens to be messy and neatly tidying it up.
How the next seven episodes play out now Walter knows Hank knows will be incredibly tense, but Jesse’s tearful throwing of cash around the neighbourhood is bound to be a kicker. With Blood Money, it’s clear that Vince Gilligan is really ready to offer fans the catharsis they’ve dreamt about for years, but be ready for some pretty unexpected stuff as well. Gilligan is not a man who wants to satisfy; he wants to shock and sicken.
You get the sneaky suspicion that Walter is about to be pushed off his throne with great fury.
Breaking Bad is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.
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