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‘Breaking Bad’ Review: ‘Blood Money’ shows glimpses into a bleak future

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) - Breaking Bad _ Season 5B _ Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

AMC’s Breaking Bad returned for its final 8 episodes of the series run, and if the season premiere was an indication as to what the rest of the season may entail, then we are in for one wild ride. The episode, “Blood Money,” was directed by star Bryan Cranston, and was, of course per normal, visually stunning from beginning to end.

The episode opens up with a brief glimpse into a bleak future. The White household is completely run down. The pool has been drained, graffiti is everywhere, and a bunch of teenagers are skateboarding and trashing the place in broad daylight. This is as Walt arrives home. He walks into the building and sees “Heisenberg” spelled out upon the wall.  We then go back to present day, we learn that the cancer has in fact, like many of us speculated, returned and despite Walter trying his best to hide it from his family, the chemo is making him rather sick, and as he explains to Hank at the end, he isn’t likely to still be alive six months from now.

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) - Breaking Bad _ Season 5, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) – Breaking Bad _ Season 5, Episode 9 – Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC

I wish I hated Walt, I really do. I feel, given his utter transformation from this mild mannered Dr. Jekyll into the evil mastermind Mr. Hyde-esque character, I can’t help but continue to feel for him. He is a dying man, making choices that he feels necessary to take care of his family. The way he told Lydia that he wasn’t coming back really made me smile and hope for the best. I hate that he manipulated Jessie, but again, he was only doing it for Jessie’s own good, if Jessie knew that Mike was ‘no longer in the picture’ than he would have to kill Jessie, and that is the last thing that Walt really wants to do, and who can really blame him or his battle with Hank? I mean really who likes their brother-in-law anyways?

I look forward to seeing where Walt goes from here. I am really holding out hope that Walt survives the series finale. I don’t expect him to, but I secretly hope that he, Jessie, Skyler and the kids all run off to some costal get away and everyone lives happily ever after. Sadly this series is on cable, so the likelihood of that is slim to none, but hey a guy’s got to hope right?

I hadn’t realized how much I missed seeing Aaron Paul being on my television screen until I sat down to watch this episode. Now I can’t possibly imagine a period in time where I won’t miss seeing him. Watching as Paul conveyed the emotional devastation that Jessie was under as he tried to atone for his many sins was brilliant. Jessie’s attempt to give all of his ‘blood money’ away was heartbreaking because despite all of his hard work, he would gladly give it all away if he could go back to the way things were a few short years ago.

Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and Walter White (Bryan Cranston) - Breaking Bad_Season 5, Episode 9_"The Decision" - Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC

Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and Walter White (Bryan Cranston) – Breaking Bad_Season 5, Episode 9_”The Decision” – Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC

Things only continued to become more complicated for Jessie as Walt proved once again to be a master of manipulation as he convinced, or attempted to convince, Jessie that everything was alright and that as far as he knows Mike is still alive (…) so there is no need to throw his money and his life away. WHY Jessie are you so easily influenced? I get that the drugs affect your ability to think properly, but just open your eyes and see that he is just playing you like a fool.

As for Skyler, it isn’t uncommon on the internet to say that you hate Skyler White. I won’t go on about what a complete waste of space and airtime I feel the character really is. Why? Because I have to admit that I really found myself enjoying her last night. The way she reacted to Lydia’s arrival at the car wash; essentially telling her to take her car and get out of the lives of her and her husband, I was like now we finally have ourselves a ball game. That said, I still won’t shed any tears if she happens to die as a result of Walt’s lies and indiscretions.

After season 5a’s game changing finale, I knew pretty much how season 5b had to kick off, so of course our bubbling buffoon of a cop Hank had to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together. It wasn’t until the episode’s final scene, in which Hank faced off against his brother-in-law, that I really realized what kind of an epic battle we could be in for. Walt basically admitted everything to Hank, but in doing so also let it be known that HE was in charge and that yea Hank has some circumstantial proof, but nothing concrete, nothing that can really nail him for the crimes, so tread lightly because Hank doesn’t want to be on his bad side.

Where do we go from here? Can Hank really challenge him? Will Walt actually get away with it all? Dean Norris knocked his performance right out of the park as he stayed toe-to-toe with Bryan Cranston’s acting ability, the bar was set incredibly high for the two’s epic rivalry, only time will tell if it lives up to the hype.

Other tidbits:

Skinny Pete and Badger’s Star Trek discussion was nerd-tacular. I am not a huge Star Trek fan at all, but hearing their in-depth high as a kite conversation about a potential episode of the serious was just amusing and helped mellow the tone of the overly dark and depressing episode.

Johnathon K.
Johnathon K. is a staff writer for TV Source Magazine. With a love of soaps, the Super Sentai Series and gaming, John's passion comes through in his writing and as a featured host of the TV Source Podcast, where he also serves as producer. In 2019, John launched his own podcast series "Our Take Media" which gives his take on various things in TV from soaps to reality television.

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