Eleven months ago, Breaking Bad fans were left with the brilliant cliffhanger in the Season 5 mid-season finale, "Gliding Over All", where Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) finally realized that his brother-in-law, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) was, in fact, the notorious meth peddler known as Heisenberg. Although nearly one year has passed in our world, mere seconds have passed in the Breaking Bad world in the first of the final eight episodes, "Blood Money", airing Sunday, August 11 at 9 PM ET on AMC. Actually, that's not entirely accurate.
Remember back in the Season 5 premiere, which started out with the bizarre flash-forward to Water's 52nd birthday by himself in a roadside cafe, with a full head of hair? Of course you do. Thankfully, "Blood Money" brings us back to this future scenario that offers many more questions than answers, but sets up how explosive things will get in the next seven episodes. This isn't a spoiler, because I have no idea how this will come into play, but the main purpose of this flash-forward is to show Walt retrieving that carefully hidden capsule of ricin that he taped behind a power outlet cover. Also, when he walks through his former home, which is cordoned off by fences and police tape, we see the word Heisenberg spelled out in graffiti on the living room wall. Clearly, some major s--t hit the fan in this house... but WHAT?
After this journey into the future, we go back to the present, mere moments after the ending of "Gliding Over All", with Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) emerging from the bathroom with that fateful copy of Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass," the smoking gun, as it were. However, while Hank KNOWS that Heisenberg = Walter White/W.W., he has the burden of proving it, which causes him to delve head first into all the case files to try and find a surefire link between Walter White and Heisenberg.
I was somewhat surprised that we don't see too much of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in this episode, who is even more shell-shocked than usual, seemingly coming to terms with who his former associate really is. After Walter's deal with Lyida (Laura Fraser) earlier this season, both Walter and Jesse have been out of the meth game. When we first see Jesse, he seems barely alive, as Badger (Matt Jones) breaks down his hilarious idea for a Star Trek script to Skinny Pete (Charles Baker). Lydia herself also pops up during an awkward scene at Walter's car wash, where she makes it clear that there is a severe drop in quality of the meth, since their deal went through.
At this point, I'm not sure how much more I want to say, specifically, about this episode, because it's so damn amazing (i.e. par for the Breaking Bad course). I will say that there is a purely phenomenal exchange between Walter and Hank, where Walter confirms a suspicion many had at the end of Season 4. The scene sent chills up my spine and adrenaline coursing through my veins, which is even more impressive given that Bryan Cranston himself directed this episode, giving it a certain flair and style that is very unique to the show, while still maintaining the show's sensibilities.
"Blood Money" is a brilliant episode, but you probably already knew that because you likely watched the 54 brilliant episodes before this one. Just know that the proverbial sh*t is going down, alliances will be tested, lives will be ruined, and you'll, probably, love watching every single second of it.
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