Breaking Bad recap: To'hajiilee
To’hajiilee — the name of tonight’s episode — is perhaps the most important place in Breaking Bad‘s mythology. It’s where Jesse and Walt first cooked together. It’s where Walt hid his money from the world. And it’s where Todd, Jack and the rest of the white power Nazis get into a shootout with Hank and Gomez that leaves all of their fates up in the air — at least, until the next episode.
Hank is desperate to find some evidence on Walt, so he goes along with Jesse’s plan to sniff out Walt’s money. Jesse explains that he knows someone who might have an idea of where Walt is keeping his fortune. Both Jesse and Hank are so hell-bent on revenge — yes, it’s revenge for Hank, too — that working with each other comes naturally, despite their mutual hatred. The enemy of my enemy is… well, you know.
Hank uses one of Gomez’s obedient yet non-questioning men to take Huell into protective custody. Hank shows Huell a photo of a combination of animal brains Hank bought at the supermarket and Jesse lying on the floor. (A visual that’s grosser than anything you usually see on Bones.) That’s enough to convince Huell of Hank’s lies — Walt killed Jesse, Saul sold Kuby and Huell out and Walt is coming after the bodyguard next.
Huell quickly spills all the details he knows — how he retrieved the money, where he rented the white van they used to transport it, the type of Home Depot barrels they put the money in, and how Walt had him clean the van before returning it to the rental company. Not only is Huell a terrible bodyguard, he also rolls over easily, despite his massive frame. Saul needs to rethink his hiring policies.
In the meantime, Walt meets with Jack and Todd about the hit on Jesse.
“What are we talking, Rat patrol?” Jack asks Walt. (Rat Patrol is the name of a show from the ’60s. Jack makes numerous other references in this scene — from James Bond to the Hulk. It looks like Jack’s a bit of pop culture fiend.)
“No, he’s not a rat. He’s just, he just won’t listen to reason,” Walt insists. “He’s just angry. He’s not a rat.” It’s funny that even while planning to kill Jesse, Walt still defends him.
“Not something you’d do yourself, huh?” Jack questions Walt.
“Jesse’s like family to me. Look I want what you do to be quick and painless. No suffering, no fear,” Walt says.
“Bullet to the back of the head, something like that? I respect that. Too many savages out there,” Jack agrees.
As bad as Walt is, and as much as he used Jesse, Walt sees Jesse as a son. It’s tragic that Walt is loyal to Jesse to the end, in his own twisted way, when Jesse sold his pseudo-father figure out to the first person who came along to help. Only Hank doesn’t care about Jesse the way that Walt does. Walt once offered Jesse a new life, a way out. What will Hank do when he’s done with Jesse? (If they survive, but more on that later.)
Walt says he will triple the money per person he paid Jack and his crew when they took out Mike’s guys in prison — but Jack doesn’t want Walt’s money, he wants his cooking skills. Walt reluctantly agrees to one last cook with Todd, in exchange for Pinkman’s death.
There’s just one problem — Walt doesn’t know exactly where Jesse is. However, he does think he can flush him out. Walt then shows up at the home of Jesse’s former girlfriend and her son, Andrea and Brock. He tells her that he hasn’t heard from Jesse in a few days, and he’s worried about him. Jesse’s using again, Walt says. Andrea offers to call Jesse, and Walt gives him the number of the Hello Kitty phone. Andrea leaves a message on the voicemail, explaining that Walt stopped by the house, and could Jesse give her a call when he listens to this.
Walt leaves, and we see Jack’s white power klan waiting outside in a car. Walt phones them, and says it should be any minute now, and reminds them of their agreement to do it quick and painlessly. Oh, and don’t let Andrea or Brock see, he warns. Walt’s last bits of humanity are still poking through.
NEXT: Sorry, Walt. It won’t be that easy…
The thing is — Hank has Jesse’s phone, and he listens to the message. “Nice try, asshole,” Hank mutters as he shuts the phone. Hank walks into his house and explains to Gomez and Jesse that he found the white van, and to his dismay, learns that there was no GPS in the system. He realizes, however, that Walt doesn’t know that vital piece of information. Suddenly, Hank hatches a plan.
At the car wash, Saul pays Walt a visit. Saul, wearing a bullet-proof vest, informs his client that Huell is missing. Saul asks if Jesse is dead. Walt says Jesse hasn’t shown his face at Andrea’s. “He’s probably as high as a kite and hasn’t gotten her message yet,” Walt says.”Or he got it loud and clear and figured out it’s a setup. The kid is not as dumb as you think,” Saul says. And that’s part of Walt’s problem, too. He underestimates the people closest to him.
Walt receives a photo message. It’s a picture of a buried barrel full of money. Ominous, Inception-esque music plays, cueing Walt’s freak out. The cell rings. It’s Jesse. He tells Walt that he found his buried treasure, and wants Walt to meet him where it is. Walt races to the desert, trying to reason with Jesse, telling him the cancer is back and that all the money is for his family. He names everything he’s done for Jesse — paying for his rehab, killing the drug dealers to save his life. He even pleads that poisoning Brock was for him and that he had it all planned out. He knew exactly how much to give the boy so that he wouldn’t die. Shouldn’t Jesse know how smart Walt is?
Up until now, I was ready to overlook last episode’s faults. Walt just had a conversation with Saul, insinuating that Walt doesn’t believe Jesse is that smart. Then all of the sudden, he readily believes that Jesse has somehow found his money, stupidly leading Hank, Gomez and Jesse right to it? Nope. Sorry. That doesn’t work for me.
Walt reaches his money, and realizes that no one is there. A car pulls up in the distance. Walt hides and calls Jack. He wants Jack to come get him and kill Jesse. He tells Jack that he’s in To’hajiilee, giving him the coordinates — 34 59 20 106 36 52. (Seriously, do these numbers have more meaning?) When Walt catches a glimpse of Hank in the car, he calls the hit off. Hank screams out to Walt, and Walt eventually surrenders.
Hank asks him how he liked the barrel photo, right next to the barbecue grill, where they had all their cook outs. Hank gloats that he knew Walt’s “greedy ass” wouldn’t notice the dirt didn’t match. “Looks like I was right,” Hank says.
Then, Jesse takes a sentimental shot at Walt. “Yo, I remember this place. It’s the very first place we cooked, like ever. It is. Isn’t it?”
After Hank officially arrests Walt, Walt calls Jesse a coward, causing Jesse to spit in his face. Walt lunges at him and they fight. Gomez and Hank pull the two apart. Hank puts Walt in his car, Gomez forces Jesse to get into Walt’s. Hank instructs Gomez to stay with the kid and Walt’s car. Gomez congratulates his boss. Hank says he’ll call the tribal police before bringing back the DEA to dig up the barrels.
Before he calls the police, though, Hank has a much more important phone call to make — to Marie. And even before knowing what happens next, their conversation sounded a lot like they last one the two of them will ever have.
“Hey baby, I got him. Dead to rights,” Hank says.
“You got Walt?” she asks, breathlessly.
“Yeah, I got him in handcuffs as we speak. Want me to wave to him for you?”
“Oh my God, you did it,” Marie says, with tears of joy in her eyes.
“It’s going to be a little rough for the next couple of weeks, but it will get better. Baby, you okay?” Hank says.
“I’m much better now,” Marie answers.
“I got to go. It may be a while before I get home. I love you,” Hank continues.
“I love you, too,” Marie says. They hang up.
NEXT: A shootout at the To’hajiilee corral
At that moment, Walt sees the neo-Nazis in the distances. He tries to warn Hank, even though they’ve become enemies. The two DEA agents pull out their guns. Jack, Todd and co. get out of their cars. Hank and Gomez tell them to drop their weapons. The crew wants proof that the they are police before they will. In vain, Walt keeps calling out to Jack to stop. Jack and his buddies open fire, Gomez and Hank return the shots. Chaos ensues; the credits roll. Everyone watching begins breathing again.
Other things of note:
“To’hajiilee” begins with Lydia inspecting Todd and Jack’s lab. The meth isn’t blue and it’s only 76% pure. Lydia is not happy. Todd serves her tea, telling her if it’s not strong enough he can add another bag to her cup. Lydia impresses upon him how important the quality and the color of the meth is to her buyers in Europe. In this moment, Lydia — who has always been a sniveling weakling — comes across even more dangerous than Skyler. Maybe Walt should be a little more worried about her.
When Walt stops by Andrea’s house, he mentions that he met Brock at Jesse’s before. Was there a look of recognition in Brock’s eyes? Does he know that this is the man that poisoned him? Will we ever find out exactly how Walt did it?
Speaking of Brock, he was eating breakfast when we first see him again — he’s a regular Walt Jr. Jr. (The last shot of Brock shows his box off Froot Loops. But the camera cuts off the “F” and the “L,” leaving us with “ROOT OOPS.” Perhaps it’s a message about the route Walter has taken in life. Perhaps I spend too much time on the internet and am fruitlessly trying to discover hidden meanings where there are none.)
Before Saul comes to the car wash, Skyler is teaching her son how to man the cash register. It’s a sweet scene and makes you wonder what could have been if this were the real family business. (And how cute was Junior’s starry-eyed conversation with Saul? “Don’t drink and drive, but if you do, call me,” Saul tells Junior on his way out, giving us another needed dose of Goodman comic relief.)
Jesse and Walt both use a phone to try to trick their former partner — only one is successful. If Jesse had heard the message, he would have run straight to Andrea’s house, right into the sight of his would-be murderers. Of course, he didn’t hear it, so he didn’t have a chance. Walt, on the other hand, takes Jesse’s phone call, and runs straight into the trap Jesse helped set. Those two are more alike than either would admit.
At the end of the episode, right before Walt calls Jesse a coward, I thought for a second that Jesse and Walt were in on it together; that they would get rid of Hank and Gomez themselves. Yes, wishful thinking gets us all — the Pinkman/White bromance is definitely as dead as Mike, Gus and anyone else who has lost their life on this show. Still, for a moment, I thought it might have gone differently.
Walter White’s life hinges on the two halves of his self. The mild-mannered former teacher Mr. White, and the evil, drug kingpin Heisenberg. This season, we’ve seen more of Mr. Chips than we have of Scarface. Occasionally, the one who knocks shows himself, but lately, even when he’s ordering a hit, he’s more like the man we first met, and not the terrible “devil” he morphed into.
What did you think of “To’hajiilee”? We know Walt survives — considering the fast-forwards. But what about Jesse, Hank, Gomez, Todd, Jack and the rest of the gang?
If only next Sunday were here sooner…
Walter White descends into the criminal underworld.