Actor Aaron Paul described the the final episodes as a “violent sprint to the finish line” and judging by the body count in Buried it’s not an overstatement. But the driving force in this great episode, is the conflict driven by carefully choreographed character moments and the aftermath of Walt’s confrontation with Hank.
Continue Reading for my spoiler filled thoughts and reaction to Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 10 “Buried“.
In contrast to Walt’s bold, confident demeanor while facing off against Hank in the garage, it’s kind of amusing to see him in a state of panic afterwards, trying to get a hold of Skyler. He obviously doesn’t want Skyler to confess anything but he’s also doesn’t want to lose Skyler to Hank. Family is ultimately what’s most important to him, even if he’s lost sight of that over the past few seasons. Telling Saul he wouldn’t send Hank on a trip to Belize reinforces the belief that killing a family member is one line he won’t cross. So his tread lightly warning to Hank last episode was all about intimidation; it’s not something he’d actually carry out.
In some ways, through-out the episode Walt is emotionally regressing back to the man who was diagnosed with cancer the first time around in the pilot episode. There’s likely some significance, subconscious or otherwise, to go back to the original cook site of all places to bury the most condemning evidence against him- the barrels of cash. On a side note, the GPS coordinates which Walt recites as if they were the winning lottery numbers is actually Q studios where they film Breaking Bad and is one of the shooting locations for Marvel’s Avengers.
He told Jesse last episode, ‘the past is the past’; as in there’s no point in dwelling on something that can’t be undone. But I wonder if Walt wishes that by covering up the money it could undo his transgressions? In his most vulnerable state, laying on the bathroom floor wearing a white underwear like in the pilot episode, he concedes, “I screwed up”. Heisenberg once thought himself infallible, yet over the course of a single day he went from mastermind drug lord to exhausted, defeated cancer victim. The writers have skillfully conveyed that all of these aspects are always still part of him, even the parts viewers once empathized with, namely his love for his family. I believe Walt when he tells Skyler he’d confess to everything if it meant his family would be taken care of.
Though Skyler’s reaction to Walt for the most part make sense from her character’s point of view, it’s also a course correction by the writers. Skyler is a polarizing (read: despised) character because many fans see her as a nagging, tiresome roadblock to everything Walt wants to achieve. Scenes like last episode when she confronts Lydia at the car wash and in this bathroom scene where she completely supports Walt, are specifically designed to make fans reconsider how they feel about her.
Having her point out to Walt that if he confesses they would lose the all money, shows she’s thinking two steps ahead and would make for a strong ally other than someone who just cooks the books. How Skyler could go from hating Walt earlier in Season 5 to sharing a bed with him as seen in “Blood Money”, comes down to the conclusion that she must truly care for him on some level. However, I also believe there’s a possibility she’s still waiting for Walt to die and discovering his cancer is back means she’s one step closer to keeping the money all for herself, which could very well be her true hidden agenda.
I don’t dislike Skyler because I believe her actions in discovering her husband is a meth cook/killer (she knows he blew up Gus) are what any rational person would do. But I did chuckle when the person I was watching this episode with said, “About time somebody did that!” when Marie bitch slapped Skyler’s face. Walt is like a cancer, corrupting everyone around him including Skyler whose list of crimes, such as money laundering and tax fraud, is adding up. If there’s one scene that will get the Skyler-haters fired up is the “Am I under Arrest?” cringe-worthy meltdown (I’m guessing there are already memes on the internet) which is sort of a call back to her “Shut up, Shut Up” tirade on Marie earlier this season.
Looking back at some of my previous write ups, I rarely if ever mention Marie. By and large, she’s an under developed character whose function is primarily to bring out Hank and Skyler’s inner monologue. It’s not often we get to hear what Ms. Kleptomaniac believes or wants unless it’s to advance the story. However, in Buried she got some strong scenes, first in discovering she’s been betrayed by her sister. Marie didn’t wear a wire or recording device when talking to Skyler but the thought crossed my mind during that scene. It’s a good thing that Skyler didn’t admit to anything, in fact she barely said much at all except for an apology. Holding onto the baby is a symptom of Marie’s impulsive control disorder but it also makes sense to take the baby away from possible harm. We also learn Marie is adamant in bringing the DEA in on investigating Walt, because she and Hank could be criminally liable if they conceal the truth, an aspect that I didn’t previously consider.
Briefly touching on the massacre scene, at first I was disappointed it happened off-screen but what we needed to know was captured from Lydia’s perspective. She gave the go-ahead signal on her phone, then hunkered down, covering her ears well before the shots rang out, implicating she was responsible for the deaths of her former associates (to make higher quality meth for her Czech customer). She’s an unlikely mastermind, covering her eyes to avoid looking at the bodies, but having previously put a hit on Mike it’s within her character to do something this drastic. When Walt killed Gus, it opened the door for him to take over. Now that Walt has retired, Lydia and Todd have emerged as the heir apparent. This new duo are a wildcard in how the final episodes are going to shake down.
Okay moving on, Jesse didn’t say a word this episode but there are already consequences for throwing the blood money out his car window. By the way, why isn’t there stacks of cash on my front lawn? If you were wondering, according to AMC website, each bundle of cash contained $10,000; the old man grabbed five stacks. Why would anyone report it to the authorities because they’re not going to get to keep the money when the police confirm it’s the proceeds from crime. Jesse’s stuck on spin cycle and the only way I think he can clear his conscience is if he works with Hank on bringing down Walt. I completely lost track of time when watching this episode so I was surprised when Hank walked into the interrogating room, it cut to the credits. Can’t wait to see what happens next.
What do you think Jesse will say to Hank? Will Hank bring his suspicions about Walt to the DEA? Has you opinion of Skyler changed?