The following will contain mild spoilers about this and previous episodes of Breaking Bad. It's near impossible to discuss new episodes without spoilers, so you should definitely watch tonight's show before reading ahead.
After the mid-season finale found Hank happening upon the identity of the man he's been chasing for five and a half seasons and last week's amazing confrontation in Hank's garage, the tension was bound to let up a bit in tonight's offering
Last week saw the first round in the inevitable showdown between Walt "Heisenburg" White and Hank "Obsessed With Finding Heisenburg" Shrader. This week, it's the wives' turn. After she finds out the truth from Hank, Marie immediately goes to confront Skyler. As she continues to question her, Marie slowly starts to realize just how long Skyler has known about, and perhaps even been in on this. This scene could quite possibly be some of the best work that both actresses have given in the series to date. This is all the more impressive given the fact that Skyler barely utters a word the entire time. It all culminates in an incredibly tense scene involving Skyler's baby that could quite possibly have your fingers finally clawing their way through those armrests (don't worry - the baby is never in danger).
Perhaps best of all, a late episode scene between Hank and Marie has Hank saying what is on all of our minds. He is trying to make sure that he has absolute proof of Walt's wrongdoings because as soon as he presents his case to the precinct, his career is over. How is he going to explain that the man he has obsessively chased all this time is his own brother-in-law. He very tellingly says, "ten seconds after I tell this story, I'm a civilian." Like last week, this episode largely belongs to Hank - you can truly see the pain in his eyes. Walt is as riveting as he always is, but Season 5.2 is definitely threatening to become the Hank Show as the focus seems to be switching a bit.
Other than the cold open, we don't get to see much of Jesse in this episode. But, the sorta cliffhanger ending ensures that we'll get our Pinkman fix next week. Oh, and do you remember how you've been wondering about Todd's Uncle Jack ever since he was half-threateningly mentioned to Walt and Mike when they were trying to decide Todd's future with the crew? Yeah, you're going to get to meet him in this episode in a very big way and it has become obvious they he, along with Todd, will be a major factor in the outcome of the series.
Jason's Final Thoughts:
Sure, story-wise, this episode serves as more of a transition between last week and next, but the performances are all top-notch, and things are progressing along rather rapidly (a necessity considering that it will all need to be wrapped up in six episodes). At this point, you should not be watching this show on DVR - you've got to catch it live. Big things will be happening, and you do not want to find out what they are by overhearing someone at work (although, you deserve the spoilers if you're discussing television on your employer's time - shame on you). With only six more to go, I honestly cannot remember the last time that I was held in such anticipation for a series finale (besides, of course, According To Jim). I can truly say that, while I certainly have my theories, I am confident in nothing other than the fact that I have no idea how this will end.
Episode 10 Grade: A
Cast:- Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Laura Fraser, Jesse Plemons, Steven Michael Quezada, Matt Jones, Charles Baker
Review by Jason Howard. Special to Influx Magazine