TV Recap: Breaking Bad, ‘Confessions’

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Plot: Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) has reached the end of his rope. The horrors he has witnessed during his time with Walter White (Bryan Cranston) have weighed on him for too long and he simply wants out. However, Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) wants to make sure he can get some information out of Jesse on Heisenberg in exchange for his freedom. Meanwhile, Walt sets into motion a plan to get Hank off his back for good.

Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC
Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC

Before these final few episodes actually came to air, early promotion was essentially declaring that these would be eight of the greatest hours in television history. That may seem like an overly bold claim but it fits when you consider the show is Breaking Bad. But how often do you hear in previews that the forthcoming season of any show is going to be the “best ever,” so to speak? Far too often it seems. It does get people excited after all. When you really think about it though, the excitement frequently peters off somewhere in the middle. The premieres are usually amazing but the events that follow typically don’t reach that level again. This inevitably led me to take these bold claims for the final episodes with a massive grain of salt, even if the show is Breaking Bad. “Confessions” is the third of these final eight, and around this time is when a show starts entering a lull of sorts. Is that the case this time around? Thankfully, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The biggest theme in this latter half is completely shattered trust without any hope of repair. We’ve already seen that in spades between Walt and Hank, which somehow got even deeper this week. This all started after Hank discovered that Walt is Heisenberg by complete accident. That was awful enough for everyone involved, straining the relationship between the Schrader’s and the White’s to a breaking point. The events in “Confessions” absolutely demolish whatever chance these two families could have had at a peaceful resolution. In an attempt to one up Hank, Walt decides to confess his actions as Heisenberg on video camera. Naturally this doesn’t go as expected and we later see Walt declaring that Hank forced him to cook as a means to get easy money. It’s all on a DVD that Walk gives to Hank and Marie following an absolutely amazing dinner scene. Walt goes into complete detail about everything he has done too, but makes himself out to be the victim all the while destroying Hank’s credibility. To make matters worse, Hank even learns that Walt is the one who paid his medical bills, essentially making the man indebted to him. It was one jaw dropping scene that will drastically change the paradigm of this show in its absolute final moments.

Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC
Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC

Aaron Paul was the real star of the show this week though. “Confessions” put a massive spotlight on the Walt/Hank conflict but Jesse officially has his own worse problems to deal with. Hank nearly gets to him by promising an out from his horrible life, but Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) swoops in and takes Jesse away. Walt then seizes this opportunity to convince Jesse to change his identity and leave town for good, all the while pulling a concerned “father” routine. Jesse doesn’t buy it knowing that he either leaves or is killed like Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks). Later in the episode Jesse decides to use Saul’s resources to get a new identity, which would have been such a perfect out for this tortured soul, but unfortunately this is Breaking Bad and some shit has to go down. Sure enough, Jesse is able to piece together Brock Cantillo’s (Ian Posada) poisoning and the missing ricin cigarette through simple reverse pick-pocketing by Huell (Lavell Crawford). Now Jesse not only knows that Saul had a part in those events but that Walt is probably to blame for Brock’s poisoning. Obviously he doesn’t take the news well and he proceeds to douse Walt’s house in gasoline.

There has been a lot of tension between Walt and Jesse for a long time now. It always feels like those two are on the verge of killing each other. Despite this, there was always some shred of respect between the two stopping their imminent conflict. The duo would still work together as always and Jesse would frequently do whatever Walt wanted. There’s no denying that’s completely over now. Even though Jesse has no solid proof that Walt actually poisoned Brock (which I’m sure will be covered next week), the possible connection is enough to sever these former cohorts forever. I desperately want to know what happens next between Walt and Jesse as it will be unquestionably insane. Will either of these men make it out alive? Truthfully, there’s no guarantee at this point.

Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC
Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC

In between all of this is the meth empire currently being run by Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser). Lydia actually didn’t appear at all this episode but Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons) reappeared again in the opening segment. This took place immediately after Todd and his crew eliminated Declan (Louis Ferreira) and his cronies for good. I’m going to be honest, this whole thing feels like complete background noise. Sure it’s extremely important to the story, but compared to everything going on now it just feels like that “other” event. It’s not entirely unlike “that guy” at a party who doesn’t really have a place but we’re all made to make sure he exists. I have no doubt that these events will weave beautifully into the current main conflicts eventually, especially since Todd is entering New Mexico again, but right now I feel they mainly exist to let us know that the meth business under Lydia is still happening. I find it hard to really care about what’s going on with Lydia’s business until it actually takes place within the main events. Right now it’s just a detour, but at least the detour happened in the beginning.

Breaking Bad has been on an absolute warpath lately. Both “Blood Money” and “Buried” were absolutely amazing episodes, and “Confessions” is right up there. Shit is about to get real folks, seriously. There are five more episodes of Breaking Bad left and I honestly cannot imagine the show slowing down at all. Everything tonight was phenomenal especially Jesse going absolutely berserk discovering what really happened to the ricin. As for the events surrounding Todd and Lydia, I’m glad Todd has become the rising star but that whole thing just feels like a slow burn in the background. I’m ecstatic to see what happens to it in the coming episodes but right now I’m more interested in the exploding relationships right in front of me.

Rating: 9.7/10