Plot: The time for action is now and Walter White (Bryan Cranston) knows that all too well. Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) has officially declared Walt his enemy and has set into motion a plan with Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) and Steven Gomez (Steven Michael Quezada) to take him down for good. In a last ditch effort to get out safely, Walt makes one of the most difficult decisions of his life. He must kill Jesse.
Breaking Bad has consistently been a show that somehow always finds a way to one up itself. There have been countless moments throughout the series where you think, “This is why Breaking Bad is one of the greatest shows to ever exist,” and then something else happens that completely blows you away. So far these final eight episodes are all prime examples of why this meth-fueled drama is so enthralling. Every single one so far has had their own edge of your seat, jaw-dropping moments. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for the latest episode, named “To’hajiilee.” It doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat or drop your jaw. Nope, it instead throws you straight on the ground in a complete state of shock and awe, once again one upping anything we have ever seen.
Everything that has been worked on for the past five years officially came to a head this week with two conflicting plans converging in the most explosive way. On one side of the spectrum, we have Walt who is doing his absolute best to survive in the absolute worst circumstances. Following Jesse’s phone call at the end of “Rabid Dog,” Walt calls Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons) and asks for his Uncle Jack’s (Michael Bowen) help in taking care of the situation. Jesse is officially a threat to Walt now and both wants the other dead, except Walt specifically requests Jesse is killed quickly and painlessly. He still cares about him after all. Walt even returns to Andrea and Brock Cantillo (Emily Rios and Ian Posada) to use them as bait to bring Jesse out of hiding. It’s truly tragic that these two innocent people are constantly exploited to further Walt’s plans, without them knowing.
Jesse however has a different idea. Knowing that the only thing Walt absolutely cares about is the money he’s worked so hard to obtain, Jesse conspires with Hank and Gomez to get Walt himself out of hiding once and for all. This involves Hank using scare tactics in the most amazing way possible. In order to learn more about the money, Hank completely fabricates this scenario where Huell (Lavell Crawford) is in danger by using a picture of a “dead” Jesse as proof. Huell cracks and spills everything he knows about the barrels, money, and the van Walt used to hide it all. He even severs ties to Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), all in the name of “safety.” We all know everything is bullshit, but Huell doesn’t and it was just a lot of fun watching Hank take this man for a ride. If you ever needed an example of how resourceful Hank is with what little he actually has, this is the best one I have ever seen.
Simply finding out about the money isn’t enough. Hank needs to know exactly where the money is in order to take down Walt for good. This involves Jesse sending Walt a picture of his “money” and threatening to burn it all. Walt takes the bait and immediately begins rushing over to where he buried everything. It was at this moment where the planning and preparing stage of this episode ended and the action really began. The entire phone call between Walt and Jesse was so fueled with rage it’s clear that these two men are completely done with each other. Walt even confesses everything, including the fact that he poisoned Brock. It’s only until he reaches the money that he realized he had lost the upper hand he has had for so long. Hank had officially outsmarted Walt with the help of his former ally, for good this time.
What follows is one of the most shocking and intense moments in this entire series. Walt, knowing he is at the end of his rope and Jesse is coming, makes one fateful call to Jack requesting immediate action, only to cancel once he sees Hank and Gomez with Jesse. It’s at that moment that Walt absolutely realizes that he has no where to go, and we get a single beautiful shot of him tearing up as everything he has worked so hard to obtain is being taken away. In complete defeat, Walt walks over to Hank and surrenders. The entire scene was just one massive emotional roller coaster. Despite all the horrors he has dealt, it’s hard not to feel bad for Walt when you realize he did everything for his family. It’s also easy to feel pride for Hank and Jesse who have finally conquered their demon. Jesse even spits on Walt in domination. Hank also makes an excited phone call to Marie (Betsy Brandt) to tell her the news, which causes both to almost cry tears of joy. Oh if only it could have ended there…
I wish I could say the arrival of Jack and his crew was a surprise, but it was pretty obvious they weren’t done. If you got a call from your best chance for a fortune and heard they were at risk, would you just leave them? Absolutely not! As if on cue, the trucks roll up and guns are drawn. Walt begins screaming for Jack to stop the plan, but it’s too late. An intense firefight ensues and credits roll at the worst possible time. The fates of everyone involved are entirely up in the air, and since this is the fourth to last episode of this entire show, nothing is off the table. We know Walt makes it out physically alive, but what about Hank, Gomez, Jesse, or any of Jack’s crew? It’s a complete mystery. Well, maybe not for Gomez as I’m almost entirely positive I saw red on his shirt signifying bullet wounds, but that just makes him more badass for continuing. It may however also be the end for the one and only Hank Schrader. His final words to his wife Marie were, “I love you,” and that’s the exact type of tragedy Breaking Bad writers love. I’m confident that Jesse will make it out okay too, but like I said. Nothing is off the table anymore. We’ll have to wait until next week’s “Ozymandias” to know for sure.
“To’hajiilee” is the epitome of a well-crafted episode. In the first thirty minutes, we have extremely tense build up with two warring parties attempting to take out the other. In the final thirty minutes, we have the explosive conclusion to these plans possibly changing the paradigm of this show for good. The deaths of any of these characters, especially Hank or Jesse, would have unimaginable consequences to everyone on the show. In fact, nothing will ever be the same after “To’hajiilee”. This is it folks. The end game has officially begun. The finale is looming on the horizon and it will be, without a doubt, the most exciting and tragic moments ever seen on television.