Confessions (S5E11)

I’ve begun to worry I’m not watching the program closely enough, or that my notes are scanty, or something, because I feel like I’m missing things. Yes, obviously I’m extremely clueless about lots of things based on the entire premise of this experiment, but there are things I feel like maybe I should’ve picked up that others felt they had to explain to me.

When I mention the show to any of my friends, they almost universally want to start talking to me about it, and I try to hush them, worried that they’ll give away some enormous plot spoiler or something (we can reasonably make the argument that spoilers should be meaningless for me at this point since I’ve already seen the ending). Nobody has though, and in fact anybody who’s talked to me about the show has done so very delicately, knowing about what I’m trying to do, but it’s something I fret over because there was at least one big thing Walt did that confused and frightened me, and a buddy (the guy who suggested this experiment, actually) had to set me straight on.

In whichever episode it was that Walt goes back to his house after Hank dies in the desert, I wrote that Walt’s phone call to Skyler scared the crap out of me. I couldn’t imagine why he would spit at her like that given that he’s the guy with the meth empire, and my friend explained to me that it was a conscious decision on Walt’s part to sound like an accusatory psycho because he knew the police would be listening and he wanted to make Skyler look like a victim so she wouldn’t get hit as hard now that everything is falling apart. My friend also speculated that this might’ve been Walt’s reasoning when he ran off with Holly too, and why not, nothing makes a parent look more like a victim than kidnapping their baby. Apparently Saul says as much to Walt in the next episode, and it’s entirely possible that I heard Saul tell Walt something about a phone call, and didn’t bother to note it down because it was an innocuous enough sentence that I couldn’t imagine the significance of.

This will probably not be the last time I have a complete misunderstanding of a plot point based on the screwed up chronology of my viewing. Hell, there are probably lots of other unaddressed misreadings peppered throughout this right now.

This episode was nice for me because it addressed a great deal of my immediate questions, while dredging up a few that I figure I’m a goodly long distance from knowing. Most of this came in the form of Walt’s confession video, which I’m presuming is more or less a complete and concise description of how he got started in the meth business with some obvious (?) fabrications in regards to Hank’s involvement.

What got me was Hank and Marie’s reaction to it. Hank has apparently been investigating Walt (or investigating Heisenberg) for a very long time now, but even though he knows it’s Walt, he apparently doesn’t have quite enough hard evidence to convict him. He says as much to Jessie, and Gomez tells Hank that he can’t let guys watch Saul and Jessie because apparently there just isn’t enough evidence. So how did Hank figure it out?

My question is, why is Hank so worried about Walt’s video? Yes, Walt’s money paying for whatever surgery Hank received earlier in the series links him, but other than that, why is he so distraught? Is Hank crooked enough that he could conceivably be linked to something fishy? Jessie bluntly states that Hank assaulted him previously and I sort of began to get the feeling that maybe Hank is like, a “loose cannon” type of character, like maybe he breaks some rules in order to get results. Hank is also apparently the agent mostly in charge of the Heisenberg case, and this episode implies the DEA is getting a little impatient with him in regards to the resources he’s allocated to the investigation. But is Hank crooked enough that this could be stuck to him, or was Walt just skillful enough in his performance that they would investigate Hank long enough for Walt to cover whatever frayed ends he didn’t quite clip?

Then again, apparently there is literally no hard evidence linking Walt to this, which I would believe as so far I’ve pretty much only observed Walt being extremely conscientious and thorough in his criminal activity. At least, I watched him be extremely conscientious and thorough in the final episode, in which everyone’s guard is let down in light of his disappearance and he’s intent on some revenge murder, as opposed to the episodes I’m presently watching in which he’s trying his hardest to escape from that life, but his otherwise airtight lock on the situation has been compromised by associates like Jessie.

Obviously Jessie is still freaking out. I once again violated my policy of doing no extra research on the show by reading the Wikipedia entry for this episode. I figured maybe I would be able to read an episode summary without it revealing too much about details I shouldn’t know yet, and was dealt a little reality in regards to the possibility of doing that in for a show as long running and complex as this one. Still, in trying to determine if I’d simply missed something in regards to why Jessie freaks about the pack of smokes in his jacket, the summary just alluded to Brock’s ricin poisoning (which I sort of already know about) and a character named Gus Firing (who Walt mentions in the video) so I don’t think I slipped too badly. Still, I should probably just take better notes so I don’t need to resort to that crutch again, in addition to actually consulting my notes more than once after I’ve written them.

Questions:

The diner scene in the beginning kind of confirms what I already suspected in that Todd has worked with Walt in a criminal capacity, but he mentions an actual train robbery. I realize there’s like 50+ episodes I haven’t seen yet where all sorts of madness can still happen, but exactly what kind of shenanigans do these guys get up to? Obviously it got a lot more complicated than “Walt and Jessie cook meth in a trailer.”

Is Walt still working? I’m sure he helps out at the car wash, but is he still teaching? If he stopped, how did he explain why he stopped to his family?

Right now I’m operating under the assumption that pretty much everything Walt says in the confession video (barring Hank masterminding the whole thing) is true. Was Walt’s family really in a position to be bankrupted by his illness? Did none of them have insurance? Is it really feasible that a full time public school teacher would have such inadequate medical coverage, or is that just a dramatic convention for the sake of the concept? Or am I woefully naive about health insurance companies, and how they would handle a guy with a terminal diagnosis?

What year does this show take place? I mean obviously it’s a pretty contemporary setting. My only concept of how much time has passed in the series comes from my knowledge that their baby is 18 months old and Skyler was still pregnant during one flashback where Walt was cooking in the desert with a full head of hair.

Random notes:

Who is this one guy that always seems to be hanging around with Jack? I think he’s hilarious.

Jack is always wearing a long leather coat even though he lives in the damn desert.

The restaurant scene where they’re all quietly furious with each other and the poor kid keeps trying to sell them on appetizers is great

“oh yuck a tarantula oh gross it’s walking towards Jessie”

The decor in Saul’s office is also hilarious to me

“Jessie roars and gargles as he douses the house in gasoline”

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4 thoughts on “Confessions (S5E11)

  1. No spoilers here at all… just letting you know that they film BrBa during the winter in Albuquerque. It’s 22F degrees there as I write this comment. That’s why they all wear coats. Matter of fact, the scene in this episode where Walt meets Jesse and Saul in the desert was actually only 4F degrees when they filmed it! They had to warm up the tarantula so that it wouldn’t go into hibernation. (This was all explained in the insider podcast released with the episode)

    Anyway, keep up your experiment. I find it a fascinating read!

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