Review: Breaking Bad – “Buried” (Season 5, Episode 10)

We are one episode closer to the end. With so little time to review Breaking Bad, I have to take every moment I can to commend its technical perfection. I can go on for hours about the impeccably dark performances and the beautifully balanced cinematography, but today I want to bring attention to the costuming and set design — specifically the colors. The internet is abuzz with comments about which colors mean what, and you can go in to startling detail, but the basics will do for now: blue is good and yellow is bad . The meth is blue because it is pure, but making drugs is bad because you have to dress up in yellow. This episode isn’t about yellow or blue, though: it’s about whites and purples. Walter and Skylar are in white, while Marie is in purple. Regardless of what the meaning is, the set and costume design use those colors in a practical and striking manner. The purples are vivid, yet subtle; but the whites are soft, but powerful. Such incisive detail to be lost on an audience who, by and large, could not consciously comprehend the depth of the work. I find it important to bring an often overlooked labor some recognition; the background and scenery might not be the star, but they deserve attention. There. Now for some spoilers.

The episode picks up, as most do, mere seconds after the its predecessor. Jesse has lost it. He’s lost his money, his mind, and control of his car — the last of which will lead to his arrest and questioning. Back to the confrontation between Hank and Walt: Walt leaves the garage (almost destroying a YELLOW remote control car) and attempts to call Skylar. It’s a race between Walt and Hank — but Hank gets her on the phone first. This leads to the most stressful meeting between Hank and Skylar we have ever seen.

During the last episode, I was fairly certain Walt was hiding the reappearance of his cancer. Hank confirms it here. Throughout the entire meeting, Skylar maintains a lip tremor that sold me on the whole performance; once again Breaking Bad has caused me to hold my breath during a scene of pure dialog. Skylar manages to get out of there without admitting anything, leaving Hank befuddled. Hank is completely willing to believe Walt had threatened, abused, and otherwise coerced Skylar into keeping his secret — that got me. I could not fathom how Hank could have such a strong belief in the purity and innocence of Skylar after learning of Walt’s betrayal. It might be true to a point that Skylar did not want anything to do with the “Empire business”, but she’s complicit and willing now. Marie has a separate reaction to the news, but it’s one I can understand — she thinks of the children first.

Lydia, who has been concerned about the purity of product from the new cooks, has decided to use Todd and his boys to “fire” Declan and his crew. Lydia does not want to see the death and destruction she has wrought, though, and asks Todd to lead her through the labyrinth of bodies she had called for. The metaphor is clear, and creates a stark foil for Walt: if you can’t look at what you’ve done, you want be able to see where you’re going.

Walt, in the mean time, takes precautions with his money. Namely, he buries it. Walt makes sure that he is the only man who knows where that money is, and he’ll be damned if Hank will take that away from his future generations. I’ve assumed that he left the coordinates in a coded message, in case of his demise (they did show a message on the fridge that look like a candidate).

The episode ends on a cliffhanger, with Jesse about to have a very uncomfortable conversation with Hank. If you recall, the last time they saw each other, Hank beat Jesse severely. I’m sure the reunion will be lovely. Next week things will be bad, but I’m sure they’ll be breaking worse.

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