Review: Breaking Bad – “Confessions” (Season 5, Episode 11)

Welcome back to another edition of Breaking Bad: the Technical Review. Last time I discussed the importance of color and its meaning — a subtle visual art. Today we’ll talk about the art of audio production: sound-mixing and editing. Sound editors work in post, creating sounds out of next to nothing. Remember the first episode of season 4, ‘Box Cutter’? Chances are you remember a throat getting slashed — visually disturbing, but stunning. Recall the sounds: slicing flesh, blood gurgling out of the wound and pouring onto the floor, and the sound of a man drowning in his own blood. All of these sounds were artificially created by the sound editor. Someone had to layer those sounds, though: adjust the levels, bring the dialog up, the room tone down. The sound mixer did those things. Every desert scene with nothing more than the sound of insects and stale air is the product of the sound mixer. How do you make air sound stale? Seriously, that takes talent. Let’s look at the talent in this week’s episode.

I can’t help it. I love Todd. Maybe because he looks like the Blondie from Fight Club, or because he emanates
a childlike innocence, or because he’s so eager to perform well — whatever the reason, I can’t help but hope things work out for him. Even when he’s working with Neo-Nazis. Something about his enthusiasm while he relates the story of the the train heist (leaving out the bit of child-murdering) to his new business partners makes him continuously likable. He even has the decency to inform Mr. White about the ‘change of management’. Professional courtesy is still courtesy, and Todd has got that.

Jesse survives Hank’s interrogation. He won’t talk. Not to Hank. Saul comes in to save the day. Crisis averted.

Walt hasn’t lied in this episode yet, so he’s overdue. As much as I’m expecting that lie, I am still blown away when he sits Walt Jr. down to explain his cancer situation. Yeah, the cancer is back, but Walt only told Jr. to keep him from Marie’s clutches. Manipulation via the truth is just as bad as lying, if not worse. Walt Jr. stays, to my amazement. Walter is a genius; I can’t deny that.

Skyler and Walter meet Marie and Hank at a Red Robin-type of restaurant — not the usual venue for a meeting such as this. During the course of the meal, Marie suggests that Walt kill himself. It’s almost as if she’s channeled every hateful internet post directed at her, and the singular suggestion of suicide found in each one, and repeated it to Walter. The frightening part is that it was not said with malice, but in earnest. Marie genuinely believes suicide would fix the situation. Walt won’t go for that. He does offer up a confession tape, though. Yes, Walt openly confesses to being used by Hank to cook meth. Walt has done it again — the master manipulator.

Walt is on a hot streak, but it looks like he’s going for the hat trick. He asks Jesse to meet him in the desert, and Jesse complies. Walt puts on his “concerned father face” and suggests Jesse start over — new identity, new location, new life. And Jesse calls Walt out on it. Jesse finally sees through Walt… or not. I guess Jesse just needed a hug because that’s all it takes to get him to agree. Jesse is on his way to Alaska. Until Jesse finally removes the veil from his eyes, piecing together the plot to poison Brock.

In so far, I’ve avoided predicting an ending to the series, although I have a theory. I’m hesitant to write it out after seeing Jesse lose his mind this season. But here it is: Jesse kills Walt. My theory has always been Jesse will find out about Walt poisoning Brock and Walt will pay — and half of my prophecy has come true. My concern is that it’s happening a little too soon. Next episode should confirm or put a stop to my prediction, so tune in next week to see what happens next.

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